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Brochures and popular songs

Brochures and popular songs

Pro-Dreyfus brochures

Around the Affair, every means of stimulating public opinion was used, including posters, albums, tracts, brochures and songs. The first Dreyfusard brochure was published by Bernard Lazare in the summer of 1895; the first run of 3,500 copies was printed in Belgium and was only distributed in November 1896, with the unequivocal title A Judicial Error: The Truth about the Dreyfus Affair. Immediately prior to I Accuse!, on 14 December 1897 and 6 January 1898, Zola published two brochures, Open Letter to the Youth and Open Letter to France, which had been rejected by Le Figaro. Enlarged versions of Lazare's pamphlet were printed in 1897 and 1898 by Pierre-Victor Stock; according to Jean-Yves Mollier, Stock's publishing house had a specialized catalogue of 116 titles in 1899, but in 1904 he was forced to pulp more than a hundred tons of unsold brochures.

Among pro-Dreyfus songs, there was one that announced the return of "the brave martyr of France, the poor exile banished from his country." Others sprang up in Belgium ("He bemoans his fate there, poor victim"), Poland ("Weep for the innocent Dreyfus") and in Russia ("I can no longer bear my heart's sorrow"). An American songwriter composed a Dreyfus Two-Step. A century later, Dreyfus's grand-nephew, Yves Duteil, winner of the Grand Prix National de la Chanson Française, would put his great-uncle's story to music.

Anti-Dreyfus songs

Among the anti-Dreyfusards, hundreds of songs set to popular tunes, many of them published by Léon Hayard, taunted Zola ("the Italian pornographer") and Dreyfus ("can't be berated because he's already been castrated, to be hung up by the nose"). Texts published in L'Antijuif and the entire anti-Semitic press spewed out hatred of "the sorry figure of the filthy-rich Yids, rooting around to steal the gold of France," while pamphlets printed by Édouard Drumont and Henri Rochefort condemned "the syndicate of treason" that "sold the blood of French soldiers to Germany like a butcher sells meat." Nevertheless, around the country, although public opinion was not indifferent, it was not obsessed with the Affair-the inventory of churches following the 1905 law separating Church and State caused a great deal more turmoil.