Chronology of the Dreyfus Affair
May 2000 Version
Learn more about Emile Zola, Capt. Dreyfus and "The Affair" (Links)

Warned by the Spanish Military Attaché Valcarlos, the French Intelligence Services, headed by Colonel Sandherr, have been carefully watching secret correspondence between the German and Italian Military Attachés, Maximilian von Schwartzkoppen and Alessandro Panizzardi.   Germany and Italy are at that time allied with Austria in a military union (the Triple Alliance) hostile to France.

June 24, 1894

French President Sadi Carnot is assassinated in Lyon by an Italian anarchist, Caserio.

June 27, 1894

Jean Casimir-Périer becomes the new President of the Republic.

July 20, 1894

Infantry Major Ferdinand Walsin-Esterhazy who, through occasional contacts with the General Staff, was exposed to classified French information, offers his services to the German Military Attaché, Lieutenant-Colonel von Schwartzkoppen, promising to pass on military secrets.

August 15, 1895

Esterhazy receives payment by Schwartzkoppen for delivering classified mobilization documents.

September 26, 1894

The French Intelligence Services intercept a message (from Esterhazy, but not signed), received Sept 1, 1894 by Schwartzkoppen.  From the nature of the leaks in this memorandum  -- the "bordereau,"--  they conclude that the spy must be an artillery officer and a member of the General Staff.

In addition, the traitor may have been in contact with different bureaus as an intern.

October 6, 1894

After a brief inquiry, only half a dozen officers seem to match the description, including Captain Alfred Dreyfus, an artillery officer on the General Staff.  He is from Alsace, a French province under German rule since the Franco-Prussian war (1870-1871), and some members of his wealthy family still reside there.  As a probationary officer since January 1893, he has rotated through most of the bureaus of the Ministry of War.  He is also Jewish, a fact noted by Sandherr and his deputy Colonel Fabre, both openly antisemitic.  They communicate their unsupported suspicions to General Mercier, the Minister of War in the Charles Dupuy Cabinet.

October 15, 1894

After consulting reputable handwriting experts, but still lacking incriminating evidence, General Mercier along with the heads of the General Staff, General de Boisdeffre and his deputy in charge of Intelligence, General Gonse, are now convinced that Dreyfus has been privy to the information leaked to the Germans.  In order to obtain an irrefutable handwriting sample, Commandant du Paty de Clam, placed in charge of the investigation, calls Dreyfus and feigns to dictate him a letter based on the wording of the "bordereau."  Since  the two documents appear to match, Dreyfus is accused of spying and arrested, despite his protestations of innocence.  He is sent immediately to the Cherche-Midi military prison.

October 31, 1894

Through a leak from the Headquarters, Edouard Drumont, the publisher of the anti-Semitic paper La Libre Parole, learns of Captain Dreyfus's indictment.   The evening issue of Le Soir publicly identifies him, followed the next day by La Libre Parole, which starts a virulent campaign against the Jewish officer.

November 3, 1894.

Major d'Ormescheville starts the judicial investigation of the case.  His final report, Dec. 3, 1894, recommends a Court-martial.

December 19-22, 1894

During the Dreyfus Court-martial, held in closed session, the judges still hesitate over the evidence, including a ludicrous demonstration from the handwriting expert Bertillon.  Obeying orders from General Mercier, Major Henry gives the judges an incriminating file which contains a letter dated May 1894 from the Italian Military Attaché mentioning "this scoundrel of D..."  However, in the name of national security, Dreyfus' defense lawyer Edgar Demange, a civilian, is not made aware of this "dossier secret".

The Military Court is now persuaded by the evidence and thus unanimously pronounces Dreyfus guilty of high treason.  Professing his innocence, he is nevertheless condemned to perpetual deportation and military degradation.

December 31, 1894

Dreyfus' petition for appeal is rejected.

January 5, 1895

The degradation takes place in public in the courtyard of the Ecole Militaire.  A warrant-officer strips him of his badges and buttons, then draws Dreyfus' sword from its scabbard and snaps it across his knee.  During the ordeal, sincere patriots along with an anti-Semitic mob unleash shouts of anger at "the traitor," who continues to maintain that they are punishing the wrong man.

Many newspapers echo Dreyfus' alleged confession to Captain Lebrun-Renaud.

January 17, 1895

President of the Republic Félix Faure succeeds President Jean Casimir-Périer who has resigned over a minor political dispute .

New Cabinet, with Prime Minister Alexandre Ribot. Ludovic Trarieux, Justice Minister.

