January 5, 1895: Alfred Dreyfus is convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Captain Alfred Dreyfus was a French artillery officer who, in October of 1894, was arrested for treason, accused of passing military secrets to Germany. Dreyfus was a native of Alsace and more importantly, of Jewish background, a factor that probably contributed (or led) to his arrest and conviction based on flimsy evidence. The army stripped Dreyfus of his rank upon his conviction, and he was shipped to Devil’s Island, a penal colony/labor camp located off the coast of French Guiana; this was where Dreyfus would have spent the rest of his life had his guilty verdict remained intact, which seemed likely, as few people aside from his own family members were willing to stand up for him.
Dreyfus spent 1,517 days on the island and wrote several letters to the French president pleading that he search for the “true guilty party, the author of this abominable crime”, unaware that a political scandal bearing his name was brewing thousands of miles away in France. Evidence that the French army had wrongfully punished Dreyfus and then attempted to cover up its mistake set off the “Dreyfus affair”. In early 1898 Émile Zola’s famous open letter to the president, “J’accuse”, ran in a newspaper run by future Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau (another Dreyfus supporter):
The evidence of Dreyfus’s character, his affluence, the lack of motive and his continued affirmation of innocence combine to show that he is the victim of the lurid imagination of Major du Paty de Clam, the religious circles surrounding him, and the “dirty Jew” obsession that is the scourge of our time… (the full article)
The Dreyfus affair divided the nation into two main camps. On one side lay the anti-Dreyfus camp, composed mainly of anti-semites, nationalists, certain religious leaders, and on the other, the pro-Dreyfus faction (called “Dreyfusards”), which included men like Zola (and other intellectuals and artists), republicans, socialists, and advocates of religious freedom. The latter group eventually triumphed. In 1899 Dreyfus was tried again and sentenced to ten years imprisonment this time, but in 1906 he was officially exonerated and reinstated to the army with a promotion to major. The Dreyfus affair and the anti-semitism exposed (and refuted) by it was one of the events that inspired the formation of the modern Zionist movement.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: This actually divided the French art community. Monet, Pissaro, Cassatt, etc were on the side of Dreyfus.
Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, and some others? TOTALLY ANTI-SEMITIC ASSHOLES. Renoir, who painted sappy, wishy-washy paintings of pretty girls said some pretty horrible things about Jews, and Degas, with his fucking ballerinas actually ended his friendship with Pissaro after the affair because he was a Jew.
Monet’s always been my favorite artist, so I’m glad at least that he was on the right side of this bullshit.
Rather out of the usual time-frame for this blog, but such an essential component of 19th century French history that it had to be reblogged.
- lonelycause reblogged this from unhistorical
- awadshendi likes this
- the21stcenturyspinster reblogged this from historyofeurope
- themagicswithin reblogged this from historyofeurope
- haimon87 reblogged this from unhistorical
- shitloadofbands likes this
- lordofjudgement likes this
- manymissingpieces reblogged this from unhistorical
- oh-liv-ee-ya reblogged this from historyofeurope
- alexa-awesome98 likes this
- paxvictoriana reblogged this from unhistorical and added:
- paxvictoriana likes this
- jewluxe likes this
- lifeisoddsometimes reblogged this from unhistorical
- truthwatcher likes this
- blp0129 likes this
- teslatiger likes this
- piratekingjaegerkind reblogged this from ramsaysnowofficial
- dochraid likes this
- aseriesofunsuccessfulevents likes this
- silent-submarine likes this
- silent-submarine reblogged this from historymaker
- ramsaysnowofficial reblogged this from historymaker and added:
- walahraban likes this
- tsarevnaa likes this
- chalecos reblogged this from historyofeurope
- rshahad likes this
- lobo-gitano likes this
- 9efir reblogged this from unhistorical
- awildbowtie likes this
- freemen7737 likes this
- lyriumpotion likes this
- levoya reblogged this from unhistorical
- charmingxbutterrible reblogged this from unhistorical
- unabridgedchick likes this
- theredshoes reblogged this from historyofeurope
- braginskies reblogged this from aziraphal
- princesskaizokuda likes this
- amorcondussenoiadunamorte reblogged this from historyofeurope
- amorcondussenoiadunamorte likes this
- nickoliveris likes this
- je-veux-viajar reblogged this from fuckyeahfrenchwords
- cinnamon-lady24 reblogged this from saekimchi
- cinnamon-lady24 likes this
- saekimchi reblogged this from historyofeurope
- flower-brains reblogged this from historyofeurope
- friskypersian likes this
- meg-c reblogged this from historyofeurope
- bruceleeandfries reblogged this from madhistory