English reaction to the Dreyfus affair.

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Mobley, Henry
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Middle Tennessee State University
On 15 October 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who was serving a probationary term on the general staff of the French army, was arrested and accused of spying for Germany. He faced a court-martial during 19-22 December 1894. The French minister of war, General Auguste Mercier, ordered incriminating documents to be presented to the judges of the court-martial without either Dreyfus or his attorney being aware that those documents existed. Dreyfus was convicted and condemned to perpetual deportation and military degradation. French anti-Semites tried to place the blame for the spy incident on the fact that Dreyfus was a Jew.
In January 1898, the writer, Emile Zola, published an article titled, "J'Accuse." In this article he charged that there was a coverup in the General Staff of the French army, that Dreyfus was innocent, and that Esterhazy was the person guilty of treason.
The scope of the Dreyfus Affair covered the period from October 1894 through July 1906. The case never really became the "Affair" until Zola's article. British interest in the Affair intensified at this time. The major themes of anti-Semitism, nationalism, militarism, and involvement on the part of high officials in the Catholic church were developed in the British press throughout the years 1898-1899. British journals supported Dreyfus because they saw the case as a violation of his civil liberties and felt that the Affair was a threat to democratic institutions the world over. British press response kept the Affair alive in Western Europe and brought pressure to bear on the French government.
This paper examines many articles and letters from British journals and papers representing every part of British society. Englishmen safeguarded the liberal institutions of the empire and placed high value on the British judicial system, educational system, and army organizational structure. The press used the power of public opinion as never before to bring about change in a situation that caused an international crisis.
The chapter on classroom applications provides a guide for using this research paper in a Western Civilization history course. The appendices contain four exercises that can be used for class assignments.