The Franco-Prussian war and the Paris Commune ushered in a new period in the history of capitalism. The events that took place at the time of the Paris Commune rounded off the preceding period, which Lenin called the time of “progressive capitalism”, meaning 1789 to 1871. In time, it became clear just how far the contradictions of capitalism had developed and the conditions for a socialist revolution had matured, and what a formidable force the working class had become. Only with the help of Prussian intervention was the French bourgeoisie able to crush the Paris Commune which was the first ever dictatorship of the proletariat and clearly demonstrated its capabilities. The country with the most radical bourgeois revolution was the first, to see a proletarian one. A state of a totally new type emerged, one that rejected capitalism by its essence and the very fact of its existence.
The proletarian revolution in France was, it is true, defeated and the Communards overthrown, but the bourgeoisie could not wipe their feats from the slate of world history. The revolution led by Spartacus was not victorious either, yet it engendered a decisive turn in the history of the Ancient World. The same might be said about the Paris Commune: even in defeat, it constituted the start of a new period in modern history.