Terror! Robespierre and the French Revolution


by Princess

The watchwords of the French Revolution were liberty, equality and fraternity. Maximilien Robespierre believed in them passionately. He was an idealist and a lover of humanity. But during the 365 days that Robespierre sat on the Committee of Public Safety, the French Republic descended into a bloodbath.

'The Terror' only came to end when Robespierre himself was devoured by the repressive machinery he'd created. This drama-documentary tells the story of the Terror and looks at how Robespierre's revolutionary idealism so quickly became an excuse for tyranny, and why a lover of liberty was so keen to use the guillotine.

Simon Schama and Slavoj Zizek are among the contributors.

If you are in the UK, this programme can be viewed until next Saturday here.

Here's the version that aired on U.S. History Channel:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10


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Thanks for your comments.

by Princess on

Khaleh Mosheh, Troneg, Darius,

The parallels are not just between Iran and France, but with all revolutions - American revolution excepted. 

As the film says, Robespierre was the first in the line of modest men with access to 'higher truth' (i.e. Khomeini, Stalin, Hitler) men who 'loved' humanity so much they felt entitled to exterminate the human beings who stood in its way. What these tyrants failed to understand was that it is not the role of the state to use power as a way of moral schooling for the population.

The important thing is that whether they were religiously inspired or not, what follows is always 'religious', in the sense that Stalin, Khomeini, Robespierre became god-like after they came to power. Whether its left, right or centre, the ideology is irrelevant. The method employed to get to power and the vacuum in which these ideologues get to exercise their passion without check what creates so much suffering.

Darius Kadivar

En Effet ! :Great Scene Danton Vs Robespierre (Wajda Film)

by Darius Kadivar on

Danton - Robespierre -L'homme de la rue contre l'homme du pouvoir (Wajda Film with Gerard Depardieu)

Subtitles in English:

In 1982, legendary Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda fled his homeland and relocated in France to direct this powerful story about the ethical boundaries of power and leadership, which had many parallels to Poland's volatile political situation in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Danton (Gérard Depardieu) and Robespierre (Wojciech Pszoniak) were close friends and fought together in the French Revolution, but by 1793 Robespierre was France's ruler, determined to wipe out opposition with a series of mass executions that became known as the Reign of Terror. Danton, well known as a spokesman of the people, had been living in relative solitude in the French countryside, but he returned to Paris to challenge Robespierre's violent rule and call for the people to demand their rights. Robespierre, however, could not accept such a challenge, even from a friend and colleague, and he blocked out a plan for the capture and execution of Danton and his allies. Wajda remained in France until 1989, when the collapse of Communist rule made it possible for him to return to his homeland.


You are right Princess

by Troneg on

There are many things we could learn from French revolution. Of course there isn't any refernce to Islam but the processus of changing the regime, anarchie which followed and all actors who hadn't same goals and ambitions are similare. Everything was finished by giving power to a Dictator : Napoleon.

What is Ahmadinejad's dream.

khaleh mosheh

Thanks for the post Princess

by khaleh mosheh on

The parallels are also stricking for me.


Unfortunately as much as I hate to admit it Isalm has caused Iran to be over 200 years behind the times as what we are going through now the French went through then, in my mind due the backwards influence of Islam, a religion only suited to the Arabian peninsula's culture.