History Podcasts

Foreign Witnesses of the Revolution Revolution

Foreign Witnesses of the Revolution Revolution


Fouquier-Tinville: “Why have witnesses?” (1793)

Antoine Fouquier-Tinville (1747-1795) was a Picardy lawyer turned criminal prosecutor. In March 1793, he was appointed as chief public prosecutor in Paris’ Revolutionary Tribunal. Though given to adversarial flair and legal terminology, Fouquier-Tinville had little regard for the principles and procedures of French law. His mission was to secure guilty verdicts and execution warrants for all presented to the Tribunal – and to do so as quickly as possible. In late October, during the first weeks of the Reign of Terror, Fouquier-Tinville prosecuted a matter that lasted several days. Frustrated, he wrote to the National Convention, complaining that witnesses, defence statements and other courtroom conventions were impeding the work of the Tribunal. His letter, which appeared in Le Moniteur Universel on October 30th 1793, was a portent of the Law of 22 Prairial the following June:

“The slowness of the procedures of the Revolutionary Tribunal obliges us to present to you a few observations. We have given sufficient proof of our revolutionary zeal to enable us not to fear an accusation of negligence – but we are impeded in our work by the forms prescribed by the law.

The trial of the deputies whom you have accused began five days ago, yet only nine witnesses have yet been heard. In giving evidence, each would tell their own history of the Revolution. The accused them replies to the witnesses, who respond in their turn.

A discussion, which the verbosity of the prisoners renders extremely long, is then begun. And after such private debates, does not each of the accused wish to deliver a general speech for the defence?

This trial, therefore, will be interminably long. Besides, it should be asked: why should we have witnesses? The Convention, the whole of France, accuses these men. Proofs of their crimes are evident and everyone is convinced that they are guilty.

The Tribunal can do nothing by itself – it is obliged to follow the law. It rests with the Convention to do away with all the formalities which impede its work.”


Eyewitness

Appointed U.S. Minister to France in 1785, Thomas Jefferson was the American Government&rsquos man on the ground in Paris in July 1789 when the French people rose up against their rulers and the first blood was shed in the opening days of the French Revolution. Author of the Declaration of Independence whose immortal words had come to define the spirit of the Revolution in America, Jefferson followed closely and with great interest the events of the unfolding Revolution in France.

In 1789, when King Louis XVI summoned the States General, an assembly of nobles, clergy, and citizens that had not convened since 1614, to address a huge financial crisis, Jefferson commuted daily from his lavish house on the outskirts of the city to Versailles to observe the meetings being held there. And in July, when the streets of Paris descended into lawlessness, chaos, and violence, Jefferson and his secretary, William Short, roamed the streets to learn firsthand what was happening.

The storming of the Bastille, the public beheading of its director, a dramatic appearance of the King&mdashthese monumental events, clouded by the chaos and uncertainty of the moment&mdashare all told in the calm, clear voice of America&rsquos Thomas Jefferson.

Letter from Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Minister to France, to John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, July 19, 1789, reporting on the events in Paris, page 537

This portion of Jefferson&rsquos twelve-page letter&mdashwritten entirely in his own hand&mdashrecounts how a mob seeking to arm themselves, stormed the Bastille (the fourteenth-century fortress used as a prison), took the stash of arms, freed the prisoners, and seized the &ldquoGovernor&rdquo of the Bastille who was then killed and beheaded in the city streets. A later portion of the letter recounts the panic at the King&rsquos court at Versailles resulting from false reports that a mob of 150,000 was on their way to &ldquomassacre the Royal family, the court, the ministers and all connected with them.&rdquo

National Archives, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention

&ldquoThe people now armed themselves with such weapons as they could find in Armourer&rsquos shops & private houses, and with bludgeons, & were roaming all night through all parts of the city without any decided & practicable object.&rdquo

&mdashFrom Thomas Jefferson&rsquos letter

Letter from Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Minister to France, to John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, July 19, 1789, reporting on the events in Paris, page 538

This portion of Jefferson&rsquos twelve-page letter&mdashwritten entirely in his own hand&mdash recounts how a mob seeking to arm themselves, stormed the Bastille (the fourteenth-century fortress used as a prison), took the stash of arms, freed the prisoners, and seized the &ldquoGovernor&rdquo of the Bastille who was then killed and beheaded in the city streets. A later portion of the letter recounts the panic at the King&rsquos court at Versailles resulting from false reports that a mob of 150,000 was on their way to &ldquomassacre the Royal family, the court, the ministers and all connected with them.&rdquo

National Archives, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention

&ldquo[At the Bastille] They took all the arms, discharged the prisoners & such of the garrison as were not killed in the first moment of fury, carried the Governor & Lieutenant governor to the Greve (the place of public execution) cut off their heads, & sent them through the city in triumph to the Palais royal.&rdquo

&mdashFrom Thomas Jefferson&rsquos letter

Letter from Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Minister to France, to John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, July 19, 1789, reporting on the events in Paris, page 541

This portion of Jefferson&rsquos twelve-page letter&mdashwritten entirely in his own hand&mdashrecounts how a mob seeking to arm themselves, stormed the Bastille (the fourteenth-century fortress used as a prison), took the stash of arms, freed the prisoners, and seized the &ldquoGovernor&rdquo of the Bastille who was then killed and beheaded in the city streets. A later portion of the letter recounts the panic at the King&rsquos court at Versailles resulting from false reports that a mob of 150,000 was on their way to &ldquomassacre the Royal family, the court, the ministers and all connected with them.&rdquo

National Archives, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention

&ldquo[T]ranquillity [sic] is now restored to the Capital: the shops are again opened the people resuming their labours, and, if the want of bread does not disturb our peace, we may hope a continuance of it.&rdquo

&mdashFrom Thomas Jefferson&rsquos letter

Letter from Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Minister to France, to John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, July 19, 1789, reporting on the events in Paris, page 542

This portion of Jefferson&rsquos twelve-page letter&mdashwritten entirely in his own hand&mdashrecounts how a mob seeking to arm themselves, stormed the Bastille (the fourteenth-century fortress used as a prison), took the stash of arms, freed the prisoners, and seized the &ldquoGovernor&rdquo of the Bastille who was then killed and beheaded in the city streets. A later portion of the letter recounts the panic at the King&rsquos court at Versailles resulting from false reports that a mob of 150,000 was on their way to &ldquomassacre the Royal family, the court, the ministers and all connected with them.&rdquo

National Archives, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention

&ldquoI went yesterday to Versailles to satisfy myself what had passed there for nothing can be believed but what one sees, or has from an eye witness. They believe there still that 3000 people have fallen victims to the tumults of Paris. Mr. Short & myself have been every day among them in order to be sure of what was passing. We cannot find with certainty that any body has been killed but the three beforementioned, & those who fell in the assault of defence of the Bastille. How many of the garrison were killed no body pretends to have ever heard. Of the assailants accounts vary from 6. to 600. The most general belief is that there fell about 30.&rdquo

&mdashFrom Thomas Jefferson&rsquos letter

Letter from Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Minister to France, to John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, July 19, 1789, reporting on the events in Paris, page 543

This portion of Jefferson&rsquos twelve-page letter&mdashwritten entirely in his own hand&mdashrecounts how a mob seeking to arm themselves, stormed the Bastille (the fourteenth-century fortress used as a prison), took the stash of arms, freed the prisoners, and seized the &ldquoGovernor&rdquo of the Bastille who was then killed and beheaded in the city streets. A later portion of the letter recounts the panic at the King&rsquos court at Versailles resulting from false reports that a mob of 150,000 was on their way to &ldquomassacre the Royal family, the court, the ministers and all connected with them.&rdquo

National Archives, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention

&ldquoThe churches are now occupied in singing &lsquoDe profundis&rsquo and &lsquoRequiem for the repose of the souls of the brave & valiant citizens who have sealed with their blood the liberty of the nation.&rsquo. . . I have the honor to be with great esteem & respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servt. Th. Jefferson&rdquo

&mdashFrom Thomas Jefferson&rsquos letter

Storming of the Bastille, July 14th, 1789, painting, unattributed, eighteenth century

The Bastille loomed large in the French imagination as a mysterious, medieval, dark dungeon of a place where vast numbers of people who had displeased the King would disappear to lead a tortured existence. In fact, by the time of Louis XVI, living conditions inside the Bastille were not at all dire food was adequate, and prisoners were free to bring in many of their own possessions. On July 14, 1789, this towering symbol of royal oppression held only seven prisoners: two who were mentally ill, four forgers, and one person who had been incarcerated for incest.


The Law of 22 Prairial Year II (10 June 1794)

The Revolutionary Tribunal shall divide itself into sections, composed of twelve members, to wit: three judges and nine jurors, which jurors may not pass judgment unless they are seven in number.

The Revolutionary Tribunal is instituted to punish the enemies of the people.

The enemies of the people are those who seek to destroy public liberty, either by force or by cunning.

The following are deemed enemies of the people: those who have instigated the reestablishment of monarchy, or have sought to disparage or dissolve the National Convention and the revolutionary and republican government of which it is the center:

Those who have betrayed the Republic in the command of places and armies, or in any other military function, carried on correspondence with the enemies of the Republic, labored to disrupt the provisioning or the service of the armies

Those who have sought to impede the provisioning of Paris, or to create scarcity within the Republic

Those who have supported the designs of the enemies of France, either by countenancing the sheltering and the impunity of conspirators and aristocracy, by persecuting and calumniating patriotism, by corrupting the mandataries of the people, or by abusing the principles of the Revolution or the laws or measures of the government by false and perfidious applications

Those who have deceived the people or the representatives of the people, in order to lead them into undertakings contrary to the interests of liberty

Those who have sought to inspire discouragement, in order to favor the enterprises of the tyrants leagued against the Republic

Those who have disseminated false news in order to divide or disturb the people

Those who have sought to mislead opinion and to prevent the instruction of the people, to deprave morals and to corrupt the public conscience, to impair the energy and the purity of revolutionary and republican principles, or to impede the progress thereof, either by counterrevolutionary or insidious writings, or by any other machination

Contractors of bad faith who compromise the safety of the Republic, and squanderers of the public fortune, other than those included in the provisions of the law of 7 Frimaire

Those who, charged with public office, take advantage of it in order to serve the enemies of the Revolution, to harass patriots, or to oppress the people

Finally, all who are designated in previous laws relative to the punishment of conspirators and counterrevolutionaries, and who, by whatever means or by whatever appearances they assume, have made an attempt against the liberty, unity, and security of the Republic, or labored to prevent the strengthening thereof.

The penalty provided for all offenses under the jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Tribunal is death.

The proof necessary to convict enemies of the people comprises every kind of evidence, whether material or moral, oral or written, which can naturally secure the approval of every just and reasonable mind the rule of judgments is the conscience of the jurors, enlightened by love of the Patrie their aim, the triumph of the Republic and the ruin of its enemies the procedure, the simple means which good sense dictates in order to arrive at a knowledge of the truth, in the forms determined by law.

It is confined to the following points.

Every citizen has the right to seize conspirators and counterrevolutionaries, and to arraign them before the magistrates. He is required to denounce them as soon as he knows of them.

The accused shall be examined publicly in the courtroom: the formality of the preceding secret examination is suppressed as superfluous it shall take place only under special circumstances in which it is deemed useful for a knowledge of the truth.

If either material or moral proofs exist, apart from the attested proof, there shall be no further hearing of witnesses, unless such formality appears necessary, either to discover accomplices or for other important considerations of public interest.

All proceedings shall be conducted in public, and no written deposition shall be received, unless witnesses are so situated that they cannot come before the Tribunal and in such case an express authorization of the Committees of Public Safety and General Security shall be necessary.

The law provides sworn patriots as counsel for calumniated patriots it does not grant them to conspirators.

The pleadings completed, the jurors shall formulate their verdicts, and the judges shall pronounce the penalty in the manner determined by law.

The public prosecutor may not, on his own authority, discharge an accused person sent to the Tribunal, or one whom he himself has caused to be arraigned before it in case there is no ground for accusation before the Tribunal, he shall make a written and motivated report thereon to the chamber of the council, which shall decide. But no accused person may be discharged from trial before the decision of the chamber has been communicated to the Committees of Public Safety and General Security, who shall examine it.


Revolution in a Can

The worst moment in the history of graffiti came during what was also its heyday, in the early 1980s in New York. That was when mainstream culture adopted graffiti as something called "art." A counterculture medium that had, at least for a bare moment, been about communication and empowerment became saddled with the oldest high-culture clichés. Graffiti came to be about "personal style," "aesthetic innovation," and "artistic self-expression" about looking good and catching the eye about stylistic influence and the creation of a self-conscious visual tradition. That left it perfectly positioned to be co-opted by consumerist culture. You could say that the grand murals of graffiti art, known to their makers as "pieces" — short for "masterpieces," another hoary cliché — were a kind of stand-in for missing advertising billboards, made by artists from neighborhoods that had been left out of Calvin Klein’s underwear ad buy. It was only by chance that those murals had no commodity to sell — until they realized they could sell themselves, as that high-end good called art.

Then, by way of contrast, think about graffiti as it appears to us around the world today, in places where painting on a wall is about speaking truth to power. The Arab Spring was marked by spray-painted taunts to dictators, and Haiti’s chaos led to impassioned scrawls. A crackdown against anti-regime graffiti in the town of Daraa was even the inspiration this year for Syria’s tank-defying protest movement. In many of these cases, the artfulness of the graffiti takes a distant second place to what someone is actually trying to say. "Free doom — Get out Hamad," reads one spray-painted text from Bahrain. During the rebellion in Libya, "Freedom=Aljazeera" written on a wall makes the value of a free press perfectly clear on another wall, the simple tracing of an AK-47 is enough to invoke an entire ethos of rebellion. In Guatemala City, stenciled portraits of the "disappeared" of Guatemala’s long civil war, with the Spanish words for "Where are they?" written below, stand as eloquent witness to one of the country’s most crucial concerns. (The portrait style is loosely derived from the British street artist Banksy.)

In all these cases, graffiti is being used as a true means of communication rather than as purely aesthetic exchange. These 21st-century scrawls leapfrog back to a prehistory of graffiti, when wall writing was mostly about voicing forbidden thoughts in public. And they take us back to the first years of graffiti in New York, when some members of the underclass declared their incontrovertible presence by "tagging" every square inch of the city as they transgressed the normal boundaries set by class and race. As German scholar Diedrich Diederichsen has written, "graffiti was a form of cultural and artistic production that was illegible from the dominant cultural perspective." When some of those same taggers realized that they could also make "pieces" that would count as something called "art," they began quickly buying into the values of the mainstream they’d once confronted.

By now, grand graffiti gestures are as tired as could be, at least in the context of the Western art world. But across the rest of the planet, the static language of the American "piece" has moved on to a second life as the visual lingua franca of genuine political speech. The most elaborate images from Egypt, Libya, and Haiti today look very much like the 1980s paint jobs on New York subway cars and warehouse facades, and yet their point is not to function as art but to work as carriers of content and opinion. In Managua, the swooping letters developed for New York graffiti spell out the initials of the Sandinista party. In the Palestinian West Bank, a big-eyed figure you’d expect to see decorating a wall in Los Angeles wears a keffiyeh and proclaims a longing for a "free Palestine," as the text beside him says, in English.

It’s not clear whether the use of English in so much of this wall-painting represents a desire to speak to Western eyes or whether English has simply become the standard idiom for political protest, even of the local variety. (It could be that the two are almost the same.) But it does seem clear that the stylistic clichés of graffiti in the West — the huge loopy letters, the exaggerated shadows dropped behind a word — have become an international language that can be read almost transparently, for the content those clichés transmit. Look at New York-style graffiti letters spelling "Free Libya" on a wall in Benghazi or proclaiming "revolution" in Tahrir Square: Rather than aiming at a new aesthetic effect, they take advantage of an old one that’s so well-known it barely registers.

That thing called "art" in the West is essentially an insider’s game, thrilling to play but without much purchase on the larger reality outside. We have to look at societies that are truly in crisis to be reminded that images — even images we have sometimes counted as art — can be used for much more than game-playing. In a strange reversal, the closer graffiti comes to being an empty visual commodity in the West, the better it serves the needs of the rest of the world’s peoples, who eagerly adopt it to speak about their most pressing concerns. It is as though Coca-Cola, as it spread across the globe, turned out to be a great nutritional drink.

The worst moment in the history of graffiti came during what was also its heyday, in the early 1980s in New York. That was when mainstream culture adopted graffiti as something called "art." A counterculture medium that had, at least for a bare moment, been about communication and empowerment became saddled with the oldest high-culture clichés. Graffiti came to be about "personal style," "aesthetic innovation," and "artistic self-expression" about looking good and catching the eye about stylistic influence and the creation of a self-conscious visual tradition. That left it perfectly positioned to be co-opted by consumerist culture. You could say that the grand murals of graffiti art, known to their makers as "pieces" — short for "masterpieces," another hoary cliché — were a kind of stand-in for missing advertising billboards, made by artists from neighborhoods that had been left out of Calvin Klein’s underwear ad buy. It was only by chance that those murals had no commodity to sell — until they realized they could sell themselves, as that high-end good called art.

Then, by way of contrast, think about graffiti as it appears to us around the world today, in places where painting on a wall is about speaking truth to power. The Arab Spring was marked by spray-painted taunts to dictators, and Haiti’s chaos led to impassioned scrawls. A crackdown against anti-regime graffiti in the town of Daraa was even the inspiration this year for Syria’s tank-defying protest movement. In many of these cases, the artfulness of the graffiti takes a distant second place to what someone is actually trying to say. "Free doom — Get out Hamad," reads one spray-painted text from Bahrain. During the rebellion in Libya, "Freedom=Aljazeera" written on a wall makes the value of a free press perfectly clear on another wall, the simple tracing of an AK-47 is enough to invoke an entire ethos of rebellion. In Guatemala City, stenciled portraits of the "disappeared" of Guatemala’s long civil war, with the Spanish words for "Where are they?" written below, stand as eloquent witness to one of the country’s most crucial concerns. (The portrait style is loosely derived from the British street artist Banksy.)

In all these cases, graffiti is being used as a true means of communication rather than as purely aesthetic exchange. These 21st-century scrawls leapfrog back to a prehistory of graffiti, when wall writing was mostly about voicing forbidden thoughts in public. And they take us back to the first years of graffiti in New York, when some members of the underclass declared their incontrovertible presence by "tagging" every square inch of the city as they transgressed the normal boundaries set by class and race. As German scholar Diedrich Diederichsen has written, "graffiti was a form of cultural and artistic production that was illegible from the dominant cultural perspective." When some of those same taggers realized that they could also make "pieces" that would count as something called "art," they began quickly buying into the values of the mainstream they’d once confronted.

By now, grand graffiti gestures are as tired as could be, at least in the context of the Western art world. But across the rest of the planet, the static language of the American "piece" has moved on to a second life as the visual lingua franca of genuine political speech. The most elaborate images from Egypt, Libya, and Haiti today look very much like the 1980s paint jobs on New York subway cars and warehouse facades, and yet their point is not to function as art but to work as carriers of content and opinion. In Managua, the swooping letters developed for New York graffiti spell out the initials of the Sandinista party. In the Palestinian West Bank, a big-eyed figure you’d expect to see decorating a wall in Los Angeles wears a keffiyeh and proclaims a longing for a "free Palestine," as the text beside him says, in English.

