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Reports & Essays: Social Issues - Racial

"AND""OR"

Dreyfus Affair
The two men brought forth grave accusation, Henry said: an impeachable gentleman of war, warned me there was a traitor on staff and pointed to Alfred Dreyfus while shouting "he's right over there."(3) When asked to reveal his source by Dreyfus's lawyer, the court came to Henry's defense stating they understood why military men have to kept in secret. Then General Mercier introduced a man of strange background, his name was Mercier de Paty de Clam. Clam drew a fake file on Dreyfus to show him that he was indeed guilty of treason. The evidence now, true or false, was enough to send Alfred Dreyfus to prison for life, he was condemned and degraded in public. The scene of his conviction was said "it could make a man sick on sight."(4) His trousers had their stripes ripped off by the mob, his sword was broken in two while the mob spat and shouted: "Death to the Jew!" Alfred Dreyfus was shipped to Devil's Island to suffer the deadly and harsh conditions, to be tortured on an island from which he couldn't escape from anyway. There were still a few minds who believed in Dreyfus's innocence, such as, his wife and brother; Golgar Demange, a highly respected devout catholic; and even Captain George Picquart.(5) George Picquart was one of the main figures in the unravelling of the Dreyfus affair, he was the officer asked by his supervisor to look into Dreyfus's motives. Picquart found many flaws and peculiar things,in his research and in March 1896 another letter which they called the "petit bleu," was intercepted by French intelligence. This puzzled Picquart, an investigation was now to be ordered on Esterhazv, who's name was found on it. Esterhazv, a captain of regiment, had been constantly applying for General Staff Intelligence and he was being backed by a familiar figure, Major Hubert Henry. At this time France's state was being questioned, morality and injustice where the two large issues. The people backed Henry even if he was lying, because to them it was patriotic and for the honour of France. No concern was taken for the injustice which was hurled upon an innocent man, instead their was talk about a large scale deportation of all Jews. However, there were non-Jews who were now questioning the Dreyfus affair of these included men of power such as government officials. Pressure was being put on the army to review the case, by George Picquart as well. Picquart had noticed something very peculiar about the "Petit bleu" and when he realized it was the hand writing he immediately called handwriting experts to confirm this, who did agree with him. He then approached General Gonse and to a great dismay found that he was being shut out and told to keep silent about it. But Picquart was of a different type of man, he wanted justice to be done, so he went to the papers to be heard. Now this brought on Mathieu Dreyfus, Alfred's brother, who accused Esterhazy as the author of the Bordereau. Esterhazy demanded he be court-martialled and he was along with Picquart, both sent to prison. Another person took on the challenge now, on the day of January 13th a Republic Novelist by the name of Emile Zola wrote the article "J'accuse,", "I accuse" revealed Paty du Clam as a forger. He was charged for writing this, fined 3,000 francs, and put in prison. Emile Zola was a strong believer in the innocence of Alfred Dreyfus but on the other end of the scale was the new War Minister by the name of Godefroy Carvaignac believed that Dreyfus was guilty to the fullest degree. On July 17, 1898, he gave a speech in the Chamber stating that Dreyfus Affair was finally finished. He also brought out a document declaring them as proof of Dreyfus's guilt. The forged document contained Dreyfus's name written by the attache. The next changing step in the affair was the appointment of a young officer to look into the forgery accusations, Captain Louis Cuignet had to re-examine the file on Dreyfus in order to be sure that nothing had been forged, but to the surprise of the one who appointed him, Cavaignei Cuignet, found some interesting results. After all was said and done, Alfred Dreyfus was acquitted of his charges with a full pardon, he also regained his position in the army as well as Picquart, and Henry commited suicide. Throughout history there has been many cases of similar feeling that have caused injustice as a result of the instances. We have seen it in Modern history and ancient history with blacks facing cruel and unfair treatment in South Africa and the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela; the persecution of and extermination of Jews in the second World War by Adolf Hitler. These can be paralleled to the Dreyfus case in question. However, one case of Modern time that can be considered the closest on a social level, in my opinion, showing the feeling of a State towards a person, was the Donald Marshall case. Donald Marshall was an Indian native in Nova Scotia who was accused of murdering an old man, like Dreyfus he was presumed guilty from the beginning due to the anti-Indian mentality. The Dreyfus Affair has tarnished the face of France's history, and has been carried through the ages. I believe that it should be a lesson to mankind on the subject of racism in the world. Thesis Man has been known to develop emotions and feeling toward people of another breed, culture or race. They have proved this through history over and over, and as they say history repeats itself, it still exists in societies today. There will always be some injustice in the world that might never be overcome. The subject to be examined in this essay will show the injustice and a result of anti-semantic feelings on France, and it will prove that the Dreyfus Affair was a result of anti-semitism.

 



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