February 22, 1895

Dreyfus begins his journey to the penitentiary in French Guyana.

March 12, 1895

Dreyfus arrives in French Guyana.

April 13, 1895

Dreyfus is transferred to Devil's Island, where he will be placed in solitary confinement.

July 1, 1895

After a long illness, Colonel Sandherr is dying.  A new Chief of Intelligence Services, Lieutenant-Colonel Georges Picquart, another Alsatian like Dreyfus, is chosen among the General staff officers, bypassing Major Henry.

October 28, 1895

New Cabinet, with Prime Minister Léon Bourgeois.

March 1896

Another express letter from the German Embassy --"le petit bleu"-- which this time identifies Major Esterhazy-- is intercepted.

April 29, 1896

New Cabinet, with Prime Minister Jules Méline. General Billot is Minister of War.

July, 30 1896

Opening the Dreyfus file, Picquart is able to compare the Esterhazy's handwriting with that of the "bordereau" and gradually realizes that all the evidence brought against Dreyfus in 1894 are wrong.

August 5, 1896

Picquart informs the Chief of the General Staff, General de Boisdeffre, of his suspicions about Esterhazy as the actual spy.

September 3, 1896

Efforts by Picquart to convince the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, General Gonse, of Dreyfus' innocence again prove unsuccessful.  He is now considered as a whistle-blower who could bring embarrassment to the General Staff if he keeps insisting in reopening Dreyfus' earlier investigation.

The English press is circulating the false news of Dreyfus' escape from Devil's island.

Immediate measures are taken to prevent any future attempts.  At night, Dreyfus is kept in irons.

September 14, 1896

Tipped by a leak from Headquarters, an article in L'Eclair mentions for the first time the incriminating secret file communicated to the judges alone during the trial of December 1894.  In trying to definitely prove Dreyfus' treason, the paper even quotes  -wrongly, but conveniently-  the letter mentioning "this scoundrel of D..." now transformed into "this scoundrel of Dreyfus".

September 18, 1896

Citing the revelation of a secret file as new evidence for a mistrial, Lucie Dreyfus petitions the Chamber of Deputies in the name of her husband.

Henry starts tampering with documents in order to incriminate definitely Dreyfus and discredit Picquart later.

October 27, 1896

General de Boisdeffre and General Gonse transfer Picquart from his position and send him to a mission far removed from Paris.

October 31, 1896

With Picquart now out of the way, Major Henry conveniently produces new evidence:  a letter allegedly from the Italian Embassy to the German Attaché specifically naming Dreyfus as their contact.  This document, fabricated by master-forger Lemercier-Picard  -an agent of Henry-, will be later known as "le faux Henry."

November 6, 1896

The wife and the brother of the convicted officer, Lucie and Mathieu Dreyfus, continue to fight untiringly in the hope of a fairer trial.  Inspired by their efforts, the writer Bernard-Lazare publishes his brochure Une Erreur judiciaire [A Judicial Error: The Truth on the Dreyfus Affair ] in Brussels, marking the point of departure for a retrial.

November 10, 1896

Thanks to another leak from Headquarters, Le Matin boastingly publishes the copy of the first incriminating document of 1894, the "bordereau," as evidence of Dreyfus' treason.

December 26, 1896

General Gonse sends trouble-maker Picquart to a dangerous mission in Tunisia where rebels are rising up against French colonial rule.

February 7, 1898

Jules Guérin organizes the Ligue antisémitique française.

June, 21-26, 1897

On a short leave in Paris, fearing retaliation, Picquart shares his convictions with the lawyer Louis Leblois, a long time friend from Alsace, but asks him not to reveal publicly his secret nor the name of Esterhazy.

July 13, 1897

Picquart's lawyer Leblois meets with the Vice-President of the Senate, the Alsatian Auguste Scheurer-Kestner, who becomes convinced of Dreyfus's innocence as well and starts his own investigation.  However, sworn to secrecy by Leblois, and because the Intelligence Office still keeps all documents restricted to civilians, Scheurer-Kestner cannot find any significant proof of the frame-up.  Even during an interview with Mathieu Dreyfus, Scheurer-Kestner refuses identifying Esterhazy because of his promise of silence to Leblois.

Unable to provide evidence of his claim, the cancer ridden Scheurer-Kestner is ridiculed by the anti-Semitic press  as totally senile and bribed by a Jewish interest lobby, “le Syndicat”.

