Emile Zola et laffaire Dreyfus (French Edition)
In the years where the anti-Semitic press searched for examples of the wrongdoings of the Jews, Dreyfus became an easy target. Anti-Semitism only seriously escalated in the last quarter of the 19 th century by reason of the harsh new economic and social reforms the government was carrying out. This new restructuring imposed many changes in the life of common citizens, and subsequently triggered widespread anxiety, fear and anger.
These feelings incited the citizens in searching for a reason their lives had suddenly become so difficult, they felt that someone or a group of people were behind their misery. But what most did not understand was that the government caused their despair. It had prioritized technological and industrial progress over more favourable conditions of life, and had allowed the exploitation of workers in the name of industrial progress. This created a significant influx in people that adhered to anti-republican parties of the right and worker parties of the left.
It was during this period that the political landscape was shaping itself for a struggle and waiting for an occasion to reshape politics. But most citizens could not understand how so suddenly their lives had taken a turn for the worst.
L'Affaire Dreyfus: La Verite En March by Emile Zola, paperback French text NEW | eBay
As they searched blindly for a reason that their lives had turned for the worst, the ancient anti-Semite sentiment resurfaced. Amidst this pandemonium of hatred, the Dreyfus affair emerged, at a moment where anti-Semitism was gradually on the rise again. It was only after the Dreyfus affair had come to light that a latent anti-Semitism became widespread in France, thus greatly affecting the orientation of political movements and the outcome they would have. This new anti-Semitism, shouldered by the press became the main weapon for the right-winged nationalist parties; it played a major role in the division of French politics and was a major reason why the Dreyfus Affair politically divided France in such drastic way.
Throughout the affair, the media was used and exploited by various groups that attempted to turn public opinion to their favour.
The Dreyfus affair was the predominant factor that changed French politics, but the press was the trigger that incited change. The day after the government had mentioned that a Jewish officer was suspected of treason, outbursts of anti-Semitism eventuated. Anti-Semitic newspapers display Dreyfus as a traitor, while others decided to wait for the verdict before publishing their opinions.
The next morning the news erupted on every newspaper, a Jewish officer was found guilty of treason. At the start of the affair, the anti-Dreyfusard press greatly outnumbered the Dreyfusard press, there was virtually no newspaper that did not chose a side in the affair. This staggering disproportion in numbers represented a flagrant weakness towards the Dreyfusard press to which the battle seemed to be a futile struggle. But although the anti-Dreyfusard press represented the majority it did not cease to publish articles where falsifications and lies were elaborated upon.
These newspapers stated the most extravagant facts and constantly falsified the truth in order to convince public opinion. Little did these newspapers know that this steady forging of the truth would bring them to their defeat as they built their statements upon dubious pieces of evidence, and anyone who made an in-depth investigation would discover that their thesis was a fraud. With hindsight we can deduce that the press played a crucial role throughout the affair. It amplified the significance the affair had upon politics; an insignificant treason was turned into a political battle by the press.
Its significance on politics was massive as it brought the struggle one step further, France was truly divided in two mainly because of the struggle the media was also fighting.
Due to the press, an affair that could have stayed governmental became political; heated debates in the parliament moved towards the media. For the first time the press disposed of a powerful influence on French politics; dramatising, supporting, or denouncing the authorities. Prior to the Franco-Prussian war of , France was politically divided in two; on a simplistic scale there was one faction in favour of the republic and another against it. Within the anti-republic faction, various political movements were present; although they believed in the same main idea, these movements disliked each other, competed against each other and were not united.
Contrary to the anti-republican faction, the pro-republican movements were more united, although an inconsequential rivalry was felt, they shared many of the same political beliefs alongside their appreciation of democracy and the republic. It was only during the affair that the movements opposing the republic united and formed the anti-Dreyfusard faction. It is here that we can now understand the chain of events that the Dreyfus Affair created upon politics and what impact it sparked.
As both sides united amongst themselves, it can be perceived that the Dreyfus affair was starting to create a serious impact on politics; the division between the two sides preceding the affair had been amplified and the significance of the affair would have different impacts for each movement.
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The impact of the affair on politics became so great that it pushed the various groups of the anti-republican movement to unite. Within the anti-Dreyfusard faction were united a curious amalgam of various factions and groupuscules that would have never fused if such a circumstance would not have appeared. Amongst the anti-Dreyfusard movement was a multitude of factions that held different ideologies such as: militarists, monarchists, pro-clericals, anti-Semitics and anti-republicans.
While these factions of the anti-republican movement did not necessarily have the same ideologies they all held bitter sentiments of the military defeat of against the Prussians and aspired in the abolition the republic to restore a monarchy. For these factions the significance of the affair was immense, it became an opportunity for them to obliterate the republic.
As the factions of the anti-Dreyfusard movement understood the significance the affair could have upon the future of the republic, they united their forces and started to criticize the government through the media in order to turn as much public opinion as possible against it. They did so in the only intent, to use the same pieces of evidence such as the infamous bordereau that had been exploited to put Dreyfus in prison, to once again use them to set him free.
Although this publication reinstated hope for the Dreyfusard movement, it subsequently created an immense uproar of anti-Semitism in France and her colonies; this letter triggered the culminating point. This letter hit the anti-Dreyfusard movement so hard that it triggered anti-Semitic riots all over the French Empire. If Dreyfus was acquitted, it would demonstrate the truth of the Dreyfusard and pro-republican movement, while the definite conviction of Dreyfus would give justice to the anti-Dreyfusard movement.
This would have been a massive victory for the anti-republic movement, as it would have falsely showed the public that they had been struggling for the righteous cause. Subsequently, it would have proved that the pro-republic movement was corrupt since it defended a criminal, and thus made them lose many supporters. Terror and Consensus : Vicissitudes of French Thought.
Jean-Joseph Goux , Philip R. This volume of twelve essays focuses on two interrelated issues. First, it addresses the historical and cultural determinants that have given rise to what frequently has been described as the French exception, the unusually conflictual French political process inherited from the revolutionary past in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and its accompanying avant-gardism in artistic, literary, and philosophical practice, both of which distinguish France from other European countries. Second, the contributors assess the exhaustion of this tradition in recent years noted prominently on the occasion of the celebration of the bicentennial of the Revolution in in a progressive normalization of French society that has been the final outcome of the liquidation of the colonial empire, the collapse of Marxism as a social force, and the integration of France into the European Union.
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