The Dreyfus Affair (Greenwood Guides to Historic Events, 1500-1900)

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Overview

On October 15, 1894, Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish artillery captain attached to the French General Staff, was arrested on charges of having betrayed his country by selling military secrets to the Germans. He was convicted of treason by military court-martial and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island, but over the next 12 years a small group of human rights supporters was able to clear him and identify the real traitor, and Dreyfus was pardoned. The most sensational case in French history, it pitted national security interests against individual rights, exposed the anti-Semitism that permeated France, and influenced the course of Europe as it rumbled toward the first of two world wars. This work provides the first comprehensive examination of this incident for students, including a narrative historical overview, essays on major aspects of the event, lengthy biographical profiles of the key players, the text of important primary documents contemporary to the time, a timeline of the event and list of French Presidents and Ministers of War during the Affair, a glossary of terms, and a bibliography of print and electronic sources and films suitable for students. This is an ideal resource for student use.

Leslie Derfler, the foremost American authority on the Dreyfus Affair, puts the Affair in historical and social context for the reader. In addition to an historical overview, other essays examine the French political context before Dreyfus, the issue of anti-Semitism in the Affair, the Socialists' position, and how historical perceptions of the Dreyfus Affair have shifted over the last hundred years. Lengthy biographies of key players enrich the reader's understanding of the role of the protagonists and antagonists in the Affair. A wide range of primary source documents, from Alfred Dreyfus's diary descriptions of the torment he suffered on Devil's Island to Emile Zola's famous J'accuse! letter accusing the Army high command and the French government of conspiring to hide the truth and protect the guilty party, bring to life the emotional content of the Affair. A selection of rare photographs and newspaper illustrations and cartoons provides a valuable visual component.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This accessible volume contains a wealth of material on the Dreyfus affair, with discussion of its historiography, the history of anti- Semitism in France, a collection of primary documents, and a glossary of terms. Derfler (history, Florida Atlantic U.) writes clearly, presenting all angles of the tale. Attention is devoted to the political consequences that accompanied the Affair as France split into those who believed Dreyfus innocent, including <'E>mile Zola, and those who didn't, including anti-Semitic groups within the Catholic Church, and the long term repercussions of this division. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

LESLIE DERFLER is a Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Chronology of Events
Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Ministers of War During the Dreyfus Affair
Ch. 1 Historical Overview 1
Ch. 2 Before Dreyfus: The French Political Context 7
Ch. 3 Anti-Semitism and the Dreyfus Affair 17
Ch. 4 Socialists and the Dreyfus Affair 29
Ch. 5 The Dreyfus Affair in History 39
Ch. 6 Conclusion 57
Biographies: The Personalities in the Dreyfus Affair 65
Primary Documents of the Dreyfus Affair 117
Glossary of Selected Terms 151
Annotated Bibliography 155
Index 165
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