Second White Terror

The Second White Terror (French: Deuxième Terreur Blanche) occurred in France in 1815, following the return of King Louis XVIII to power after the Hundred Days. Suspected sympathizers of the French Revolution, Republicans, Bonapartists and, to a minor degree, Protestants, suffered persecution.[1] Several hundred were killed by angry mobs, or executed after a quick trial at a drumhead court-martial.[2]

1815 persecution of French revolutionaries following the return of King Louis XVIII to power
Murder of Guillaume Brune, Marshal of the Empire, by a royalist mob in Avignon on 2 August 1815, engraved c. 1865

Historian John B. Wolf argues that Ultra-royalists—many of whom had just returned from exile—were staging a counter-revolution against the French Revolution, and also against Napoleon’s revolution.

Throughout the Midi — in Provence, Avignon, Languedoc, and many other places — the White Terror raged with unrelenting ferocity. The royalists found in the willingness of the French to desert the king fresh proof of their theory that the nation was honeycombed with traitors, and used every means to seek out and destroy their enemies. The government was powerless or unwilling to intervene.[3]

The period is named after the First White Terror that occurred during the Thermidorian Reaction in 1795, when people identified as being associated with the Reign of Terror were harassed and killed.

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Further information: Bourbon Restoration in France
The Execution of Marshal Ney, 1868 painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme

After the Hundred Days, Napoleon’s brief return to power in 1815, the second White Terror focused mainly on the purging of a civilian administration which had almost completely turned against the Bourbon monarchy. About 70,000 officials were dismissed from their positions. The remnants of the Napoleonic army was disbanded after the Battle of Waterloo and its senior officers cashiered. Marshal Ney was executed for treason, Marshal Brune was killed in Avignon, and General Jean-Pierre Ramel was assassinated in Toulouse. Approximately 6,000 individuals who had rallied to Napoleon were brought to trial. There were about 300 mob lynchings In the south of France,[4] notably in Marseille where his Mamelukes were massacred in their barracks.[clarification needed]

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