“Dégradation du Capitaine,” (Degradation of the Captain)
Item DescriptionAfter Dreyfus was stripped of his military honors, the degradation continued. Amato’s illustration captures his humiliating parade around the courtyard of the École Militaire, the the chorus of heckles from fellow soldiers. As Dreyfus recalled it: "I heard the howls of a deluded mob, I felt the thrill which I knew must be running through those people, since they believed that before them was a convicted traitor to France….The round of the square made, the torture would be over, I believed." But the agony of that long day was only beginning.
While Henri Meyer of Le Petit Journal chose to name his picture “Le Traître” and refuses Dreyfus his title, Amato refrains from such judgments and continues to use the rank of Captain in his captions. Do these subtle differences in almost identical scenes betray the political sympathies of each illustrator and their editors? Given how polarizing the Affair had been, it is safe to say that even those tasked with the most apparently objective depictions found themselves choosing sides.