World War I: Primary Documents on Events from 1914 to 1919

World War I: Primary Documents on Events from 1914 to 1919

World War I: Primary Documents on Events from 1914 to 1919

World War I: Primary Documents on Events from 1914 to 1919

Synopsis

Primary documents from the World War I era bring to life the causes, events and consequences of those tumultuous and violent years. Varied perspectives provide a valuable overview of the many and often complicated reactions by Americans to Pre-war European politics, Archduke Ferdinand's assassination, the sinking of the Lusitania by a German submarine, the major battles fought, and of the eventual and controversial entry into the war by the United States, among others. Will be a valued resource for researchers seeking to tap into contemporary attitudes toward events long gone.

Excerpt

By 1900, the journalism of Western democracies had reached a pinnacle of power and influence. Nearly everyone could read, and most read a daily newspaper, perhaps two or three, as well as several magazines. Costs of periodicals had dropped to levels almost everyone could afford. Every political movement, every ethnic group, every cause published a periodical. People read them and responded to their appeals and crusades. There was, after all, no other real mass media; movies were still infants, radio was experimental, television was two decades away. Government leaders listened to the press and responded. Sometimes they were one in the same. Walter Lippmann of the New Republic played a key role in World War I armistice deliberations and his magazine was called the unofficial voice of the Wilson administration. Theodore Roosevelt, the era’s most prominent politician, called magazine journalists “muckrakers” for their expositions of the seemy underside of capitalism—but he also wrote for those magazines to argue his cases and ridicule his opponents. In fact, many influential Americans—politicians, generals, university professors, and academics—wrote for newspapers or, perhaps more often, for magazines, as the nation wrestled with the challenges of industrialization. The mass media today is fractured, its influence split, its voices a vast cacophony. On the eve of the World War I, Americans and in fact all the warring countries had no doubt: the printed word held great power.

By 1914 that power had been channeled into two formats: newspapers and magazines. American newspapers, some 2,500 of them, had seen circulations soar as a penny press became accessible to nearly everyone. The excesses of sensationalist yellow journalism had waned into a form of printed journalism still prevalent today: restrained, objective writing striving to be fair, clearly separated from opinion pages. Signatures (or bylines) were rare, even on editorial pages. Advertising hyperbole had been reigned in by law and . . .

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