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The Top 20 Biggest Lies in History

The Dreyfus Affair

The Dreyfus Affair is a lot like Oates' Popish Plot, only instead of Catholics, Jews were the target. In 1894, the decorated French Jewish army captain Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason for allegedly selling secrets to the Germans. It was a big fat lie, but anti-Semitism was so rife that people jumped on the bandwagon and destroyed the innocent man's reputation. Dreyfus was incarcerated until 1906, when his defenders—led by famed writer Émile Zola—succeeded in exonerating him. The false arrest is now remembered as a ominous precursor to the cataclysmic crimes against Jews that unfolded in the following decades.

Tags: history, lies, slideshows, presidents, governments, false

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Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

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