The Dreyfus Affair III

Lead: Accused of spying for the Germans in 1894, French Army Captain Alfred Dreyfus became the subject of a furious cultural struggle.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the last half of the 1900s France was a study in conflict. Little more than half the population even spoke the French language. Rural areas were suspicious of the more prosperous industrial cities. Railroads which would help bring the country together were delayed until late in the century. Many Frenchmen openly advocated a return to monarchy and deeply resented the so-called Third Republic, set up after the German victory in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Leading the call for monarchy were many Roman Catholics who felt threatened by republican attacks on Catholic schools.

 

 

 

The Dreyfus Affair II

Lead: The year was 1894 and a German spy was known to be at work in the French Ministry of War. Investigators accused Captain Alfred Dreyfus who became a target in great measure because he was a Jew.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Anti-Semitism has rumbled just beneath the surface of western culture since the twilight of the Christian era. Occasionally engaged in open persecution, anti-Semites considered Jews to be clannish and their religious practices more than a little subversive. Many Jews were involved in the professions of law, medicine, and when permitted, occupied key positions in national service. Because the Roman Catholic Church prohibited the charging of interest, Jews, not burdened by such regulations, gravitated toward finance, money-lending, and commerce. An added advantage of these occupations was that, in times of persecution, Jewish assets were portable. Cash crosses borders.

 

 

 

The Dreyfus Affair I

Lead: In the 1890s the trial and conviction of Alfred Dreyfus exposed the great divisions in France and in European society as a whole.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1870, the military powerhouse of northern Europe, Prussia, crushed the forces of French emperor, Napoleon III, in a swift military campaign. France was unprepared for the much more modern Prussian technology and tactics and was overwhelmed. The war brought important changes in both countries. The old Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck used the war emergency to force reluctant parts of Germany into a single German empire led by the Prussian King who was then crowned Kaiser William I at Versailles just outside of Paris in January 1871. Bismarck understood the value of the gratuitous insult. Nothing could be more humiliating to the French than to have the new German emperor crowned in the palace of France's greatest King Louis XIV.

 

 

 

Gutenberg Press II

Lead: In 1455, Johannes Gutenberg began the first book printed in the western world using moveable metal type. Those copies of the Gutenberg Bible that have survived are among the most valued artifacts in the world.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After spending almost two decades in Strasbourg, working secretly on a new type of printing press, Johannes Gutenberg returned to his hometown of Mainz and formed a partnership so as to exploit his revolutionary invention - movable metal type. There is evidence that movable type had been used in China for thousands of years and even in Europe before Gutenberg’s invention, but the process used fashioned letters from clay or porcelain or wood. They would break, splinter or wear down after a few uses. Gutenberg spent years solving the problem of deterioration. Blocks, each one bearing a precise metallic raised letter on its face were held together tightly in a wooden form, ink was rolled over the raised letters, then the form was pressed against paper. Because the letters were metallic they were extremely durable, could be used over and over again and reformatted to make different words and sentences.

 

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Eugenics II

Lead: From its start as an optimistic approach to improving the human condition, eugenics degenerated into a racist tool in the hands of bigotry and ultimately led to the gas ovens of the Third Reich.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The fundamental problem with eugenics, even as Sir Francis Galton articulated it in the 19th century, was that it focused primarily on inborn characteristics and almost completely disregarded social, environmental, educational, and physical factors when examining the human race. Basically, eugenicists advocated a form of genetic determinism. A person is born with a genetic imprint that determines the course of their lives. Not surprisingly these theories became a powerful tool in the hands of racists. It all depends on who is setting the standard. If society is to improve itself, it is said, it must eliminate genetic threats to racial purity. In the sad history of eugenics, a wide variety of groups have been singled out for social restriction, sterilization, or elimination. Feeble-minded or mentally ill people, habitual criminals, sexual libertines, Negroes, Native Americans or any non-whites, Jews, gypsies, and evangelical Christians have all fallen under the wary and sometimes fatal scrutiny of the eugenic mandate. They bore undesirable human traits.

Nuremberg Trials IV

Lead: In one of history’s longest trials, twenty-two Nazis were tried for crimes against humanity in the heartland of National Socialism, Nuremburg, Germany.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Of the twenty-two original defendants, three were acquitted, seven were sentenced to jail from 10 years to life, and twelve were sentenced to be hanged. Martin Borman, convicted in absentia, escaped the noose, as did Herman Goering, who committed suicide and the most important defendant, the Fuhrer himself, Adolf Hitler. Arthur Gaeth filed this radio report on October 16, 1946.

Nuremberg Trials III

Lead: As the world looked on, the victorious Allies brought to trial Germany's experiment with barbarism. Twenty-two Nazi's were tried for crimes against humanity at Nuremberg.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The trials began on October 18, 1945. The United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union supplied judges for the International Military Tribunal and they heard indictments and testimony in four areas. The defendants were accused of: 1) crimes against peace, in other words they committed aggressive war, 2) crimes against humanity: exterminations, deportations and genocide, 3) war crimes, and 4) that they engaged in a long-term conspiracy to commit the first three.

Nuremberg Trials II

Lead: Faced with undeniable proof of Nazi atrocities, in 1946 the Allies brought twenty-one German leaders to trial for war crimes in the ancient Bavarian city of Nuremberg.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: “The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated,” thus the words of United States Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson on leave to serve as Chief U.S. Prosecutor in the Nuremberg Trials. With horror stories beginning to emerge as to the extent of Nazi depravity, the Allies were faced with the larger question of what to do with Germany which had twice in thirty years dragged the world to war. Clearly, war crimes and genocide on an unprecedented scale had been committed.