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9. General Boulanger and Captain Dreyfus


9. General Boulanger and Captain Dreyfus

France Since 1871 (HIST 276)

Two of the major crises of nineteenth-century France, the Boulanger Affair and the Dreyfus Affair, can be understood in terms of the rising forces of anti-Semitism and Far Right politics. The German conquest of Alsace and Lorraine, in particular, fueled nationalist and right-wing sentiments, especially in rural France. Political orientations and prejudices were formed by the popular media of the time, such as illustrated periodicals and patriotic songs.

00:00 - Chapter 1. The Anti-semitic Context: France and the Jews in the Nineteenth Century
07:47 - Chapter 2. The Boulanger Crisis: General Boulanger, General Victory
22:16 - Chapter 3. Developments in Mass Politics: The Spread of Images and Imaginaire
36:16 - Chapter 4. The Dreyfus Affair

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website:

This course was recorded in Fall 2007.

04 Les dossiers de l'histoire Le general Boulanger


France and the Dreyfus Affair

For registration:

Prof. Pierre Birnbaum explores the development of antisemitism in 19th century France and the notorious Dreyfus Affair.

The Dreyfus Affair and the Shock of Anti-Semitism

Jeffrey Mehlman, Professor of French, Boston University.
Professor Mehlman is a literary critic and a historian of ideas. Over a number of years, he has been writing an implicit history of speculative interpretation in France in the form of a series of readings of canonical literary works. His books include A Structural Study of Autobiography (1974), Revolution and Repetition (1977), Cataract: A Study in Diderot (1979), Legacies: Of Anti-Semitism in France (1983), Walter Benjamin for Children: An Essay on His Radio Years (1993), Genealogies of the Text (1995).

Dreyfus Revisited: A Current Affair

Written and produced by Lorraine Beitler
Directed by Jonathan Gruber, Black Eye Productions.
2006 Revision by Dawn Freer & Patricia Giniger Snyder, Rembrandt Films
Translation and subtitles provided by Internation, Inc.

Rich pictorial imagery is presented along with texts from the period, following the events and themes of the Affair, including: the trials of Alfred Dreyfus and the Dreyfus family; the turbulent historical background of nineteenth-century France; the role of the media; and the work in support of Dreyfus by Georges Picquart and Emile Zola.

What Was The Dreyfus Affair?

This week, we’re examining the “Dreyfus Affair,” an espionage trial that took place in France in the 1890s. The trial, which saw a top-ranking soldier, Alfred Dreyfus, convicted of passing military secrets to the Germans, also put events in motion that led to the creation of the State of Israel.

We’re diving into the events that tore France apart and rocked the country’s claim of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” for all and asking why it convinced Theodore Herzl, the founder of Political Zionism of the need for a Jewish state.

This week’s episode has more intrigue, espionage, crazy theories, antisemitism sensational headlines, cover ups and collusions than an episode of Homeland.

What do you think of the events surrounding the Dreyfus affair? How could they have happened in a country in which Jews had been considered equal citizens for a century and why did it cause such an uproar?

Subscribe and watch our other gripping videos that tell the story of modern Israel.


Photo/Video Credit:
- Central Zionist Archives
- Wikimedia Commons/MI
- Library of Congress


Executive Producers:
- Shevi Peters
- Adam Milstein

Platinum Level:
- Rachel & Jack ז”ל Gindi Family Foundation
- Meryl and Sam Solomon, Beit Zayit
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This series would not be possible without the generous support of:
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#Israel #Education #History
What Was The Dreyfus Affair?

France and the Dreyfus Affair

Prof. Pierre Birnbaum explores the development of antisemitism in 19th century France and the notorious Dreyfus Affair. On this topic and more in Yad Vashem's new online course: Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present. For registration:
For more details:

Emile Zola and the Dreyfus Affair: Intervention and Consequences

Emile Zola et L'Affaire Dreyfus: Movilisation et Consequences.
Henri Mitterand, Professor Emeritus, Sorbonne Nouvelle and Columbia University, interviewed by Lance Donaldson-Evans, Professor Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania.

