The Title Is Antisemitism And The Dreyfus Affair. It Answers The Question Of Whether Or Not Cpt. Dreyfus Would Have Been Arrested If He Was Not A Jew. The Essay States That He Would Not Have Been.

2269 words - 9 pages

Antisemitism and the Dreyfus AffairThe Semite is money-grubbing, greedy scheming, subtle, sly; the Aryan is enthusiastic, heroic, chivalrous, disinterested, frank, trustful to the point of naiveté. The Semite is an earth-dweller scarcely seeing beyond his present life; the Aryan in a son of the sky ceaselessly preoccupied with superior aspirations. The one lives in reality, the other in the ideal. The Semite is by instinct a merchant. He has a vocation for trade, a genius for all matters of exchange, for everything giving an opportunity to deceive his fellow man. The Aryan is a farmer, poet, monk, and especially soldier; war is his true element, he goes to meet danger joyously, he braves death...In sum, all which is for man an excursion into unknown regions, an effort to enlarge the terrestrial domain, is absolutely beyond the Semite, and especially the Jewish Semite. He can live only as a parasite in the middle of a civilization that he has not made.This was an extreme, but not uncommon view in France around the time the Dreyfus affair broke out. It was taken out of on of the best-selling, most widely read books of nineteenth-century France, La France juive. These sentiments, brought along by the Franco-Prussian war and immigration, were what caused the Dreyfus Affair to be such a controversy. There was a marked increase in nationalism, an unprecedented love of, and interest in, the Army, and an anti-Semitic revival. If Dreyfus had not been a Jew in the army, the Affair would have been no more than a minor controversy, as many cases after him were. He also might not have been convicted. Anti-Semitism along with chance was the main reason Dreyfus was arrested.Alfred Dreyfus was born in Mulhouse, on October 9, 1859 to a family of Alsatian Jews. As a result of the Franco-Prussian War, the territories of both Alsace and Lorraine became under the control of Germany, and for a limited period of time, inhabitants of this region were given the option of leaving. The Dreyfus family who took French citizenship extremely seriously decided to take this option. Alfred would eventually attend the Realschule in Basel, Switzerland, where he would become fluent in the German language. Instead of pursuing a career in the family business, Alfred decided to become a soldier in the French army.After attending school at College Sainte-Barbe in Paris, and later in College Chaptal, Alfred would eventually qualify to attend the Ecole Polytechnique in 1878. Two years later, he graduated thirty-second in his class and entered the Army as a second lieutenant. After promotion to first lieutenant and a stint with the Thirty-first Artillery Regiment, Alfred was posted in 1883 to the First Cavalry Division in Paris, where he would excel for the next five years. By 1889, he had been promoted to captain, and after attending artillery school in Bourges, he was accepted into the War College on April 20, 1890.For an Alsatian Jew like Dreyfus to attend the War College was a...

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