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World War I, 1914-1918
Magellan Times, Sample News Items #3


"All's fair in love and war". As the conflict became more intense and intractable, a parallel war of words was waged to maintain the public's morale and their determination to win. The level of objectivity in the following reports may (or may not) be adequate. But, clearly, their intention was to horrify and influence the reader, rather than to inform.


More German Savagery
One of the most terrible of the little stories of the war was published by the Evening News. It is a letter from a soldier in the 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment to his mother in North London. He says the Germans are devils.
«We were at a certain place when they were driving a lot of women and children before them. The women, when they caught them, were cut up with their swords and the Germans stuck little children with their bayonets. We came across some of them in a wood, and the sight was something horrible to look at. One little girl, about seven years old, was lying on the ground clasping a little wax doll in her arms, with long, fair hair like her own, and she had got a bayonet stuck right through her. We dug a hole and buried the poor little thing. Some of them took the doll and cut it up, and had a piece of it each, but for the life of me I could not touch it. It is a sight I shall never forget.»   [1 April 1915]
Crucifixion of British Soldiers
The crucifixion of British soldiers by the Germans, first reported in letters from Canadians at the Front, is now corroborated by a sworn statement taken from a wounded bandsman in hospital at Exeter by the mayor of that town, and thus is added yet another to the long score of atrocities for which the German authorities will have to answer in the time that is coming. The wholesale killing of prisoners, reported from time to time since the war started, was freely admitted by the German Press as long ago as October last, when the Jauer'sche Tageblatt published an account of a battle written by a corporal of a German regiment and confirmed by his lieutenant. An extract from this account, sent to the Morning Post by a correspondent, gives a coldblooded description of the massacre of French prisoners unsurpassed by the worst records published in our Bluebooks. «Dead and wounded Frenchmen lie in masses around» writes the corporal. «The wounded are done to death with stabs or blows ... Men with specially soft feelings give the coup de grace to the wounded Frenchmen with a bullet, the others hack and stab for all they are worth. Bravely have our opponents fought ... Our brave musketeers save the Fatherland the heavy cost of feeding so many enemies». Truly an amazing revelation of shameless infamy.   [12 August 1915]
Last updated: 23-III-2004