August 17, 1897

War Minister General Billot has Esterhazy retired from active duty in the Army "for temporary infirmity," because is has become an embarrassment.

October 16, 1897

At a meeting with Billot, Gonse, Henry and du Paty de Clam decide to warn Esterhazy of the accusations pointed at him.

October 18, 1897

Esterhazy receives a letter conceived by dy Paty de Clam, written by Mme Henry and signed "Espérance", warning him to be more careful.

October 23, 1897

Esterhazy sees Schwartzkoppen for the last time.  Later that day, in parc Montsouris, he has a secret interview with du Paty de Clam in disguise, who promises to protect him..

October 29, 1897

Scheurer-Kestner has an inconclusive interview with President Félix Faure.

October 30, 1897

Scheurer-Kestner has lunch with his old friend General Billot, who asks him to be patient.

November 3, 1897

Scheurer-Kestner has an interview with Prime Minister Méline.

November 6, 1897

Bernard-Lazare meets with Emile Zola.

November 8, 1897

Leblois visits Zola.

November 10, 1897

Esterhazy, with Henry or du Paty de Clam's approval, sends anonymous letters to Scheurer-Kestner requesting clandestine meetings,  then has his mistress, Marguerite Pays, address mysterious notes  signed "Speranza" and "Blanche" to Picquart.  Forged messages are also planted in his file to make him appear as the fabricator of the "petit bleu," which he himself had discovered in March 1896.

November 11, 1897

By a twist of fate, Mr. de Castro, a stock-broker from South America, notices a facsimile of the bordereau on sale at a newspaper stand  -- thanks to Mathieu Dreyfus' efforts to publicize it as much as possible, in the hope that someone would recognize the handwriting.   Realizing that it matches that of one of his clients, Major Esterhazy, he immediately contacts Mathieu Dreyfus.

November 12, 1897

Mathieu Dreyfus goes to see Scheurer-Kestner to check if Esterhazy is the same individual whose identity he has sworn not to reveal.  Scheurer-Kestner can finally confirms that Esterhazy is the actual traitor.

November 12-13. 1897

At his home, Scheurer-Kestner has a meeting with Matthieu Dreyfus, Leblois and Zola.

On Devil's Island, Dreyfus' hut is surrounded by a double eight feet high stockade.

November 13, 1897

German authorities order Schwartzkoppen to leave his post in Paris.

November 15, 1897

Scheurer-Kestner declares Dreyfus innocent in an open letter to Le Temps.

Schwartzkoppen leaves Paris for his new position.

November 16, 1897

Mathieu Dreyfus writes the Minister of Justice denouncing Esterhazy as the author of the "bordereau" and sues him.

November 17, 1897

Because of the accusation, the Military Governor of Paris, General Saussier, orders the opening of an inquest on Esterhazy conducted by General de Pellieux.

November 25, 1897

Zola starts a campaign in favor of Dreyfus' cause in Le Figaro.

November 26, 1897

Picquart is recalled to Paris to be questioned as part of the Esterhazy investigation.

November 28, 1897

Le Figaro starts publishing a correspondence from Esterhazy that one of his spurned mistresses, Madame de Boulancy,  has communicated to the newspaper in which he vents his contempt for the French, even dreaming to become a German Uhlan and be able to slaugher as many French soldiers as possible.

December 3, 1897

General de Pellieux's inquest exonerating Esterhazy is followed by a second judicial investigation on him, conducted by Major Ravary.

December 4, 1897

Prime Minister Jules Méline declares at the National Assembly: "There is NO Dreyfus affair whatsoever."

December 7, 1897

Scheurer-Kestner tries to rally his colleagues at the Senate but no avail.

December 13, 1897

Zola publishes  "Letter to youth."

December 26, 1897

Three handwriting experts, Belhomme, Varinard and Couard, declare the bordereau not to be by Esterhazy's hand.

January 1, 1898

Final report by Ravary concludes that a case against Esterhazy lacks evidence and that there is no need for Court-martial.  General Saussier however decides with Esterhazy that demanding a Court-martial is the best course to clear him completely.

January 4, 1898

Zola publishes "Letter to France."

January 10-11, 1898

Esterhazy is brought to trial, which is soon held in closed session.  He is quickly unanimously acquitted by the Court-martial.

Ironically, Colonel Picquart is indicted for revealing military secrets to civilians and is put under arrest at the Mont-Valérien military prison.

