15 October 1894

Accade Oggi

On October 15, 1894, the French army official Alfred Dreyfus, who was of Jewish origin, was arrested with the accusation of espionage. The arrest had followed the delivery of an anonymous letter, containing references to French confidential military operations, to the German embassy. Following an inaccurate inquiry to find out the author of the leak, all suspects fell on Dreyfus, who was tried for treason and given life sentence, to be served on the Devil’s Island, that belonged to the French Guyana and hosted a prison where inmates lived in very harsh conditions. The case caused deep outrage and it became known as the “affaire Dreyfus”: the French was divided into accusers (nationalists and anti-Semites) and supporters (liberals and intellectuals) of the Jewish captain. In 1896, it was discovered that the author of the letter was another officer, Walsing-Esterhazy, but this was not enough to clear Dreyfus of all accusations: his sentence was reduced to ten years in prison, since he was still considered an accomplice of the crime. It was after the emergence of the new information (which was supposed to clear the captain once and for all) that the famous author Emile Zola wrote his famous open letter “J’accuse”, addressed to the President of the Republic, where Zola condemned the inaccuracy and the irregularity of both the investigation and the trial. In 1898, President Loubet finally decided to pardon Dreyfus, but only in 1906 he was fully rehabilitated and reintroduced in the army. The affaire Dreyfus became a symbol of injustice and of judicial errors and, during the XX century, it was argued that the case, with all its surrounding public debate, revealed those anti-Semitic feelings that were widespread in Europe and that exploded with dreadful brutality not many years later.

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  • L'Autore

    Chiara Vona

    Si è laureata in Relazioni Internazionali, con una tesi sulle trasmissioni radiofoniche americane verso i Paesi del blocco orientale durante la Guerra fredda e, attualmente, lavora nell'ambito della comunicazione.
    In Mondo Internazionale è Segretario di Mondo Internazionale Academy e redattrice per "AccadeOggi" ed "EuropEasy".

    She graduated in International Relations with a dissertation about American International broadcasting towards the communist bloc during the Cold War and, currently, she works in communications.
    Within Mondo Internazionale, she is Secretary of the Mondo Internazionale Academy and she writes for "It Happens Today" and "EuropEasy".



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