The international

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The Internationale in Russian
Facsimile of an autograph from "Die Internationale" after 1906 (title page)

The International is the world's most widespread battle song of the socialist labor movement , which ideologically - according to the Marxist motto “ Proletarians of all countries, unite! “- is committed to proletarian internationalism . The original French text from 1871 comes from Eugène Pottier , a poet and active participant in the Paris Commune , the revolutionary Paris City Council formed spontaneously during the Franco-Prussian War . The melody of the song was composed in 1888 by the Belgian Pierre Degeyter .

History and development of the song

Eugène Pottier's text was written immediately after the violent suppression of the Paris Commune in May 1871. It referred to the International Workers 'Association (IAA), the first supranational union of various, politically divergent groups of the workers' movement, which was initiated by Karl Marx in 1864 . Because of the fundamental conflict with the communists (around Karl Marx), the anarchists (around Bakunin ) were excluded from this organization, later also known as the “First International ” , in 1872 . In 1876 the IAA was dissolved.

The melody of the song was composed by the Belgian Pierre Degeyter , conductor of the Workers' Choir of Lille in 1888, a year before the founding of the Second , or Socialist International . The song is widely recognized as the working class anthem and has been translated into most of the world's languages. In some socialist states , it took an almost equal place next to the respective national anthem , including in the GDR .

The Soviet Union used The Internationale as its national anthem until 1943 . After that, it was replaced by the anthem of the Soviet Union . The International was perceived in the Soviet Union by many persecuted there as a sign of oppression, and there were therefore numerous subversive changes to the official text (even in the gulag or in prisons). Likewise, students used the song in their protest against the Chinese government in Tian'anmen Square in 1989 .

Adaptations of the song and its text drag on to the present day. The British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg released a studio album in 1990 entitled The Internationale , which begins with a new version of the song.

Creation of German-language versions

The original French text has six stanzas. Emil Luckhardt (1880–1914) created the best-known and still widespread German-language poetry in 1910. His version is only based on the French original text and is limited to the analogous, radicalized and romanticized translation of the first two and the last verse of the French song.

In addition to Luckhardt's version, there are at least seven other lesser-known German text variants - each related to specific historical situations or ideologically diverging socialist, communist and anarchist orientations. In addition to the Luckhardt version mentioned, there is also a version penned by Franz Diederich (1908) and by Sigmar Mehring . In 1919 one version was written by Erich Mühsam and in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War another for the German Thälmann Brigade (see also International Brigades ) by Erich Weinert .

Below is the most famous German version by Emil Luckhardt:

German text (Emil Luckhardt, 1910)

Wake up, damned ones of this earth that
is still being made to starve!
The right as embers in the crater herd
now penetrate with power to the breakthrough.
Clear the table with the adversary!
Army of slaves, wake up!
To be nothing, no longer bear it,
to become everything, overflows!

|: Folks, hear the signals!
On to the last stand!
The International
fights for human rights. : |

No higher being,
no god, no emperor or tribune will save us.
can only do ourselves to redeem ourselves from misery !
Empty word: the poor man's rights,
empty word: the rich man's duty!
We are called minors and servants,
no longer tolerate disgrace!

|: Folks, hear the signals!
On to the last stand!
The International
fights for human rights. : |

In town and country, you
workers , we are the strongest of the party'n Push
the idlers aside!
This world must be ours;
Our blood is no longer the ravens,
Not the mighty vultures devour!
Only when we have driven them
away does the sun shine without ceasing!

|: Folks, hear the signals!
On to the last stand!
The International
fights for human rights. : |


<< \ new Voice \ relative c '{\ autoBeamOff \ language "deutsch" \ tempo 4 = 120 \ set Score.tempoHideNote = ## t \ key g \ major \ partial 4 d4 g4.  fis8 agdh e2 c4 e4 a4.  g8 fis edc h2 r4 d4 g4.  fis8 agdh e2 c4 a'8 g fis4 ac fis, g2 r4 h8 a fis4.  fis8 e [fis] ge fis2 d4 cis8 d e4.  e8 a4.  g8 f sharp2 r4 a4 a4.  fis8 dd cis d h'2 g8 e fis g fis4 age d2 r4 h'8.  a16 g2 d4.  h8 e2 c4 a'8.  g16 f sharp2 e4.  d8 d2 r4 d4 h'4.  h8 a4 d, g2 f sharp4.  f sharp8 e4.  dis8 e4 a a2 r4 h8.  a16 g2 d4.  h8 e2 c4 a'8.  g16 f sharp2 e4.  d8 h'2 r4 h4 d4.  d8 c4 ha (h) c r8 c h4.  g8 a4.  fis8 g2 r4 \ bar "|."  } \ addlyrics {Wake up, damn it - this earth who always makes you hungry!  The right, like embers in the hearth, now penetrates with power towards a breakthrough.  Clean up with the crowd!  Army of Slaves, wake up!  To be a nothing can no longer bear it, to become everything, flocks to - heap!  \ repeat unfold 2 {People, hear the signal!  On to the last fight!  The inter - na - tion is fighting for human rights.  }} >>

Copyright and Licenses

In 1972 the Munich company Edition Montana owned by music manager Hans R. Beierlein acquired the rights to the music and text of the Internationale from a small French publisher for 5,000 DM, initially for the Federal Republic, later also for the GDR and finally the world rights. As a result, both the GDR and numerous other socialist states paid license fees for their use, the GDR 20,000 marks per year. Luckhardt's text has been license-free since 1984 and the music since 2003.

Further musical processing

Hanns Eisler quotes the song in the “Prelude” of his German Symphony (1935–39). The composer Reinhold Glière varies the musical theme of the Internationale in his work for wind orchestra Heroic March for the Buryat-Mongolian ASSR in C major, op. 71 (1936). The Italian composer Luigi Nono uses the Internationale a. a. in his compositions España en el corazón (1951/52), La victoire de Guernica (1954) and A ghost goes around in the world (1971) as a source for deriving rhythms and pitches. The international is also elevated to a main theme and varied in the final part of the cantata These Things Shall Be (1936/37) for baritone, choir and orchestra by the British composer John Ireland . Karlheinz Stockhausen quotes the Internationale in his composition Hymnen (1966) together with 39 hymns from various countries around the world.

See also


  • Walter Mossmann , Peter Schleuning (Ed.): Old and new political songs. Origin and use, texts and notes Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg, Rowohlt 1978, ISBN 3-499-17159-7 .

Web links

Commons : The Internationale  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. cf. Inna Klause: Der Klang des Gulag (2014), p. 550 and z. B. Wolfgang Hilbig: The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solschenizyn. In: The time of March 31, 1999.
  2. ^ The Internationale . Album overview and lyrics. (English), accessed May 13, 2013
  3. Die Internationale: Völker hear the signals - Thank you comrades ( Memento of November 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), Montana Media, accessed on November 8, 2014
  4. Hans R. Beierlein: “I let the communists pay” , Die Welt, April 18, 2014.
  5. ^ Thomas Manfred Braun: Karlheinz Stockhausen's music in the focus of aesthetic assessment . Gustav Bosse Verlag, Kassel 2004, ISBN 3-7649-2701-1 , p. 25 u. 33 .