Esterhazy, Ferdinand Walsin

Esterhazy, Ferdinand Walsin

(ĕs`tərhä'zē, Fr. fĕrdēnäN` välsăN` ĕstĕräzē`), 1847–1923, French army officer, member of a French family possibly related to the Hungarian family of Esterhazy. A veteran of the papal army and the French Foreign Legion, he entered the regular French army and rose to be a major. Deep in debt, he sold French military secrets to the Germans. When treason became evident in 1894, the guilt was pinned on Captain Dreyfus (see Dreyfus AffairDreyfus Affair
, the controversy that occurred with the treason conviction (1894) of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus (1859–1935), a French artillery officer and graduate of the French military academy.
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). The suspicions of Col. Georges Picquart helped to bring about a court-martial for Esterhazy in 1898, but his fellow officers quickly acquitted him. He subsequently fled to England, where he later confessed.
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