tv World War I Newspapers Effects on Soldier Morale CSPAN February 4, 2017 7:01pm-8:01pm EST
immigrant arrived, his ancestor? >> in the 1600s. but again, his family were immigrants, but they preceded the declaration. thank you for enduring. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] next, historian robert nelson examines how english, french, german newspapers influenced soldier morale during world war i. he also delves into the shortcomings of using soldiers' letters home as an historical source. this is about an hour. lora: it is my pleasure this morning that we begin with dr. robert nelson, who is the
department head and associate professor in history at the university of windsor, where he specializes in modern european cultural history and world war i . while a recent visiting all right scholar at the city university of new york, he investigated a german colonial gaze on eastern europe that he argued was radicalized or and world war i -- during world war i. i also note that he has a cool art program about some of this. nelson's innovative thinking helped him informed his 2011 book "german newspapers of the first world war," from which his presentation today derives. nelson will explore the role of british, french, and german newspapers and examine their effects on social around -- soldier morale. please welcome to the stage dr. robert nelson. [applause]
dr. nelson: no pressure. [laughter] dr. nelson: first of all, i very much want to thank the world war i museum and memorial. this is the third time i have been to kansas city in two is fabulous to know that world war i historians get to come to kansas city and is nt go to b >d.c. all the time. i am really happy this is in kansas city and not d.c. but it is nevertheless very strange for me that this place is in kansas city and not the district of columbia. when the director of the museum opened his mouth yesterday, you knew immediately that he was not from kansas city.
but when i open my mouth, you can't tell directly that i am a ,oreigner, but i am a foreigner because foreigners can sound like americans. the but -- myself,mr. naylor and an australian and a canadian, to see there is a national world war i museum and memorial in in the heartnd not of the mall in washington, d.c. in a 200 story building looming over and telling everyone this is the most important event in the history of mankind, it is very strange. and i am always interested in the place of world war i in national history, because you learn a lot about the national history of the country and where .orld war i is in that history
if you are from canada or australia or britain or france, world war i is a hell of a lot more important than world war ii. if you are from the u.s., russia, or germany, world war ii tends to be a hell of a lot more important than world war i. there is an easy answer to that, dead people, casualties, no comparison. a lot more people died in those countries -- canada, britain, france -- in world war i abandoned world war ii. and for those other countries, when it comes to world war ii -- canadians die a lot more in world war i because we are there in the trenches the whole time. canada tends to get in world wars immediately. we don't wait two or three years for our neighbors to show up and help us out. we tend to take a few more
casualties for a while. but we are a was happy when the big brother shows up with his big guns and money and material. so there is also centrality in national stories for these , so canada and australia see world war i as this huge coming-of-age moving away from the polyesters directing us in the british empire, and we .ecome these new young nations it is always interesting to make these comparisons, and what is interesting about this conference so far is how comparative the conference is. those papers yesterday constantly comparative, not just strict national histories. foreigners like myself have a big fear that next year's be america,ll
america, finally we get to talk about america in world war i, so forget all this other stuff. lots of other stuff happens in 1917 than the entrance of america. i will put up my plea to please keep it at that nice level of comparative work. all right, let us get to what i am going to talk about today. we heard yesterday about you are teased by certain sources that soldiersa'e about thoughts were people's thoughts. we have the diary from lithuania . we got to see inside the mind of a woman from lithuania. we had the letters from some french soldiers and how they and about being morose fighting not for honor, not for fatherland, not for duty, because we have to.
that's what we heard in those french letters yesterday. we will delve more deeply into those kinds of sources today, through soldier newspapers. first of all, what we call social history. what is life like on the bottom of the totem pole? what are people thinking down there? social history of world war i really gets under way in the 1970's and into the 1980's, with the first major source. diaries have been read since the 1920's, but diaries are very delete sources. you want to get social history, but when you are reading diaries, you are reading the thoughts of usually well-educated, upper echelon people. the move by the 1970's and 1980's is to read soldier letters. letter writing was a massive
phenomenon in world war i. you had soldiers writing several letters a day every day. there are millions of letters for the first world war. you had literate armies, except for russia. russia is going to be out of my example when it comes to newspapers, because they are illiterate for the most part. but britain, france, germany, highly literate population. they are writing letters. this was the first move in the 1970's in the real social history of world war i. but there are problems with these sources. first of all, there are millions of these letters, so you have a sample problem immediately whenever a historian wants to write a history of world war i based on social letters. how many of you are going to read?
