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How the Guardian reported World War One

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editorial image

‘The stupendous blow which the whole world has stood in hourly dread of for a week has fallen at last. War has broken out,’ reported the Worksop Guardian on Friday 7th August 1914.

At 11pm on 4th August 1914, Britain declared war on Germany.

And to commemorate 100 years since the start of the conflict, the Guardian has decided to run a special report on how this newspaper covered World War One.

As German troops invaded France and Belgium, the Guardian lead with the headline ‘The Great War.’

With the publication not going to press until the end of the week, it used a series of sub-headings to describe how events had unfolded in the previous theree days including ‘Dreaded Blow Falls At Last,’ ‘Germany To Blame For The Outbreak’ and ‘Declaration Of War On Russia.’

In the edition, the Guardian reported: ‘For the present catastrophic state of affairs in Europe, the blame must be laid at Germany’s door.’

The report also included a statement by Sir Edward Grey which was made to the House of Commons: ‘The declaration finds Great Britain ready for very rapid action. The mobilisation of the Navy was completed on Monday and on Tuesday Proclamations were issued calling up Army Reserves.’

The Guardian journalist concluded with a message from His Majesty the King to Admiral Sir John Jellicoe which said: ‘You have my confidence that under your direction they will revive and renew the old glories of the Royal Navy, and prove once again the sure shield of Britain and of her Empire in the hour of trial.’

 

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