Under pressure from the Dreyfus family, Scheurer-Kestner meets with more celebrities who now believe that Dreyfus has been unfairly convicted.  Among those "intellectuals", as they are referred to by the anti-Dreyfusard press, are Joseph Reinach, Marcel Prévost, Anatole France, Georges Clemenceau , and Emile Zola. 

January 13, 1898

In the journal L'Aurore, under the political editorship of Georges Clemenceau, Emile Zola publishes an open "Letter to the President of the Republic" accusing the military of scheming to bring about Dreyfus' disgrace and the handwriting experts of being totally blind.  Entitled as a full page headline "J'accuse...!" by Clemenceau, the pamphlet is intended is to force the reopening of the Dreyfus Case, provided that Zola's accusations are not found to be slanderous.

The Chamber of Deputies votes to bring Zola to trial.

Scheurer-Kestner's term as Vice-president of the Senate is not renewed.

In Algiers, violent antisemitic riots are taking place.

January 14-16, 1898

L'Aurore publishes a series of petitions by "intellectuals" - writers, scholars, scientists - calling for a retrial. Marcel Proust, one of the initiators, succeeds in obtaining the decisive support of Anatole France’s signature.

January 18, 1898

Billot lodges a formal judicial complaint against Zola and L'Aurore.

January 21, 1898

The three handwriting experts, "accused" by Zola, start a formal suit for libel.

February 7-23, 1898

Emile Zola's trial takes place in the Cour d'Assises de la Seine (Palace of Justice, Paris) with Clemenceau 's brother and Labori as his defense.

His sensationalistic trial hearings are accompanied by numerous incidents:  witnesses are silenced; General de Boisdeffre intimidates the Jury; opponents begin a campaign to defame Zola's family; anti-Semitic hoodlums mob the Court premises;  and Drumont, then Picquart and Henry fight in a duel; riots erupt in Paris.  Public opinion is divided:  out of sincere concern or for more absurd reasons, every level of society becomes involved and takes sides.

During the trial, however, General de Pellieux inadvertently acknowledges the existence of the secret file that was distributed to the judges at Dreyfus' unfair military trial of 1894 and quotes the document produced by Henry Oct. 31 1896, the   "faux Henry," thereby offering new evidence for a re-trial.

February 20, 1898

The Ligue des Droits de l'Homme et du citoyen [League for Human and Civic Rights] is founded.

Ludovic Trarieux is its first President, assisted by Emile Duclaux, Edouard Grimaux and Francis de Pressensé.

February 23, 1898

Zola is convicted and receives the maximum sentence for libel: one year in jail and a fine of 3000 Francs.

February 26, 1898

By decree, Picquart is dismissed from the Army

Zola appeals against the judgement

March 13, 1898.

Lemercier-Picard, author of the forged letter quoted by General de Pellieux a month earlier (the "faux Henry"), is found hanging from the window-catch of his hotel bedroom.  Circumstances of death remain unclear.

April 2, 1898

Agreeing on reason of legal technicality, the Court of Appeals overturns the verdict of February 23 granting Zola a new trial.

May 23, 1898

Second Zola trial in Versailles.  Labori appeals.  Suspension.

In his Petit Journal, Ernest Judet publishes "Zola Père et fils," an article in which he defames the past of Zola's father.

May 24, 1898

Zola sues Judet for libel.

May 15, 1898.

The Méline government resigns.

June 16, 1898

The Court of Appeals rejects Labori's appeal filed May 23.

June 28, 1898

New Cabinet with Henri Brisson as Prime Minister. Godefroy Cavaignac is Minister of War.

July 7, 1898

In an attempt to close the case by producing genuine proofs, Cavaignac, unwittingly presents the National Assembly documents which include a piece of forged evidence, "le faux Henry".  Picquart and the Socialist leader Jean Jaurès, however, publicly denounce the falseness of this evidence and challenge Cavaignac.

July 9, 1898

Zola is convicted of libel in the three handwriting experts' libel trial: 2 weeks suspended prison sentence, fine of 2000 Francs, plus 5000 Francs in damages to each of the handwriting experts.

July 12, 1898

Esterhazy is charged with swindling his nephew and having sent forged telegrams to Picquart in November 1897.

July 13, 1898

Picquart arrested for the second time on charges brought by Cavaignac for having divulged military  documents to Leblois, a civilian.

July 18, 1898

Second Zola trial, in Versailles.

Zola is convicted again and sentenced to one year in prison and fined 2,000 Francs.

In order to avoid the notice of the sentence being served and to continue fighting, Zola takes refuge in England.  Labori files for appeal.