It’s not clear whether the use of English in so much of this wall-painting represents a desire to speak to Western eyes or whether English has simply become the standard idiom for political protest, even of the local variety. (It could be that the two are almost the same.) But it does seem clear that the stylistic clichés of graffiti in the West — the huge loopy letters, the exaggerated shadows dropped behind a word — have become an international language that can be read almost transparently, for the content those clichés transmit. Look at New York-style graffiti letters spelling "Free Libya" on a wall in Benghazi or proclaiming "revolution" in Tahrir Square: Rather than aiming at a new aesthetic effect, they take advantage of an old one that’s so well-known it barely registers.

That thing called "art" in the West is essentially an insider’s game, thrilling to play but without much purchase on the larger reality outside. We have to look at societies that are truly in crisis to be reminded that images — even images we have sometimes counted as art — can be used for much more than game-playing. In a strange reversal, the closer graffiti comes to being an empty visual commodity in the West, the better it serves the needs of the rest of the world’s peoples, who eagerly adopt it to speak about their most pressing concerns. It is as though Coca-Cola, as it spread across the globe, turned out to be a great nutritional drink.


Contents

Danton was born in Arcis-sur-Aube (Champagne in northeastern France) to Jacques Danton, a respectable, but not wealthy lawyer, and Mary Camus. As a baby, he was attacked by a bull and run over by pigs, which, along with smallpox, resulted in the disfigurement and scarring of his face. [2] He initially attended the school in Sézanne, and at the age of thirteen he left his parents' home to enter the seminary in Troyes. In 1780, he settled in Paris, where he became a clerk. In 1784, he started studying law, and in 1787 he became a member of the Conseil du Roi. [3] He married Antoinette Gabrielle Charpentier (6 January 1760 – 10 February 1793) on 14 June 1787 at the church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois. The couple lived in a six-room apartment in the heart of the Left Bank (near the Café Procope), and had three sons:

  • François, born in May 1788, died in infancy on 24 April 1789. [4]
  • Antoine, born on 18 June 1790, died on 14 June 1858.
  • François Georges, born on 2 February 1792, died on 18 June 1848. [4]

From 14 July 1789, the day of the storming of the Bastille, Danton volunteered in the Cordeliers Guards. [5] He and his district opposed the Marquis de LaFayette, the commander of the National Guard, and Jean Sylvain Bailly, the provisional mayor. In early October, he was elected president of his section (around the Cordeliers Convent) and deputy to the Commune.

His house in the Rue de Cordeliers was open to many people from the neighborhood. Danton, Desmoulins, and Marat, who lived around the corner, all used the nearby Cafe Procope as a meeting place. Danton protected Marat, and in March 1790, LaFayette ordered Danton detained. Paris Commune was divided up in 48 sections and allowed to gather separately. Danton was removed from office by a redistricting of Paris, for which he was compensated. [6] [7]

On 27 April 1790, he became president of the Club de Cordeliers. On 2 August, Bailly became Paris' first elected mayor Danton had 49 votes, Marat and Louis XVI only one each. [8] [9] In spring 1791, Danton suddenly began investing in property, in or near his birthplace, on a large scale. [10]

Robespierre, Pétion, Danton, and Brissot dominated the Jacobin Club. On 17 July 1791, Danton initiated a petition. Robespierre went to the Jacobin club to cancel the draft of the petition, according to Albert Mathiez. Robespierre persuaded the Jacobin clubs not to support the petition by Danton and Brissot. [11] After the Champ de Mars massacre, Danton escaped from Paris and then lived in London for a few weeks. [12] Since Jean-Paul Marat, Danton, and Robespierre were no longer delegates of the Assembly, politics often took place outside the meeting hall.

On 9 August, Danton returned from Arcis. In the evening before the storming of the Tuileries, he was visited by Desmoulins, his wife and Fréron. After dinner, he went to the Cordeliers and preferred to go to bed early. It seems he went to the Maison-Commune after midnight. [13] The next day, he was appointed minister of justice he appointed Fabre and Desmoulins as his secretaries. More than a hundred decisions left the department within eight days. On 14 August, Danton invited Robespierre to join the Council of Justice, which Robespierre declined to do.

Danton seems to have dined almost every day at the Rolands. [14] On 28 August, the Assembly ordered a curfew for the next two days. [15] At the behest of Danton, thirty commissioners from the sections were ordered to search in every suspect house for weapons, munition, swords, carriages and horses. [16] [17] [18] By 2 September, between 520–1,000 people were taken into custody on the flimsiest of warrants. The exact number of those arrested will never be known. [19]

On Sunday 2 September, at about 13:00, Danton, as a member of the provisional government, delivered a speech in the assembly: “We ask that any one refusing to give personal service or to furnish arms shall be punished with death”. [20] “The tocsin we are about to ring is not an alarm signal it sounds the charge on the enemies of our country." He continued after the applause: “To conquer them we must dare, dare again, always dare, and France is saved!”. [21] [22] His speech acted as a call for direct action among the citizens, as well as a strike against the external enemy. [23] Many believe this speech was responsible for inciting the September Massacres. It is estimated that around 1,100-1,600 people were murdered. Madame Roland held Danton responsible for their deaths. [24] [25] Danton was also accused by the French historians Adolphe Thiers, Alphonse de Lamartine, Jules Michelet, Louis Blanc and Edgar Quinet. However, according to Albert Soboul, there is no proof that the massacres were organized by Danton or by anyone else, though it is certain that he did nothing to stop them. [26]

On 6 September, he was elected by his section, "Théâtre Français", to be a deputy for the Convention, gathering on 22 September. Danton remained a member of the ministry, although holding both positions simultaneously was illegal. Danton, Robespierre, and Marat were accused of forming a triumvirate. [27] On 26 September, Danton was forced to give up his position in the government he stepped down on 9 October. At the end of October, he defended Robespierre in the Convention on charges of establishing a dictatorship.

On 10 February 1793, while Danton was on a mission in Belgium, his wife died while giving birth to their fourth child, who also died. Danton was so affected by their deaths that he recruited the sculptor Claude André Deseine and, a week after Charpentier's death, brought him to Sainte-Catherine cemetery to exhume her body and execute a plaster bust of her appearance. [28]

On 10 March, Danton supported the foundation of a Revolutionary Tribunal. He proposed the release of all imprisoned debtors as conscripts in the army. On 6 April, the Committee of Public Safety, which was then composed of only nine members, was installed on the proposal of Maximin Isnard, who was supported by Georges Danton. Danton was appointed a member of the Committee. He and other members of the Committee, despite its primary charge of defeating invasion and internal rebellions, were advocates of the moderation necessary to minimize popular resistance to military requisitions. Due to military reversals in 1793, many - especially among the sans-culottes - criticized its conduct, and subsequent committee membership included more radical thinkers who pressed for more extreme measures to ensure victory over enemies of the Revolution internal and external. [29] On 27 April, the Convention decreed (on proposal of Danton) to send additional military forces to the departments in revolt. [30]

On 1 July 1793, Danton married Louise Sébastienne Gély, aged 16, daughter of Marc-Antoine Gély, court usher (huissier-audiencier) at the Parlement de Paris and member of the Club des Cordeliers. On July 10, he was not re-elected as a member of the Committee of Public Safety. Seventeen days later, Maximilien Robespierre joined the Committee of Public Safety, nearly two years after Danton had extended an invitation to him to do so. On 5 September, Danton argued for a law to give the sans-culottes a small compensation for attending the twice weekly section meetings, and to provide a gun to every citizen. [31]

On 6 September, Danton refused to take a seat in the Comité de Salut Public, declaring that he would join no committee, but would be a spur to them all. [33] He believed a stable government was needed which could resist the orders of the Comité de Salut Public. [34] On 10 October, Danton, who had been dangerously ill for a few weeks, [35] quit politics, and set off to Arcis-sur-Aube with his 16-year-old wife, who had pitied Queen Marie Antoinette since her trial began. [36] On 18 November, after the arrest of François Chabot, Edme-Bonaventure Courtois urged Danton to come back to Paris to again play a role in politics.

On 22 November, Danton attacked religious persecution and demanded frugality with human lives. He tried to weaken the Terror by attacking Jacques René Hébert. On 3 December, Robespierre accused Danton in the Jacobin club of feigning an illness with the intention to emigrate to Switzerland, declaring that Danton showed too often his vices and not his virtue. Robespierre was stopped in his attack. The gathering was closed after thunderous applause for Danton. [37] Danton maintained that he had absolutely no intention of breaking the revolutionary impulse. [38]

On 9 December, Danton became embroiled in a scandal concerning the bankruptcy proceedings of the French East India Company, when it was discovered that directors of the Company had bribed certain government officials to allow the Company to liquidate its own assets, rather than the government controlling the process. [39] By December, a Dantonist party had been formed in support of Danton's more moderate views and his insistence on clemency for those who had violated the Committee for Public Safety's increasingly arbitrary and Draconian "counter-revolutionary" measures. [33] Robespierre replied to Danton's plea for an end to the Terror on 25 December (5 Nivôse, year II).

The French National Convention during the autumn of 1793 began to assert its authority further throughout France, creating the bloodiest period of the French Revolution, during which some historians assert approximately 40,000 people were killed in France. [40] Following the fall of the Girondins, a group known as the Indulgents would emerge from amongst the Montagnards as the legislative right within the Convention, with Danton as their most vocal leader. Having long supported the progressive acts of the Committee of Public Safety, Danton would begin to propose that the Committee retract legislation instituting terror as “the order of the day.” [41]

On 26 February 1794, Saint-Just delivered a speech before the Convention in which he directed the assault against Danton, claiming that the Dantonists wanted to slow down the Terror and the Revolution. Self-indulgent over-eating, especially when flaunted in public, was an indication of suspect political loyalties, according to Saint-Just. It seems Danton became exasperated by Robespierre's repeated references to virtue. On 6 March, Barère attacked the Hébertists and Dantonists.

While the Committee of Public Safety was concerned with strengthening the centralist policies of the Convention and its own grip over that body, Danton was in the process of devising a plan that would effectively move popular sentiment among delegates towards a more moderate stance. [42] This meant adopting values popular among the sans-culotte, notably the control of bread prices that had seen drastic increase with the famine that was being experienced throughout France. Danton also proposed that the Convention begin taking actions towards peace with foreign powers, as the Committee had declared war on the majority of European powers, such as Britain, Spain, and Portugal. [ citation needed ] Danton made a triumphant speech announcing the end of the Terror. [43] As Robespierre listened, he was convinced that Danton was pushing for leadership in a post-Terror government. If Robespierre did not counter-attack quickly, the Dantonists could seize control of the National Convention and bring an end to his Republic of Virtue.

The Reign of Terror was not a policy that could be easily transformed. Indeed, it would eventually end with the Thermidorian Reaction (27 July 1794), when the Convention rose against the Committee, executed its leaders, and placed power in the hands of new men with a new policy. However, in Germinal—that is, in March 1794—the anti-Terror sentiment had not yet reached critical mass. The committees were still too strong to be overthrown, and Danton, heedless, instead of striking with vigor in the Convention, waited to be struck. "In these later days", writes the 1911 Britannica, "a certain discouragement seems to have come over his spirit". His wife, Gabrielle, had died during his absence on one of his expeditions to the armies he had her body exhumed so as to see her again. [44] Despite genuine grief, Danton quickly married again, and, the Britannica continues, "the rumour went that he was allowing domestic happiness to tempt him from the keen incessant vigilance proper to the politician in such a crisis." [ citation needed ] Robespierre even used Danton's well-fed look against him.

Ultimately, Danton himself would become a victim of the Terror. In attempting to shift the direction of the revolution by collaborating with Camille Desmoulins on the production of Le Vieux Cordelier—a newspaper that called for the end of the official Terror and Dechristianization, as well as for launching new peace overtures to France's enemies—Danton had placed himself in a precarious position. Those most closely associated with the Committee of Public Safety, among them key figures such as Maximilien Robespierre and Georges Couthon, would search for any reason to indict Danton for counter-revolutionary activities. [45]

Toward the end of the Reign of Terror, Danton was accused of various financial misdeeds, as well as using his position within the Revolution for personal gain. Many of his contemporaries commented on Danton's financial success during the Revolution, certain acquisitions of money that he could not adequately explain. [46] Many of the specific accusations directed against him were based on insubstantial or ambiguous evidence. [ citation needed ]

Between 1791 and 1793, Danton faced many allegations, including taking bribes during the insurrection of August 1792, helping his secretaries to line their pockets, and forging assignats during his mission to Belgium. [47] Perhaps the most compelling evidence of financial corruption was a letter from Mirabeau to Danton in March 1791 that casually referred to 30,000 livres that Danton had received in payment. [47]

During his tenure on the Committee of Public Safety, Danton organized a peace treaty agreement with Sweden. Although the Swedish government never ratified the treaty, on 28 June 1793, the convention voted to pay 4 million livres to the Swedish Regent for diplomatic negotiations. According to Bertrand Barère, a journalist and member of the Convention, Danton had taken a portion of this money which was intended for the Swedish Regent. [48] Barère’s accusation was never supported by any form of evidence. [ citation needed ]

The most serious accusation, which haunted him during his arrest and formed a chief ground for his execution, was his alleged involvement with a scheme to appropriate the wealth of the French East India Company. During the reign of the Old Regime, the original French East India Company went bankrupt. It was later revived in 1785, backed by royal patronage. [49] The Company eventually fell under the notice of the National Convention for profiteering during the war. The Company was soon liquidated while certain members of the Convention tried to push through a decree that would cause the share prices to rise before the liquidation. [50] Discovery of the profits from this insider trading led to the blackmailing of the directors of the Company to turn over half a million livres to known associates of Danton. [51] While there was no hard evidence that Danton was involved, he was vigorously denounced by François Chabot, and implicated by the fact that Fabre d’Eglantine, a member of the Dantonists, was implicated in the scandal. After Chabot was arrested on 17 November, Courtois urged Danton to return to Paris immediately.

In December 1793, the journalist Camille Desmoulins launched a new journal, Le Vieux Cordelier, attacking François Chabot and defending Danton in the first issue. In the second, Desmoulins attacked the use of terror as a governing tactic, comparing Robespierre with Julius Caesar and, in the following issue,arguing that the Revolution should return to its original ideas which were in vogue around 10 August 1792. [52] Robespierre replied to Danton's plea for an end to the Terror on 25 December (5 Nivôse, year II). Danton continued to defend Fabre d'Eglantine even after the latter had been exposed and arrested.

By February 1794, Danton was exasperated by Robespierre's repeated references to virtue as the foundation of the revolutionary government. Danton's continual criticism of the Committee of Public Safety provoked further counter-attacks. On 26 February 1794, Saint-Just president of the Convention delivered a speech in which he directed the assault against Danton.

At the end of March 1794, Danton made a triumphant speech announcing the end of the Terror. [43] As Robespierre listened, he was convinced that Danton was pushing for leadership in a post-Terror government. If Robespierre did not counter-attack quickly, the Dantonists could seize control of the National Convention and bring an end to his Republic of Virtue. For several months he had resisted killing Danton. [53] According to Linton, Robespierre had to choose between friendship and virtue. His aim was to sow enough doubt in the minds of the deputies regarding Danton's political integrity to make it possible to proceed against him. Robespierre refused to see Desmoulins and rejected a private appeal. [54] Robespierre even used Danton's well-fed look against him. Then Robespierre broke with Danton, who had angered many other members of the Committee of Public Safety with his more moderate views on the Terror, but whom Robespierre had, until this point, persisted in defending.

On 30 March, the two committees decided to arrest Danton, Desmoulins, Marie-Jean Hérault de Séchelles, and Pierre Philippeaux without giving them a chance to be heard in the Convention. [55] On 2 April, the trial began on charges of conspiracy, theft, and corruption a financial scandal involving the French East India Company provided a "convenient pretext" for Danton's downfall. [56] The Dantonists, in Robespierre's eyes, had become false patriots who had preferred personal and foreign interests to the welfare of the nation. Robespierre was sharply critical of Amar's report, which presented the scandal as purely a matter of fraud. Robespierre insisted that it was a foreign plot, demanded that the report be re-written, and used the scandal as the basis for rhetorical attacks on William Pitt the Younger who he believed was involved. [57] Louis Legendre suggested hearing Danton in the Convention, but Robespierre replied, "It would be violating the laws of impartiality to grant to Danton what was refused to others, who had an equal right to make the same demand." This answer silenced at once all solicitations in his favour. [58] No friend of the Dantonists dared speak up, in case he too should be accused of putting friendship before virtue. [59] The juror Souberbielle asked himself: "Which of the two, Robespierre or Danton, is the more useful to the Republic?" [60] The death of Hébert had rendered Robespierre master of the Paris Commune the death of Danton would make him master of the Convention as well. [61]

The directors of the Company were never interrogated at all. [62] At his trial, Danton made such a commotion that Fouquier-Tinville, was unnerved. Saint-Just had a bill rushed through the Convention, cutting off further debate at the Tribunal. Saint-Just helped to pass a law that prevented any accused from speaking in his own defense.

Danton displayed such vehemence before the revolutionary tribunal that his enemies feared he would gain the crowd's favour. [63] The Convention, in one of its "worst fits of cowardice", [64] assented to a proposal made by Louis Antoine de Saint-Just during the trial that, if a prisoner showed want of respect for justice, the tribunal might exclude the prisoner from further proceeding and pronounce sentence in his absence. [65]

Danton, Desmoulins, and many other actual or accused Dantonist associates were tried from 3–5 April before the Revolutionary Tribunal. The trial was less criminal in nature than political, and as such unfolded in an irregular fashion. The jury had only seven members, despite the law demanding twelve, as it was deemed that only seven jurors could be relied on to return the required verdict. During the trial, Danton made lengthy and violent attacks on the Committee of Public Safety. Both his accused associates and he demanded the right to have witnesses appear on their behalf they submitted requests for several, including, in Desmoulins' case, Robespierre. [ citation needed ]

The Court's President, M.J.A. Herman, was unable to control the proceedings until the National Convention passed the aforementioned decree, which prevented the accused from further defending themselves. These facts, together with confusing and often incidental denunciations (for instance, a report that Danton, while engaged in political work in Brussels, had appropriated a carriage filled with two or three hundred thousand pounds' worth of table linen) [66] and threats made by prosecutor Antoine Quentin Fouquier-Tinville towards members of the jury, ensured a guilty verdict. Danton and the rest of the defendants were condemned to death, and were immediately led—in company with fourteen others, including Camille Desmoulins and several other members of the Indulgents—to the guillotine. "I leave it all in a frightful welter", Danton said. "Not a man of them has an idea of government. Robespierre will follow me he is dragged down by me. Ah, better to be a poor fisherman than to meddle with the government of men!". [67]

Danton was one member of a group of fifteen people beheaded on 5 April 1794, a group that included Marie Jean Hérault de Séchelles, Philippe Fabre d'Églantine and Pierre Philippeaux among others Desmoulins died third and Danton last. Danton and his guillotined associates were buried in the Errancis Cemetery, a common interment location for those executed during the Revolution. In the mid-19th century, their skeletal remains were transferred to the Catacombs of Paris. [68]

On 9 Thermidor, when Garnier de l’Aube witnessed Robespierre's inability to respond, he shouted, "The blood of Danton chokes him!" [69] Robespierre then finally regained his voice to reply with his one recorded statement of the morning, a demand to know why he was now being blamed for the other man's death: "Is it Danton you regret? . Cowards! Why didn't you defend him?" [70]

Danton's influence and character during the French Revolution was, and still is, widely disputed among many historians, with the varied perspectives on him ranging from corrupt and violent to generous and patriotic. [71] Danton did not leave very much in the way of written works, personal or political therefore most information about his actions and personality has been derived from secondhand sources. [72]

One view of Danton, presented by historians like Thiers and Mignet, [73] suggested he was "a gigantic revolutionary" with extravagant passions, a high level of intelligence, and an eagerness for violence in the pursuit of his goals. Another portrait of Danton emerges from the work of Lamartine, who called Danton a man "devoid of honor, principles, and morality" who found only excitement and a chance for distinction during the French Revolution. He was merely "a statesman of materialism" who was bought anew every day. Any revolutionary moments were staged for the prospect of glory and more wealth. [74]

A differing perspective on Danton is presented by Robinet, whose assessment is more positive and portrays him as a figure worthy of admiration. According to Robinet, Danton was a committed, loving, generous citizen, son, father, and husband. He remained loyal to his friends and the country of France by avoiding "personal ambition" and gave himself wholly to the cause of keeping "the government consolidated" for the Republic. He always had a love for his country and the laboring masses, who he felt deserved "dignity, consolation, and happiness". [75]

The 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica wrote that Danton stands out as a master of commanding phrase. One of his fierce sayings has become a proverb. Against the Duke of Brunswick and the invaders, "il nous faut de l'audace, et encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace"—"We need daring, and yet more daring, and always daring!". [76]


Is Iran on the verge of another revolution?

