Top 20 Political Songs: The Internationale | Eugène Pottier | 1871

Worker's song that later became the first anthem of the Soviet Union

Amid the ferment of debate between anarchists and socialists in 19th-century France, the Paris Commune was established in 1871. Its workers and radicals supported reforms such as equal rights for women and for workers, and it was hailed as a landmark in French political and social history.

Yet it was not to last. Beset by internal squabbles, the Commune was brutally crushed by the French government and Prussian troops after just two months.

However, Eugène Pottier, a socialist Commune member, transport worker and poet, wrote "The Internationale" as a tribute to those two months of triumph, and it was set to music by Pierre Degeyter in 1888. It has been regarded as a socialist and leftist anthem ever since, and later became the first Soviet Union national anthem.

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