|Censorship In W.W. I Didn't Work (Collier's Magazine, 1941)|
Seven and a half months before the second installment of the War-to-End-All-Wars was to begin, George Creel (1876 - 1953), America's first official censor from World War I, wrote this article for the editors of COLLIER'S MAGAZINE explaining why he believed that censorship in an open society cannot work:
"As many scars bear witness, I was the official censor during the World War. For two years I rode herd on the press, trying to enforce the concealment demanded by the Army and Navy."
"By way of adding the magnitude of the task, it was not only the news columns that had to be watched. What good for the city desk to suppose transport sailings and troops movements when the society columns contained every detail in the account of the wedding of an Army lieutenant or a Navy captain."
Click here if you'd like to read a W.W. I article by Creel.
U.S. Government Controlled the Presses (New York Times, 1917)
A printable World War I article which appeared in the New York Times some four months after the American declaration of war reported that the United States Government was obligated to close all newspapers and magazines that called into question any effort to prosecute the war or support the British or French governments. The New York Times reported that the government was granted this power under "Title 1, section 1, 2, and 3 of Title 12 of the Espionage Act" (signed by President Wilson on June 13, 1917).
Although no publications were named, the reader will be able to recognize that the only ones slandered as "pro-German" were those that would appeal to the more socially liberal, politically radical and pro-labor oriented readers. A broad offering of offending quotes from these magazines can be read on the first page.
To learn how many African-Americans served in the W.W. I American Army, click here.
The German Atrocities that Never Were (The Nation, 1923)
The post war period was the time when the press had to start figuring out what was true and what was false in all matters involving the reports that their assorted papers and magazines had printed during the conflict. Admiral Sims of the U.S. Navy caused a stir when he went on record announcing that a particularly odious policy observed by the Germans, widely believed to have been true, was in fact, a falsehood:
"I stated...that barring the case of the hospital ship "Llandovery Castle" I did not know of any case where a German submarine commander had fired upon the boats of a torpedoed vessel..."