And will it be a ‘Kaveh’ or an ‘Alexander the Great’ who leads it?

This week, amid the fallout of tough US sanctions and growing political uncertainty, many Iranians are marking the 10th anniversary of the Green Movement. Ten years ago, mass protests erupted after suspicions arose that the general elections had been rigged in favour of the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Reformist candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi rejected the results and their supporters took to the streets to express their anger at what they saw as the trampling of democratic procedures in Iran.

Today, 10 years later, many are wondering whether Iran is on the eve of another Green Movement or even a revolution. Indeed, some scholars have pointed out that there are many socioeconomic and political factors that could make mass unrest in the short term highly likely. Others, however, have been arguing Iran is not on the verge of fundamental change at all . So which one is true? Will Iran see another wave of unrest and revolution or will the status quo prevail as the Islamic Republic resists foreign pressure?

In its long history, Iran has witnessed many revolutionary movements and upheavals, perhaps more than many of its neighbours in the Middle East. Today, four decades after the Iranian revolution of 1979, the country retains its revolutionary spirit, maintained by a vibrant civil society and a strong and rebellious intelligentsia.

Iran also has a very young and educated population nearly 10 million out of its 81 million inhabitants have university degrees and currently, some four million are studying at institutions of higher education. Historically, Iranian university campuses have always been politicised, while students have been at the forefront of protests, alongside clerics, workers, and the merchant class.

Iranian society is also quite tech-savvy and well-connected to the outside world some 64 percent of Iranians are internet users, while mobile penetration has reached more than 110 percent (that is, some Iranians have more than one phone).

At the same time, large parts of the population have become increasingly frustrated with the Islamic Republic and its failure to deliver on the political, social and economic fronts. Many have completely lost hope that change can be ushered in through reforms, especially after President Hassan Rouhani, who has been seen as moderate, failed to live up to his electorate’s expectations and bring about political and social liberalisation along with economic prosperity.

The regime’s economic mismanagement and massive corruption, as well as continuing political and social suppression have convinced many Iranians that there is no way out except through fundamental social and political change – that is, “regime change”. In the face of growing political, social, and economic crises, the Islamic Republic is struggling with maintaining its legitimacy.

In this sense, the situation in Iran is ripe for another wave of unrest. Already last year, protests erupted across the country and even reached areas that had been until then relatively quiet. It is quite likely that the country will witness massive upheaval that would affect various layers of Iranian society, including both the urban and rural population.

But l ike forecasting an earthquake, it is difficult to say when this would happen and how long it would last. What is clear, however, is that popular mobilisation is unlikely to result in a massive change or indeed the toppling of the current regime.

As American sociologist James DeFronzo has theorised, there are five critical factors that guarantee the success of any revolutionary movement: public frustration, dissident elites, unifying motivation, political crises, and a receptive international community. While some of these conditions exist in Iran today, others are absent.

Although there is indeed massive public dissatisfaction with the status quo, this sentiment is hardly “unified”. The Islamic Republic has successfully atomised Iranian society and suppressed any online and offline channels or networks which could lead to mass mobilisation. The opposition, which mostly lives in exile, is split along ideological lines and does not have a social base inside the country. While social media platforms help break the regime’s monopoly over information, they have also been used to spread misinformation and identify and suppress activists.

At the same time, while there may be some disagreements within the regime, both reformists and hardliners are committed to the wellbeing of the Islamic Republic. They also agree on the necessity to use the repressive apparatus to ensure the survival of the regime. Thanks to substantial investment in equipment and human capital, the Islamic Republic has developed multilayered and ideologically committed security forces, which are trained to and willing to suppress any form of civil disobedience.

At the same time, despite the growing pressure from the US-Saudi-Israeli axis, the international context is not necessarily conducive to a successful revolution in Iran. It is in the interest of both Russia and China that the Islamic Republic survives the ongoing crisis and they would not hesitate to back it, should it face any existential threats the same is true for its regional allies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, and other Shia militia groups in the Middle East.

Many Iranians are aware of this situation and live in despair, while actively trying to emigrate. The number of people who would like to move out of the country is dramatically increasing. Even official statistics reflect this trend according to a recent study, some 30 percent of Iranians would rather live in any other country but their own.

Others have reached the point where they would welcome any US military intervention and see it as the only way to get rid of the clerical regime. Talking to people back in Iran, I have heard this sentiment quite often it reminds me of 2003 when many Iraqis welcomed the invading US army as a “liberating force”.

Unable or unwilling to calculate the devastating consequences of a military conflict, one of my interlocutors repeated a poem from the Iranian poet Mehdi Akhavan-Sales written a few years after the CIA-sponsored 1953 coup triggered a wave of repression by the Pahlavi regime: “No Kaveh will be found, Omid! I wish an Alexander would be found.” Kaveh is a mythical Iranian hero who liberates the country from a foreign despot Alexander is the ruler of Macedon, who effectively put an end to the Persian Achaemenid dynasty 2,300 years ago.

The man who recited the point, like its author, had succumbed to such despair that he saw no hope for a Kaveh appearing – for Iranians setting themselves free instead, he wished for a foreign invader, an Alexander, to come and topple the Islamic Republic.

But that hope, too, is in vain. Despite all the US posturing, a foreign force is unlikely to invade Iran. While the country may witness another wave of unrest, it is unlikely to loosen the regime’s grip on power. Indeed, Iran will continue to sink deeper into a political and economic crisis, as the Islamic Republic fights for its survival.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.


History of The Foreign Policy of Japan

Before 1867-68, Japan was a backward country, but in that year there took place a revolution which changed the very face of Japan.

Feudalism was abolished. The Shogunate which controlled the Government was also come to an end. The people of Japan were infused into the soldiers.

Japan adopted and assimilated European culture and institutions. She began to dream of becoming a Great Power in the world.

Image Source: jsmea.or.jp/images/japan_logo.jpg

Her population began to grow and she required raw materials for her factories and markets for the finished goods. She wanted vacant lands for her surplus population. She wanted to put an end to the unequal treaties which had been imposed on her by the European Powers in the past. All these factors demanded a vigorous foreign policy.

  1. Sino-Japanese War (1894-95)
  2. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902)
  3. Russo-Japanese War (1904-5)
  4. Japan during World War I
  5. The Washington Conference (1921)
  6. Manchuria

1. Sino-Japanese War (1894-95):

The first important landmark in the foreign policy of Japan was the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95. Japan had a quarrel with China over Korea. She was afraid that some European power might take advantage of the weakness of Korea and establish her control over it. She considered the independence of Korea essential to her own security because Korea in the hands of an enemy was “a dagger thrust at the heart of Japan.”

In 1894, Japan gave an ultimatum to the King of Korea to accept the Japanese programme of reforms. The King tried to avoid the issue and consequently Japan attached Korea and took her King as a prisoner. China entered the war on the side of Korea but was defeated.

The Chinese were defeated because they were over-confident, ill- organized and inefficient. In less than a year, the Japanese overran the whole of Korea and Southern Manchuria and threatened Peking. In April 1895 was signed the Treaty of Shimonosheki.

By this treaty, China gave to Japan the Liao-tung Peninsula, Port Arthur and the Island of Formosa. China agreed to pay a huge war indemnity and make certain commercial concessions to Japan. She also recognized the independence of Korea and thereby gave a free hand to Japan. The result of Sino-Japanese War was that Japan was recognized as a Great Power and the European Powers began to fear what was called the “Yellow Peril”. The extra-territorial rights of the foreign countries in Japan were ended.

However, Japan was not allowed to keep to herself the gains which she got by the Treaty of 1895. Russia, France and Germany presented a joint note to Japan offering their friendly advice that she should refrain from annexing any part of the Chinese mainland. Instead of risking a war, Japan took the advice and returned to China the Liao-tung Peninsula and Port Arthur. Japan found herself helpless before the three Powers, and felt humiliated.

The joint intervention of the three Powers was not out of any humanitarian consideration. They had their own axes to grind. The Russian imperialists felt that Korea and the Liao-tung Peninsula were of vital importance to their country. If Japan dominated Korea, she would be able to control both sides of the southern outlet of the Japan Sea on which was situated the Russian port of Vladivostok, the intended terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

If Japan annexed the Liao-tung Peninsula, there would be no possibility of Russia getting an ice-free port in the south. Under the circumstances, Russian interests demanded that Japan must be ousted from those regions.

France joined hands with Russia as her faithful ally in world politics. William II, the German Emperor, was prepared to join hands with a view to meeting the “yellow peril”. His view was that Christendom must stand firmly against the pagan Orient.

He wanted to cultivate good relations, with Russia and no wonder he tried to show himself more zealous than France as a friend of Russian imperialism. He wanted to weaken the Franco-Russian Alliance and rob it of its anti-German slant. The memoirs of William II and Tirpitz show that at that time Germany desired to have a naval base in the Far East. It is these considerations that brought Russia, France and Germany together.

Having deprived Japan of her spoils of victory, the three powers were most anxious to get whatever they could from the Chinese Government. France got control over all the mines in the three southern provinces adjoining French Indo-China. She also got the right to extend the French railway-line from Annam to China. Russia started her influence in China by the establishment of the Russo-Chinese Bank. She also got Port Arthur.

Germany got the lease of the port and district of Kiao-Chow for 99 years and concessions for two railways in Shantung. Great Britain acquired the lease of Wei-hai-Wei “for as long a period as Port Arthur shall remain the possession of Russia.” It cannot be denied that the Treaty of Shimonosheki opened China for European aggression.

2. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902):

The Anglo-Japanese Treaty was signed in January 1902 and both Japan and England had their own reasons for doing so. As regards Japan, she had been deprived of her gains from the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 by the combined action of Russia, France and Germany. She was forced to give back the Liao-tung Peninsula and Port Arthur to China. Port Arthur was occupied by Russia herself in 1897.

Russia also got certain concessions regarding ‘the Trans-Siberian Railway. All these were resented by Japan. England was the only country which did not join the other Powers against Japan. No wonder while Japan came to have a grudge against other European Powers, especially Russia, she began to look to England as a friend to check Russian ambitions.

It was in these circumstances that the seeds of the Anglo-Japanese alliance were planted. It is stated that Joseph Chamberiain talked of an Anglo-Japanese alliance in 1898. Russia tried to exploit the situation created in China by the Boxer Rising. She overran Manchuria and tried to secure recognition of her position by her influence over the Dowager Empress.

There was a lot of opposition from the other Powers to the establishment of Russian military protectorate over Manchuria and Russia was forced to withdraw. Both Japan and England felt that a check could be put on Russian advance by an alliance between the two countries. Count Heyashi told Lord Lansdowne that the Japanese had “a strong sentimental dislike to the retention by Russia of Manchuria from which they had at one time been expelled.”

However, Japan was not so much interested in Manchuria as in Korea. The Russian attitude was that while she was determined to control Manchuria herself she was not prepared to allow Japan to have a free hand in Korea.

There was every possibility of intervention by foreign Powers into the affairs of Korea and that Japan could not tolerate. Korea “could not possibly stand alone—its people were far too unintelligent and sooner or later it would have to be decided whether the country was to fall to Russia or not.”

The Japanese “would certainly fight in order to prevent it and it must be the object of their diplomacy to isolate Russia with which Power, if it stood alone, they were prepared to deal.” According to Lord Newton, the biographer of Lord Lansdowne, “Japan was prepared to fight for Korea single-handed, but not if other Powers such as France and Germany were to intervene.” Hence the necessity of a British alliance.

England also had her own reasons to enter into an alliance with Japan. Throughout the 19th century, England had followed a policy of splendid isolation and consequently had not entered into any alliance with any country. In 1879 was formed the Austro-German Alliance and in 1882 was made the Triple Alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy In 1894, Russia and France entered into an alliance.

Thus, while other European Powers had entered into alliances, England had remained completely aloof from them but she began to feel towards the end of the 19th century that isolation was dangerous and not in the best interests of the country. A similar feeling was there on the occasion of the Fashoda incident of 1898.

The attitude of the European Powers during the Boer War also made England feel that her policy of isolation was not a right one. She wanted to enter into an alliance with Germany but the attitude of William II was not helpful. All the efforts of men like Joseph Chamberlain to bring together Germany and England failed.

The last effort was made in 1901 when William II came to England on the occasion of the death of Queen Victoria. When William II was approached for an alliance, his famous reply was. “The road to Berlin lies through Vienna.” Chamberlain is reported to have stated that if the people in Germany had no sense, there was no help for that.

It was under these circumstances that England decided to enter into an alliance with Japan and it was done in the beginning of January. There was another reason why England wanted to enter into an alliance with Japan. Both England and Japan were determined to check the further advance of Russia in the Far East and it was this community of interests that brought the two countries together.

Terms of the Treaty:

(1) Both Japan and England declared that they had no idea of aggression in China or Korea. They also expressed their anxiety to maintain the status quo in both the countries.

(2) It was agreed between England and Japan that England had her interests in China and Japan had her interests both in China and Korea. It was agreed that it would be admissible for either of them to take such measures as might be indispensable in order to safeguard those interests if threatened either by the aggressive action of any other Power or by disturbances arising in China or Korea.

(3) If either England or Japan was involved in a war with another Power while safeguarding those interests, the other party was to maintain strict neutrality. It was also to do its utmost to prevent other Powers from joining hostilities against its ally.

(4) If any other Power or Powers should join in hostilities against that ally, the other party was to come to its assistance and conduct the war in common and make peace in mutual agreement with it.

(5) Both England and Japan agreed that neither of them was to enter into a separate arrangement with another Power to the prejudice of the interests of the other without consulting the other.

(6) Whenever, in the opinion of either England or Japan, the above interests were in danger, the two governments were to communicate with each other fully and frankly.

(7) The agreement was to come into force at once and was to remain in force for five years.

The Anglo-Japanese Treaty of 1902 was revised in 1905. According to the revised agreement, each country was to come to the help of the other if the latter were attacked even by a single Power and the scope of the alliance was also extended to embrace British India. The alliance was to last for 10 years. In 1911, the agreement was again revised in order to remove any danger of England being involved in a war between the United States and Japan. The alliance continued up to 1923.

Importance of the Treaty:

The importance of the Anglo-Japanese alliance cannot be over­emphasized. It is rightly pointed out that there was no other treaty from which both the parties gained so much as did Japan and England from the treaty of 1902. Japan wanted an ally on whom she could depend to put a check to the further advance of Russia in the Far East. This she got in England.

According to the treaty, if she was involved in a war with Russia, England was to do everything in her power to prevent other Powers from joining Russia against Japan. This was to enable Japan to deal effectively with Russia. Japan was not so much afraid of Russia alone as she was afraid of the help that Russia might get from some other Powers. Having secured herself by the Treaty of 1902, there is no wonder that Japan chose her own opportunity to begin the war with Russia in 1904, only two years after the Treaty.

Great Britain also gained a lot from this Treaty. She was as much interested in checking the further advance of Russia in the Far East as Japan herself. She would like to help Japan in every way so that the latter might be able to deal a blow to Russia. Moreover, England was getting worried over the naval programme of Germany.

Germany was building her navy at a tremendous speed and that was liable to threaten the very existence of Great Britain. Under these circumstances, Great Britain wanted to withdraw her ships from the Pacific. This she could do after entering into an alliance with Japan which was a Great Power in the Pacific.

It is pointed out that this alliance was of very great importance to Japan from another point of view. It raised the status of Japan. She was admitted on terms of equality by the greatest of the world Empires.’ Japanese ambitions to expand got an impetus.

According to Lansdowne, the treaty was concluded “purely as a measure of precaution.” It did not threaten “the present or the legitimate interests of the other Powers.” It was intended to make for the preservation of peace and if peace was unfortunately broken, it was to have the effect of restricting the area of hostilities.

The Treaty of 1902 gave Japan a free hand in the Far East. It was undoubtedly a great landmark in her history of expansion in the Far East. She could depend not only upon her own strength but also upon the help which she was to get under the amended Treaty of 1905 which required England to come to the help of Japan if Japan went to war even with one single Power.

According to Grant and Temperley, “This Treaty was of epoch-making importance in every direction. Its intention, so far as Japan was concerned, must remain a little mysterious. The English diplomats seem to have thought that they would be able to keep Japan in order and to prevent her aggression against Russia. It is easy to see now that this was an entire mistake. Japanese military and naval organisation would be complete by the end of 1903, and after that, England’s alliance would (and did) enable them to attack Russia as soon as they found it convenient to do so.

This was not the only British mistake. Her negotiators seem to have believed that the effect of this treaty would be confined to the local area of China. But the diplomacy of the Great Powers is world-wide in its action and extent, and an alliance affecting the Sea of Japan was bound to trouble the Mediterranean and the North Sea. England’s situation, however, was not so perilous as it appeared. She was not indeed on friendly terms either with Russia or with France, but then neither was she with Germany. Even after the Japanese Alliance England could have joined either the Triple or the Dual Alliance. Germany seems still to have expected or hoped for the former.”

According to Taylor, “The Anglo-Japanese agreement, signed on 30 January 1902, gave both parties what they wanted. The Japanese got recognition of their special interest in Korea, and the assurance that Great Britain would keep France neutral in case they went to war with Russia. The British prevented any Japanese combine with Russia and strengthened the barrier against any further Russian advance. The price they paid was small now that the Boer War was over the British could easily spare the ships to counter France in the Far East their only sacrifice was Korea, and that was only a sacrifice of principle.

The gain, however, was not so great at the time as it was made by later unforeseen events. No one, not even the Japanese, supposed that they were capable of sustaining a serious war against Russia both parties hoped to strike a bargain with Russia, nor to go to war with her. The agreement threatens Russia’s position in Manchuria at the most it made further Russian expansion more difficult. Again, the alliance did not mark the end of British isolation rather it confirmed it. Isolation meant aloofness from the European Balance of Power and this was now more possible than before.

On the other hand, the alliance certainly did not imply any British estrangement from Germany. Rather the reverse. The British would no longer have to importune the Germans for help in the Far East and, therefore, relations between them would be easier. The Germans had constantly suggested alliance with the Japanese to the British and they were given advance notice of its conclusion. They believed that it would increase the tension between Great Britain and Russia, and welcome it much as Napoleon III had welcomed the Prussian alliance with Italy in the spring of 1866.”

According to Gottschalk and Lach, “Though the Americans feared the consequences of giving Japan a free hand in Korea, the possibility of Russo-Japanese cooperation in eastern Asia appeared an even greater danger. Secretary Hay was primarily concerned that, no matter what happens eventually in northern China and Manchuria, the United States shall not be placed in any worse position then while the country was under the unquestioned dominion of China.

