Today in History
30.7.1792: The sound of the "Marseillaise"
"Allons enfants de la patrie, le jour de gloire est arrivé. Contre nous de la tyrannie l´étendant sanglant est levé."

"Let’s go, children of the nation, the glory day has arrived. The bloody tyranny which we were subjected to has fallen."

At this time, the revolution was in full swing in France. Kings Louis XV and XVI had brought their country to ruin. The people were fed up of suffering and they rebelled against their rulers.

The neighboring countries did not want to wait for the revolution to spread to their territories and declared war on France. Now, the revolution was fighting on two fronts against the foreign powers and the armies defending the Kingdom of France.

On July 30, 1792, revolutionary troops marched from Marseilles to Paris singing a war song. From this day forward, it has been known as "The Marseillaise."

In 1795, the battle song of the revolution became France’s national anthem. It survived the revolution, it survived the empires of the Napoleon Emperors, the restoration, four republics and two world wars. The fifth republic has anchored it into constitutional law. Article two of the 1958 constitution states that the Marseillaise is the French national anthem.

It is an expression of French national pride, even though modern-day French citizens are extremely critical of the text.

"The music is very exciting, but the text is terrible. The words are bloody. It is a crime to use such words," said Hélène Butler, who is responsible for supporting French businesses in Germany. She would like to see the Marseillaise adapted to reflect contemporary times. "The Marseillaise was written in wartime, which legitimates it. I would change just a few words."

Whether the words that Madame Butler so dislikes are public property or texted by composers cannot be proven. The melody for the Marseillaise was definitely written by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle.

At the time, the amateur musician was captain of a military unit in Strasbourg. The mayor commissioned him to write it. He wanted to offer official visitors to Strasbourg something special. The song was a major success and printed copies of it were distributed as far as Marseilles. The unit of volunteers used it as a marching song and sang it as they marched into Paris.

Ironically, Rouget de Lisle was not a supporter of the French revolution. On the contrary, he was a royalist. The person who wrote the music for the revolution hymn only narrowly escaped execution on the guillotine a short time later.

Management consultant Butler’s ancestors also lost their lives on the guillotine. Yet, despite this, she can identify with the prevailing mood at that time: "François Mitterand said: 'Il reste encore la bastille à prendre.' That means the Bastille is a symbol for something that must be fought. And there are still a great many problems that people have to agree on in order to get rid of bad things."

The Marseillaise is dedicated to all the people who have the courage to stand up and fight against injustice.
Zitat des Tages
Zitat des Tages
Who played "Heathcliffe" in the 1939 film version of Emily Bronte's novel "Wuthering Heights"?
  Christopher Plummer
  Clark Gable
  Lawrence Olivier