July 19, 1898

Labori appeals the verdict of the three handwriting experts.

July 26, 1898

Zola is suspended from the Légion d'honneur.

August 3, 1898

Judet and Le Petit Journal are convicted of libel.

August 5, 1898

The Court of Appeals rejects the appeal of July 19.

August 10, 1898

The Court of Appeals stiffens the penalties awarded to the handwriting experts:  Zola is sentenced to one month in jail, a fine of 2000 Francs and 10,000 Francs in damages to each expert.

August 12, 1898

All charges against Esterhazy are dismissed.

August 13, 1898

While browsing through the still-classified Dreyfus file in the Intelligence office, Captain Cuignet (although an ardent anti-Dreyfusard) realizes that some of the documents have been forged, especially the one naming Dreyfus as a German agent.  This particular document is the one so conveniently produced by Lt.-Col. Henry in October 1896 (the "faux Henry") and that Cavaignac has mentionned in the National Assembly, on July 7.  Cuignet accuses Henry of having forged the documents to insure Dreyfus’ certain condemnation.  Henry's still debatable motives might have been to cover Esterhazy (possibly then used as a double agent) and protect his superiors from self-incrimination.

August 27, 1898

Esterhazy dismissed from the army for "habitual misconduct."

August 30-31, 1898

Henry confesses his perjuries against Dreyfus to Cavaignac.  He is interned at the military prison, Mont-Valérien, where he commits suicide by slashing his throat with a razor.

Generals de Boisdeffre and de Pellieux request to be relieved from their duties.

Esterhazy flees to Belgium, then to England.

September 3, 1898

Minister of War Cavaignac resigns, and his statement is posted throughout France.

Lucie Dreyfus petitions once more the Chamber of Deputies requesting a retrial for her husband.

September 5, 1898

General Zurlinden, Military Governor of Paris, becomes Minister of War.

September 6, 1898

Nationalist writer Charles Maurras writes an eulogy for Henry, a “man of honor” who wrote a “patriotic forgery.”

September 17, 1898

General Zurlinden refuses to consider the possibility of a retrial, then resigns.  He is replaced by General Chanoine, but is reinstated in his former function as Military Governor of Paris.

September 20, 1898

Zurlinden orders inquiries against Picquart to start.

September 21, 1898

A trial against Picquart and Leblois is postponed.

September 22, 1898

Picquart remains under arrest and is brought to the Cherche-Midi military prison.

September 26, 1898

Citing new evidence, Prime Minister Brisson submits the Dreyfus file to the Court of Cassation requesting a retrial.

September 29, 1898

The Court accepts to conduct an investigation of the Dreyfus facts.

September-October 1898

Fashoda crisis between England and France.

October 11, 1898

In order for the fine of the August 10 verdict (the equivalent of $ 300,000 today) to be paid in cash, a distraint order is placed on Zola's estate:   his furniture and private belongings of his home, rue de Bruxelles, are put up for sale in an in absentia public auction.  Editor Eugène Fasquelle buys the first item, Zola's desk, for the total amount of the fine, 32,000 Francs, thus closing the sale.

October 25, 1898

General Chanoine resigns.

Violent antisemitic demonstrations in Paris.

October 26, 1898

The Brisson Cabinet resigns.

October 29, 1898

The possibility of a retrial is finally granted.

October 31, 1898

New Cabinet with Charles Dupuy as Prime Minister. Freycinet is Minister of War.

November 4, 1898

French troops led by Colonel Marchand evacuate Fashoda.

November-December 1898

Joseph Reinach starts a series of articles in Le Siècle (later published as Le Crépuscule des traîtres) in which he accuses Henry of connivance with Esterhazy.

November 18, 1898

Picquart's Court-martial begins.

December 14, 1898

La Libre Parole starts a subscription to help Henry's widow in a suit against Reinach.

December 31, 1898

The Ligue de la Patrie française (Nationalist and anti-Dreyfusard) is founded.

January 21, 1899

Following another distraint order and public auction against Zola' estate, publisher Fasquelle buys a mirror and a table for 2500 Francs.

January 27, 1899

Reinach's libel trial at Mme Henry's request.

January 28, 1899

Proposal in the Chamber of Deputies to have the Dreyfus Case heard by a Supreme Court of Appeals, with all three Chambers sitting jointly (loi de désaisissement).

February 10, 1899

The proposal, modifying the normal jurisdictional process, is voted as Law.

The Court of Appeals rejects the demands by the Military to stop the process for retrial.