And President Roosevelt expressed the opinion. ‘We cannot possibly interfere for the Koreans against Japan. They could not strike one blow in their own defence.’ Thus the United States government, agreeing with Great Britain that the realities required the courting of Tokyo, was prepared to refrain from interference with Japan’s obvious designs upon Korea.

“The end of England’s diplomatic isolation and the conclusion of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance helped to crystallize the alliance systems of Europe- Great Britain’s hostility to the Asiatic ambitions of Russia was viewed hopefully in Berlin, as presaging a conflict involving two of Germany’s potential enemies. The Germans were also hopeful that the Anglo-Japanese Alliance might add to the hard feelings between France and England because of France’s commitments to Russia against such an eventuality by providing for their neutrality in case of hostilities in the Far East limited to Russia and Japan alone. Under the terms of her alliance France was similarly protected from involvement on the side of Russia in an outbreak in eastern Asia. Both the Anglo-Japanese nor the Franco- Russian treaty, therefore, put obstacles in the way of an entente of France and England regarding their common interests in Europe and Africa, and an Anglo-French entente was soon to become a reality.”

The importance of this defensive and offensive alliance was realized at once. William II expressed his satisfaction over the Treaty. Both Austria and Italy sent congratulations. However, both Russia and France “made little attempt to conceal their disappointment.” The Anglo-Japanese alliance ended the British policy of isolation. After 1902, he entered into the Entenet Cordiale with France and in 1907 she made the Anglo-Russian Convention with Russia.

3. Russo-Japanese War (1904-05):

Manchuria has been rightly called the granary of the Far East. In addition to her agricultural products, she is rich in timber and minerals and no wonder its importance to Japan was very great. In 1895, Japan reluctantly gave up her control over the Liao-tung Peninsula as she felt that she could not face the combination of Russia, France and Germany.

However, Russia got for herself the lease of Port Arthur and the neighboring harbour of Talien-Wan for 25 years. She also secured the right to carry the Trans-Siberian Railway across Manchuria to Vladivostok. Port Arthur was also linked up by the railway with the Trans-Siberian Railway.

The Manchurian section of the Trans-Siberian Railway was known by the name of the Chinese Eastern Railway. It appeared to Japan that the Chinese Eastern Railway was as much a commercial project as a strategic railway. Thousands of Russian troops were garrisoned in Manchuria. Port Arthur was strengthened and a large fleet was stationed there. Japan dreaded that Russia would next pounce upon Korea. The situation was a serious one.

However, in 1902, a treaty was signed between China and Russia by which Russia undertook to respect the integrity of China and evacuate Manchuria. China agreed to be responsible for the safety of Russian subjects and Russian enterprises in that province. The evacuation was to be completed in three stages of 6 months each.

At the end of each stage, a part of Manchuria defined in the treaty was to be restored to China. In October 1902, Russia fulfilled the terms of the treaty. However, in April 1903, the second section of Manchuria was still in the hands of Russian troops and the Russian Government informed China that any further evacuation was to be a conditional one.

That was to take place only if China agreed to give certain concessions to Russia in Manchuria. This new demand of Russia was against the terms of the Treaty of April 1902. China was supported by Great Britain, the U.S.A. and Japan and consequently she refused to concede the Russian demand.

At that time, Russian subjects were carrying on some activities in North Korea. Bezobrazoff, a Russian speculator, was engaged in extorting a concession from the Korean Government. That concession carried with it the right to cut timber on the Yalu River. Bezobrazoff had great influence on persons in the entourage of the Czar. Work was begun on the Yalu River in April 1903 and on that pretext Russian troops were moved towards the river.

This was a direct violation of the agreement between Russia and Japan with regard to Korea. Japan had already spent a lot of money and taken great pains to develop her influence and control over Korea and consequently she was not prepared to allow Russia to have her own way. Japan made representations at St. Petersburg and protested that the activities of the Russian agents were not in accordance with the pledges made by the Russian Government.

Japan was willing to enter into a new treaty by which Russian interests in Manchuria could be safeguarded but Japan’s interests in Korea were also to be recognised and guaranteed. Russia gave her reply in October 1903. While certain restrictions were to be put on Japan with regard to Korea, Russia was to have a free hand in Manchuria and on the Yalu River. Fruitless negotiations were continued between the two countries for many months. Russia took advantage of this interval and tried to strengthen her military position in the Far East.

On 13 January 1904, Japan agreed to regard Manchuria as outside her sphere of influence but she also demanded that Russia should give a similar undertaking with regard to Korea. Japan asked for an early reply on account of the brisk movements of the Russian troops. As no reply was received, Japan decided to end the negotiations and on 5 February 1904 diplomatic relations with Russia were cut off.

In the beginning of February 1904, Russia had, east of Lake Baikal, about 80,000 field troops, 25,000 fortress troops and about 3,000 troops as frontier guards. Those forces were scattered over the immense area lying between Lake Baikal on the west, Vladivostok on the east, Nikolaievsk on the north and Port Arthur on the south.

The distance between the two main groups was about 900 miles. The rate at which the resources of European Russia could be made available in the Far East was dependent upon the capacity of the Eastern Siberian Railway. Neither the permanent way of the Eastern Siberian Railway, nor the number and accommodations of stations and sidings.

The quality of the rolling stock was such as to put up with the strain of heavy military traffic. However, the greatest headache was presented by Lake Baikal which created a gap of about 100 miles over which the railway had still to be constructed. On account of this gap, the passengers and goods had to be carried over an area of 30 miles of area.

During a part of the winter season, the water was frozen and things had to be carried on the snow. However, when the snow melted, all traffic came to a standstill till such time as the water became navigable. That pointed to the difficulties in the way of the Russian Government while fighting against Japan. It was not possible to send sufficient reinforcements before the end of April. Japan was sure that she would have to deal with a very small army of Russia to begin with.

As compared with Russia, the position of Japan at the beginning of the war was that she had an active army of 1,80,000 men with a first reserve of 200,000 strong and 470,000 other trained men or about 850,000 trained men in all. Japan was fully prepared for war. The huge indemnity which she had got from China was used profitably for the development of the army and the navy.

“Her spies and secret agents had thoroughly familiarised themselves with the topography and resources of Korea and Manchuria and her diplomatists had secured a clear ring for the fight by the Treaty of Alliance with Great Britain. Her soldiers had the opportunity of comparing themselves with the Russians in the Boxer campaign.

The result had not discouraged them. Her credit in the great money markets was good, and her supply of ammunitions and stores was complete down to the last gaiter button. She threw down the gauntlet to one of the greatest Powers of Europe to the astonishment of the world—but with the most complete confidence in herself, a confidence that was shared by every unit in the Empire, from the Heaven- descended Emperor on the throne down to the humblest private in the ranks.” (Longford).

The Russo-Japanese war was fought both on land and sea. The greatest battle of the war was that of Mukden, the capital of Manchuria. The fighting was so bitter that each side lost about 60,000 men in killed and wounded. The battle was won by Japan. However, as she was too much exhausted she could not follow up the victory.

Russia sent her Baltic fleet to the Far East. When it entered the Straits of Tsushima between Korea and Japan, it was completely destroyed by Admiral Togo. The naval battle of Tsushima has been compared to the Battle of Trafalgar. It was a decisive battle. Japan got control of the Pacific.

Both parties were completely exhausted and peace was ultimately brought about through the good offices of President Theodore Roosevelt of the U.S.A. By the terms of the Treaty of Portsmouth which was signed in September 1905, Russia recognised Korea within the sphere of interest of Japan. She also transferred to Japan her lease of the Liao-tung Peninsula. She also gave the southern half of the Island of Sakhalin to Japan and agreed to evacuate Manchuria.

It’s Effects:

(1) The Russo-Japanese war had far-reaching effects. It affected the history not only of Russia and Japan, but also that of China, India,, the East in general and also the West. The Russian dreams of having a warm-water port in the Far East were shattered completely. As Russia got a setback in the Far East she began to concentrate more and more in the Near East and Middle East. The defeat of Russia also exposed the weakness of the autocratic regime of the Romanovs. The liberal and revolutionary forces in Russia became active and consequently the Czar was forced to make concessions in 1905. That led to the liberal experiment in that country for some time.

(2) Japan had been deprived of her gains in 1895 by Russia and her collaborators. By defeating Russia in 1904-05, Japan felt that she had got her revenge. She had suffered from a sense of frustration for some time, but after 1905, she felt that she could go ahead with her programme of expansion and conquest.

Korea was completely at her mercy and she could annex it in 1910. Japan became a full-fledged imperialist country after 1905. She got a lead in the Far East and also entered into an open competition and rivalry with other European Powers in China. That process continued till the end of the Second World War.

(3) The Russo-Japanese war had its repercussions on European politics also. It was during this war that William II, the German Emperor, tried to win over Russia. Germany helped the refueling of the Russian ships in the Baltic. Attempts were made to convince Russia that she could depend upon Germany in her hour of difficulty. Russia could not depend upon England as she was already in alliance with Japan.

In July 1905, William II and Nicholas II met at Bjorko. Both the monarchs agreed that in the event of British attack on the Baltic, they were to safeguard their interests by occupying Denmark during the war. The Kaiser produced the draft of a treaty which was signed by the Czar in the presence of two witnesses.

According to the draft treaty, if any European State should attack either Power, the other was to aid with all its forces and neither of the two was to conclude a separate peace treaty.The treaty was to come into force on the conclusion of peace with Japan and was to be cancelled only after a notice of a year. Russia was to make the terms of the treaty known to France and invite her to join it.

The Kaiser was happy at his achievement. The alliance was to be of use to Russia as it was to create confidence in the minds of the people with regard to peace and was likely to encourage financial circles in foreign countries to invest money in Russian enterprises. That was likely to cool down the self-assertion and impertinence of William II.

It was accepted that Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Norway would be attracted to the new centre of gravity and revolve in the orbit of the great bloc of Powers. It appeared that the old dream of William II to create a combination of the continental Powers under the leadership of Germany was going to be realised.

However, the Czar did not seem to be enthusiastic about the Bjorko pact. After the conclusion of the war with Japan, he informed his Foreign Minister of what had transpired at Bjorko. It is stated that the Russian Foreign Minister “could not believe his eyes or ears.” The Bjorko pact had to be denounced because France was opposed to it and the Russian Ministers also doubted its efficacy.

The Czar also hesitated and repented. William II reminded Nicholas II of the moral obligations arising out of the Bjorko pact and asked Nicholas II to spend more time, labour and patience to induce France to join the pact. He reminded him of their joining these pacts before God and taking of the vows. “What is signed is signed God is our testator.” The pact could not make any headway.

The Russian Ambassador at Paris informed the Czar that France was not prepared to join the German League on any condition. Nicholas II pointed out that the pact was not followed as it did not bear the signatures of the Foreign Ministers. It was under these circumstances that the Bjorko pact became a dead letter. It was treacherously extorted and quickly denounced and consequently did not affect the course of European politics.

(4) However, as a result of the efforts of France, Edward VII, Grey and Izvolski, the Anglo-Russian Convention was signed in 1907. This could be said to be an indirect effect of the Russo-Japanese War.

(5) The Russo-Japanese war shook China from her slumber. She felt humiliated at the thought that two foreign Powers made her territory as the battle-ground. The patriots of China would like to break with the past traditions and carry out revolutionary changes in their country with a view to putting their country on her feet. No wonder, the reform movement in China got an impetus from the war of 1904-5.

(6) The Russo-Japanese war profoundly influenced the imagination of the people of the East. It was for the first time in modem history that an Asiatic Power was able not only to face a Western power but also to defeat her completely. This gave encouragement to the nationalist forces in the East. It is pointed out that the Battle of Tsushima was more disastrous to the prestige of the West than the First Afghan War. To the East it held out fresh hopes and feelings of confidence. The victory of Japan profoundly affected the national agitation in India.

4. Japan during World War I:

When the First World War broke out in 1914, Japan also declared war against the Central Powers. She took full advantage of the preoccupation of the Great Powers in the European theatre of war. She captured Kiao-Chou and the other German concessions in Shantung. These possessions were guaranteed to Japan by the secret treaty with the allies. In January 1915, Japan presented the famous. “Twenty-one Demands” to China. An attempt was made to conceal the contents of those demands from other Powers, but they leaked out.

Those demands related to Shantung, Manchuria, Eastern Inner Mongolia and coal and iron concessions. It was also demanded that China must not alienate any of her gulfs, harbours and coasts to any other Power. Its object was to close China to Europe and keep Asia for the Asiatics. It has been characterised as the “Asiatic Monroe Doctrine”.

Japan also demanded the appointment of a Japanese adviser, purchase of Japanese ammunition, control over the police and the right of carrying religious propaganda in China. Japan tried to put all kinds of pressure on China to get those demands accepted.

The Chinese President Yuan Shih-kai was offered support for his own imperial schemes. He was also threatened with war. In May 1915, an ultimatum was presented to China and the latter had to accept most of the demands of Japan. It was pointed out that the treaty of 1915 between China and Japan “was the outcome of a Private deal between Yuan Shih-kai and Japan.

From a legal point of view, it has never been passed by Parliament and therefore cannot be enforced from the practical point of view. Yuan Shih-kai had at this time already become a criminal traitor to the Chinese Republic and had no claim to represent the people who at that time regarded Japan with a universal and bitter hatred”.

In 1917 Japan entered into the Lansing-Ishii agreement with the U.S.A. by which the latter recognised “that territorial propinquity creates special relations between countries” and Japan “has therefore special interests in China.” In other words, the U.S.A. also accepted the special claims of Japan in China.

As both Japan and China fought on the side of the Allies, the Japanese and Chinese delegations at the Peace Conference presented opposing claims. However, the claims of Japan were accepted and those of China were rejected. Japan was given all the rights which Germany had in Kiao-Chou and the province of Shantung. She was also given the German islands north of the Equator. Obviously, China was disappointed by the peace settlement.

5. The Washington Conference (1921):

The U.S.A. was not happy at the increase of the power of Japan and consequently she wanted to put some check on her power. Japan was the greatest naval Power in the Far East and the Americans could not put up with that fact. Consequently the American Government invited Japan, Great Britain, France, Italy, China, Portugal, Belgium and Holland “to participate in a conference on the limitation of armaments, in connection with which Pacific and Far Eastern questions would also be discussed.”

The Washington Conference was held in November 1921. Three treaties were signed at Washington, viz., Four-Power Treaty, Five-Power Treaty and Nine- Power Treaty. The Four-Power Treaty was made between Great Britain, Japan, France and the U.S.A. All the Powers agreed to respect the rights of one another in relation to their insular possessions in the Pacific. They were to consult one another if there was any dispute among them.

They were also to consult one another if there was a threat of war from any other Power. The Five-Power Treaty provided for naval disarmament. It fixed the ratio of the navies of the various countries.

There was to be naval parity between the U.S.A. and Great Britain. Japanese Navy was to be 60% of British or American Navy. The strength of the French and the Italian Navies was fixed at 35% of that of England or the U.S.A.

These limitations related to the capital ships and did not apply to light cruisers, destroyers and submarines. The contracting parties were to maintain the status quo in the Pacific. By the Nine-Power Treaty, all the Powers assembled at Washington pledged themselves to respect the territorial integrity of China and to refrain from taking advantage of the conditions in China to seek special rights or privileges which would abridge the rights of subjects and citizens or friendly States.

At the Washington Conference Japan also agreed to return Kiao-Chou territory to China. It cannot be denied that the Washington Conference put a check on the growing power of Japan. She was given an inferior position with regard to her naval strength and was also forced to surrender the gains of the World War I. The Japanese patriots were not prepared to accept such terms for long and there was bound to be trouble in the future.

6. Manchuria:

Japan was keenly interested in the affairs of Manchuria. Her population was increasing by leaps and bounds and she wanted additional territory for her surplus population. Her factories wanted not only raw materials but also new markets for the finished products. Japanese capital needed some area for investment.

Manchuria was near Japan and her strategic importance was not unknown to the Japanese military strategists. She had already got control over the South Manchurian Railway. For the protection of that railway, she was entitled to keep 15,000 soldiers in Manchuria with their headquarters at Mukden. The terminus of the railway was at Darien which was under Japan and through that port passed more than half the foreign trade of Manchuria.

The Japanese built towns along the railway and also executed modem projects which added substantially to the prosperity of the area. The foreign banking business of Manchuria was completely in the hands of the Japanese. By 1931, Japanese investment in Manchuria amounted to about one million dollars.

Japan had her eyes on Manchuria for a long time and she found that the year 1931 was the most appropriate one for the acquisition of that territory. Europe was busy with her own problems. World-wide depression confronted European statesmen.

The latter had to face the problems of unemployment, debt moratoria, disarmament, tariff barriers, etc. Political situation in Germany and Italy was abnormal. China also was passing through a great crisis. After the death of Dr. Sun Yat Sen in 1925, many groups struggled to secure supremacy in China.

Although General Chiang Kai-shek established his supremacy in the country he had still to face many rivals. There was no unity in the Chinese ranks. The hold of the central government over the outlying provinces was not secure. There was treachery in the dealings of the various parties. Famines and floods in the country added to the misery of the people. The local military chiefs were busy in their bandit activities. If Japan really intended to conquer Manchuria, there could not be any better opportunity for it.

On the night of 18-19 September 1931, a Japanese patrol claimed to discover a detachment of Chinese soldiers near Mukden trying to blow up the South Manchurian Railway. It was a good enough excuse for the Japanese. There was some fighting and about 10,000 Chinese soldiers in Mukden were either disarmed or dispersed.

Within four days all the Chinese towns within a radius of 200 miles north of Mukden were occupied by the Japanese. The Chinese Government in Manchuria evacuated Mukden. By November 1931, practically the whole of North Manchuria was in the hands of the Japanese. By January 1932, the whole of the Manchuria was completely conquered by Japan.

The Chinese Government protested against the Japanese action in the League of Nations and appealed to the member-States in the name of collective security to intervene. The Japanese delegate in the League of Nations tried to remove the fears of the Powers by declaring that his government had no intention to annex Manchuria and the Japanese troops would be withdrawn as soon as the lives and property of the Japanese in Manchuria were secured. Japan characterised her action as merely a police action.

In spite of the fact that Japan was the aggressor, the Council of the League of Nations decided not to take action against her and a resolution was passed unanimously on 30 September 1931, by which an opportunity was given to Japan to withdraw from Manchuria. The American Government also felt concerned over the Japanese attack. She would like to do all that lay in her power to maintain the territorial integrity of China.

Although the U.S.A. was not a member of the League of Nations, she participated in the deliberations of the Council of the League of Nations and offered to co-operate if action was taken against Japan. While the League of Nations hesitated to take action against Japan, the attitude of Japan became all the more stiff. She resented the interference of other Powers in the affairs of Manchuria.

When it became clear that Japan was determined to persist in her course of action the League of Nations appointed the famous Lytton Commission to investigate, on the spot “any circumstances which affecting international relations, threaten to disturb peace between China and Japan.”

However, the Commission was instructed not “to interfere with the military arrangements of either party.” After completing its work, the Lytton Commission submitted its report in November 1932. The report attempted to perform the impossible task of pleasing both the parties. Its recommendations were couched in a very guarded language.

It recommended direct negotiations between the belligerents. China was asked to set up an autonomous government in Manchuria under her own suzerainty. It also made some recommendations with regard to the reorganization of railways, etc., in Manchuria. It recommended the employment of experts from outside for political and financial purposes. The report avoided to mention Japan as the aggressor.

