Last week we saw how the declaration of war in April 1792 and the successive military defeats along the Northeastern and Eastern frontiers of France compromised Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette, culminating just a few months later in a second revolution in the storming and seizure of the Tuileries palace in Paris in August 1792. You might remember that one of the triggers for that second act of revolution was the reception in Paris in late July of a manifesto, a statement from the duke of Brunswick, threatening the people of Paris with the most exemplary punishments should any harm be done to the royal family. Their said Majesties further declare, on their faith and word as Emperor of Austria and King of Prussia he said, that if the palace of the Tuileries is entered by force or attacked, if the least violence, the least outrage be done to their majesties, they will exact an exemplary and ever-memorable vengeance thereon by delivering the city of Paris to military punishment and total destruction, and the rebels who are guilty of outrages to the punishments they deserve. This is late July, 1792. On the 10th of August all of those outrages are done to the royal family and to Louis XVI, he's overthrown, he has to seek refuge in the assembly itself. How is the duke of Brunswick now to be responded to having made his intentions so clear? The response to that menace, to that threat of vengeance from Brunswick takes two forms. They're both visceral, they both stir up the most basic gut wrenching emotions in French people, but they take two different forms. The first of them is horrific. On the 2nd of September, word comes through that the great fortress of Verdun, up here in Northeastern France has fallen to the Duke of Brunswick and to the Prussian army. It's a crucial capture of that fortress because Verdun is really the last easily defensible position between the border and Paris, just a few hundred kilometers east of Paris. In other words, Brunswick's troops are on their way to extract their revenge. In response to that, people within Paris, sans-culottes, decide that they need to put on trial the 2500 prisoners who are in Paris's prisons because of rumors that sweep through the capital that the prisoners, who include non-juring clergy as much as common criminals, are simply waiting for the volunteers to leave for the front to fight against the Prussians, to break out of their prisons, to massacre the people that are left behind, to prepare the way for the vengeance that Brunswick has promised. In what is perhaps the most horrifying episode of the French revolution, 2500 people are put on trial in these rapidly convened street courts in the middle of Paris and about 1200 of them, about half of them are put to death, after these very rapid street trials. Not just in Paris. I mean there are about 60 other episodes across the northern parts of France as well. Panic stricken vengeful attacks on people who are deemed to be somehow in league with the enemy. And it's the non juring clergy in particular who are singled out for punishment. Restif de la Bretonne is one of the most acute observers of what goes on in Paris during the revolution. He was there and saw what was happening in the streets, and this is how he described the death of the the Princess de Lamballe, a close friend of of Marie-Antoinette: Finally, I saw a woman appear, pale in her underclothing. They said to her in a harsh voice, cry out, long live the nation! No, no, she said. They made her climb onto a heap of corpses. They told her again to cry out, long live the nation. She refused disdainfully. Then a killer seized her, tore off her dress and opened her belly. She fell and was finished off by the others. Never had such horror offered itself to my imagination. I tried to flee; my legs failed. I fainted. Restif then interrogated people about why these killings were happening. And he came to the conclusion that the excuse that, these were counter revolutionaries who were waiting to break out of the prisons, was only part of the story. What is, therefore, the true motive for this butchery, he asked. Several people think it was, actually, so that the volunteers, departing for the frontiers, would not leave their wives and children to the mercy of brigands, that the courts could discharge with a pardon, that malevolent people could help escape, and so on. I wanted to know the truth and I finally found it. They only wanted one thing: to get rid of they non-juring priests. Some even wanted to get rid of all of them. The other visceral response to the news that Brunswick's troops have taken the fortress of Verdun is similarly visceral, but it expresses itself in an extraordinary surge of volunteering into the army, a desire, a desperate desire to somehow halt the march towards Paris of Brunswick's troops. And on the 20th of September at Valmy the new republican armies, the armies of the new nation have their first victory. The battle of Valmy. Interestingly, just the Paris side of the fortress of Verdun, and very close by the way, to where Louis XVI had been arrested, at Varennes, in June 1791. It's a crucial victory. It halts the forward progress of Brunswick's troops. This is the famous windmill on the battlefields of Verdun. A replica is still standing there today. And that's where the French headquarters are, with a view over the plains, around the hill on which Valmy, is situated. The plateau is studded with monuments such as this to Kellerman, one of the French generals, Dumouriez, another, and to the glory of the troops who finally blocked the progress of Brunswick's troops. You might remember that the great German poet and writer Goethe had, in 1790, done this lovely watercolor of the French border. His optimism for the future, that everybody should be free to enter France because the land was now free. Goethe is one of the Prussian troops who's actually at the Battle of Valmy. In 1792, he actually joins the Prussian army to fight against France. So struck is he by the victory of the French troops there, that he makes the famous utterance, which is on the column of the French monument at Valmy that this day marks a turning point in human history. He's aware that the victory of the French troops mean that perhaps they just might win the war against the coalition, against the crowned heads of Europe. And if that's the case, he says, it will change the world forever. It's a very significant victory because news of it is received in Paris the same day that a new national convention is gathering, a new parliament, this time elected by universal manhood suffrage and which proclaims that France will be republic on the day that the news of Valmy is received, the 21st of September, 1792. An auspicious moment, the first great victory of French troops, the very same day that France proclaims itself a republic. But there's one question that hangs over everything. On the 10th of August, 1792, Louis XVI had been overthrown and had taken refuge in the buildings belonging to the assembly. What is to be done with him? The man who in July, 1790 had sworn to uphold the Constitution, had sworn to support the work of the national assembly, and yet who in June 1791 had tried to flee the revolution, and who now in 1792 has been overthrown. What should be the fate of King Louis XVI?