The Dreyfus Affair
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Thread: The Dreyfus Affair

  1. #1
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
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    Thumbs up The Dreyfus Affair

    Anybody remember the contoversy that tore France
    apart 100 years ago? It set the tone for most
    of the left/right wing debates for years to come.
    Is it still relevant today?
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.
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  2. #2
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
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    Thumbs up The Dreyfus Affair

    Anybody remember the contoversy that tore France
    apart 100 years ago? It set the tone for most
    of the left/right wing debates for years to come.
    Is it still relevant today?
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.
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  3. #3
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    And give a bit of history on the subject while yer at it. Thanks
    Dear Santa, I liked the mp3 player I got but next christmas I want a SA-7 surface to air missile
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  4. #4
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    The affair:

    We speak 1894. The war between Germany and France has ended.
    Alfred Dreyfus, a Captain in the French army (general staff), is accused of spying for Germany.
    There's no evidence, apart from a piece of paper (found by a cleaning woman in a garbage can), with handwriting on it that isn't Dreyfus'.
    Important fact: Dreyfus is Jewish.

    Dreyfus is convicted and sentenced to life on Devil's Island (South America). The crowd shouts anti-Semitic slogans at his trial, incited by the anti-semitic press.

    The real guilty one (Major Esterhazy) has never been sentenced.

    The consequences:

    The Dreyfus affair splits France in two: on one side there's the government, the church and the army; on the other side, there's the Emile Zola-clan: progressive people critical of the regime.

    That's two points of view (and this is why this affair still is important):

    1. The honor of the nation may NOT be sacrificed for one person, guilty or innocent.
    2. Equal human rights for every citizen.

    Eventually, the French government falls. More than a decade later, Dreyfus is cleared from all charges.

    Emile Zola
    Zola on the Dreyfus case
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  5. #5
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    wow, this is a very interesting story, and I can see how such a large debate came of it. Racism, and a government conspiracy. Seems that this same thing has happened in countless countries a countless number of times. Perhaps it is even happening now somewhere. You'd think we would eventually learn better.
    Wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.
    --Ecclesiastes 10:19
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  6. #6
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    Captain Alfred Dreyfus was born is Alsace which had been under German rule since 1871. Son of a rich Jewish textile manufacturer, as young man he joined the army. His fellow soldiers found him cold. He was unpopular, he was an easy target for suspicion!

    Dreyfus was accused of passing secret info to the Germans.The evidence was based on a bordereau an official document which in this case contained handwritten comments.
    Experts werent sure about the writing but he was blamed anyway!
    He was virtually a condemned man before the trial started. He was sent to Devils Island, off the South American Coast for life.
    In a public ceremony his officer decorations were torn off and his sword broken.

    When Dreyfus cried I am innocent, vive la Fracnce!
    the crowd replied Death to the Jew!

    However secret info still reached Germany after he was sent to prison!

    Colonel Picquart became head of French intelligence and under his own investigation blamed Major Esterhazy, a friend of Colonel Henry the intelligence officer in the Dreyfus trial....
    Esterhazy was sent to Tunisia and cleared by senior officers who didnt want the scandal exposed!

    In January 1898 the newspaper L'Aurore published a letter which Emile Zola had written to the President of the French Republic. The letter called J'Accuse was an attack on the army and accused them of a cover up, he was sent to jail for one year.

    France was now split between Dreyfusards and anti-Dreyfusards. The latter were the army and the church, monarchists and right wing republicans, his supporters were usually Republicans, intellectuals and socialists!

    A new War minister General Cavaignac abd brought up the case to the French Assembly. Colonel Henry confessed to forging the document, he was arrested but slit his throat before the trial. The Government agreed to a re-trial after Cavaignac resigned,

    Dreyfus returned in 1899 and looked like an old man at only 39.
    He was found guilty again! However the sentenced was reduced to 10 years. The President offered a pardon and Dreyfus in bad health accepted.

    Finally in 1906 an Appeal Court acting on new evidence declared he was innocent!

    He was re-instated into the army and awarded the Legion Of Honour.Both he and Picquart were promoted in rank. Esterhazy moved to England and lived under a false name for the rest of his life.

    A victory for the Left.
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