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The affair since the 1930s

The affair since the 1930s

Controversial visions and flights of fancy

The death of Lieutenant Colonel Dreyfus furnished Maurras with another occasion to denounce his old enemy and to reiterate that the consequences of the Affair were "anti-moderate, anti-landowner, anti-hereditary, anti-Catholic, but also and above all anti-patriotic and anti-military." As a polemicist, he saw the combined forces of the British and the Germans in this attack on "national French strength."

The political exploitation of the Affair, as well as the considerable mass of partially or completely forged documents that were published between 1894 and 1914, gave rise to far too many works that provided sensational conclusions or invented new handwriting theories. After an exhaustive examination of the resources held in the National Archives as well as those in public libraries, chief inspector Marcel Thomas wrote, "any hypothesis, any 'induction', that is contradicted by the innumerable authentic documents that are in our possession today cannot be seriously taken into consideration." Since its foundation, the International Society for the History of the Dreyfus Affair, of which he is the president, usefully devotes itself to denouncing books that pretend to shed new light on the Affair and its victim, each one announcing in turn that it reveals the key to the mystery, the well-kept secret, and even lost secrets and hidden truths.

The work of archivists and historians

A year after the death of his father, Pierre Dreyfus published Alfred Dreyfus, Memories and Correspondence published by his son, which was preceded and followed by Memories of Captain Dreyfus 1899-1906. Philippe Oriol's 1998 publication of a critical edition of Dreyfus's Carnets (1899-1907) showed the importance of the historical work that had been underway since the 1960s, even if the bibliography published in The Dreyfus Affair from A to Z lists fourteen essential reference works published before 1914-including the monumental history by Joseph Reinach-and seventeen other titles published after this date.

As head of the training department at the Historical Center of the National Archives, Vincent Duclert had acquired an in-depth knowledge of the Center's holdings. This has allowed him to become-within the framework of the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and on the hundredth anniversary of Dreyfus's rehabilitation-the premier biographer of Alfred Dreyfus as well as the sensible editor of the correspondence between the captain and his wife. The successive centennial observances of the first conviction, the Zola trial, the Rennes trial and the two reviews have given rise to books and conference proceedings that have enriched an already considerable bibliography, itself the subject of two books, the first in 1905 and the second in 1970.


A. Dreyfus at his desk

Tim, Homage to Captain Dreyfus