Dreyfus, Alfred

(1859-1935)
   military officer
   Alfred Dreyfus is best known for being the center of the major controversy known as the Dreyfus affair. Born in Mulhouse to a Jewish-Alsatian family, Dreyfus pursued a military career and, in 1893, as an artillery captain, was assigned to the general staff in Paris. Accused on the basis of handwriting of passing secrets to the Germans, he was found guilty (1894) of treason by a court-martial, reduced in rank, and sent to Devil's Island for imprisonment for life. in 1896, Lieutenant georges picquart, chief of French military intelligence, uncovered evidence that another officer, Major charles esterhazy, was actually the guilty party. Picquart was, however, silenced by his superior and dismissed from the service. In January 1898, émile zola wrote his impassioned letter "J'accuse," which was published in the Paris newspaper L'Aurore and in which zola denounced both the civil and the military authorities for their part in the case. In August of the same year, Lieutenant Colonel hubert henry confessed that as Picquart's successor as the head of intelligence, he had forged documents implicating Dreyfus. He was arrested and committed suicide. In 1899 the Dreyfus case was brought before the Cour de cassation (Supreme Court of Appeal), which ordered a new trial. A second court-martial again pronounced Dreyfus guilty, but 10 days later the government of Premier pierre waldeck-rousseau and President émile loubet nullified the verdict and pardoned Dreyfus. In 1906 Dreyfus was finally fully rehabilitated by the Cour de cassation, returned to the army with the rank of major, and awarded the legion of honor. He served in World War I with the rank of lieutenant colonel. The Dreyfus case was the spark for an inevitable major political and social controversy in the France of the third republic. Extremists of the Right and Left used the affair to illustrate their disillusionment with the prevailing order. The case also unleashed a strong anti-Semitism in various factions in France, including the military. The nation was divided sharply between "Dreyfusards"—intellectuals, including anatole france and charles péguy, Socialists, Radicals, Republicans, moderates, and antimilitarists— and "anti-Dreyfusards"—the anti-Semites and clericals, and the nationalist Right. As a result of the Dreyfus affair, a liberal government was voted into power, the military was reformed, and legislation was introduced that led to the 1905 separation of church and state.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • DREYFUS, ALFRED — (1859–1935), officer in the French army, involved in a treason trial. His court martial, conviction, and final acquittal developed into a political event which had repercussions throughout France and the Jewish world. Born in Mulhouse, Alsace,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Dreyfus, Alfred — born Oct. 19, 1859, Mulhouse, France died July 12, 1935, Paris French army officer, subject of the Dreyfus Affair (l Affaire). Son of a Jewish textile manufacturer, he studied at the École Polytechnique, then entered the army and rose to the rank …   Universalium

  • Dreyfus, Alfred — (1859–1935)    The French officer in the Dreyfus Affair. Born into a middle class assimilated family in Alsace, Dreyfus took up a military career, and was commissioned as an artillery officer. After completing a staff course, he was posted to the …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Dreyfus, Alfred — (1859 1935)    A French Jew and artillery captain attached to the general staff of the French army. In 1894, he was accused of selling military secrets to Germany and placed on trial for espionage and treason. He was tried by a military court and …   Historical Dictionary of Israel

  • Dreyfus, Alfred — (1859 1935)    French soldier. He was born in Alsace. He became a captain on the general staff of the French army in 1892. In 1894 he was accused of treason, found guilty, and sentenced to life imprisonment. He protested his innocence and was… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Dreyfus, Alfred — ► (1859 1935) Militar francés. En 1894 fue acusado de alta traición y condenado a deportación. Su proceso dio lugar al célebre affaire Dreyfus. * * * (19 oct. 1859, Mulhouse, Francia–12 jul. 1935, París). Oficial del ejército francés que… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Dreyfus,Alfred — Drey·fus (drīʹfəs, drā ), Alfred. 1859 1935. French army officer of Jewish descent who was convicted of treason (1894), sentenced to life imprisonment, and ultimately acquitted when the evidence against him was shown to have been forged by anti… …   Universalium

  • Dreyfus, Alfred —  (1859–1935) French officer whose wrongful imprisonment on Devil’s Island became a celebrated controversy …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Dreyfus — Dreyfus, Alfred …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Alfred Dreyfus — [alˈfʀɛd dʀɛˈfys] (* 9. Oktober 1859 in Mülhausen; † 12. Juli 1935 in Paris) war ein französischer Offizier. Seine ungerechtfertigte Verurteilung wegen Landesverrats löste 1898 die Dreyfus Affäre …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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