“However miserable a figure our bourgeoisie may cut in the political field, it cannot be denied that as far as industry and commerce are concerned, it is at last doing its duty. The impetuous growth of industry and commerce referred to in the introduction to the second edition has since then developed with still greater vigour. What has taken place in this respect since 1869 in the Rhenish-Westphalian industrial region is quite unprecedented for Germany, and recalls the upsurge in the English manufacturing districts at the beginning of this century. The same thing no doubt holds good for Saxony and Upper Silesia, Berlin, Hanover and the sea cities. At last we have world trade, a really big industry, a really modern bourgeoisie. But in return we have also had a real crash, and have likewise got a real, powerful proletariat. For the future historian, the roar of battle at Spichern, Marsla-Tour and Sedan, and everything connected therewith, will be of much less importance in the history of Germany from 1869-74 than the unpretentious, quiet but constantly progressing development of the German proletariat. As early as 1870, the German provocation and its natural effect: the general national enthusiasm in Germany. The German socialist workers did not allow themselves to become confused for a single moment. Not a trace of national chauvinism showed among them. In the midst of the wildest intoxication of victory they remained cool, demanding “an equitable peace with the French republic and no annexations”, and not even martial law able to silence them. No battle glory, no talk of German “imperial magnificence” produced any effect on them; their sole aim remained the liberation of the entire European proletariat. We may say with assurance that in no other country have the workers hitherto been put to so hard a test and have acquitted themselves so splendidly. Martial law during the war was followed by the trials for treason, for ‘lèse majesté’ and for insulting officials, and the ever-increasing police chicanery of peace-time. The ‘Volksstaat’ had usually three or four editors in prison at the same time and the other papers in proportion. Every party speaker at all well known had to stand trial at least once a year and was almost always convicted. Deportations, confiscations, and the breaking-up of meetings followed one another, thick as hail. All in vain. The place of every person arrested or deported was immediately filled by another; for every broken-up meeting two new ones were called, and thus the arbitrary power of the police was worn down in one place after the other by endurance and strict conformity to the law. All this persecution had the opposite effect to that intended. Far from breaking the workers’ party or even bending it, it only brought ever new recruits to it and consolidated the organisation. In their struggle with the authorities and also individual bourgeois, the workers showed themselves superior, intellectually and morally, and proved, particularly in their conflict with the so-called “providers of work, the employers, that they, the workers, were now the educated class and the capitalists the ignoramuses. And they conduct the fight for the most part with a sense of humour, which is the best proof of how sure they are of their cause and how conscious of their superiority. A struggle thus conducted, on historically prepared soil, must yield great results. The successes of the January elections stand out  unique in the history of the modern workers’ movement and the astonishment aroused by them throughout Europe was fully justified” [F. Engels, Prefatory Note to ‘The Peasant War in Germany’, London, July 1874] [(in) Karl Marx Friedrich Engels, Selected Works in Two Volumes. Volume I, London, 1962]