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The aftermath of the Affair
The constant hostility of Maurras's supporters
Critics of "The Beggarwoman"
"An atmosphere of alarms at the border, insults, duels, overturned cabinets, vengeful inquiries and friendly compromise," was how the diplomat and collaborator Paul Morand described the Third Republic in Tais-toi (Be Quiet). It reflected the opinion of a large part of the right in France. The most passionate militants were very much influenced by the "complete nationalism"stance of Action Française. The Dreyfus affair had given rise to this monarchist movement, which had been founded in 1899 by Charles Maurras. He saw the Affair as the illustration of the serious threats facing the nation: Jews, freemasons, Protestants and foreigners.
On 2 December 1897, he wrote to Barrès: "the entire party of Dreyfus deserves to be put in front of a firing squad." Congratulating the writer on his vote on 13 July 1906, Maurras stated, "this affair was and is vital for us. Down with the Jews! Down with the Jews! (…) We will revise it, won't we?" The acquittal of Louis Grégori-a revision of the revision-after his attempt to assassinate Dreyfus was, in the fall of 1908, seen as ongoing permission to abuse the captain.
On 28 January 1912, an article entitled L'Action française aura raison (Action Française Will Have Satisfaction) had no qualms about announcing that, for the "Jewish traitor Alfred Dreyfus", "some day, after the reading of a judicial decree-a definitive decree without mercy this time!-a dozen bullets will finally teach him the art of no longer betraying and no longer troubling this country that welcomed him." Dreyfus died at home, but this type of hateful remark is what led militiamen in January 1944 to kill Ilona and Victor Basch, both in their eighties, thereby paying Basch back for his Dreyfusard commitment and his activities as the president of the League of Human Rights. A sign reading "The Jew always pays" that was left on his body signaled an anti-Semitism with respect to Basch that had not ceased since the winter of 1897-98.
The "revenge" of Dreyfus!
After the end of World War II, Maurras was found guilty of collaborating with the enemy, sentenced to life in prison and stripped of his civil rights. In using this phrase to describe his conviction, Maurras-who joined the Academy Française in 1938 (he was removed in 1945)-demonstrated the tenacity of his commitment against the innocence of Dreyfus. In the early years, his movement was a catch-all for all of those who challenged the decree by the Court of Cassation. Up until 2 August 1914, every issue of their newsletter contained a fake document regarding the 1906 decree, to the point that the League of Human Rights organized a counter-propaganda campaign with respect to this "talisman." After 1909, Action Française's partisans considered Précis de l'affaire Dreyfus (Summary of the Dreyfus Affair) to be the only true history of what had happened-a book that Dreyfus himself described as "a work of admirable Jesuitism." Writing under the original pseudonym of Henri Dutrait-Crozon, officers Delebecque and Larpent wrote the version that they wanted to have, which Philippe Oriol has described as "a extraordinary monument to the revision of history."