Home » Languages » English (Sr. Secondary) » Essay, Biography or Paragraph on “Alfred Dreyfus” complete biography for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Essay, Biography or Paragraph on “Alfred Dreyfus” complete biography for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Alfred Dreyfus


France : Amidst a political storm

Born : 1859        Died.: 1935

The Dreyfus affair created such a political storm in France that the country was vertically split into pro- and anti-Dreyfus elements and nearly came to the brink of a civil war.

Dreyfus was a captain in the French army and his family owned cotton mills. His only fault was that he was an honest Jew. Many superior officers were jealous of his straightforwardness and happy life. In September 1894, Henry, an officer in the rank of Major, was handed over a piece of paper from the dustbin carrying information about military secrets of Prussia (Germany). The cursive writing was more or less similar to Dreyfus which put him on charges of treason and sedition. He was tried in camera. The anti-Jew Press spread rumours and created an inimical atmosphere for him. He was banished for four years and housed at the leper colony in French Guyana.

Dreyfus prayed for re-trial when Major Picquart was in charge of investigation. He found that Dreyfus was innocent. Even then, the superior officers tried to hush up the matter. Picquart was a man of upright values and found one Esterhazy as the culprit behind. Picquart was sent to Tunisia, but he did not allow the matter to subside. He sent a letter to a newspaper detailing the truth. He found powerful allies in Georges Clemenceau, editor of L’ Aurore, and writer Emile Zola. Zola was exiled and Picquart was dismissed from the army. Picquart proved that many documents put up in Dreyfus case were forgeries. Dreyfus was re-tried on June 3, 1899 and was granted amnesty on September 19, 1899. His supporters wanted him to be declared innocent and on July 1906, the court upheld the case. He was reinstated in the army. Henry, who had implicated him, committed suicide and the war minister responsible for the faux pas eventually resigned.

Dreyfus took part in the First World War and was honoured with the ‘Legion of Honour’ for his bravery. He died at the age of 76.


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