Image above: 19th century painting of the night of 9 Thermidor, espousing National Guardsman Merda's claim of having shot Robespierre. There is also the same picture without the gunsmoke, although no one can be sure which is most accurate.
At midnight on 26-17 July 1794 (8-9 Thermidor Year II in the Revolutionary Calendar), Robespierre contemplated the day ahead as a moment when he would defeat his enemies in the national assembly and prolong the period of terror in which he had played a leading part. At the end of the day, he faced not only the failure of his plans, but his likely execution. In his gripping new monograph, The Fall of Robespierre: 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris (2021), Colin Jones follows the ups and downs of one of the most turbulent and pivotal days in the French revolution, which saw Robespierre defeated and ordinary Parisians triumphant at his overthrow.
Colin Jones, CBE is Professor of History Emeritus at Queen Mary University of London and Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago. Among his many publications on French history are The Great Nation: France 1715-99 (2002), The Smile Revolution (2016) and Versailles (2018), His Paris: Biography of a City won the Enid MacLeod Prize in 2004.