1 page | SMC 785
- Theodor Herzl
The Dreyfus Affair was, in the words of historian Barbara Tuchman, “one of the great commotions of history." It began in 1894 when, in a miscarriage of justice against a backdrop of espionage and anti-Semitism, a Jewish Army captain, Alfred Dreyfus, was convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island; it ended, finally, it 1906, when all the accusations against Dreyfus were demonstrated to be baseless, and he was reinstated as a major in the French Army. During the twelve years of The Dreyfus Affair, French society was split in two, for and against Dreyfus; the army, the state, the church, the aristocracy, the Jews and ultimately, the truth. All of this was closely observed by a journalist named Theodor Herzl, who saw in France’s explosive anti-Semitism, the impossibility of Jewish assimilation, and the need for Jews to have a state of their own: so that from the persecution of a Jewish Frenchman, came the modern state of Israel.