The Dreyfus Affair (In Our Time)

Melvyn Bragg and guests Robert Gildea, Ruth Harris and Robert Tombs discuss the Dreyfus Affair, the 1890s scandal which divided opinion in France for a generation.In 1894, a high-flying Jewish staff officer in the French Army, one Alfred Dreyfus, was convicted of spying for the Prussians. He was publicly humiliated: before a large Paris crowd, he was stripped of his badges of rank and his sword was ceremonially broken. Some of those watching shouted 'Down with Judas!' Then he was dispatched to Devil's Island. But when it emerged that Dreyfus was innocent, a scandal erupted which engulfed the Army, the Church and French society as a whole, exposing deep political rifts, and the nation's endemic anti-Semitism. It pitted Catholics against Republicans, provoked fighting in the streets, and led to the prosecution of the novelist Emile Zola, after his famous J'Accuse polemic against those protecting the real spy and so prolonging Dreyfus's suffering. The Affair became so divisive that it posed a serious threat to the French Republic itself. Finally, in 1905, it prompted the separation of Church and State. The scandal and the anti-Semitism at the heart of it cast a very long shadow. In 1945, when the ultra-nationalist one-time 'anti-Dreyfusard' Charles Maurras was convicted of collaborating with the Nazis, he reacted by declaring that his punishment was Dreyfus's revenge. Robert Gildea is Professor of Modern History at Oxford University; Ruth Harris is Lecturer in Modern History at Oxford University; Robert Tombs is Professor of French History at Cambridge University.

The Dreyfus Affair and Anti-Semitism: AP Euro Bit by Bit #36

This video is about the Dreyfus Affair in France in the late 19th century, an event that laid bare deeply held anti-Semitic beliefs of the time. The wrongful conviction of a French military officer led to a public outcry that threatened the stability of the Third Republic. It also helped to begin the Zionist movement, which sought a safe homeland for Jews.

Le général Boulanger : premier « ni de gauche, ni de droite ? » - Veni Vidi Sensi #10

Le ni droite ni gauche et le front républicain sont ils des phénomènes nouveaux ? Pas tant que ça, si on regarde l'histoire du général Boulanger, dans les années 1880.

1:30 La Troisième République, un régime inachevé ?
6:43 Boulanger, le général devenu ministre de la guerre
12:55 La naissance du Boulangisme
19:31 Apogée et hésitations
24:55 Le premier front républicain ?
31:34 Une aventure sans lendemain ?
37:59 Des leçons encore valables

Une vidéo écrite et présentée par Histony ; montée, réalisée et illustrée par Malo, le tout sous licence CC-BY-SA.

Retrouvez les sources de la vidéo et des précisions sur notre site, pour aller plus loin et recouper les infos :

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The Dreyfus Affair (This Week in Jewish History) Dr. Henry Abramson

Wrongly accused of espionage, Captain Alfred Dreyfus was sentenced to Devil's Island on the basis of remarkably tenuous evidence. May critics, including the famous writer Emile Zola, argued that Dreyfus was unfairly charged simply because he was a Jew in the French army. As evidence mounted that another officer was guilty, the Dreyfus Affair exposed the persistence of pervasive and deep-rooted antisemitism, questioning how effectively Jews were accepted in French society a full century after they were first emancipated.

The Dreyfus Affair - #67

Alfred Dreyfus Documentary │ Full video │


Alfred Dreyfus

Alfred Dreyfus (French pronunciation: ​[al.fʁɛd dʁɛ.fys] ; 9 October 1859 – 12 July 1935) was a French artillery officer of Jewish background whose trial and conviction in 1894 on charges of treason became one of the most tense political dramas in modern French history. Known today as the Dreyfus Affair, the incident eventually ended with Dreyfus' complete exoneration.

This video is targeted to blind users.

Article text available under CC-BY-SA
Creative Commons image source in video

18. The Dark Years: Vichy France

France Since 1871 (HIST 276)

For decades after the end of World War II the question of French collaboration with the Nazis was obscured. One of the reasons for this was the desire of de Gaulle and others to downplay the central role of communists in resisting the occupation. In fact, many French civilians were involved to greater or lesser degrees in informing upon their fellows or otherwise furthering the interests of the German invaders. Under the Vichy regime, right-wing politics in France developed an ideological program founded upon an appeal to nationalism, the soil, and the rejection of perceived decadence.

00:00 - Chapter 1. The Outbreak of War: French and German Military Capacities
05:32 - Chapter 2. The Fall of France
09:02 - Chapter 3. Collaboration: Vichy France in Power
12:35 - Chapter 4. Gaps in National Memory: Problems in the History of Collaboration
21:16 - Chapter 5. The Collaborator Trials: The Vindication of History
33:20 - Chapter 6. The Character of the Collaborators: Identity and Motives

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website:

This course was recorded in Fall 2007.

