Manipulating History: The Camelots du Roi's Campaign to Quash Dreyfusard Monuments

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2005-04-29

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This thesis examines the Action française youth organization, the Camelots du Roi, and their destruction of Dreyfusard monuments during the winter of 1908-1909. By contextualizing the Camelots' vandalism with the Action française ideological program, this thesis contends Camelots du Roi's iconoclasm functioned as an attempt to manipulate history and revise the legacy of the Dreyfus Affair.

The reinterpretation of history was a central objective for the Action française. Members of the association believed that the French public education system distorted the past, and to prevent further misrepresentations, the Action française developed a pedagogical program. This thesis argues that the Camelots' dedication to the Action française educational agenda prompted their attacks on the monuments to Ludovic Trarieux, Émile Zola, Charles Auguste Scheurer-Kestner and Bernard Lazare. Evidence demonstrates that the Camelots' vandalism of Dreyfusard memorials operated as a means to reinvent the past and rewrite the judicial conclusion of the Dreyfus Affair.

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