Marx and Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung June 1848

A New Policy in Posen

Source: MECW Volume 7, p. 104;
Written: by Engels on June 20, 1848;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 21, June 21, 1848.

Cologne, June 20. Once again there is a new twist to the Posen affair! After the Willisen phase with its lofty promises and enthusiastic proclamations came the Pfuel phase with shrapnel, brandings and shaved heads,[79] the phase of the blood bath and Russian barbarity. Now after the Pfuel phase comes a new phase of reconciliation!

Major Olberg, Chief of the General Staff at Posen and chief participant in the massacres and brandings, is suddenly transferred against his will. General Colomb is also transferred against his will from Posen to Königsberg. General Pfuel (von Höllenstein) has been ordered to go to Berlin and Oberpräsident Beurmann has already arrived there.

Thus Posen has been completely deserted by the knights who bore lunar caustic in their coat of arms, were swinging shearing knives and bravely, from secure ambush, mowed down defenceless scythemen with shrapnel at a distance of 1,000 to 1,200 paces. The German-Jewish Polonophobes are shaking. just like the Poles at an earlier time they find themselves betrayed by the Government.

A light has suddenly dawned upon the Camphausen Government. The danger of a Russian invasion has convinced it that it made an enormous mistake when it surrendered the Poles to the wrath of the bureaucracy and the Pomeranian army reserve. Now that it is too late, it wants to regain the sympathy of the Poles at any price!

Moreover, the entire bloody war of extermination against the Poles with all its cruelties and barbarities which will for ever form a disgraceful chapter in German history, the justifiable deadly hatred of the Poles against us, the now inevitable Russian-Polish alliance against Germany, an alliance by which the enemies of the revolution will be reinforced by a brave people of 20 million, has all this happened and taken place merely in order to give Herr Camphausen the opportunity to stammer his pater peccavi?

Does Herr Camphausen really believe that now when he is in need of the Poles, it is possible through gentle oratory and concessions to regain former sympathies which have been drowned in blood? Does he really believe that the stigmatised hands will ever be raised in his defence or that the shaven foreheads will ever expose themselves to Russian sabres? Does he really believe that he can ever lead those who escaped Prussian shrapnel against Russian grape-shot?

And does Herr Camphausen believe that his Government can survive now that he himself has so unambiguously admitted his inability?