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A comparative newspaper analysis: The New York Times, The Times, The London Gazette and The Spectator

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Rayanne L.
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  1. Introduction
  2. The German East African campaign
  3. Outstripping by New York Times
  4. Supplement to the London Gazette
  5. The common themes in the reports
  6. The news coverage of German East African campaigns
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

The First World War, devastating in its severity and loss of life, is often confined in our historical thinking to the battlefields of Europe. This devastation, however, reached every ocean and continent and involved action from peoples far removed from the crises in Europe. One arena of conflict usually ignored or deemed insignificant is the African colonies. Battles for European colonies erupted all over the continent and were themselves extremely varied. This study will focus on activity in German East Africa and Allied attempts to conquer this rich colony. Though thousands of miles away from the Somme and Passchendaele, campaigns in German East Africa were significant to the overall conflict in their use of supplies, holding of important territory and of course the great loss of life not only among Europeans fighting for their colonies, but also African civilians in a war over their homelands. The East African campaign brought new complexities to the war that was not present in Europe. Native involvement and the continuous lust of colonialism changed the war in Africa as well as the way Allied civilians understood it. Through examination of four mainstream newspapers, The Times in London, The London Gazette, The Spectator, and The New York Times, insight can be gained into these complexities. Significance can be found not only in what news of the East African campaign was reported in these papers, but also in their silences, which in some cases were very great. Reading into newspaper coverage of East African campaigns we can see patterns in Allied portrayal of their losses, German gains, and the German character itself. This news also can be used as a lens to view Allied understanding of colonialism, slavery and Africa itself.

[...] Two native porters were also killed.?[35] In one article of The Times the reporter makes clear ?Nine-Tenths of the enemy's white personnel has either been killed or has fallen into our hands?[36] There was a double-sided portrayal of protectionism yet racism against the natives of Africa in the twentieth century and it is evident in the articles of all three British newspapers . A second common theme in these reports is a stress on the difficulty of an African war. The need to distinguish African battle from European ones was evident throughout the coverage by The New York Times, The Times, The London Gazette, and The Spectator. [...]


[...] For example after a decisive battle in April 1916 The New York Times included two articles and report ?General Van der Venter's success in the Arusha district was more extensive than at first appeared.?[9] In their lack of news coverage and indecisive or uninformative articles, The Times, The Spectator and The London Gazette portrayed a scattered and unorganized understanding of the campaign's progress. Second in it's coverage of German East Africa campaigns is the London Gazette. This was a valuable source of information as it is a paper describing government reports and activity. [...]


[...] Follow-up article: British Gains in Africa? April 9th The London Gazette ?Fourth Supplement to the London Gazette? April 17th The London Gazette ?Second Supplement to the London Gazette? June 15th The Times ?British and German East Africa? October 6th ?Allied Gains in German East Africa?, August 16th The Times, ?Blockade of German East Africa? January 14th The Spectator, ?News of the Week? November 28th The New York Times ?British Admit Defeat in Africa? November 24th The Times, War in German East Africa? January 14th The Times, ?Reverse in German East Africa? April 22nd The New York Times, ?British Defeat in Africa? April 22nd The New York Times, ?Germans in Africa Reinforced? May 12th The New York Times, ?Germans in Africa Attack the British? May 13th The New York Times, ?Germans Still Fighting in Africa? October 14th The Times, ?Conquest of German East Africa? April 6th The Times, ?General Smut?s New Conquest? June 16th The Spectator ?News of the Week? February 26th 1916. [...]

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