Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

No writing project gets far unless the writer has sympathetic friends or family members willing to lend an ear and provide guidance. Frank Holowach and John-Daniel Kelley helped me through the long gestation period of this book and provided much-needed editorial assistance. Karen McKenna was always ready to set aside real work to scan photographs. Tracy Simmons Bitonti cast a critical...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-4

In 1904, when American war correspondent Stanley Washburn traveled with the Japanese army, a telegraph wire extended from a mud hut at army headquarters, across hundreds of miles of barren Manchurian plain, and over the Korean mountains to Fusan, where it connected by cable to Nagasaki and from there to the outside world. It was through that link that Washburn’s editor at the Chicago Daily News could reach him with the news that the Russo-Japanese War had ended. Washburn knew it before the Japanese army. The next morning he pounded out a story on what the army thought about peace and cabled it off. It ran in the Daily News that afternoon. Before Washburn could catch his breath, revolution stirred in Russia, and he was off to his next assignment....

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1. Prelude to Armageddon

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pp. 5-12

In early 1914 when anyone spoke of “the war,” it referred to the conflict in Mexico, otherwise known as the Tampico Affair. In the midst of Mexico’s civil war, a dizzying series of alleged atrocities and insults against U.S. citizens and U.S. pride prompted the United States to mass an army on its southern border and sail a fleet into the port of Veracruz. The moves set off alarm bells among that distinct brotherhood of journalists who specialized in war, who knew war more intimately than most of the soldiers and generals they wrote about: the war correspondents....

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2. Learning to Report a World War

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pp. 13-36

The outbreak of the war caught former U.S. Army captain Granville Fortescue and family vacationing at Ostend on the Belgian coast. Europe’s overnight mobilization of its armies trapped some two hundred thousand American travelers inside countries that were suddenly at war. As hotels and businesses closed, the banking system froze, and armies commandeered transportation, travelers journeyed as best they could to the neutral countries of Italy, Switzerland, or Holland, or to the major urban gathering points of Brussels or Paris....

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3. What Is an Atrocity?

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pp. 37-62

Less than a month into the war, unwelcomed journalists had become a problem for all the armies. The correspondent E. Alexander Powell referred to this period of the war for reporters as the “free-for- all.” The majority of the news gathered in the field came from unattached freelancers, those who traveled at their own expense for the chance of “stumbling onto something.” Powell encountered one freelancer whose only credentials consisted of a letter from the editor of a well-known magazine stating that he “would be pleased to consider any articles [the journalist] cared to submit,” and also a clergyman from Boston gathering material for a series of sermons on the horrors of war....

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4. The Central Powers Manage the News

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pp. 63-90

Berlin crowds stood twenty deep outside newspaper offices to read bulletins about General Hindenburg’s victory against the Russians at the Battle of Tannenberg. Banners appeared around the city, and vendors sold photographic buttons with an image of the German hero. Even as the German advance stalled outside Paris in early September, victories continued on the eastern front. At the Battle of Masurian Lakes, Hindenburg pushed Russian forces out of German territory in East Prussia and advanced into Russian Poland....

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5. Pushing the Limits of Reporting on the Western Front

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pp. 91-116

On October 10, 1914, the New York Times reported the surrender of Antwerp, the capital of free Belgium. The brief article included a convenient map that outlined a considerable bulge in the western front along which the Germans pressed their advance hard against the French cities of Rheims and Verdun in the south and in the north against the Belgian city of Ypres....

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6. The Front Door and Back Door to Russia

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pp. 117-146

Everything changed for Chicago Daily News reporter Stanley Washburn when he met Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe, two weeks after the start of the war. Washburn arrived in London with the first wave of American reporters, set on proceeding to the continent to attach himself to whatever army would have him. He might well have ended up with the other war correspondents who scrambled about Belgium and France, reporting on their adventures. Instead, in one brief meeting in August 1914, the trajectory of Washburn’s war career took a dramatic turn. It diverted him to Russia, involving him in...

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7. Gallipoli and Greece

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pp. 147-170

In February 1915 the Chicago Daily News heard rumors that the British fleet intended to force its way through the Dardanelles, the heavily fortified straits that served as the gateway to the Turkish capital of Constantinople and the Black Sea. If the fleet could capture the city and knock Turkey out of the war, it would open a water passage to Russia and likely convince wavering Balkan states to enter the war on the side of the Allies. In other words it just might be the biggest news story of the war....

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8. A Revolution in the Midst of War

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pp. 171-202

The telegram Arno Dosch-Fleurot received in the last week of October 1916 said simply, “Suggest you might like to go to Russia.” Such was the courteous manner with which his editor at the New York World sent him on new assignments. Dosch-Fleurot read the telegram in the harsh light of a bunker, beneath a hundred feet of rock and masonry, in the French fortress complex at Verdun. Throughout 1916 hundreds of thousands of French and German soldiers soaked Verdun with their blood. Dosch-Fleurot...

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9. Credentialed with the AEF

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pp. 203-238

Floyd Gibbons of the Chicago Tribune sailed for Europe in February 1917, during a curious wartime interlude for the United States. On February 1, when Germany resumed its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, attacking any ship, of any kind, from any nation, without warning, the United States reacted immediately. It broke diplomatic relations with Germany and expelled its ambassador, but stopped short of declaring war, awaiting only some further provocation to force that final, fateful step....

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10. After the Fighting

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pp. 239-266

In those days of early November 1918, when the whole world waited breathlessly for the armistice, “the biggest news in the history of newspapers, perhaps in the history of humanity,” the AGF correspondents worried how best to cover so grand and historic an event.
As the sole representative of the United Press syndicate at the front, Webb Miller felt the weight of responsibility. His account of how this horrific war ended would run under front-page, banner headlines in hundreds of newspapers. He needed a bold plan to be on the front the precise moment the armistice went into effect, to witness the cease-fire, and the beat his competitors back to press headquarters to send out his story....

Appendix: Journalists Mentioned in American Journalists in the Great War

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pp. 267-276

A Word about Sources

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pp. 277-278

Bibliography

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pp. 279-286

Index

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pp. 287-298