Throughout history civilians have been unable to understand the
hardships that war unleashes. Since ancient times people who have never
seen war looked at it with only glory and honor. That is because many of
them have never seen the effects of war. Not until the Civil War was there
communication between the media, the military, and the rest of the U.S.
the first time the media was on the battlefields risking their lives and
getting killed for the sake of the best story in tomorrow’s paper.
Journalism is the largest form of communication during war and the
correspondents risk their lives for some information.
Every conflict has its own rules that govern how the newspaper
reporters and film crews will work and broadcast in the country. They are
also told when, where, and whom they can interview. It also depends on who
is making the rules. Sometimes government information officers or military
commanders do but usually they are militias or just men with guns (Parks,
During the Civil War the media did not have any restrictions on their
movement, only that they did not receive any information from the military
about troop movements. Newspaper reporters from New York were on the
battlefield and in the midst of war.
During the Civil War battle Gettysburg a reporter named Sam Wilkeson
printed his experience from a house near the warzone. “A shell screamed
over the house, instantly followed by another, and in a moment the air was
full of the most complete artillery prelude to an infantry battle that was
ever exhibited” (Lewis, 45). He explained how houses thirty feet away from
him were receiving their death and Union soldiers were torn to pieces in
the road with a cry of pain and horror (Lewis, 46).
Henry Laouchere was a war correspondent in 1870 when the Prussians
He reported the Seige in the British embassy. Every
dispatch that he sent out was by balloon over Prussian lines and resulted
in the Daily News Circulation all over Europe (Lewis, 58). Loren Jenkins
always believed and preached to her correspondents saying, “No story is
worth anyone’s life, but gauging the dangers is hard” (Parks, 2).
When people realized the horrors of war from reading the newspapers
people would not want to go to war. In the beginning of World War II
Russia was quick to go to war with Finland and it resulted in a horrific
winter in November of 1939 until when Finland fell in March of 1941.
Reporters nicknamed a stretch of land Dead Man’s Land where two Russian
divisions were annihilated by machine gun fire and artillery.
The area was
just a wasteland of bodies frozen in positions where they were holding a
wound or huddled together (Lewis, 242) When War is being published in
newspapers such stories not only turn people off to war but many military’s
let the newspapers create Heroes from the war so that the politicians will
be reelected when the time comes.
World War I also had many great correspondents risking their lives
for good news. Leon Trotsky was a correspondent during the Balkan wars in
1912. He noted that there was hardly any mobilization of forces when the
media from all over the world flocked to the Balkans. They rented Hotel
Rooms, filled cafs, and ministerial waiting rooms. They began to curse
ministers who declined to be interviewed and military operators who were
keeping secret information from them (Lewis, 130).
One of the best kept secrets of war is the fact that prisoners are
treated with respect and considerate care somewhere in a camp. During this
war journalists witnessed a group of prisoners being forced to push
wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of manure. They were not allowed to be
photographed because the NCO would not allow it (Lewis, 132). When asked
why they could not photograph the prisoners they told them that they were
being accused of treating the prisoners badly. Instead they told the
reporter to come back the next day when they were having their mid-
afternoon meal. The Newspapers did however report how the quarters of the
prisoners consisted of sacks of straw and sometimes just straw in a large
room littered with bodies (Lewis, 133).
During England’s battle with the Germans at the Battle of the Somme
in July of 1916 an interview occurred with an unknown soldier. He had just
survived a 150 yard charge across No Man’s Land. “I was just mad at the
time”. Snipers had .