Dreyfus - The Story of a French Jewish Family April 2014

Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People

Captain Alfred Dreyfus was a French citizen and a patriot. In 1894, his life changed when he was convicted of high of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island, off the coast of South- America. During Dreyfus' long years on the island, his wife Lucie, brother Mathieu, and his devoted supporters, fought for his innocence and, after five years, obtained a retrial. Dreyfus was once again found guilty but, due to his weakened state, he received the presidential pardon and could at last return to his family. It would take seven more years for his name to be cleared and for Alfred Dreyfus to be, at long last, a free man.

The exhibition Dreyfus - The Story of a Jewish French Family reveals the lesser-known part of the Affair: the private, 'behind-the scenes' story of Alfred Dreyfus and those close to him. By presenting the passionate judicial fight for Dreyfus' acquittal, the exhibition raises questions on fundamental issues such as anti-Semitism, racism and human rights- all of which have become synonyms of the Affair.

For the first time in Israel, the items on display tell the touching family story. Amongst these are Lucie's Siddur (prayer book), an embroidered carpet depicting Jewish festivals that once belonged to Alfred, and beautiful family photographs. The items are on loan from the Musee d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaisme in Paris, and Yaël Perl-Ruiz, Alfred Dreyfus' great grand-daughter. The exhibition at Beit Hatfutsot is the result of her initiative, and she is the true driving force behind this venture.

The exhibition also features original letters, formerly in the private Dreyfus family collection, now on loan from the National Library of Israel and the Muse'e d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaisme. This correspondence includes love letters between Alfred and Lucie.

1/2 Le général Boulanger (1886-1891) Troisième République

Le général Boulanger (1/2). 2000 ans d'Histoire sur France Inter de Patrice Gélinet avec Henri-François de Breteuil (auteur) 12.04.2007

« Il est mort comme il a vécu : en sous-lieutenant. »
Georges Clémenceau

« Il est mort comme un sous-lieutenant » a dit Georges Clémenceau en apprenant que le général Boulanger s'était tiré une balle dans la tête sur la tombe de sa maîtresse à Bruxelles le 30 septembre 1891.

Pendant 5 ans pourtant, à la tête d'une coalition hétéroclite de royalistes, de bonapartistes, de républicains et même de socialistes, celui que Clémenceau appelait avec mépris un sous-lieutenant, avait fait trembler la III° République. Depuis le jour où elle avait fait de ce soldat bardé de décorations et de cicatrices un ministre de la guerre.

Personne alors ne se doutait que le général Boulanger, réputé pour son patriotisme et ses convictions républicaines provoquerait quelques mois plus tard une des crises politiques les plus graves qu'ait connu la III° république pendant les 70 ans de son histoire.


*Henri-François de Breteuil

*Marquis de Breteuil
Journal secret 1886-1889
éditeur : Mercure de France
« Henri, huitième marquis de Breteuil, qui inspira le personnage du marquis de Bréauté à Marcel Proust, trouve tout naturellement sa place dans la collection du « Temps retrouvé ». Mais avec lui, nous pénétrons dans la réalité d'un univers que l'écrivain ne connaissait que de l'extérieur.

Nous sommes là au cœur de la société aristocratique de l'avant-siècle, dont on découvre les aspirations et la vie quotidienne. De cet important manuscrit, nous avons choisi d'éditer les années 1886-1889, marquées par l'affaire Boulanger qui mit en péril la fragile IIIe République.

Par sa position sociale et son goût prononcé pour la politique, Henri de Breteuil dévoile les dessous d'un conflit au cours duquel s'affrontent républicains, bonapartistes et royalistes. Intime des petits-fils de Louis-Philippe, il souhaite une restauration monarchique, mais se rend compte que le général n'est pas l'homme providentiel espéré.

Tout en suivant les rebondissements d'une crise de régime qui se déroule comme un excellent scénario, il brosse un tableau souvent mordant de la vie mondaine où têtes couronnées, princes, gentilshommes, grands bourgeois et hommes de pouvoir se croisent à la manière d'une comédie de mœurs. »

*Elena et les hommes
Jean Renoir
avec Jean Marais et Ingrid Bergman
éditeur : Montparnasse

*Delormel / Garnier / Désormes
En revenant de la revue
par : par Perchicot
label : CD EPM Records 982902

Philosemitism and its Discontents: Emile Zola and the Dreyfus Affair

28 May 2012

The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Philosemitism and its Discontents: Emile Zola and the Dreyfus Affair

Prof. Maurice Samuels,
Director, Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism

Prof. Robert S. Wistrich (chair),
Head, Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism.

"J'accuse!" Emile Zola, the Dreyfus Affair, and the Fragility of Truth




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