The Internationale

"The Internationale"
"L'Internationale" in original French version

International anthem of
Also known asL'Internationale (French)
LyricsEugène Pottier, 1871
MusicPierre De Geyter, 1888
Audio sample
"The Internationale" (instrumental)

"The Internationale" ("French: L'Internationale") is a left-wing anthem. It has been a standard of the socialist movement since the late nineteenth century, when the Second International adopted it as its official anthem. The title arises from the "First International", an alliance of workers which held a congress in 1864. The author of the anthem's lyrics, socialist Eugène Pottier, attended this congress.

The original French refrain of the song is C'est la lutte finale / Groupons-nous et demain / L'Internationale / Sera le genre humain. (English: "This is the final struggle / Let us group together and tomorrow / The Internationale / Will be the human race."). "The Internationale" has been translated into many languages.

"The Internationale" has been celebrated by communists, socialists, democratic socialists, and social democrats.[1]


The original French words were written in June 1871 by Eugène Pottier (1816–1887, previously a member of the Paris Commune)[2] and were originally intended to be sung to the tune of "La Marseillaise".[3] In 1888 Pierre De Geyter (1848–1932) set the earlier lyrics to a new melody, composed especially for Pottier's lyrics.[4] De Geyter's melody was first publicly performed in July 1888,[5] and soon thereafter Pottier's lyrics became closely associated with, and widely used with, De Geyter's new melody. Thus "The Internationale" gained an identity that was entirely distinct, and no longer in any way directly tied to the French national anthem, the Marseillaise.

In a successful attempt to save Pierre De Geyter's job as a woodcarver, the 6,000 leaflets printed by Lille printer Bolboduc only mentioned the French version of his family name (Degeyter). In 1904, Pierre's brother Adolphe was induced by the Lille mayor Gustave Delory (fr) to claim copyright, so that the income of the song would continue to go to Delory's French Socialist Party. Pierre De Geyter lost the first copyright case in 1914, but after his brother committed suicide and left a note explaining the fraud, Pierre was declared the copyright owner by a court of appeal in 1922.[6]

In 1972 "Montana Edition", owned by Hans R. Beierlein (de), bought the rights to the song for 5,000 Deutschmark, first for the territory of the former West Germany, then in the former East Germany, then worldwide. East Germany paid Montana Edition 20,000 DM every year for its rights to play the music. Pierre De Geyter died in 1932, causing the copyrights to expire in 2002.[7] Luckhardt's German text is public domain since 1984.

As the "Internationale" music was published before 1 July 1909 outside the United States of America, it is in the public domain in the United States.[8] As of 2013, Pierre De Geyter's music is also in the public domain in countries and areas whose copyright durations are authors' lifetime plus 80 years or less.[9] Due to France's wartime copyright extensions (prorogations de guerre), SACEM claims that the music was still copyrighted in France until October 2014.[10]

As Eugène Pottier died in 1887, his original French lyrics are in the public domain. Gustave Delory once acquired the copyright of his lyrics through the songwriter G B Clement having bought it from Pottier's widow.[11]

Other Languages
العربية: نشيد الأممية
asturianu: La Internacional
Bân-lâm-gú: Kok-chè-koa
български: Интернационалът
davvisámegiella: Internationala
Ελληνικά: Η Διεθνής
français: L'Internationale
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Koet-chi-kô
Bahasa Indonesia: Internasionale
кырык мары: Интернационал
latviešu: Internacionāle
македонски: Интернационала
Bahasa Melayu: Internationale
norsk nynorsk: Internasjonalen
português: A Internacional
română: Internaționala
Simple English: The Internationale
slovenščina: Internacionala
српски / srpski: Интернационала
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Internacionala (himna)
татарча/tatarça: Интернационал (гимн)
Türkçe: Enternasyonal
Vahcuengh: Fwen Lajbiengz
Tiếng Việt: Quốc tế ca
文言: 國際歌
粵語: 國際歌
中文: 国际歌