To quote, “The present case is not that of a country which has declared war on another country without previously exhausting the opportunities for conciliation provided in the Covenant of the League of Nations, neither is it a simple case of the violation of the frontier of one country by the armed forces of a neighbouring country,” In spite of this, when the Lytton report was discussed by the Assembly of the League of Nations, the Japanese delegation left the hall and Japan gave a notice of terminating her membership of the League.

While Japan took a decisive action with regard to the League, the latter failed to take any effective action against Japan. That was partly due to the attitude of the various Powers. Sir John Simon, the British Foreign Minister, declared that his country was not prepared to go to war against Japan on the question of Manchuria. Mr. L.S. Amery, a leading Conservative statesman, declared thus in 1933 in the House of Commons. “I confess that we see no reason whatever that either in act or in word, or in sympathy, we should go individually or internationally against Japan in this matter. Japan has got a very powerful case based upon fundamental realities.

When you look at the fact that Japan needs markets and that it is imperative for her, in the world in which she lives that there should be some sort of peace and order, then who is there among us to cast the first stone and to say that Japan ought not to have acted with the object of creating peace and order in Manchuria and defending herself against the continued aggression of vigorous Chinese nationalism? Our whole policy in India our whole policy in Egypt stands condemned if we condemn Japan.”

As the League of Nations took no action, Japan was able to retain Manchuria under her control. The failure of the League was a great blow to the principle of collective security. It was bound to encourage persons like Mussolini and Hitler in their aggressive designs. Japan also felt that she could snatch away the other parts of China and no one would come to oppose her. No wonder, her imperialism got an impetus.

Regarding the conquest of Manchuria by Japan, Gathome Hardy has made the following observation. “The shock, therefore, which the incident administered to the whole system of collective security was tremendous and well-nigh fatal and the only question on which opinion can be divided is as to whether the responsibility for this lies wholly at the door of Japan or whether it must be shared by those who planned a system which the world is incapable of working. There are, indeed, persons who think that the application of sanctions was practical, but the difficulties were so great and the prospect of plunging the world in war so formidable that the inaction of the members of the League must be considered pardonable if not wholly justified.”

According to Mackintosh, “Both Italy and Germany concluded that there was little risk in making treaties and carrying out aggressions, since the League Powers seemed loath to act in concert. Japan called the bluff of the League and proved to the world that even a slight danger of war was enough to cool the ardour of its supporters.” It is also pointed out that the action of the League “struck a fatal blow at the collective system, killed any chance of disarmament and started the present drift towards a world war which, when it comes, will be infinitely most devastating to the present social and imperial order than anything that could have resulted from applying the Covenant to Japan.”

The acquisition of Manchuria by Japan added to her hunger and Japanese patriots, industrialists and soldiers began to think in terms of bringing the whole of Eastern Asia under their control. The Japanese Government threatened other Powers with war if they tried to support the Chinese Government against Japan. “We oppose, therefore, any attempt on the part of China to avail herself of the influence of any other country in order to resist Japan we also oppose any action taken by China calculated to play one Power against another Power. Any joint operation undertaken by foreign Powers even in the name of technical or financial assistance at this particular moment after the Manchurian and Shanghai incidents are bound to acquire political significance.

While negotiations on normal questions of finance or trade would not be objected but supplying China with war aero planes, building aerodromes in China and detailing military instructors or military advisers to China or contracting a loan to provide funds for political uses, would obviously tend to alienate friendly relations between Japan, China and other countries and to disturb peace and order in Eastern Asia. Japan will oppose such projects.”

It is true that Great Britain and the U.S.A. repudiated the above claims of Japan, but in spite of that nothing was done to stop the further disintegration of China. Japan was determined to oppose tooth and nail every foreign attempt to help China. She also left no stone unturned to create dissensions among the Chinese. She decided to finish China once for all before the Chinese patriots were able to whip up the national enthusiasm to present a united front to the aggressor.

An attempt was made by Japan in 1935 to separate the northern province of China from the rest of the country. However, her efforts failed on account of the timely action of the Chinese. The local Japanese Military authority was able to set up a puppet government under the name of East Hopei autonomous government. Attempts were made by Japan to injure the Chinese finances by encouraging smuggling on a large scale.

There was a lot of resentment against Japan in China, and in 1936 many Japanese were murdered in that country. In July 1937, there was a clash between Chinese troops and Japanese troops near Peking. There was no formal declaration of war but hostilities between the two countries assumed large dimensions. Like the Germans, the Japanese steamroller continued unchecked its work of conquering the whole of China. Peking was captured. Nanking fell into the hands of the Japanese.

Although the Japanese attitude towards the Britishers in China was humiliating and even outrageous. Great Britain refused to be drawn up into the arena of war. The League of Nations contented itself by merely passing pious resolutions. Japan continued its work of conquest unhampered from any quarter. Hankow and Canton were also captured. Japan was able to establish her control over all the Chinese ports and the coastline.

For some time, China got help from Russia, but that was lessened in course of time. In 1939, Japan was able to cut off the railway line to Indo-China. China was still getting her supplies through the Burma Road, but even that became superfluous after the conquest of Burma by Japan. On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the Pearl Harbour and thus the U.S.A. entered the war.

For some time, Japan was able to have her own way. Singapore fell into her hands. French Indo-China, Siam, Malaya and Burma were conquered by Japan. Even the security of Australia and India was threatened. Ultimately, as a result of the joint action of the United Nations, the Japanese were beaten back. The throwing of two atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 brought about the surrender of Japan.


Contents

In Egypt and other parts of the Arab world, the protests and governmental changes are also known as the 25 January Revolution ( ثورة 25 يناير Thawrat 25 Yanāyir), Freedom Revolution ( ثورة حرية Thawrat Horeya) [41] or Rage Revolution ( ثورة الغضب Thawrat al-Ġaḍab), and (less frequently) [42] the Youth Revolution ( ثورة الشباب Thawrat al-Shabāb), Lotus Revolution [43] ( ثورة اللوتس ) or White Revolution ( الثورة البيضاء al-Thawrah al-bayḍāʾ). [44]

Hosni Mubarak became President of Egypt after the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDS) maintained one-party rule. [45] His government received support from the West and aid from the United States by its suppression of Islamic militants and peace with Israel. [45] Mubarak was often compared to an Egyptian pharaoh by the media and some critics, due to his authoritarian rule. [46] He was in the 30th year of his reign when the Revolution of 2011 began. [47]

Inheritance of power Edit

Mubarak's younger son was expected to succeed his father as the next president of Egypt in 2000. [48] Gamal began receiving attention from the Egyptian media, since there were apparently no other heirs to the presidency. [49] Bashar al-Assad's rise to power in Syria in June 2000, hours after Hafez al-Assad's death, sparked debate in the Egyptian press about the prospects for a similar scenario in Cairo. [50]

During the years after Mubarak's 2005 re-election, several left- and right-wing (primarily unofficial) political groups expressed opposition to the inheritance of power, demanded reforms and asked for a multi-candidate election. In 2006, with opposition increasing, Daily News Egypt reported an online campaign initiative (the National Initiative against Power Inheritance) demanding that Gamal reduce his power. The campaign said, "President Mubarak and his son constantly denied even the possibility of [succession]. However, in reality they did the opposite, including amending the constitution to make sure that Gamal will be the only unchallenged candidate." [51]

During the decade, public perception grew that Gamal would succeed his father. He wielded increasing power as NDP deputy secretary general and chair of the party's policy committee. Analysts described Mubarak's last decade in power as "the age of Gamal Mubarak". With his father's health declining and no appointed vice-president, Gamal was considered Egypt's de facto president by some. [52] Although Gamal and Hosni Mubarak denied an inheritance of power, Gamal could be elected with Hosni Mubarak's presidential term set to expire in 2010, speculation existed that Gamal would run as the NDP candidate in 2011. [53] However, after the January–February 2011 protest Gamal Mubarak said that he would not run for president in the 2011 elections. [54]

Emergency law Edit

Emergency law (Law No. 162 of 1958) was enacted in the country after the 1967 Six-Day War. Although it was suspended for 18 months during the early 1980s, [55] it has otherwise continuously been in effect since Anwar Sadat's 1981 assassination. [56] Emergency law extended police powers, suspended constitutional rights, legalised censorship [57] and abolished habeas corpus. It limits non-governmental political activity, including demonstrations, unapproved political organizations and unregistered financial donations. [55] The Mubarak government has cited the threat of terrorism in extending emergency law, [56] claiming that opposition groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood could gain power in Egypt if the government did not forgo parliamentary elections and suppress the group through emergency law. [58] This has led to the imprisonment of activists without trial, [59] illegal, undocumented and hidden detention facilities [60] and the rejection of university, mosque and newspaper staff based on their political affiliation. [61] A December 2010 parliamentary election was preceded by a media crackdown, arrests, candidate bans (particularly Muslim Brotherhood candidates) and allegations of fraud due to the near-unanimous victory by the NDP in parliament. [55] Human-rights organizations estimate that in 2010, between 5,000 and 10,000 people were in long-term detention without charge or trial. [62] [63]

Police brutality Edit

According to a U.S. Embassy report, police brutality has been widespread in Egypt. [64] In the five years before the revolution, the Mubarak regime denied the existence of torture or abuse by police. However, claims by domestic and international groups provided cellphone videos or first-hand accounts of hundreds of cases of police brutality. [65] According to the 2009 Human Rights Report from the U.S. State Department, "Domestic and international human rights groups reported that the Ministry of Interior (MOI) State Security Investigative Service (SSIS), police, and other government entities continued to employ torture to extract information or force confessions. The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights documented 30 cases of torture during the year 2009. In numerous trials defendants alleged that police tortured them during questioning. During the year activists and observers circulated some amateur cellphone videos documenting the alleged abuse of citizens by security officials. For example, on 8 February, a blogger posted a video of two police officers, identified by their first names and last initials, sodomizing a bound naked man named Ahmed Abdel Fattah Ali with a bottle. On 12 August, the same blogger posted two videos of alleged police torture of a man in a Port Said police station by the head of investigations, Mohammed Abu Ghazala. There was no indication that the government investigated either case." [66]

The deployment of Baltageya [67] (Arabic: بلطجية ‎)—plainclothes police—by the NDP has been a hallmark of the Mubarak government. [67] The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights has documented 567 cases of torture, including 167 deaths, by police from 1993 to 2007. [68] Excessive force was often used by law-enforcement agencies against popular uprisings. [69] On 6 June 2010 Khaled Mohamed Saeed died under disputed circumstances in the Sidi Gaber area of Alexandria, with witnesses testifying that he was beaten to death by police – an event which galvanized Egyptians around the issue of police brutality. [70] [71] [72] Authorities stated that Khaled died choking on hashish while being chased by police officers. However, pictures of Khaled's disfigured corpse from the morgue showed signs of torture. [ citation needed ] A Facebook page, "We are all Khaled Said", helped attract nationwide attention to the case. [73] Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, led a 2010 rally in Alexandria against police abuse, and visited Saeed's family to offer condolences. [74]

During the January–February 2011 protests, police brutality was common. Jack Shenker, a reporter for The Guardian, was arrested during the Cairo protests on 26 January. He witnessed fellow Egyptian protesters being tortured, assaulted, and taken to undisclosed locations by police officers. Shenker and other detainees were released after covert intervention by Ayman Nour, the father of a fellow detainee. [75] [76] [77]

Election corruption Edit

Corruption, coercion not to vote and manipulation of election results occurred during many elections over Mubarak's 30-year rule. [78] Until 2005, Mubarak was the only presidential candidate (with a yes-or-no vote). [79] Mubarak won five consecutive presidential elections with a sweeping majority. Although opposition groups and international election-monitoring agencies charged that the elections were rigged, those agencies were not allowed to monitor elections. The only opposition presidential candidate in recent Egyptian history, Ayman Nour, was imprisoned before the 2005 elections. [80] According to a 2007 UN survey, voter turnout was extremely low (about 25 percent) because of a lack of trust in the political system. [79]

Demographic and economic challenges Edit

Unemployment and reliance on subsidized goods Edit

The population of Egypt grew from 30,083,419 in 1966 [81] to roughly 79,000,000 by 2008. [82] The vast majority of Egyptians live near the banks of the Nile, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi) where the only arable land is found. In late 2010, about 40 percent of Egypt's population lived on the equivalent of roughly US$2 per day, with a large portion relying on subsidized goods. [1]

According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics and other proponents of demographic structural approach (cliodynamics), a basic problem in Egypt is unemployment driven by a demographic youth bulge with the number of new people entering the workforce at about four percent a year, unemployment in Egypt is almost 10 times as high for college graduates as for those who finished elementary school (particularly educated urban youth—the people who were in the streets during the revolution). [83] [84]

Economy and poor living conditions Edit

Egypt's economy was highly centralised during the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser, becoming more market-driven under Anwar Sadat and Mubarak. From 2004 to 2008 the Mubarak government pursued economic reform to attract foreign investment and increase GDP, later postponing further reforms because of the Great Recession. The international economic downturn slowed Egypt's GDP growth to 4.5 percent in 2009. In 2010, analysts said that the government of Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif would need to resume economic reform to attract foreign investment, increase growth and improve economic conditions. Despite recent high national economic growth, living conditions for the average Egyptian remained relatively poor [85] (albeit better than other African nations [83] with no significant social upheavals).

Corruption Edit

Political corruption in the Mubarak administration's Interior Ministry rose dramatically, due to increased control of the system necessary to sustain his presidency. [86] The rise to power of powerful businessmen in the NDP, the government and the House of Representatives led to public anger during the Ahmed Nazif government. Ahmed Ezz monopolised the steel industry, with more than 60 percent of market share. [87] Aladdin Elaasar, an Egyptian biographer and American professor, estimated that the Mubarak family was worth from $50 to $70 billion. [88] [89]

The wealth of former NDP secretary Ezz was estimated at 18 billion Egyptian pounds [90] the wealth of former housing minister Ahmed al-Maghraby was estimated at more than 11 billion Egyptian pounds [90] that of former tourism minister Zuhair Garrana is estimated at 13 billion Egyptian pounds [90] former minister of trade and industry Rashid Mohamed Rashid is estimated to be worth 12 billion Egyptian pounds, [90] and former interior minister Habib al-Adly was estimated to be worth eight billion Egyptian pounds. [90] The perception among Egyptians was that the only people benefiting from the nation's wealth were businessmen with ties to the National Democratic Party: "Wealth fuels political power and political power buys wealth." [91]

During the 2010 elections, opposition groups complained about government harassment and fraud. Opposition and citizen activists called for changes to a number of legal and constitutional provisions affecting elections. [ citation needed ] In 2010, Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) gave Egypt a score of 3.1 based on perceptions by business people and analysts of the degree of corruption (with 10 being clean, and 0 totally corrupt). [92]

To prepare for the possible overthrow of Mubarak, opposition groups studied Gene Sharp's work on nonviolent action and worked with leaders of Otpor!, the student-led Serbian organisation. Copies of Sharp's list of 198 non-violent "weapons", translated into Arabic and not always attributed to him, were circulated in Tahrir Square during its occupation. [93] [94]

Tunisian revolution Edit

Following the ousting of Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after mass protests, many analysts (including former European Commission President Romano Prodi) saw Egypt as the next country where such a revolution might occur. [95] According to The Washington Post, "The Jasmine Revolution [. ] should serve as a stark warning to Arab leaders – beginning with Egypt's 83-year-old Hosni Mubarak – that their refusal to allow more economic and political opportunity is dangerous and untenable." [96] Others believed that Egypt was not ready for revolution, citing little aspiration by the Egyptian people, low educational levels and a strong government with military support. [97] The BBC said, "The simple fact is that most Egyptians do not see any way that they can change their country or their lives through political action, be it voting, activism, or going out on the streets to demonstrate." [98]

Self-immolation Edit

After the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia on 17 December, a man set himself afire on 18 January in front of the Egyptian parliament [99] and five more attempts followed. [97] On 17 January, Abdou Abdel Monaam, a baker, also set himself on fire to protest a law that prevented restaurant owners from buying subsidized bread, leading him to buy bread at the regular price – which is five times higher than the subsidized. Mohammed Farouq Mohammed, who is a lawyer, also set himself afire in front of the parliament to protest his ex-wife, who did not allow him to see his daughters. [100] In Alexandria, an unemployed man by the name of Ahmed Hashem Sayed was also a victim of self-immolation. [101]

National Police Day protests Edit

Opposition groups planned a day of revolt for 25 January, coinciding with National Police Day, to protest police brutality in front of the Ministry of Interior. [102] Protesters also demanded the resignation of the Minister of Interior, an end to State corruption, the end of emergency law and presidential term limits for the president.

Many political movements, opposition parties and public figures supported the day of revolt, including Youth for Justice and Freedom, the Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution, the Popular Democratic Movement for Change, the Revolutionary Socialists and the National Association for Change. The April 6 Youth Movement was a major supporter of the protest, distributing 20,000 leaflets saying "I will protest on 25 January for my rights". The Ghad El-Thawra Party, Karama, Wafd and Democratic Front supported the protests. The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group, [103] confirmed on 23 January that it would participate. [104] Public figures, including novelist Alaa Al Aswany, writer Belal Fadl and actors Amr Waked and Khaled Aboul Naga, announced that they would participate. The leftist National Progressive Unionist Party (the Tagammu) said that it would not participate, and the Coptic Church urged Christians not to participate in the protests. [103]

Twenty-six-year-old Asmaa Mahfouz was instrumental [105] in sparking the protests. [106] [107] In a video blog posted a week before National Police Day, [108] she urged the Egyptian people to join her on 25 January in Tahrir Square to bring down the Mubarak regime. [109] Mahfouz's use of video blogging and social media went viral [110] and urged people not to be afraid. [111] The Facebook group for the event attracted 80,000 people.

Farouk to Mubarak Edit

Most causes of the 2011 Egyptian revolution against Mubarak also existed in 1952, when the Free Officers ousted King Farouk: [112] inherited power, corruption, under-development, unemployment, unfair distribution of wealth and the presence of Israel. A new cause of the Arab Spring is the increase in population, which increased unemployment. The first sign along the road to Mubarak was the 1967 war between Egypt and Israel. Gamal Abdel Nasser's defeat brought Anwar Sadat to power after Nasser's death in 1970. Sadat undid Nasser's social reforms and dependence on the Soviet Union, predicting its collapse nearly two decades before it occurred.

Sadat neglected the modernization of Egypt, and his cronyism cost the country infrastructure industries which could generate new jobs. He was succeeded by Hosni Mubarak after Sadat's 1981 death. With no academic or governmental experience, Mubarak implemented emergency rule throughout his 30 years in office, not appointing a vice president until he was pressured to resign. Communications media such as the internet, cell phones and satellite TV channels augmented mosques and Friday prayers, traditional means of mass communications. The mosques brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power, and the Brotherhood has pressured all governments from 1928 through 2011 (as it also does in neighboring countries). [113]

Under Mubarak Edit

25 January 2011 ("Day of Revolt"): Protests erupted throughout Egypt, with tens of thousands gathering in Cairo and thousands more in other Egyptian cities. The protests targeted the Mubarak government while mostly non-violent, there were some reports of civilian and police casualties.

26 January 2011: Civil unrest in Suez and other areas throughout the country. Police arrested many activists.

27 January 2011: The government shuts down four major ISPs at approximately 5:20 p.m. EST. [114] disrupting Internet traffic and telephone services [115]

28 January 2011: The "Friday of Anger" protests began, with hundreds of thousands demonstrating in Cairo and other Egyptian cities after Friday prayers. Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei arrived in Cairo amid reports of looting. Prisons were opened and burned down, allegedly on orders from Interior Minister Habib El Adly. Prison inmates escaped en masse, in what was believed to be an attempt to terrorise protesters. Police were withdrawn from the streets, and the military was deployed. International fears of violence grew, but no major casualties were reported. Mubarak made his first address to the nation, pledging to form a new government. Later that night clashes broke out in Tahrir Square between revolutionaries and pro-Mubarak demonstrators, leading to casualties. No fatalities have been reported in Cairo, however, 11 people were killed in Suez and another 170 were injured.1,030 people were reported injured nationwide.

