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The Military Forces Against Russia

Karl Marx

London, August 11. At the moment the armies mustered by the allies against Russia are limited, apart from their own troops, to:

1. a small Piedmontese auxiliary corps of 15,000 men—a corps extorted from Piedmont by the concerted threats of England, France and Austria. This bloodletting of Piedmont was one of the conditions Austria made for selling its adhesion to the "Treaty of 2 December"[335];

2. the Foreign Legion, amounting to a few thousand troops—an olla podrida[a] of occidental mercenaries enticed bit by bit surreptitiously and illegally away from their respective countries;

3. an Italian Legion of 4,000 to 5,000 men, still in the process of formation;

4. a Polish Legion, existing in the form of a project;

5. finally, in the distant future, a Spanish auxiliary corps, to represent "dire financial necessity".

This motley sample card of volunteer corps and diminutive armies provides a map of the Europe England and France have in their retinue at this moment. Can one conceive of a more consummate caricature of the army of nations which the first Napoleon rolled into motion against Russia?

Written on August. 11, 1855
First published in the Neue Oder-Zeitung, No. 375, August 1.4, 1855
Marked with the sign x
Published in English for the first time in MECW.


[a] Hotchpotch (literally: rotten stew).—Ed.

[335] Marx is referring to the treaty concluded by Britain, France and Austria in Vienna on December 2, 1854 (see Note 100 ↓).

[100] The treaty of alliance between Britain, France and Austria signed in Vienna on December 2, 1854. The signatories undertook not to enter into any agreements with Russia without preliminary consent between themselves and not to allow the occupation of the Danubian Principalities by Russian troops. Negotiations with Russia were to be based on the Four Points. By means of this treaty Britain and France sought to draw Austria into the war against Russia. Austria, for its part, hoped to use the alliance to strengthen its influence in the Balkans and subjugate the Danubian Principalities.

Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 14 (p.476), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1980
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