February 16, 1899

President Félix Faure dies suddenly in his office.

February 18, 1899

Emile Loubet, a supporter of the Dreyfus' cause, succeeds Felix Faure  as President of the Republic.

Nationalist demonstrations in Paris.

February 23, 1898

During Faure's state funeral, writer Paul Déroulède, Jules Guérin and the Ligue des Patriotes attempt a coup.  They are arrested.

March 1, 1898

The Senate follows suit on the institution of a Supreme Court of Appeals, with all three Chambers sitting jointly.

March 21, 1899

First plenary session of the Supreme Court of Appeals, with all three Chambers sitting jointly, Charles Mazeau presiding.

The sessions will end April 23.  Cuignet and du Paty de Clam have been summoned.

June 1, 1899

Du Paty de Clam is arrested.

June 3, 1899

The Court of Appeals overturns the verdict of 1894.  The circumstances of the arrest, the trial of 1894, and the new facts which have since been established all indicate the innocence of Dreyfus.  By decree, Dreyfus is called before a new Court-martial remanded at Rennes.  Du Paty de Clam is arrested.

June 4, 1899

At the horse races in Auteuil, Baron Christiani attacks President Loubet with his cane.

June 5, 1899

Zola returns to France from England and challenges the Versailles verdict.

Picquart is released from prison

Dreyfus is informed that his retrial has been finally granted.

He leaves Devil's island on June 9.

June 11, 1898

Republican demonstration to show support to Loubet.

June 12, 1899

Prime Minister Dupuy resigns.

June 22, 1899

Prime Minister René Waldeck-Rousseau starts a new Cabinet, called the "government of the Republican Defense." Its name derives from the association of extremes, such as the Socialist Millerand as new Minister of Commerce, with General de Galliffet, infamous for his bloody repression of the Communards in 1871, now Minister of War.

July 1, 1899

Dreyfus returns to France and is jailed at the military prison in Rennes.

July18, 1899

Esterhazy reveals in Le Matin that he wrote the "bordereau," but  "under dictation" and by order from his superiors.

August 7, 1899

The new Dreyfus trial takes place in Rennes, in Brittany, in an attempt to avoid the Parisian populace.

August 12, 1899

General Mercier is subpoenaed as a witness.

In Paris, the Police start arresting Nationalist demonstrators, including Paul Déroulède.  Jules Guérin, director of L'Antijuif, an antisemitic paper, barricades himself with some friends in the Ligue des Patriotes headquarters, rue de Chabrol.  The antic, which lasts until September 20, will be nicknamed by the press "the siege of Fort Chabrol"

August 14, 1899

In Rennes, a fanatic fires shots at Dreyfus' lawyer Labori, who remains in critical condition for a few days.

September 9, 1899

Despite the evidence of his innocence, the Military Court finds Dreyfus guilty of treason once again, this time with "extenuating circumstances," and condemns him to ten years detention.  The verdict causes an uproar.

September 19, 1899

With full approval of the Waldeck-Rousseau Cabinet, President Loubet signs Dreyfus' pardon.  Against the advice of most of his supporters, the innocent officer, exhausted after six years of solitary confinement, accepts the Presidential grace with the proviso he can continue his fight to prove his innocence.

Scheurer-Kestner, who has been battling cancer for a long time, dies on the same day.

September 21, 1899

Minister of War, General de Galliffet, proclaims in a military order: "the incident is over."

March 1, 1900

A bill calling for amnesty of all matters related with the Affair is introduced by the Senate.

April 15, 1900

Inauguration of the Universal Exhibition in Paris.

May 28, 1900

Galliffet resigns as Minister of War. He is replaced by General André.

December 18, 1900

The Chamber of Deputies passes the "amnesty law"

December 27, 1900

The general amnesty law, covering all infractions of law and all lawsuits linked with the Dreyfus Affair, is finally approved by the Senate

Alfred Dreyfus, however, requests and is granted an exception in order to pursue his case for exoneration.

June 15, 1902

New Cabinet, with Emile Combes as Prime Minister. Minister of War, General André.

September 29, 1902

Zola dies "accidentally," poisoned at his house by carbon monoxide.  At his funeral, October 5, Anatole France declares that "he was a moment in the conscience of man"

April 6, 1903

In the Chamber of Deputies, Jaurès calls for retrial of the Rennes verdict, citing the "bordereau" as a probable influence on the judges' decision.

June 4, 1903

Minister of War André asks his deputy, Captain Targe, to begin investigation on the Rennes verdict.