29 January 2011: The military presence in Cairo increased. A curfew was imposed, which was widely ignored as the flow of protesters into Tahrir Square continued through the night. The military reportedly refused to follow orders to fire live ammunition, exercising overall restraint there were no reports of major casualties. On 31 January, Israeli media reported that the 9th, 2nd, and 7th Divisions of the Egyptian Army had been ordered into Cairo to help restore order. [116]

1 February 2011: Mubarak made another televised address, offering several concessions. He pledged political reforms and said he would not run in the elections planned for September, but would remain in office to oversee a peaceful transition. Small-but-violent clashes began that night between pro- and anti-Mubarak groups.

2 February 2011 (Camel Incident): Violence escalated as waves of Mubarak supporters met anti-government protesters some Mubarak supporters rode camels and horses into Tahrir Square, reportedly wielding sticks. The attack resulted in 3 deaths and 600 injuries. [117] Mubarak repeated his refusal to resign in interviews with several news agencies. Violence toward journalists and reporters escalated, amid speculation that it was encouraged by Mubarak to bring the protests to an end. The camel and horse riders later claimed that they were "good men", and they opposed the protests because they wanted tourists to come back to keep their jobs and feed their animals. The horse and camel riders deny that they were paid by anyone, though they said that they were told about the protests from a ruling party MP. Three hundred people were reported dead by the Human Rights Watch the following day, since 25 January. [118] [119] Wael Ghonim, Google executive and creator of the page We are all Khaled Said, was reported missing and the company asked the public to help find him. [120]

6 February 2011: An interfaith service was held with Egyptian Christians and Muslims in Tahrir Square. Negotiations by Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman and opposition representatives began during continuing protests throughout the country. The Egyptian army assumed greater security responsibilities, maintaining order and guarding The Egyptian Museum of Antiquity. Suleiman offered reforms, while others in Mubarak's regime accused foreign nations (including the U.S.) of interfering in Egypt's affairs.

10 February 2011: Mubarak addressed the Egyptian people amid speculation of a military coup. Instead of resigning (which was widely expected), he said he would delegate some powers to Vice President Suleiman while remaining Egypt's head of state. Mubarak's statement was met with anger, frustration and disappointment, and in a number of cities there was an escalation in the number and intensity of demonstrations.

11 February 2011 ("Friday of Departure"): Large protests continued in many cities, as Egyptians refused to accept Mubarak's concessions. At 6:00 pm Suleiman announced Mubarak's resignation, entrusting the Supreme Council of Egyptian Armed Forces with the leadership of the country.

Under the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Edit

13 February 2011: The Supreme Council dissolved Egypt's parliament and suspended the constitution in response to demands by demonstrators. The council declared that it would wield power for six months, or until elections could be held. Calls were made for the council to provide details and more-specific timetables and deadlines. Major protests subsided, but did not end. In a gesture to a new beginning, protesters cleaned up and renovated Tahrir Square (the epicenter of the demonstrations) however, many pledged to continue protesting until all demands had been met.

17 February: The army said that it would not field a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. [121] Four important figures in the former regime were arrested that day: former interior minister Habib el-Adly, former minister of housing Ahmed Maghrabi, former tourism minister H.E. Zuheir Garana and steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz. [122]

2 March: The constitutional referendum was tentatively scheduled for 19 March 2011. [123]

3 March: A day before large protests against him were planned, Ahmed Shafik stepped down as prime minister and was replaced by Essam Sharaf. [124]

5 March: Several State Security Intelligence (SSI) buildings across Egypt were raided by protesters, including the headquarters for the Alexandria Governorate and the national headquarters in Nasr City, Cairo. Protesters said that they raided the buildings to secure documents they believed prove crimes by the SSI against the people of Egypt during Mubarak's rule. [125] [126]

6 March: From the Nasr City headquarters, protesters acquired evidence of mass surveillance and vote-rigging, noting rooms full of videotapes, piles of shredded and burned documents and cells in which activists recounted their experiences of detention and torture. [127]

19 March: The constitutional referendum passed with 77.27 percent of the vote. [128]

22 March: Portions of the Interior Ministry building caught fire during police demonstrations outside. [129]

23 March: The Egyptian Cabinet ordered a law criminalising protests and strikes which hamper work at private or public establishments. Under the new law, anyone organising such protests will be subject to imprisonment or a fine of EGP500,000 (about US$100,000). [130]

1 April ("Save the Revolution Day"): About 4,000 demonstrators filled Tahrir Square for the largest protest in weeks, demanding that the ruling military council more quickly dismantle lingering aspects of the old regime [131] protestors also demanded trials for Hosni Mubarak, Gamal Mubarak, Ahmad Fathi Sorour, Safwat El-Sherif and Zakaria Azmi.

8 April ("Cleansing Friday"): Tens of thousands of demonstrators again filled Tahrir Square, criticizing the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for not following through on their demands: the resignation of remaining regime figures and the removal of Egypt's public prosecutor, due to the slow pace of investigations of corrupt former officials. [132]

7 May: The Imbaba church attacks, in which Salafi Muslims attacked Coptic Christian churches in the working-class neighborhood of Imbaba in Cairo. [133]

27 May ("Second Friday of Anger", "Second Revolution of Anger" or "The Second Revolution"): Tens of thousands of demonstrators filled Tahrir Square, [134] in addition to demonstrations in Alexandria, Suez, Ismailia and Gharbeya, in the largest demonstrations since the ouster of the Mubarak regime. Protestors demanded no military trials for civilians, restoration of the Egyptian Constitution before parliament elections and for all members of the old regime (and those who killed protestors in January and February) to stand trial.

1 July ("Friday of Retribution"): Thousands of protesters gathered in Suez, Alexandria and Tahrir Square to voice frustration with the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for what they called the slow pace of change, five months after the revolution, some also feared that the military is to rule Egypt indefinitely. [135]

8 July ("Friday of Determination"): Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Suez, Alexandria and Tahrir Square, demanding immediate reform and swifter prosecution of former officials from the ousted government. [136]

15 July: Tahrir Square protests continued.

23 July: Thousands of protesters attempted to march to the defense ministry after a speech by Mohammed Tantawi commemorating the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, but are met with counter-insurgents with sticks, stones and Molotov cocktails.

1 August: Egyptian soldiers clashed with protesters, tearing down tents. Sixty-six people were arrested. [ citation needed ]

6 August: Hundreds of protesters gathered and prayed in Tahrir Square before they were attacked by soldiers. [137]

9 September (2011 Israeli embassy attack the "Friday of Correcting the Path"): Tens of thousands of people protested in Suez, Alexandria and Cairo however, Islamist protesters were absent.

9 October (Maspero demonstrations): [138] [139] Late in the evening of 9 October, during a protest in the Maspiro television building, [140] peaceful Egyptian protesters calling for the dissolution the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the resignation of Chairman Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi and the dismissal of the governor of Aswan province were attacked by military police. At least 25 people [141] were killed, and more than 200 wounded.

19 November: Clashes erupted as demonstrators reoccupied Tahrir Square. Central Security Forces used tear gas to control the situation. [142]

20 November: Police attempted to forcibly clear the square, but protesters returned in more than double their original numbers. Fighting continued through the night, with police using tear gas, beating and shooting demonstrators. [142]

21 November: Demonstrators returned to the square, with Coptic Christians standing guard as Muslims protesting the regime pause for prayers. The Health Ministry said that at least 23 died and over 1,500 were injured since 19 November. [142] Solidarity protests were held in Alexandria and Suez. [143] Dissident journalist Hossam el-Hamalawy told Al Jazeera that Egyptians would begin a general strike because they "had enough" of the SCAF. [144]

17 December 2011: The Institute d'Egypte caught fire during clashes between protesters and Egyptian military thousands of rare documents burned. [145]

23 January 2012: Democratically elected representatives of the People's Assembly met for the first time since Egypt's revolution, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces gave them legislative authority. [146] [147] [148]

24 January: Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi said that the decades-old state of emergency would be partially lifted the following day. [149] [150] [151] [152]

12 April: An administrative court suspended the 100-member constitutional assembly tasked with drafting a new Egyptian constitution. [153] [154] [155]

23–24 May: First round of voting in the first presidential election since Hosni Mubarak was deposed.

31 May: The decades-long state of emergency expired. [156] [157]

2 June: Mubarak and his former interior minister Habib al-Adli were sentenced to life in prison because of their failure to stop the killing during the first six days of the revolution. The former president, his two sons and a business tycoon were acquitted of corruption charges because the statute of limitations had expired. Six senior police officials were also acquitted for their role in the killing of demonstrators, due to lack of evidence. [158] [159] [160] [161]

8 June: Political factions tentatively agreed to a deal to form a new constitutional assembly, consisting of 100 members who will draft the new constitution. [162]

12 June: When the Egyptian parliament met to vote for members of a constitutional assembly dozens of secular MPs walked out, accusing Islamist parties of trying to dominate the panel. [163]

13 June: After Egypt's military government imposed de facto martial law (extending the arrest powers of security forces), the Justice Ministry issued a decree giving military officers authority to arrest civilians and try them in military courts. [164] [165] [166] [167] The provision remains in effect until a new constitution is introduced, and could mean those detained could remain in jail for that long according to state-run Egy News. [168]

14 June: The Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that a law passed by Parliament in May, banning former regime figures from running for office, was unconstitutional this ended a threat to Ahmed Shafik's candidacy for president during Egypt's 2012 presidential election. The court ruled that all articles making up the law regulating the 2011 parliamentary elections were invalid, upholding a lower-court ruling which found that candidates running on party slates were allowed to contest the one-third of parliamentary seats reserved for independents. The Egyptian parliament was dissolved, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces resumed legislative authority. The SCAF said that it would announce a 100-person assembly to write the country's new constitution. [168] [169] [170] [171] [172]

15 June: Security forces were stationed around Parliament to bar anyone, including lawmakers, from entering the chambers without official authorisation. [173] [174]

16–17 June: Second round of voting in the Egyptian presidential election. The SCAF issued an interim constitution, [175] [176] [177] [178] [179] [180] [181] [182] giving itself the power to control the prime minister, legislation, the national budget and declarations of war without oversight, and chose a 100-member panel to draft a permanent constitution. [174] [183] Presidential powers include the power to choose his vice president and cabinet, to propose the state budget and laws and to issue pardons. [178] The interim constitution removed the military and the defense minister from presidential authority and oversight. [166] [178] According to the interim constitution, a permanent constitution must be written within three months and be subject to a referendum 15 days later. When a permanent constitution is approved, a parliamentary election will be held within a month to replace the dissolved parliament. [176] [177] [178] [179]

18 June: The SCAF said that it picked a 100-member panel to draft a permanent constitution [174] if a court strikes down the parliament-picked assembly, planning a celebration at the end of June to mark the transfer of power to the new president. [166] [184] Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi declared himself the winner of the presidential election. [176] [177]

19–24 June: Crowds gathered in Tahrir Square to protest the SCAF's dissolution of an elected, Islamist parliament and await the outcome of the presidential election. [185] [186] [187] [188] [189] [190] [191]

24 June: Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi, the first Islamist elected head of an Arab state, is declared the winner of the presidential election by the Egyptian electoral commission. [192] [193] [194] [195] [196] [197]

26 June: The Supreme Administrative Court revoked Decree No. 4991/2012 from the Minister of Justice, which granted military intelligence and police the power to arrest civilians (a right previously reserved for civilian police officers). [183] [198] [199] [200]

27–28 June: After the first Constituent Assembly of Egypt was declared unconstitutional and dissolved in April by Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court, the second constituent assembly met to establish a framework for drafting a post-Mubarak constitution. [201] [202]

29 June: Mohamed Morsi took a symbolic oath of office in Tahrir Square, affirming that the people are the source of power. [203] [204] [205]

30 June: Morsi was sworn in as Egypt's first democratically elected president before the Supreme Constitutional Court at the podium used by U.S. President Barack Obama to reach out to the Islamic world in 2009 in his A New Beginning speech. [206] [207] [208] [209] [210]

Under President Mohamed Morsi Edit

For a chronological summary of the major events which took place after the 2011–2012 Egyptian revolution under President Mohamed Morsi, see Timeline of the 2011–2012 Egyptian revolution (Post-revolution timeline).

November 2012 declaration Edit

On 22 November 2012, Morsi issued a declaration immunizing his decrees from challenge and attempting to protect the work of the constituent assembly drafting the new constitution. [211] The declaration required a retrial of those acquitted of killing protesters, and extended the constituent assembly's mandate by two months. The declaration also authorized Morsi to take any measures necessary to protect the revolution. Liberal and secular groups walked out of the constituent assembly because they believed that it would impose strict Islamism, while the Muslim Brotherhood supported Morsi. [212] [213]

Morsi's declaration was criticized by Constitution Party leader Mohamed ElBaradei (who said that he had "usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh"), [214] and led to violent protests throughout the country. [215] Protesters again erected tents in Tahrir Square, demanding a reversal of the declaration and the dissolving of the constituent assembly. A "huge protest" was planned for Tuesday, 27 November, [216] with clashes reported between protesters and police. [217] The declaration was also condemned by Amnesty International UK. [218]

In April 2013 a youth group was created opposing Morsi and attempting to collect 22 million signatures by 30 June 2013 (the first anniversary of his presidency) on a petition demanding early presidential elections. This triggered the June 2013 protests. Although protests were scheduled for 30 June, opponents began gathering on the 28th. [219] Morsi supporters (primarily from Islamic parties) also protested that day. [220] On 30 June the group organized large protests in Tahrir Square and the presidential palace demanding early presidential elections, which later spread to other governorates. [221]

June—July 2013 protests and overthrow Edit

On 30 June 2013, marking the first anniversary of Morsi's inauguration as president, millions of Egyptians protested against him, demanding he step down from office. Morsi refused to resign. A 48-hour ultimatum was issued to him, demanding that he respond to the demands of the Egyptians, [222] and on 3 July 2013, the President of Egypt was overthrown. Unlike the imposition of martial law which followed the 2011 resignation of Hosni Mubarak, on 4 July 2013, a civilian senior jurist Adly Mansour was appointed interim president and was sworn in over the new government following Morsi's removal. Mansour had the right to issue constitutional declarations and vested executive power in the Supreme Constitutional Court, giving him executive, judicial and constitutional power. [223] Morsi refused to accept his removal from office, and many supporters vowed to reinstate him. They originally intended their sit-ins to celebrate Morsi's first anniversary, but they quickly became opposed to the new authorities. [224] Their sit-ins were dispersed on 14 August that year by security forces, leading to at least 904 civilian deaths and 8 police officers killed. [225] [226]

On 18 January 2014, the interim government institutionalised a new constitution following a referendum in which 98.2% of voters were supportive. Participation was low with only 38.6% of registered voters participating [227] although this was higher than the 33% who voted in a referendum during Morsi's tenure. [228] On 26 March 2014 Abdel Fattah el-Sisi the head of the Egyptian Armed Forces, who at this time was in control of the country, resigned from the military, announcing he would stand as a candidate in the 2014 presidential election. [229] The poll, which had a 47% turnout, and was held between 26 and 28 May 2014, resulted in a resounding victory for el-Sisi. [230] Sisi sworn into office as President of Egypt on 8 June 2014.

Cairo Edit

Cairo has been at the centre of the revolution the largest protests were held in downtown Tahrir Square, considered the "protest movement's beating heart and most effective symbol". [231] During the first three days of the protests there were clashes between the central security police and demonstrators, but on 28 January the police withdrew from all of Cairo. Citizens formed neighbourhood-watch groups to maintain order, and widespread looting was reported. Traffic police were reintroduced to Cairo the morning of 31 January. [232] An estimated two million people protested at Tahrir Square. [ citation needed ] During the protests, reporters Natasha Smith, Lara Logan and Mona Eltahawy were sexually assaulted while covering the events. [233] [234] [235] [236]

Alexandria Edit

Alexandria, home of Khaled Saeed, experienced major protests and clashes with police. There were few confrontations between demonstrators, since there were few Mubarak supporters (except for a few police-escorted convoys). The breakdown of law and order, including the general absence of police from the streets, continued until the evening of 3 February. Alexandria's protests were notable for the joint presence of Christians and Muslims in the events following the church bombing on 1 January, which sparked protests against the Mubarak regime.

Mansoura Edit

In the northern city of Mansoura, there were daily protests against the Mubarak regime beginning on 25 January two days later, the city was called a "war zone". [ citation needed ] On 28 January, 13 were reported dead in violent clashes on 9 February, 18 more protesters died. One protest, on 1 February, had an estimated attendance of one million. The remote city of Siwa had been relatively calm, [237] but local sheikhs reportedly in control put the community under lockdown after a nearby town was burned. [238]

Suez Edit

Suez also saw violent protests. Eyewitness reports suggested that the death toll was high, although confirmation was difficult due to a ban on media coverage in the area. [239] Some online activists called Suez Egypt's Sidi Bouzid (the Tunisian city where protests began). [240] On 3 February, 4,000 protesters took to the streets to demand Mubarak's resignation. [241] A labour strike took place on 8 February, [242] and large protests were held on 11 February. [243] The MENA news agency reported the death of two protestors and one police officers on 26 January. [244]

Other cities Edit

There were protests in Luxor. [245] On 11 February police opened fire on protesters in Dairut, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Shebin el-Kom, thousands protested in El-Arish on the Sinai Peninsula, [243] large protests took place in the southern cities of Sohag and Minya and nearly 100,000 people protested in and around local-government headquarters in Ismaïlia. [243] Over 100,000 protesters gathered on 27 January in front of the city council in Zagazig. [246] Bedouins in the Sinai Peninsula fought security forces for several weeks. [247] As a result of the decreased military border presence, Bedouin groups protected the borders and pledged their support of the revolution. [248] However, despite mounting tension among tourists no protests or civil unrest occurred in Sharm-El-Sheikh. [249]

Before the protests six cases of self-immolation were reported, including a man arrested while trying to set himself afire in downtown Cairo. [250] The cases were inspired by (and began one month after) the acts of self-immolation in Tunisia which triggered the Tunisian revolution. The self-immolators included Abdou Abdel-Moneim Jaafar, [251] Mohammed Farouk Hassan, [252] Mohammed Ashour Sorour [253] and Ahmed Hashim al-Sayyed, who later died from his injuries. [254]

As of 30 January, Al Jazeera reported as many as 150 deaths in the protests. [255]

By 29 January, 2,000 people were confirmed injured. [256] That day, an employee of the Azerbaijani embassy in Cairo was killed on their way home from work [257] the following day, Azerbaijan sent a plane to evacuate citizens [258] and opened a criminal investigation into the killing. [259]

Funerals for those killed during the "Friday of Anger" were held on 30 January. Hundreds of mourners gathered, calling for Mubarak's removal. [260] By 1 February the protests left at least 125 people dead, [261] although Human Rights Watch said that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay claimed that as many as 300 might have died in the unrest. The unconfirmed tally included 80 Human-Rights-Watch-verified deaths at two Cairo hospitals, 36 in Alexandria and 13 in Suez [262] [263] [264] over 3,000 people were reported injured. [262] [264]

An Egyptian governmental fact-finding commission about the revolution announced on 19 April that at least 846 Egyptians died in the nearly three-week-long uprising. [265] [266] [267] One prominent Egyptian who was killed was Emad Effat, a senior cleric at the Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah school of Al-Azhar University. He died 16 December 2011, after he was shot in front of the cabinet building. [268] At Effat's funeral the following day, hundreds of mourners chanted "Down with military rule". [268] [269]

International response to the protests was initially mixed, [270] although most governments called for peaceful action on both sides and a move towards reform. Most Western nations expressed concern about the situation, and many governments issued travel advisories and attempted to evacuate their citizens from Egypt. [271]

The European Union Foreign Affairs Chief said, "I also reiterate my call upon the Egyptian authorities to urgently establish a constructive and peaceful way to respond to the legitimate aspirations of Egyptian citizens for democratic and socioeconomic reforms." [272] The United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany issued similar statements calling for reform and an end to violence against peaceful protesters. Many states in the region expressed concern and supported Mubarak Saudi Arabia issued a statement "strongly condemn[ing]" the protests, [273] while Tunisia and Iran supported them. Israel was cautious, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking his government ministers to maintain silence and urging Israel's allies to curb their criticism of President Mubarak [274] [275] however, an Arab-Israeli parliamentarian supported the protests. Solidarity demonstrations for the protesters were held worldwide.

