Picquart, Georges(zhôrzh pēkär`), 1854–1914, French general. As chief of the army intelligence section in 1896, he discovered that the memorandum that had been used to convict 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.
..... Click the link for more information. ) had probably been the work of Ferdinand Walsin EsterhazyEsterhazy, Ferdinand Walsin
, 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.
..... Click the link for more information. . Higher officials warned Picquart to conceal his discovery; he persisted and was sent (Dec., 1896) to Tunis and demoted. After the trial of Émile ZolaZola, Émile
, 1840–1902, French novelist, b. Paris. He was a professional writer, earning his living through journalism and his novels. About 1870 he became the apologist for and most significant exponent of French naturalism, a literary school that maintained that
..... Click the link for more information. , Picquart was accused of forging the note that had convinced him of Esterhazy's guilt. He was dismissed from the service and arrested for forgery. The exoneration of Dreyfus in 1906 also served to absolve Picquart, who was promoted to general and entered Georges Clemenceau's cabinet as minister of war.