By Robert Justin Goldstein
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Extra info for Political Censorship of the Arts and the Press in Nineteenth-Century Europe
Snell has written of the period 1878-90, when socialist organisations were outlawed in Germany, 24 Political Censorship in 19th-Century Europe Front organizations were created in the form of singing clubs, smoking societies, scientific study groups or gymnastic associations. As soon as one of these could be determined to be socialistic and was banned, the police complained, it would reappear as a new organization with a new name. .. Secret meetings were held in forests or small villages near large cities, while others were open picnics attended by hundreds of persons wearing red ribbons or carrying flowers.
However, such overt political censorship was only part of a wider network of attempts to exert political control over the masses in the nineteenth century, and thus can only be properly understood in the context of political repression generally: of controls on education and limits on its availability; limitation of the franchise; restrictions on freedom of assembly and association, and also on the ability to form trade unions and take strike action. As will be seen with regard to political censorship, this broader network of political controls remained harshest and most enduring in Central and especially South-western and Eastern Europe.
In an age when transportation and communications were relatively primitive, and when politics was, at least at the beginning of the century, largely an aristocratic monopoly, the press was the backbone of any attempt to organise popular political opposition and one of the few means by which members of the middle and lower classes could affect governments and attain general recognition. It is not surprising, therefore, that major battles over freedom of the press were fought in many European countries during the nineteenth century, and that conservative regimes devoted much time and effort to trying to suppress opposition publications, especially those stemming from the working class or with a socialist orientation.
Political Censorship of the Arts and the Press in Nineteenth-Century Europe by Robert Justin Goldstein