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Causing Unnecessary Anxiety?: British Newspapers and the Battle of Jutland

Hodgson, GR (2018) Causing Unnecessary Anxiety?: British Newspapers and the Battle of Jutland. In: Hart, C, (ed.) World War I Media, Entertainments & Popular Culture. Midrash, Chester. ISBN 9781905984213

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Abstract

The Battle of Jutland has been a subject of historical debate for 100 years. The largest sea battle of the First World War, 250 war ships engaged in a conflict that, according to Winston Churchill, could have lost Britain the war in an afternoon. Instead, most historians have called it a draw While the battle continues to fascinate historians, the reporting of it in British newspapers is neglected, which is a surprise given that Fleet Street was the principal outlet of news in 1916. Particularly so, as the immediate reporting of Jutland stands out for its frankness. Rather than the narrative of propaganda and obfuscation emanating from the Western Front, the Admiralty revealed its losses in such an open manner that most people greeted the news as a defeat, a catastrophe almost unheard of in a nation that boasted of ruling the waves. This paper addresses the gap in the historical account by examining the reporting of the battle by three newspapers, two national and one regional (the Daily Mirror, the Daily Express and the Manchester Guardian), following a trail that turned a perceived defeat into a strategic victory. The research comprises a study of the newspapers from June 3, 1916, the first day in which news of the battle appeared, to June 16, two weeks later. All significant reports were studied, in conjunction with editorials, readers’ letters and advertisements, totalling more than 150 extracts. The legacy of the way the battle was reported, arguably, was the lasting image of Jutland in the popular memory. Equally, it helped harbour a distrust of the media by the Royal Navy that exists to today.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: First World War; Journalism; Propaganda; Censorship
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Liverpool Screen School
Publisher: Midrash
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 09:35
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2018 09:35
Editors: Hart, C
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9244

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