September 1, 1903

Death of Bernard-Lazare.

October 19, 1903

General André announces the conclusions of Captain Targe are favorable to Dreyfus and that they open the possibility of a retrial.

November 26, 1903

Dreyfus requests from the Minister of Justice a retrial of his Rennes conviction based on General André's inquiry.

March 5, 1904

The Criminal Chamber of Cassation grants Dreyfus a re-investigation of his case.

November 19, 1904

End of the investigation, favorable to Dreyfus

November 28, 1904

The Criminal Chamber grants Dreyfus an appeal of his case, which  must be referred to the Supreme Court of Appeals, with all three Chambers sitting jointly.

December 1905

Law establishing a drastic separation of Church and State.

February 18, 1906

The mandate of Emile Loubet as President ends.  He is the first President, since the proclamation of the Third Republic in 1871, to finish his full term.  Armand Fallières is elected to replace him.

July 12, 1906

After a new inquiry, the Supreme Court of Appeals, with all three Chambers sitting jointly, annuls the Rennes verdict, pronounces the rehabilitation of Dreyfus and proclaims his innocence.

July 13, 1906

The Chamber of Deputies passes a law reinstating Dreyfus in the Army as a  Lieutenant-Colonel and Picquart as Commander-General.  Another bill is passed for Zola's ashes to be placed in the Panthéon.

July 20, 1906

Alfred Dreyfus is made Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in the same courtyard of the Ecole Militaire,  where he had been degraded eleven years before.

To the enthusiastic yells of “Long Live Dreyfus!” he proudly shouts back: “No, gentlemen, no,  I beg of you.  Long Live France!”


October 15, 1906

Colonel Dreyfus resumes his military duties in Vincennes.

October 25, 1906

The new President of the Republic, Fallières, asks Clemenceau to head a new cabinet in which Commander-General Picquart is made Minister of War.

July 26, 1907

Alfred Dreyfus retires from Army and will live a very private life.

June 4, 1908

Zola's ashes are transferred to the Panthéon.  During the ceremony, Louis Grégori, a journalist, fires two shots at Dreyfus, slightly wounding him in the arm.  The fanatic is acquitted September 11.

January 19, 1914

Picquart dies in a riding accident and is buried at a state funeral.


World War I.


Du Paty de Clam reenlists and dies from wounds received in action on the Marne in 1916


 Georges Clemenceau becomes Prime minister.

Retired Commander Dreyfus, reenlists and fights at Verdun. His son Pierre is gassed; Mathieu's son, Emile, and his son-in-law  - Adolphe, Joseph Reinach's son - both die in combat.

Schwartzkoppen reenlists.  Taken ill on the eastern front, he dies.  On his deathbed, he suddenly cries: "People of France, hear me! Dreyfus is innocent!"

Edouard Drumont dies almost destitute.


Death of Joseph Reinach


Esterhazy dies, hiding under a new identity, in exile in England


The Vatican condemns Maurras and his Action Française


Death of Clemenceau


Death of Mathieu Dreyfus


Death of Alfred Dreyfus


World-War II

June 17, 1940

Armistice .  Marshal Pétain Head of State. End of the Third Republic.


German occupation of France:  anti-Semitic laws are implemented by French Vichy State police, under Prime Minister Pierre Laval.  Du Paty de Clam's son is named Commissaire général aux Questions Juives.  A ceremony is held in the memory of Edouard Drumont.

Lucie Dreyfus and her family take refuge in Montpellier.


Jean Pierre, grand-son of Mathieu, a member of the Free French Forces, is killed during a mission.  Madeleine, one of Alfred's grand-daughters and a member of the Resistance, is deported to Auschwitz where she dies in 1943.

Summer 1944

Liberation of France. General de Gaulle, head of State.

January 1945

Trial of Charles Maurras, one of the leaders of Action Française, for collaboration.  Condemned to perpetual confinement, he shouts: “This is the revenge of the Dreyfus Case!”

August 1945

Pétain is tried and condemned to death.  General de Gaulle commutes the penalty to solitary confinement.

October 1945

Laval is tried and condemned to death.  Executed by firing squad.

December 1945

Death of Lucie Dreyfus.


The City Council of Rennes decides not to dedicate the high-school in which the second trial took place in 1899 to Alfred Dreyfus.  It is however named Lycée Emile Zola.


A law prohibiting any demonstration of anti-Semitism is unanimously voted at the National Assembly:   “In France, anti-Semitism is not a matter of opinion, it is a crime” (Prime Minister Michel Rocard, 1990).


