What is a 16 month state prison

July 14, 1789 - Storming of the Bastille

Why the Parisians stormed the Bastille of all places, King Louis XVI is said to be. asked in amazement. After all, the demolition of the old fortress in Paris has long been decided. After the arbitrary royal arrest warrants were abolished, it is rarely used as a state prison. There have long been building plans for a square with a statue for the monarch.

But Paris is in an uproar, the citizens have obtained weapons and need ammunition. And it is camped with the last seven prisoners in the Bastille - guarded by a cozy commandant and a handful of war invalids and veterans. He receives delegations, negotiates, but the crowd grows impatient.

Storm or Surrender?

The Bastille commander soon shoots the crowd, hundreds die. After a second deployment, he surrenders. The storming of the Bastille is therefore a legend, the commander surrenders the fortress without resistance. The pack frees the last prisoners: four forgers, two mentally ill people and presumably the pornographic writer Marquis de Sade. On the way to the town hall, the commandant and a negotiator are lynched, their heads put on lances and carried through the city in triumph.

Still, the king is withdrawing his troops and even making some political concessions. July 14, 1789 goes down in history - although the victory over a troop of war invalids and the freed prisoners themselves were hardly significant. "It was the first revolt that went unpunished," says Philippe de Carbonnières, a specialist in the French Revolution at the Carnavalet city museum in Paris.

The storm on the Bastille therefore quickly became a legend, embellished with invented events and rated by foreign observers as an epochal upheaval. This is also due to the building contractor Pierre-François Palloy. With a hundred workers, he began to demolish the building on the evening of July 14, 1789. Two months later he organized the first commemoration with a procession to what is now the Panthéon and back to the Bastille via the town hall. "There is a banquet there for around 3,000 participants. You feast, dance and sing. Apparently the place has since been associated with a folk festival," says historian and Bastille expert Héloïse Bocher.

Bastille remains the Republicans' rebellious symbol

In 1790, the Parisians officially celebrate their worn-out Bastille - as a large mutual federation festival, on the Marsfeld. Then the event is forgotten for almost a century. "A national holiday was not officially defined until 1880 and the date July 14th was chosen for it. Interestingly, however, without mentioning the year 1789," explains Héloïse Bocher. The bloodless federation festival of 1790 is more suitable. But the storming of the Bastille remains the rebellious symbol of the Republicans: Socialist presidents are spontaneously celebrated in the square to this day.

Status: 07/14/2014

Program tips:

On WDR 2 you can always hear the due date around 9.40 a.m. Repetition: from Monday to Friday at 5:40 p.m. and on Saturday at 6:40 p.m. The deadline is available as a podcast after it has been broadcast.

"ZeitZeichen" on WDR 5 (9:05 am) and WDR 3 (5:45 pm) also commemorates on July 14, 2014 the storm on the Bastille.The "ZeitZeichen" is also available as a podcast.