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A patriot at the Ecole Superieure de Guerre

A patriot at the Ecole Superieure de Guerre

A lively spirit

On 20 April 1890, on the eve of his marriage, Alfred Dreyfus was accepted to the Ecole Supérieure de Guerre among 18 artillerymen and 55 infantry officers. Although he was 77th in a class of 81, he made rapid progress. He carried out various topographic and railway studies, and took part in the inspection of the forts along France's borders. Captain Dreyfus did not lose touch with his family, even though he did not always obtain the obligatory pass to travel to the annexed province of Alsace. Family money allowed him to have a certain number of servants, thanks to an annual income of some 40,000 francs. His assets and those of his wife made him a wealthy officer, but also an object of jealousy. The anti-Semitism of one of his assessors to ask the school's commanding officer whether "a Jewish officer was not capable of serving his country as well as another." Dreyfus knew that there were only 300 Jewish officers in the French army, but he believed the War Minister's speech to the deputies, after the death of Captain Mayer in a duel, in which he stated that to distinguish between religions in the army was "a crime against the nation."

A sound and very healthy sense of judgment

Captain Dreyfus was valued for his mastery of both military theory and administrative procedures, and was labeled "intelligent, hard-working and blessed with a prodigious memory." Nevertheless, the director of the school stated that his student did not have "any outstanding quality." On the other hand, the chief inspector noted in his personal file: "the marks of this officer do not speak of his sense of judgment, which seems to me to be sound and very healthy, which is not a quality that is shared by everyone." Later, Dreyfus recounted a conversation with Colonel Niox, who told him that the school had never differentiated between Jews and others, to which Dreyfus responded, "I had nothing but praise for all of the friendship and kindness that I was shown at the Ecole de Guerre." Despite having received-along with a fellow Jewish officer, a lieutenant-a very bad mark at the end of his second year (5 out of 20), Dreyfus's other grades allowed him to graduate ninth out of 81. This automatically assured him access to the general staff, like all his classmates who graduated in the top twelve.


Officers from the Ecole Supérieure de Guerre.

Captain Mayer, killed defending the honor of Jewish officers