Non-governmental organizations expressed concern about the protests and the heavy-handed state response, with Amnesty International describing attempts to discourage the protests as "unacceptable". [276] Many countries (including the U.S., Israel, the UK and Japan) issued travel warnings or began evacuating their citizens, and multinational corporations began evacuating expatriate employees. [277] Many university students were also evacuated.

Post-ouster Edit

Many nations, leaders and organizations hailed the end of the Mubarak regime, and celebrations were held in Tunisia and Lebanon. World leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, joined in praising the revolution. [278] U.S. President Barack Obama praised the achievement of the Egyptian people and encouraged other activists, saying "Let's look at Egypt's example". [279] Amid growing concern for the country, David Cameron was the first world leader to visit Egypt (10 days after Mubarak's resignation). A news blackout was lifted as the prime minister landed in Cairo for a brief five-hour stopover, hastily added to the beginning of a planned tour of the Middle East. [280] On 15 March, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Egypt she was the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country since the handover of power from Mubarak to the military. Clinton urged military leaders to begin the process of a democratic transition, offering support to protesters and reaffirming ties between the two nations. [281]

On 29 January Mubarak indicated that he would change the government because, despite the crossing of a "point of no return", national stability and law and order must prevail. He asked the government, formed only months ago, to step down and promised that a new government would be formed. [282] Mubarak appointed Omar Suleiman, head of Egyptian Intelligence, vice president and Ahmed Shafik prime minister. [283] On 1 February, he said he would stay in office until the next election in September, and then leave. Mubarak promised political reform, but made no offer to resign.

The Muslim Brotherhood joined the revolution on 30 January, calling on the military to intervene and all opposition groups to unite against Mubarak. It joined other opposition groups in electing Mohamed el Baradei to lead an interim government. [284]

Many of the Al-Azhar imams joined protesters throughout the country on 30 January. [285] Christian leaders asked their congregations not to participate in the demonstrations, although a number of young Christian activists joined protests led by New Wafd Party member Raymond Lakah. [286]

On 31 January, Mubarak swore in his new cabinet in the hope that the unrest would fade. Protesters in Tahrir Square continued demanding his ouster, since a vice-president and prime minister were already appointed. [287] He told the new government to preserve subsidies, control inflation and provide more jobs. [288]

On 1 February Mubarak said that although his candidacy had been announced by high-ranking members of his National Democratic Party, [289] he never intended to run for reelection in September. [290] He asked parliament for reforms:

According to my constitutional powers, I call on parliament in both its houses to discuss amending article 76 and 77 of the constitution concerning the conditions on running for presidency of the republic and it sets specific a period for the presidential term. In order for the current parliament in both houses to be able to discuss these constitutional amendments and the legislative amendments linked to it for laws that complement the constitution and to ensure the participation of all the political forces in these discussions, I demand parliament to adhere to the word of the judiciary and its verdicts concerning the latest cases which have been legally challenged.

Opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), repeated their demand that Mubarak resign after the protests turned violent, the MB said that it was time for military intervention. [292] Mohamed ElBaradei, who said he was ready to lead a transitional government, [293] was a consensus candidate from a unified opposition, which included the 6 April Youth Movement, the We Are All Khaled Said Movement, the National Association for Change, the 25 January Movement, Kefaya and the Muslim Brotherhood. [294] ElBaradei formed a "steering committee". [295] On 5 February, talks began between the government and opposition groups for a transitional period before elections.

The government cracked down on the media, halting internet access [296] (a primary means of opposition communication) with the help of London-based Vodafone. [297] [298] [299] Journalists were harassed by supporters of the regime, eliciting condemnation from the Committee to Protect Journalists, European countries and the United States. Narus, a subsidiary of Boeing, sold the Mubarak government surveillance equipment to help identify dissidents. [300]

Reforms Edit

The revolution's primary demands, chanted at every protest, were bread (jobs), freedom, social justice and human dignity. The fulfillment of these demands has been uneven and debatable. Demands stemming from the main four include the following:

Protesters' demands [301]
Demand Status Date
1. Resignation of President Mubarak Met 11 February 2011
2. New minimum and maximum wages Met The basic minimum wage rose from EGP 246 to EGP 870 on 22 March 2015 [302]
3. Canceling emergency law Met [303] 31 May 2012
4. Dismantling the State Security Investigations Service Claimed met [304] reneged in 2013 [305] 31 May 2012
5. Announcement by vice-president Omar Suleiman that he would not run for president Claimed met [306]
reneged in April 2012
3 February 2011
6. Dissolving Parliament Met 13 February 2011
7. Release of those imprisoned since 25 January Ongoing More have been arrested and faced military trials under the SCAF
8. Ending the curfew Met [307] 15 June 2011
9. Removing the SSI-controlled university police Claimed met 3 March 2011
10. Investigation of officials responsible for violence against protesters Ongoing
11. Firing Minister of Information Anas el-Fiqqi and halting media propaganda Not met minister fired, ministry still exists and propaganda ongoing [308]
12. Reimbursing shop owners for losses during the curfew Announced Not met 7 February 2011
13. Announcing demands on government television and radio Claimed met 11–18 February 2011
14. Dissolving the NDP Met 16 April 2011
15. Arrest, interrogation and trial of Hosni Mubarak and his sons, Gamal and Alaa Met [309] 24 May 2011
16. Transfer of power from SCAF to civilian council Met [310] 30 June 2012
17. Removal of Mohamed Morsi in a military coup, after protests in Tahrir Square and throughout Egypt Met 3 July 2013

On 17 February, an Egyptian prosecutor ordered the detention of three former ministers (interior minister Habib el-Adli, tourism minister Zuhair Garana and housing minister Ahmed el-Maghrabi) and steel magnate Ahmed Ezz pending trial for wasting public funds. The public prosecutor froze the bank accounts of Adli and his family following accusations that over 4 million Egyptian pounds ($680,000) were transferred to his personal account by a businessman. The foreign minister was requested to contact European countries to freeze the other defendants' accounts. [311]

That day, the United States announced that it would give Egypt $150 million in aid to help it transition towards democracy. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that William Burns (undersecretary of state for political affairs) and David Lipton (a senior White House adviser on international economics) would travel to Egypt the following week. [311]

On 19 February a moderate Islamic party which had been banned for 15 years, Al-Wasat Al-Jadid (Arabic: حزب الوسط الجديد ‎, New Center Party), was finally recognised by an Egyptian court. The party was founded in 1996 by activists who split from the Muslim Brotherhood and sought to create a tolerant, liberal Islamic movement, but its four attempts to register as an official party were rejected. That day, Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq also said that 222 political prisoners would be released. Shafiq said that only a few were detained during the uprising he put the number of remaining political prisoners at 487, but did not say when they would be released. [312] On 20 February Yehia El Gamal [ar] , an activist and law professor, accepted on television the position of deputy prime minister. The next day, the Muslim Brotherhood announced that it would form a political party, the Freedom and Justice Party led by Saad Ketatni, for the upcoming parliamentary election. [313] [314] [315] A spokesperson said, "When we talk about the slogans of the revolution – freedom, social justice, equality – all of these are in the Sharia (Islamic law)." [316]

On 3 March, Prime Minister Shafiq submitted his resignation to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The SCAF appointed Essam Sharaf, a former transportation minister and a vocal critic of the regime following his resignation after the 2006 Qalyoub rail accident, to replace Shafik and form a new government. Sharaf's appointment was seen as a concession to protesters, since he was actively involved in the events in Tahrir Square. [317] [318] [319] Sharaf appointed former International Court of Justice judge Nabil Elaraby foreign minister and Mansour El Essawi as interior minister. [320] [321]

On 16 April the Higher Administrative Court dissolved the former ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), ordering its funds and property to be transferred to the government. [322] On 24 May it was announced that Hosni Mubarak and his sons, Gamal and Alaa, would be for over the deaths of anti-government protesters during the revolution. [323]

Trials Edit

Mubarak's resignation was followed by a series of arrests of, and travel bans on, high-profile figures on charges of causing the deaths of 300–500 demonstrators, injuring 5,000 more, embezzlement, profiteering, money laundering and human rights abuses. Among those charged were Mubarak, his wife Suzanne, his sons Gamal and Alaa, former interior minister Habib el-Adly, former housing minister Ahmed El-Maghrabi, former tourism minister Zoheir Garana and former secretary for organizational affairs of the National Democratic Party Ahmed Ezz. [324] Mubarak's ouster was followed by allegations of corruption against other government officials and senior politicians. [325] [326] On 28 February 2011, Egypt's top prosecutor ordered an assets freeze on Mubarak and his family. [327] This was followed by arrest warrants, travel bans and asset freezes for other public figures, including former parliament speaker Fathi Sorour and former Shura Council speaker Safwat El Sherif. [328] [329] Arrest warrants were issued for financial misappropriations by public figures who left the country at the outbreak of the revolution, including former trade and industry minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid and businessman Hussein Salem Salem was believed to have fled to Dubai. [330] Trials of the accused officials began on 5 March 2011, when former interior minister Habib el-Adli appeared at the Giza Criminal Court in Cairo. [331]

In March 2011 Abbud al-Zumar, one of Egypt's best-known political prisoners, was freed after 30 years. Founder and first emir of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, he was implicated on 6 October 1981 assassination of Anwar Sadat. [332]

On 24 May, Mubarak was ordered to stand trial on charges of premeditated murder of peaceful protestors during the revolution if convicted, he could face the death penalty. The list of charges, released by the public prosecutor, was "intentional murder, attempted killing of some demonstrators . misuse of influence and deliberately wasting public funds and unlawfully making private financial gains and profits". [12]

Regional instability Edit

The Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions sparked a wave of uprisings, with demonstrations spreading across the Middle East and North Africa. Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Yemen and Syria witnessed major protests, and minor demonstrations occurred in Iraq, Kuwait, Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia [ citation needed ] and Sudan.

The Egyptian protests in Egypt were not centred around religion-based politics, but nationalism and social consciousness. [333] Before the uprising, the best-organised and most-prominent opposition movements in the Arab world usually came from Islamist organisations with members who were motivated and ready to sacrifice. However, secular forces emerged from the revolution espousing principles shared with religious groups: freedom, social justice and dignity. Islamist organisations emerged with a greater freedom to operate. Although the cooperative, inter-faith revolution was no guarantee that partisan politics would not re-emerge in its wake, its success represented a change from the intellectual stagnation (created by decades of repression) which pitted modernity and Islamism against one another. Islamists and secularists are faced with new opportunities for dialogue on subjects such as the role of Islam and Sharia in society, freedom of speech and the impact of secularism on a predominantly Muslim population. [334]

Despite the optimism surrounding the revolution, commentators expressed concern about the risk of increased power and influence for Islamist forces in the country and region and the difficulty of integrating different groups, ideologies and visions for the country. Journalist Caroline Glick wrote that the Egyptian revolution foreshadowed a rise in religious radicalism and support for terrorism, citing a 2010 Pew Opinion poll which found that Egyptians supported Islamists over modernizers by an over two-to-one margin. [335] Another journalist, Shlomo Ben-Ami, said that Egypt's most formidable task was to refute the old paradigm of the Arab world which sees the only choices for regimes repressive, secular dictatorships or repressive theocracies. Ben-Ami noted that with Islam a central part of the society, any emergent regime was bound to be attuned to religion. In his view, a democracy which excluded all religion from public life (as in France) could succeed in Egypt but no genuine Arab democracy could disallow the participation of political Islam. [336]

Since the revolution Islamist parties (such as the Muslim Brotherhood) have strengthened in the democratic landscape, leading constitutional change, voter mobilization and protests. [337] [338] This was a concern of the secular and youth movements, who wanted elections to be held later so they could catch up to the already-well-organized groups. Elections were held in September 2011, with Liberty and Justice (the Muslim Brotherhood party) winning 48.5 percent of the vote. In 2014 in Upper Egypt, several newspapers reported that Upper Egypt wanted to secede from the rest of the country to improve its standard of living. [339]

Alexandria church bombing Edit

Early on New Year's Day 2011 a bomb exploded in front of an Alexandria church, killing 23 Coptic Christians. Egyptian officials said that "foreign elements" were behind the attack. [340] Other sources claim that the bomb killed 21 people only and injured more than 70. [341] [342] Some Copts accused the Egyptian government of negligence [343] after the attack, many Christians protested in the streets (with Muslims joining later). After clashing with police, protesters in Alexandria and Cairo shouted slogans denouncing Mubarak's rule [344] [345] [346] in support of unity between Christians and Muslims. Their sense of being let down by national security forces was cited as one of the first grievances sparking 25 January uprising. [347] On 7 February a complaint was filed against Habib al-Adly (interior minister until Mubarak dissolved the government during the protests' early days), accusing him of directing the attack. [348]

Role of women Edit

Egyptian women have been participating actively in the revolution, in the same way that they played an active role in the strike movement in the few last years, in several cases pressurizing the men to join the strikes. [350] In earlier protests in Egypt, women only accounted for about 10 per cent of the protesters, but on Tahrir Square they accounted for about 40 to 50 per cent in the days leading up to the fall of Mubarak. Women, with and without veils, participated in the defence of the square, set up barricades, led debates, shouted slogans and, together with the men, risked their lives. [350] Some participated in the protests, were present in news clips and on Facebook forums and were part of the revolution's leadership during the Egyptian revolution. In Tahrir Square, female protesters (some with children) supported the protests. The diversity of the protesters in Tahrir Square was visible in the women who participated many wore head scarves and other signs of religious conservatism, while others felt free to kiss a friend or smoke a cigarette in public. Women organised protests and reported events female bloggers, such as Leil Zahra Mortada, risked abuse or imprisonment by keeping the world informed of events in Tahrir Square and elsewhere. [351] Among those who died was Sally Zahran, who was beaten to death during one of the demonstrations. NASA reportedly planned to name one of its Mars exploration spacecraft in Zahran's honour. [352]

The participation and contributions by Egyptian women to the protests were attributed to the fact that many (especially younger women) were better educated than previous generations and represent more than half of Egyptian university students. This is an empowering factor for women, who have become more present and active publicly. The advent of social media also provided a tool for women to become protest leaders. [351]

Role of the military Edit

The Egyptian Armed Forces initially enjoyed a better public reputation than the police did the former was seen as a professional body protecting the country, and the latter was accused of systemic corruption and lawless violence. However, when the SCAF cracked down on protesters after becoming the de facto ruler of Egypt the military's popularity decreased. [ citation needed ] All four Egyptian presidents since the 1950s have a military background. Key Egyptian military personnel include defense minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and armed forces chief of staff Sami Hafez Enan. [353] [354] The Egyptian military numbers about 468,500 active personnel, plus a reserve of 479,000. [355]

As head of Egypt's armed forces, Tantawi has been described as "aged and change-resistant" and is attached to the old regime. He has used his position as defense minister to oppose economic and political reform he saw as weakening central authority. Other key figures (Sami Hafez Anan chief among them) are younger, with closer connections to the U.S. and the Muslim Brotherhood. An important aspect of the relationship between the Egyptian and American military establishments is the $1.3 billion in annual military aid provided to Egypt, which pays for American-made military equipment and allows Egyptian officers to train in the U.S. Guaranteed this aid package, the ruling SCAF is resistant to reform. [356] [357] [358] One analyst, conceding the military's conservatism, says it has no option but to facilitate democratisation. It will have to limit its political role to continue good relations with the West, and cannot restrict Islamist participation in a genuine democracy. [336]

The military has led a violent crackdown on the Egyptian revolution since the fall of Mubarak. On 9 March 2011 military police violently dispersed a sit-in in Tahrir Square, arresting and torturing protesters. Seven female protesters were forcibly subjected to virginity tests. [359] During the night of 8 April 2011 military police attacked a sit-in in Tahrir Square by protesters and sympathetic military officers, killing at least one. [360] On 9 October the Egyptian military crushed protesters under armed personnel carriers and shot live ammunition at a demonstration in front of the Maspero television building, killing at least 24. [361] On 19 November the military and police engaged in a continuous six-day battle with protestors in the streets of downtown Cairo and Alexandria, killing nearly 40 and injuring over 2,000. [362] On 16 December 2011 military forces dispersed a sit-in at the Cabinet of Ministers building, killing 17. [363] Soldiers fired live ammunition and attacked from the rooftop with Molotov cocktails, rocks and other missiles. [364]

Impact on foreign relations Edit

Foreign governments in the West (including the U.S.) regarded Mubarak as an important ally and supporter in the Israeli–Palestinian peace negotiations. [45] After wars with Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979 (provoking controversy in the Arab world). According to the 1978 Camp David Accords (which led to the peace treaty), Israel and Egypt receive billions of dollars in aid annually from the United States Egypt received over US$1.3 billion in military aid each year, in addition to economic and development assistance. [365] According to Juan Cole many Egyptian youth felt ignored by Mubarak, feeling that he put the interests of the West ahead of theirs. [366] The cooperation of the Egyptian regime in enforcing the blockade of the Gaza Strip was deeply unpopular with the Egyptian public. [367]

Online activism and social media Edit

The 6 April Youth Movement (Arabic: حركة شباب 6 أبريل) is an Egyptian Facebook group begun in spring 2008 to support workers in El-Mahalla El-Kubra, an industrial town, who were planning to strike on 6 April. Activists called on participants to wear black and stay home the day of the strike. Bloggers and citizen journalists used Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, blogs and other media tools to report on the strike, alert their networks about police activity, organize legal protection and draw attention to their efforts. The New York Times has called it the political Facebook group in Egypt with the most dynamic debates. [368] In March 2012 it had 325,000 [369] predominantly young and members, most previously inactive politically, whose concerns included free speech, nepotism in government and the country's stagnant economy. Their Facebook forum features intense and heated discussions, and is frequently updated.

