Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Associated Press Covers the Great War

As described in our book American Cinematographers in the Great War, the experiences of cameramen and reporters during World War I were closely intertwined. Some US photographers wrote about their wartime experiences. Sometimes the cinematographers also worked for newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune or the Hearst newspapers. Cameramen and reporters were in the same bed togeher, sharing the same hardships and dangers.

American reporters at the Adlon Hotel, June 1915. Third from the right: AP correspondent S.M. Bouton. From American Cinematographers in the Great War

American cameramen and writers reporting on the Great War shared one major experience. Although as Americans they were neutral between 1914 and 1917, all reporters had to fight against a harsh and rigorous censorship both from the British and the German authorities.

"All Europe is Now in Arms"

Among these American journalists the Associated Press presents an interesting case story. "Great Britain and Germany went to war tonight," wrote the AP's Robert Collins on August 1, 1914 from London, noting that "all Europe is now in arms." The Associated Press had covered wars before, but not since the Napoleonic Wars a century earlier had so many armies battled over so great an extent.

This was the Great War, called "the European War" or "the World War" by contemporaries. Ten million combatants would die before it ended with Germany's defeat on November 11, 1918.

Here is a video on how the Associated Press reported on World War I.


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