The First World War - barbed wire, mustard gas, thousands of fresh-faced young men dying in muddy fields - and some of the most shameless propaganda ever produced. "The War Illustrated" is an entertainingly biased contemporary magazine that ran from August 1914; I'll be following their publication schedule every Wednesday from August 2007 with weekly updates (providing I manage to keep up) to show the progress of the war and the magazine's changing attitudes as the conflict dragged on.

Note - to see larger versions of the pages, just click on the images.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Week 3 - The Advance of the Russians - War in the Balkans - The Propaganda begins in earnest

"The Smiling Courage of our Wounded Heroes"

The Russian "Steam-Roller" - The Mighty Military Engine of the Tsar

A Brilliant Description of the 3,000,000 Army that is now rolling across the Eastern frontiers of Germany and Austria, by F. A. McKenzie
"Last year the danger became still more vital. Germany launched a new scheme of military expansion, voting an increased expenditure of fifty million pounds, and an addition of three army corps to her forces."

" In estimating Russian fighting capacity during this war, one important thing must not be overlooked. During the Japanese War Russia was hampered at every turn by revolutionary agitation. The Poles seized the opportunity to attempt to wrest their independence; the Finns were in a state of seething unrest; the Social Democrats throughout the Empire were working for red revolution. The very workmen of St Petersburg were seeking to an opportunity to overthrow the Tsar.
Now all is changed."

The Tsar's Leviathan Legions Move on Germany

"The braggart vapourings of the Pan-German party have stirred in the Slav races the same instinct of self-preservation as the menace of the big, growing German fleet excited in Britain."

The Cossack - The Grey Nightmare of Germany

"Far from being terrible in character, the Cossack is the gayest and most lighthearted of Russians"

"The merely laying waste the ripening wheatfields of Eastern Prussia [and] has arrived in the nick of time to prevent the richest store of food supplies in Germany being gathered and sent to Berlin, Dantzic, and Königsberg."

Heroes of Mons back again in England

"HMS Highflyer, which sank the Kaiser Wilhelm off the coast of Africa. "Bravo, Highflyer!" "wirelessed" the Admiralty."

With the French Army near the Battle Front

"The use of the machine-gun, the most murderous of the smaller weapons of modern war."

Victorious Serbs Prepare for Greater Servia

Austria's Cowardly Bombardment of Belgrade

British Reinforcements for the Allied Armies

"The sturdy sons of the Scottish Highlands setting out for the new battlefields of France"

Building up our Army on the Continent

"Troops entraining for a southern seaport."

[Interesting - the word "entrain" came up in a crossword puzzle recently but this is the first time I've ever seen it used in print.]

Furious Charge of British Cavalry at Mons - The Uhlans get the Surprise of their Lives

"Riding with tremendous dash, our men met and cut down the torturers of little children, and swept them from the field"

[Cavalry charges even! The concept of modern warfare hadn't quite occurred to anyone yet]

British Marines to the Rescue of Ostend

Sad Friends and Sullen Foes within Our Gates

Britain's Armada Awaits the Shy German Fleet

"Without a blow, without a word, the silent, invisible British Fleet, under Admiral Jellicoe, has won the most amazing victory in naval history."

[I could swear that biplane looks painted in...]

Forts and Citadels Now in the Thick of War

Albert the Brave, Defender of Civilisation

Grim and Gay - Among Our Belgian Allies

The Last Stand of the Defenders of Liege

Prancing Prussians Performing the Goose-Step

Horrible Stories of German Fiendishness

"Just as ridiculously barbaric as the "cake walk" of the negroes, is the prancing movement with which the German army paraded in triumph through the undefended city of Brussels."

[It can't be coincidence that the serious anti-German propaganda begins in earnest at the same time as the German occupation of Brussels. The previous two weeks' entries were happy to mock the Germans for being incompetent and disorganised, but now they're winning a few battles, we get the tales of their evil ways and stupid walks... the cake walk reference is particularly funny as this was developed as a parody of European-style ballroom dancing.]

What German "Civilisation" is Worth

"...the Teutonic savages are still guarding the ruined scene of their atrocities"

Germany's Empty Triumph in Brussels

How the War Wages