From Dreyfus to Petain: The Struggle of a Republic

By Wilhelm Herzog; Walter Sorell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15

ESTERHAZY

COUNT MARIA CHARLES FERDINAND WALSIN-ESTERHAZY, offspring
of century-old aristocratic stock, was a Shakespearean charac
ter, a late descendant of the great adventurer of Balzac Comédie Humaine, comparable to Weclekind Marquis of Keith.

Esterhazy's early history is uncertain. It seems that he was born in Paris in 1841 and attended school there until he was sixteen. He soon called himself Count and came to Vienna as a pupil of the military academy. He served in the Austrian army during the war against Prussia in 1866. He entered the service of the Pope as a Zouave. Later he joined the Foreign Legion as a noncommissioned officer. As a foreign citizen he took part in the war of 1870-1871 on the French side and behaved bravely, at least according to his military record, which he was supposed to have helped formulate.

After the Franco-German War, Esterhazy went to Tunisia, where he distinguished himself by heroic action, again according to his own statements. There he made the acquaintance of a French officer named Henry (the later Colonel Henry and Picquart's rival), to whom he lent money. He was then a German translator in the espionage division of the Ministry of War. He became first lieutenant, then captain in 1880, major in 1892, and chief of a battalion in Rouen. But most of the time he lived in Paris, detached on special service in the General Staff. Later he confessed that he was used in counterespionage to survey the officers of the French General Staff. At the same time, he also undertook surveying the foreign military attachés.

He had received his orders, he said, from the chief of the Information Division, Colonel Sandherr. This will never be ascertained as long as the French Ministry of War does not publish the Dreyfus and Esterhazy files. All his accomplices on the General Staff-Henry, Paty de Clam, Mercier, Boisdeffre, Gonse-are dead. However, that they tried to protect Esterhazy cannot be explained merely by the fact that they did not wish to see a revision of the Dreyfus trial or

-197-

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From Dreyfus to Petain: The Struggle of a Republic
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents *
  • Chapter I - A Struggle of Dauntless Courage 1
  • Chapter 2 - Six Phases of the Dreyfus Affair 4
  • Chapter 3 - French Nationalism and the Catholic Church 18
  • Chapter 4 - French Anti-Semitism at the Turn of the Century 25
  • Chapter - Captain Alfred Dreyfus 59
  • Chapter 6 - The Generals of the Republic 65
  • Chapter 7 - The Alarmed Bourgeoisie 79
  • Chapter 8 - Clemenceau 85
  • Chapter 9 - Zola: His Background 111
  • Chapter 10 - Zola as a Fighter 120
  • Chapter 11 - Zola on Trial 137
  • Chapter 12 - Zola in Exile 151
  • Chapter 13 - Jaures 160
  • Chapter 14 - Picquart 176
  • Chapter 15 - Esterhazy 197
  • Chapter 16 - Von Schwartzkoppen 220
  • Chapter 17 - The German Side of the Affair 227
  • Chapter 18 - The Struggle Never Ends 254
  • Bibliography 301
  • Index 307
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