A statue of Alfred Dreyfus by artist Tim, commissioned by Minister of Culture Jack Lang, cannot be installed in the Ecole Militaire courtyard where the degradation took place in 1895; the Army refuses its approval.

June 9, 1988

The statue of Alfred Dreyfus is placed in the Tuileries Garden. It will be ultimately installed on the Boulevard Raspail.

February 1994

Colonel Gaujac, editor of a monthly brochure published by the Army, is retired after the uproar caused by an article concluding that:  "today, the innocence of Dreyfus is the theory generally accepted by historians."

September 1995

The French Army publicly admits that Dreyfus had been framed. General Mourrut, in full dress uniform, declares to the Jewish Consistory (French Jewish Central Council) that: “ the affair was a military conspiracy which ended in the deportation of an innocent man and was partly founded on a false document”

January 13, 1998

 On the centennial anniversary of “J’accuse...!”, Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and the entire French Parliament honor Emile Zola’s stand for Truth and Justice.  A giant reproduction of Zola’s “J’accuse...!” is draped on the front wall of the National Assembly in Paris.

A commemorative plaque is affixed in the courtyard of the Ecole Militaire.

 Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic,  answers to the “open letter” (J’accuse...!), Emile Zola addressed to his predecessor Félix Faure a century earlier.  He formally apologizes to the Dreyfus and Zola families, expressing France’s gratitude for their courage confronting hate, injustice and intolerance:

 "Just a century ago, France was experiencing a grave and deep crisis.  The Dreyfus Affair was tearing French society apart, dividing families, dividing the country into two opposing camps violently confronting each other.  Because Captain Dreyfus had to remain guilty as charged at all cost, his subsequent trials became nothing but a pathetic farce.  After having been stripped of his rank and having seen his military sword broken, he was going to suffer, on Devil’s Island, for the conspiracy deliberately plotted against him in the secrecy of some office."

 "In spite of the unyielding efforts by Captain Dreyfus’ family, his case could have been filed away forever.  A dark stain, unworthy of our country and our history, a colossal judicial error and a shameful state compromise!  But a man stood up against lies, malice and cowardice.  Outraged by the injustice against Captain Dreyfus, whose only crime was to be a Jew, Emile Zola cried out his famous “I Accuse...!”.   Published on January 13, 1898 by L’Aurore, this text struck minds like lightning and changed the fate of the Affair within a few hours.  Truth was on the march."

 "That day, Emile Zola, was appealing to the President of the French Republic.  Today we are celebrating the centennial of this letter which has entered History.  Today, I would like to tell the Dreyfus and Zola families how much France is grateful to their ancestors to have been able to give all its meaning to the values of liberty, dignity and justice."

 "Let us not ever forget that the man who was rehabilitated to shouts of “Long live Dreyfus!” answered with a strong voice:  “No!  Long live France!”.  In spite of his humiliation, his exile, his sufferings, wounded in his heart and in his flesh, harmed in his dignity, Captain Dreyfus was able to forgive.  Magnificent forgiveness, magnificent answer:  love of country against intolerance and hate."

 "Let us not ever forget the courage of that great writer who, taking every risk, jeopardizing his peace and quiet, his fame and even his own life, dared to take up his pen and put his talent to the service of truth.  Emile Zola, high literary and moral character, had understood that his responsibility was to enlighten and his duty was to speak up when others kept silent.  Like Voltaire before him, he has become since then the incarnation of the best of the intellectual tradition."

 "Captain Dreyfus’ tragedy took place a century ago.  However, after so many years, it still resonates  strongly in our hearts.  Zola’s text has remained in our collective memory as “a great moment in the conscience of humanity”

 "Half a century after the Vichy regime, we know that dark forces, intolerance, injustice can insinuate themselves up to the highest levels of the State.  But we also know that France, in moments of truth, can find again the best of herself:   great, strong, united and vigilant  This is without a doubt what Emile Zola and Alfred Dreyfus are telling us, after all these years.  It is because they had faith in our common values, those of our Nation and our Republic, and because they so deeply loved France,  that these exceptional men were able to reconcile her with herself."

 "Let us not ever forget this masterful lesson of love and unity."

Jacques Chirac
President of the French Republic
January 13th 1998

(Translation: Jean-Max Guieu, Georgetown University)

December 1999

The City of Paris decides to name after Alfred Dreyfus a square in the 15th Arrondissement at the corner of the Avenue Emile-Zola.
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