The Dreyfus Case

The Dreyfus Case

The Dreyfus Case

The Dreyfus Case

Excerpt

For some years I have been engaged on a study of the French Third Republic. As everyone knows who reads the history of France between 1870 and 1914, the Dreyfus case lies in his way, a vast and distracting maze, una selva oscura. It cannot be avoided. Unhappily much legend is attached to the Affair. To accept the conventional reading of a clerico-military conspiracy is to swallow the propaganda of the Dreyfusards. No conspiracy existed in military circles, none in clerical. The arrest of Déroulède and his allies in August 1899 was no more than the spectacular method of a shaky and nervous Government of rallying opinion to its side. This consideration led me back to a re-examination of the evidence from the beginning. It soon became apparent that much more is to be said for the War Office than has generally been admitted, that anti‐ semitism played little, perhaps no, part in the arrest of the unhappy victim or in his trial, that the accusations against the secular Church and, save the Assumptionists, against the religious Orders have the flimsiest foundations. In short, the conventional story is overlaid with propaganda put out by partisans on both sides.

To explain all this would occupy far more space than could be spared in a history covering seventy years. I therefore decided to treat this fragment in isolation and at greater length than I could in the context of the history of France. I have here dealt with nothing but the case and the internal politics connected with it. I have omitted everything touching foreign affairs save as they impinge on the case. I have omitted all questions of economics, finance, labour and so forth. I have sketched in, far more roughly than I hope to do later, the necessary background of party politics, the Army and the Church, and the changes wrought by the case.

Perforce I have had to disregard the many

Rich windows that exclude the light
And passages that lead to nothing.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.