We are all Khaled Said is a Facebook group which formed in the aftermath of Said's beating and death. The group attracted hundreds of thousands of members worldwide, playing a prominent role in spreading (and drawing attention to) the growing discontent. As the protests began, Google executive Wael Ghonim revealed that he was behind the account. He was later detained for a few days until the government was able to get a hold of certain information that they needed. Many questions were left around that subject, no one really understood what had actually happened or what has had been said. [370] In a TV interview with SCAF members after the revolution, Abdul Rahman Mansour (an underground activist and media expert) was disclosed as sharing the account with Ghonim. [371] Another online contribution was made by Asmaa Mahfouz, an activist who posted a video challenging people to publicly protest. [372] Facebook had previously suspended the group because some administrators were using pseudonyms, a violation of the company's terms of service. [373]

Social media has been used extensively. [374] [375] [376] [377] As one Egyptian activist tweeted during the protests, "We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world." [378] Internet censorship has also been extensive, in some cases to the extent of taking entire nations virtually offline. [379]

Facebook, Twitter and blogging helped spread the uprising. Egyptian businessman Khaled Said was beaten to death by police in June 2010, reportedly in retaliation for a video he posted showing Egyptian police sharing the spoils of a drug bust. Wael Ghonim's memorial Facebook page to Said grew to over 400,000 followers, creating an online arena where protestors and those discontented with the government could gather and organise. The page called for protests on 25 January, later known as the "Day of Wrath". Hundreds of thousands of protestors flooded the streets to show their discontent with murder and corruption in their country. Ghonim was jailed on 28 January, and released 12 days later.

Egyptian activist and 6 April Youth Movement member Asmaa Mahfouz posted a video urging the Egyptian people to meet her at Tahrir Square, rise up against the government and demand democracy. In the video, she spoke about four protesters who had immolated themselves in protest of 30 years of poverty and degradation. On 24 January Mahfouz posted another video relating efforts made in support of the protest, from printing posters to creating flyers. The videos were posted on Facebook and then YouTube. The day after her last video post, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians poured into the streets in protest.

Since 25 January 2011, videos (including those of a badly beaten Khaled Said, disproving police claims that he had choked to death), tweets and Facebook comments have kept the world abreast of the situation in Egypt. Amir Ali documents the ways in which social media was used by Egyptian activists, Egyptian celebrities and political figures abroad to fan the protests. [380]

Democracy Now! journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous provided live coverage and tweets from Tahrir Square during the protests, and was credited with using social media to increase awareness of the protests. [381] [382] The role of social media in the Egyptian uprising was debated in the first edition of the Dubai Debates: "Mark Zuckerberg – the new hero of the Arab people?" [383] Amir Ali has argued that, based in part on the Egyptian revolution, social media may be an effective tool in developing nations. [384]

Critics who downplay the influence of social networking on the Arab Spring cite several points:

  • Fewer than 20 percent of Egyptians had internet access, and the internet reached less than 40 percent of the country [385]
  • Social-networking sites were generally unpopular in the Middle East, [386][387]
  • Such sites were not sufficiently private to evade authorities [388]
  • Many people did not trust social networking as a news source [389]
  • Social-networking sites were promoted by the media [390]
  • Social-networking sites did not involve non-activists in the revolution [391]

Some protesters discouraged the use of social media. A widely circulated pamphlet by an anonymous activist group titled "How to Protest Intelligently" (Arabic: كيف للاحتجاج بذكاء؟), asked readers "not to use Twitter or Facebook or other websites because they are all being monitored by the Ministry of the Interior". [392]

Television, particularly live coverage by Al Jazeera English and BBC News, was important to the revolution the cameras provided exposure, preventing mass violence by the government in Tahrir Square (in contrast to the lack of live coverage and more-widespread violence in Libya). [393] Its use was important in order to portray the violence of the Egyptian government, as well as, building support for the revolution through several different mediums. On one front was social media giving minute by minute updates via YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and in the other hand was the use of the mainstream media to report to a wider audience about the overall developments occurring in Egypt. [394] The ability of protesters to focus their demonstrations on a single area (with live coverage) was fundamental in Egypt but impossible in Libya, Bahrain and Syria, irrespective of social-media use. A social-media expert launched a network of messages with the hashtag #jan25 on 11 February 2011, when Mubarak's resignation was announced. [395]

Social media helped secure solidarity for the revolutionaries from people outside of Egypt. This is evident through movements like the "March of Millions", "Voice of Egypt Abroad", "Egyptians Abroad in Support of Egypt" and "New United Arab States", who had their inception during the revolution inside the realms of Twitter and Facebook. [394]

Journalism scholar Heather Ford studied the use of infoboxes and cleanup templates in the Wikipedia article regarding the revolution. Ford claims that infoboxes and cleanup tags were used as objects of "bespoken-code" by Wikipedia editors. By using these elements, editors shaped the news narrative in the first 18 days of the revolution. Ford used the discussion page and the history of edits to the page. She shows how political cartoons were removed, and how the number of casualties became a source of heated debate. Her research exemplifies how editors coordinated and prioritized work on the article, but also how political events are represented through collaborative journalism. [396]

Role of media disruption on 28 January 2011 Edit

During the early morning hours of 28 January the Mubarak regime shut down internet and cell phone networks in the whole country. This media shutdown was likely one of the reasons why the numbers of protestors exploded on 28 January.

While the regime disrupted the media, people needed to engage in face-to-face communication on a local level, which the regime could not monitor or control. In such a situation it is more likely that radicals will influence their neighbors, who are not able to see the public opinion displayed in social media, therefore these people are then more likely to also engage in civil unrest. [397]

This vicious circle can be explained through a threshold model of collective behavior, which states that people are more likely to engage in risky actions if other people inside their networks (neighbors, friends, etc.) have taken action. Radicals have a small threshold and are more likely to form new networks during an information blackout, influencing the people.

Disrupting the media and communication had 2 main results: it increased the local mobilization of people and empowered radicals who influenced their surroundings, which resulted in an increase in protests. [398]

During 28 January the increased local mobilization pushed a large amount of apolitical Egyptians into action, either to look after their friends and family in the absence of mobile communication or to complain about the shutdown, resulting in large protests not only in Cairo. Meanwhile, the Mubarak regime was unable to communicate a possible threat to the protestors via social media and was therefore unable to dissuade the crowds through this mean, which spread the protests further. [397]

Post-revolutionary art Edit

The 25 January Revolution and the fall of Hosni Mubarak the following month ushered in a new artistic era reflecting a changed social and political environment [399] "the revolution triggered a new public culture". [400] Since its beginning, artists played a significant role in the protests street art and music (electro or techno sha'bi) were used to craft a public culture. [401] Artists documented and captured the essence of the revolution, distributing their art through online and face-to-face social networks. [402]


Providing assistance

In London, planning in early 1989 inevitably focused on Poland and Hungary, where the process of change was evident, where there was a clear direction of travel and time existed to devise and implement a strategy. Without the financial clout of the USA or West Germany to effect change, officials came up with innovative solutions to aid and support the transition they wished to see.

One such solution was the ‘Know-How’ Fund. This technical assistance programme aimed to transfer knowledge and skills in areas such as governance and management, financial services, law and justice, economic and monetary policy, and also political democracy. It funded carefully targeted initiatives in key areas where the UK had vast experience. There was a recognition that the UK had undergone a decade of economic restructuring and the new regimes in Eastern Europe were keen to learn from the British example. Again, it was about giving things a push in the right direction.


Martyrs of the Revolution

You don’t have to be a Middle East scholar to know that the big story from Tunisia today is bad news for that country’s revolution, which many saw as the bright light of the Arab Spring. An unknown assailant has killed opposition leader Chokri Belaid, the head of an alliance of secular leftist parties known as the Popular Front. He was also a prominent critic of Ennahda, the Islamist party that’s now in charge of Tunisia’s post-revolutionary government. Belaid’s killer shot him three times as he was leaving his home. (The photo above shows Belaid’s father and wife mourning him in a Tunis hospital.)

Tunisia has been swept by political violence in recent months, much of it seemingly engineered by religious conservatives against liberal secularists. Just a few days ago, Belaid was accusing Ennahda of giving a "green light" to political assassinations. So it’s easy to see how his killing could exacerbate the existing tensions within Tunisian society.

This is, potentially, not only bad news for Tunisia. It also bodes ill for broader democratization within the Middle East. Because of its relatively sophisticated political culture and its comparatively robust institutions, Tunisia is regarded by many onlookers as the Arab Spring country with the best preconditions for success. If it stumbles, the likelihood of a positive outcome for other democratic aspirants, like Egypt or Libya, starts to look even shakier.

So let’s hope that Belaid’s killing doesn’t throw the Tunisian revolution off track. But if history is any guide, Tunisia’s leaders will need all their powers of persuasion to ensure that tensions don’t escalate. Past revolutions have often been punctuated by political killings, which all too often have marked the start of spirals of radicalization.

In the larger sense, of course, "political killing" is precisely what many revolutions are about — the channeling of violence for the purpose of far-reaching social change. (No single event guaranteed that the English Civil War would go on more than the execution of King Charles I.) Revolutions are grand theaters of emotion, so the murder of a symbolic political figure can serve as a powerful catalyst for action. And you can always bet that there will be power-hungry politicians around to seize the moment.

Perhaps the best example of this dynamic occurred during the French Revolution, when the moderate revolutionary Charlotte Corday took it upon herself to attack the leading Jacobin, Jean-Paul Marat, stabbing him fatally in his bath in July 1793. Corday was caught and guillotined shortly thereafter. But Jacobin-in-chief Maximilien Robespierre, portraying Marat’s assassination as an example of what faced insufficiently vigilant revolutionaries, used the event to consolidate his hold on power — and as a trigger for the Reign of Terror that followed.

From the modern-day perspective, perhaps the most fascinating thing about Marat’s death is the way that his supporters quickly turned him into an evocative icon of revolutionary passions. The entire National Convention (the revolutionary parliament) turned out for his funeral. Jacque-Louis David’s famous painting of the dead Marat in his bath became the emblematic work of pro-revolutionary propaganda. Zealous Jacobins even cut out Marat’s heart and hung it from the ceiling of one of their revolutionary clubs. Even the Soviet Union memorialized Marat, naming streets and a battleship after him.

The Soviets, indeed, understood a thing or two about the uses of the cult of revolutionary martyrdom. When vengeful anti-communists executed 26 imprisoned revolutionaries in 1918 — the "26 Baku commissars" of subsequent legend — the Bolsheviks immediately stylized their deaths into an epic of heroic political sacrifice.

But perhaps the most fateful (it not fatal) escalation of that same year took place after Fanni Kaplan’s attempt to kill the Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Lenin, on August 30. Kaplan managed to hit him with two of the three shots from her Browning pistol, but Lenin survived the shooting. Like Corday, she was executed soon thereafter — and Lenin, again following his hero Robespierre, used the occasion to launch an all-encompassing "Red Terror" aimed at counterrevolutionaries (which conveniently included many of his own enemies on the Left). Lenin’s campaign swept away basic civil liberties for the better part of the next century.

A similar dynamic reveals itself again and again. On May 1, 1979, it was the assassination of Morteza Motahhari, Ayatollah Khomeini’s beloved student and confidant, that prompted one of the major turning points in Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Motahhari was one of the most important intellectual architects of Khomeini’s plans for clerical rule, a role that made him a prime target for the radical leftist groups that were determined to shape the revolution in their own image. Motahhari was also something of an ersatz son for Khomeini, so it’s hard to overestimate the emotional impact that his death had on the elderly ayatollah.

The revelation that a Marxist guerilla group was behind the killing confirmed Khomeini’s deep-seated suspicions about the revolution’s secular and leftist supporters, and prompted him to move ahead with his plans to defend clerical rule against them. Just four days later, he issued a decree establishing the Revolutionary Guard, a new armed force beholden directly to him. Later waves of attacks on officials of the new regime in the years that followed (especially a 1981 bombing that killed several top leaders, including Ayatollah Mohammed Beheshti, another one of Khomeini’s favorites) triggered brutal reprisals and contributed to the deepening of the revolutionary police state.

By such grim standards, the portents for Tunisia are not the worst. The first reaction from Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, a member of Ennahda, gestured in the right direction: He condemned Belaid’s killing and declared those behind the murder to be "enemies of the revolution." He has since dissolved the government, promising to set up a new one that will be more inclusive — only to have his own party reject that plan, creating even more uncertainty. Meanwhile, that hasn’t done much to placate opposition protestors, who stormed Ennahda offices around the country. Belaid’s brother has blamed Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi for the hit.

As things stand now, it appears unlikely that Tunisia will break out into civil war so far the country’s leftists have shown little inclination to violence. The more probable risk is that this could mark the start of a nearly insurmountable split within the revolutionary camp, with serious consequences for Tunisia’s long-term instability. Ominously, the protestors now battling police in the streets are already calling for a "second revolution."

Needless to say, political killings are always bad. But stable societies at least have the institutions to cope with the consequences. (For all the controversy over the assassination of John F. Kennedy, no one could seriously argue that the American political system was turned on its head by his death.) Societies undergoing revolutionary transitions, by contrast, are subject to extreme volatility, and the drama of a high-profile murder can quickly push things in a bad direction.

One can only hope that Tunisia’s politicians succeed in moderating the passions likely to be aroused by Belaid’s assassination. If history is any indication, they will need to move carefully. It’s vital that the authorities do everything they can to ensure a proper investigation of the death, that they show that they have no intention of exploiting it for their own political gain, and that they will not allow a culture of impunity for violent acts (including those committed by fellow Islamists). Indeed, Belaid’s death could even have a positive influence if it serves to push Ennahda to crack down on its own extremists.

This is, of course, all much easier said than done at a time when emotions will be running high on the street. Recent events in Egypt demonstrate how quickly a revolutionary government can lose legitimacy when it cracks down on protests. Let’s hope that Tunisia can still make the grade.

You don’t have to be a Middle East scholar to know that the big story from Tunisia today is bad news for that country’s revolution, which many saw as the bright light of the Arab Spring. An unknown assailant has killed opposition leader Chokri Belaid, the head of an alliance of secular leftist parties known as the Popular Front. He was also a prominent critic of Ennahda, the Islamist party that’s now in charge of Tunisia’s post-revolutionary government. Belaid’s killer shot him three times as he was leaving his home. (The photo above shows Belaid’s father and wife mourning him in a Tunis hospital.)

Tunisia has been swept by political violence in recent months, much of it seemingly engineered by religious conservatives against liberal secularists. Just a few days ago, Belaid was accusing Ennahda of giving a "green light" to political assassinations. So it’s easy to see how his killing could exacerbate the existing tensions within Tunisian society.

This is, potentially, not only bad news for Tunisia. It also bodes ill for broader democratization within the Middle East. Because of its relatively sophisticated political culture and its comparatively robust institutions, Tunisia is regarded by many onlookers as the Arab Spring country with the best preconditions for success. If it stumbles, the likelihood of a positive outcome for other democratic aspirants, like Egypt or Libya, starts to look even shakier.

So let’s hope that Belaid’s killing doesn’t throw the Tunisian revolution off track. But if history is any guide, Tunisia’s leaders will need all their powers of persuasion to ensure that tensions don’t escalate. Past revolutions have often been punctuated by political killings, which all too often have marked the start of spirals of radicalization.

In the larger sense, of course, "political killing" is precisely what many revolutions are about — the channeling of violence for the purpose of far-reaching social change. (No single event guaranteed that the English Civil War would go on more than the execution of King Charles I.) Revolutions are grand theaters of emotion, so the murder of a symbolic political figure can serve as a powerful catalyst for action. And you can always bet that there will be power-hungry politicians around to seize the moment.

Perhaps the best example of this dynamic occurred during the French Revolution, when the moderate revolutionary Charlotte Corday took it upon herself to attack the leading Jacobin, Jean-Paul Marat, stabbing him fatally in his bath in July 1793. Corday was caught and guillotined shortly thereafter. But Jacobin-in-chief Maximilien Robespierre, portraying Marat’s assassination as an example of what faced insufficiently vigilant revolutionaries, used the event to consolidate his hold on power — and as a trigger for the Reign of Terror that followed.

From the modern-day perspective, perhaps the most fascinating thing about Marat’s death is the way that his supporters quickly turned him into an evocative icon of revolutionary passions. The entire National Convention (the revolutionary parliament) turned out for his funeral. Jacque-Louis David’s famous painting of the dead Marat in his bath became the emblematic work of pro-revolutionary propaganda. Zealous Jacobins even cut out Marat’s heart and hung it from the ceiling of one of their revolutionary clubs. Even the Soviet Union memorialized Marat, naming streets and a battleship after him.

The Soviets, indeed, understood a thing or two about the uses of the cult of revolutionary martyrdom. When vengeful anti-communists executed 26 imprisoned revolutionaries in 1918 — the "26 Baku commissars" of subsequent legend — the Bolsheviks immediately stylized their deaths into an epic of heroic political sacrifice.

But perhaps the most fateful (it not fatal) escalation of that same year took place after Fanni Kaplan’s attempt to kill the Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Lenin, on August 30. Kaplan managed to hit him with two of the three shots from her Browning pistol, but Lenin survived the shooting. Like Corday, she was executed soon thereafter — and Lenin, again following his hero Robespierre, used the occasion to launch an all-encompassing "Red Terror" aimed at counterrevolutionaries (which conveniently included many of his own enemies on the Left). Lenin’s campaign swept away basic civil liberties for the better part of the next century.

A similar dynamic reveals itself again and again. On May 1, 1979, it was the assassination of Morteza Motahhari, Ayatollah Khomeini’s beloved student and confidant, that prompted one of the major turning points in Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Motahhari was one of the most important intellectual architects of Khomeini’s plans for clerical rule, a role that made him a prime target for the radical leftist groups that were determined to shape the revolution in their own image. Motahhari was also something of an ersatz son for Khomeini, so it’s hard to overestimate the emotional impact that his death had on the elderly ayatollah.

The revelation that a Marxist guerilla group was behind the killing confirmed Khomeini’s deep-seated suspicions about the revolution’s secular and leftist supporters, and prompted him to move ahead with his plans to defend clerical rule against them. Just four days later, he issued a decree establishing the Revolutionary Guard, a new armed force beholden directly to him. Later waves of attacks on officials of the new regime in the years that followed (especially a 1981 bombing that killed several top leaders, including Ayatollah Mohammed Beheshti, another one of Khomeini’s favorites) triggered brutal reprisals and contributed to the deepening of the revolutionary police state.

By such grim standards, the portents for Tunisia are not the worst. The first reaction from Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, a member of Ennahda, gestured in the right direction: He condemned Belaid’s killing and declared those behind the murder to be "enemies of the revolution." He has since dissolved the government, promising to set up a new one that will be more inclusive — only to have his own party reject that plan, creating even more uncertainty. Meanwhile, that hasn’t done much to placate opposition protestors, who stormed Ennahda offices around the country. Belaid’s brother has blamed Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi for the hit.

As things stand now, it appears unlikely that Tunisia will break out into civil war so far the country’s leftists have shown little inclination to violence. The more probable risk is that this could mark the start of a nearly insurmountable split within the revolutionary camp, with serious consequences for Tunisia’s long-term instability. Ominously, the protestors now battling police in the streets are already calling for a "second revolution."

Needless to say, political killings are always bad. But stable societies at least have the institutions to cope with the consequences. (For all the controversy over the assassination of John F. Kennedy, no one could seriously argue that the American political system was turned on its head by his death.) Societies undergoing revolutionary transitions, by contrast, are subject to extreme volatility, and the drama of a high-profile murder can quickly push things in a bad direction.

One can only hope that Tunisia’s politicians succeed in moderating the passions likely to be aroused by Belaid’s assassination. If history is any indication, they will need to move carefully. It’s vital that the authorities do everything they can to ensure a proper investigation of the death, that they show that they have no intention of exploiting it for their own political gain, and that they will not allow a culture of impunity for violent acts (including those committed by fellow Islamists). Indeed, Belaid’s death could even have a positive influence if it serves to push Ennahda to crack down on its own extremists.

This is, of course, all much easier said than done at a time when emotions will be running high on the street. Recent events in Egypt demonstrate how quickly a revolutionary government can lose legitimacy when it cracks down on protests. Let’s hope that Tunisia can still make the grade.


Watch the video: ΣΟΥΛΙΩΤΕΣ - (January 2022).