10 May 1907, Wall Street Journal, “In the Price,” pg. 1:
Baron Rothschild (if his memory will bear one more legend) once advised the purchase of French Rentes.
“But,” exclaimed he to whom the advice was imparted, “the streets of Paris are running with blood.”
To which the Baron calmly replied: “If the streets of Paris were not running with blood you could not buy Rentes at this price.”
Interestingly, the advice involved buying French government bonds, the Rentes. Indeed, price of French government bonds fell to about one half of their face value during the violent times of the Paris Commune in 1871. The Commune's suppression was a brutal event, which took about 21 thousand lives, mostly on the side of insurgents. A lot of blood.
That was the background of the time, when baron Alphonse James de Rothschild (1827-1905) gave the advice to his client.
Does it mean that Rothschild was an inhuman bastard making money from the plight of his country?
I don't think so. France was in an awkward situation in 1871. Baron Rothschild definitely helped his country by buying its government bonds. More than that: baron Rothschild engineered France's economic recovery after the lost war with Germany:
“During the Franco-Prussian War, Alphonse de Rothschild had guarded the ramparts of Paris on the eve of the Prussian siege. When a peace treaty was finally agreed to in January 1871, his bank would play a major role, not only in raising the five billion francs France was obliged to pay in reparations to the new German Empire, but in helping bring about economic stability. France made a dramatic financial recovery and repaid the reparations bill ahead of schedule which, under terms of the armistice, brought about an end to the German occupation of northern French territory in 1873.”
Now, would you buy a Russian bond today? If you had done so in the middle of the crisis of 2008, you would have made a lot of money!