Monday, December 29, 2008

Genocide in the Vendée

Here is an article sent to me by reader and blogger Wendy Haught, via Lew Rockwell. The descendants of those Catholics who were massacred during the French Revolution are striving for the mass murders to be recognized as genocide. The article does not mention the word "Catholic" although it acknowledges that the Vendéeans were slaughtered for their religion. There are some scholars who take issue with the use of the word "genocide." I personally cannot think of a more adequate term, especially since General Westermann bragged about the fact that he had "exterminated" everyone in the Vendée. As the article says:

In early 1794 – at the height of the Reign of Terror – French soldiers marched to the Atlantic Vendée, where peasants had risen up against the Revolutionary government in Paris.

Twelve "infernal columns" commanded by General Louis-Marie Turreau were ordered to kill everyone and everything they saw. Thousands of people – including women and children – were massacred in cold blood, and farms and villages torched.

In the city of Nantes, the Revolutionary commander Jean-Baptiste Carrier disposed of Vendéean prisoners-of-war in a horrifically efficient form of mass execution. In the so-called "noyades" –mass drownings – naked men, women, and children were tied together in specially constructed boats, towed out to the middle of the river Loire and then sunk.

Now Vendée, a coastal department in western France, is calling for the incident to be remembered as the first genocide in modern history.

Residents claim the massacre has been downplayed so as not to sully the story of the French Revolution.

Historians believe that around 170,000 Vendéeans were killed in the peasant war and the subsequent massacres – and around 5,000 in the noyades.

When it was over, French General Francois Joseph Westermann penned a letter to the Committee of Public Safety stating: "There is no more Vendée... According to the orders that you gave me, I crushed the children under the feet of the horses, massacred the women who, at least for these, will not give birth to any more brigands. I do not have a prisoner to reproach me. I have exterminated all."

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6 comments:

de Brantigny........................ said...

What is worse is that the names of Westermann, Turreau and others of the terror and geocide in the Vendee have their names etched in the Arch of Triumph in Paris. French sites decry this mass hypocracy.

Dieu le Roy, Richard

Loxon said...

Your appreciated post inspired our excellent auctor, „Tölgy” (this name means Oak in English) to write his own about the sorrowful Vendée events in Hungarian.

elena maria vidal said...

Thanks, Loxon. Thanks, Tölgy.

lara77 said...

When the French Republic acknowledges the truth of their so called "wonderful" revolution; then the French Republic will acknowledge the atrocities committed in its name. The massacres of the Vendee WERE GENOCIDE; and they were committed by the FIRST FRENCH REPUBLIC. That the barbarian generals names are inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe is a disgrace! THAT arch to me symbolizes violence, death, destruction and desecration. France continues to pay a price for its barbarous REPUBLICAN heritage.

Margaret said...

Heaven help us....reading this makes my blood run cold!

Alexandra said...

Thanks for this information. I knew a bit about the peasants, but not the whole story. Quite disgusting, but then the entire revolution is a disgrace. It's time that history be rewritten to reflect the truth!