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Learn About the Dreyfus Affair

Lesson 5 - From the Dreyfus Affair to the World Today        Back to Lesson Page Back to the Lesson Plans Page


This lesson will teach students about bias, perspective, and the construction of history. The lesson will use two articles, a newspaper article from the time of the Dreyfus Affair (from the Lorraine Beitler Collection of the Alfred Dreyfus Affair) and an academic article written during the Second World War. The two articles are Émile Zola's "J'Accuse…!" ["I Accuse…!"] (translated into English) and Hannah Arendt's "From the Dreyfus Affair to France Today."

Histoire d'un innocent

"J'Accuse...!" by Emile Zola

(click image to enlarge)

Arendt - full text

"From the Dreyfus Affair to France Today"
by Hannah Arendt

(Full text version. Click image for PDF)


Students will watch two presentations, the first one about the Dreyfus Affair and the second about Émile Zola and Hannah Arendt. Then they will read the translation of "J'Accuse" and the article by Hannah Arend and discuss and answer the questions in the Reading Road map.

Teacher's Lesson Plan includes instructions and the reading road map questions.
Teacher's Guide to Hannah Arendt a brief biography of Hannah Arendt and her work
Students copy of "J'Accuse...!
by Emile Zola"
this is a trancription/translation of an excerpt from the primary document. It includes the reading roadmap questions for this excerpt.
Students copy of article
by Hannah Arendt
this is an excerpt from the primary document. It includes the reading roadmap questions for this excerpt.
PowerPoint of the Dreyfus Affair brief overview of the Dreyfus Affair (PDF version)
PowerPoint of Zola and Arendt brief biographical notes on Emile Zola and Hannah Arendt (PDF version)
Zip files of the above documents in
or MS Word format
Two zip files that let you download the lesson plan documents listed above in either PDF or MS Word format..
Overview Sources
of the Dreyfus Affair
17 minute film, Dreyfus Revisited: a Current Affair, on YouTube.
Brief PowerPoint presentation, PDF version of the PowerPoint presentation.