Dreyfus Affair and J'accuse

The Dreyfus affair was a political scandal that divided France in the 1890s. It involved the conviction for treason in November 1894 of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a French officer of Jewish descent. Sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly having communicated French military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris, Dreyfus was sent to Devil's Island and placed in solitary confinement, where he was to spend almost 5 years under the most inhumane of conditions.

- feeds into the key ideas used in the Innocence Project
- high point in journalism trade

Franco-Prussian War
The defeat at Sedan 1871 and the Paris commune in the Franco Prussian War was an attempt to unify Germany. The Franco Prussian War was a conflict between the French Empire and Prussia. Prussia won due to their power and superior army. It marked the loss of Napoleon, which humiliated France. The people of Paris declared the Third Republic after the war and they wanted resistance against the Prussians.

The Paris Commune was a government that  ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. The people in Paris, in all the chaos, planned out new rules. It was very optimistic. It existed before the split between anarchists and Marxists had taken place. It was the first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution. Women were powerful and set up nursery's so women could work.
Debates over the policies and outcome of the Commune contributed to the break between those two political groups. The commune was ruthlessly destroyed, 20,000-30,000 people were executed by their own French army.
It had a huge impact on European politics and it is a key ideology of the communist left wing approach. It was so significant even though it didn't last long, the potential it could of had makes it significant. Marx celebrated the commune, it represented the withering away of the state. To this day there hasn't really been any other example of where people have attempted to destroy the state.

Dreyfus Affair
The defeat of France in the Franco Prussian war (1871) was still casting a dark shadow over France. France had become very militaristic as they were worried about another war with Germany, so there was a big increase in spying, by all EEuropean countries.
In the German Embassy a secret document that belonged to the French military was found. The French Army picked on a intelligent Jew, captain Dreyfus. They framed him and found him guilty of treason. He was sent to the secluded Devil's island in 1894.
Two years later in 1896 an officer looked into the case and found new evidence and a new culprit a French Army major named Esterhazy. After high-ranking military officials abolished the new evidence, a military court released Esterhazy.
-The Army accused Dreyfus of additional charges based on false documents fabricated by a French counter-intelligence officer, who was seeking to re-confirm Dreyfus's conviction.

Attributed to A Siegel

A famous french Journalist and writer Emile Zola wrote the famous article J'accuse, a desperate public open letter published in a Paris newspaper in January 1898. He accused the government of anti-semitism and the unlawful jailing of Dreyfus. In terms of law he was defamatory but did so at his own risk, he was convicted of libel and fled to London.
- Anti-semitism means prejudice against or hatred of Jews.

Anti Jewish riots all over France began, right wing papers call for Jews to lose their citizenship.

-Progressive activists put pressure on the government to reopen the case.

In 1899 Dreyfus was brought back to Paris from Guiana for another trial. The intense political and judicial scandal that ensued divided French society between those who supported Dreyfus and those who blamed him.

This is a brilliant example of how a Journalist can stand up for themselves and prove to all their readers and raise awarness of a persons innocence. This links directly to the innocence project and unfair convictions, which if you keep following me you will hear lots more about!

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