500, 1000? how many .00% of the letters are you going to read? and there is the further bias, historians, we like to think we we are alsoent, but pretty lazy and normal human beings, and if there are four different sets of letters in an archive, believe me, the one that is the most nicely handwritten with the most elegant sentences is going to be the source that we choose to read, meaning the austrian -- the oxford boy is who we are going to read, not a boy from liverpool who works in a factory. we are going to do, because it is a hell of a lot easier than reading the scrawl from a dude in a factory in liverpool. there is that bias with social letters. you have a smaller sample, you
are going to have to make choices, representation is difficult. further, even though all different classes wrote these letters, there is a misrepresentation in that you still have to be motivated to write. there is a level of education that will come into those sources. a lot of men did not write letters, especially from lower classes. so, how much are their voices represented in letters? some veryhere are important silences in soldier letters. for a the audience soldier letter? , a pal on the homefront two is somehow not in the war. sometimes a dad or a brother. but by far and away, the audience for soldier letters is mother, wife, or girlfriend.
that is the audience of a soldier letter. so how does that affect how a soldier writes about daily life and his thoughts at or near the front in france? well, when historians only focused on soldier letters to describe life in france for all these three different armies, they came up with a believe that in france, from 1914 to 1918, there were no women. [laughter] dr. nelson: empty. very strange. we have the evidence. the evidence is in the soldier letters. the soldiers never saw any women in france. never talked about any women. , will admit, once in a while
there is a mention, and it goes like this -- darling, you should have seen the two ugly flags i saw yesterday down by the wells in this belgian town. that is about the only mention of women. so, a fundamental and huge element of soldier life does not exist in the major source of social history for soldiers in world war i. so, where did we find those women, and where do we find how soldiers spoke to each other? we will find a source where the audience is soldiers, not the home front. soldier newspapers printed by and for soldiers at or near the front. first of all, this was my phd project, and unlike those millions of letters, this was a very nicely to find a source space.
every french read soldier newspaper, every british soldier newspaper, every australian, crucially every canadian. [laughter] dr. nelson: and all 12,000 german soldier newspapers. there are italian soldier newspapers, could not read those. a were done in the 1970's, not in terrible depth. that is a phd waiting to be done. and there are no russian soldier newspapers, just ones red by the elite officers, but beyond that nothing. there are several languages of hofburg newspapers. that is a project for a multilingual historian to really dig deep into. but i did not read those. and world war i was the golden age of soldier newspapers. you had a literate audience, and
crucially you did not have mobility. world war ii is not a good war for social newspapers. , western frontnt especially, but also the eastern front. at the western front, especially static. four years of setting in behind the lines, finding printing presses, finding rooms for editors, and sitting down and making newspapers. it was fantasyland for soldier newspapers, and we will probably never see anything like that again. so what are these newspapers? first of all, the authors. you get to choose from a massive army to pick your editors. you pick people with the right background, for the most part. of course, educated, often journalistic or editorial backgrounds, often in the publishing business, but also lots of lawyers, teachers, etc.
people who make sense to be chosen for this position. , of all three armies, have to 2/3 are lf arers, 1/3 tp lower ranks. .hese are older men the newspapers are up and running by 1915. by then, we have had a demographic shift of all three armies. these armies in 1914 were mainly in their 20's, professional standing armies before. all those are gone by early 1915. those men are dead, and we have what are essentially replacement armies. 30 plus-year-old reservists, old people, over 30, ancient people
according to my kids. so you have an army of very young people and very old people , according to 15-year-olds. ok? ,ou've got a demographic split and then you have those young people at the front, the faster notle, the people who do .ave children or are married they are the front. and to be more idealistic, hotheaded, nothing to lose. they are 19, they are invincible. they are the front, and the 30 plus-year-olds are behind the lines, doing supply, etc. they are older, they tend to be more conservative, they have a lot to lose. they do not want to take chances, so they are working behind the lines, doing all that business including adding and writing -- editing and writing
newspapers for the troops. and these newspapers are at all levels, from big army level newspapers all the way down to company level newspapers. every unit level in these armies is represented by a newspaper. not every unit as there are newspaper, but these are the different levels, from much fancier looking army level ones, too much -- to handwritten company level stuff at the bottom level. theuction, in late 1914 first ones appear, and those are handwritten, mailed to trees -- toled to trees -- nailed trees, to be read by passing soldiers. mimeographs.have by mid-1915, for the most part, printingspapers have
presses. somewhere down the line, they found printing presses, or they write and create the newspapers at the front and then they send somewhere further behind the line to get them printed and sent back. distribution mainly through railway stations, canteens, and mail subscriptions. the soldiers are paying for subscriptions to have this stuff out into them, or handed the larger units, mailed within those units. how many? the british and in many and armies -- and dominion armies had 107 distinct newspapers, and the biggest of those newspapers had runs of up to about 5000 per
month. most newspapers are monthly. some of the higher-level ones come out more often, but most of these are monthly. 5000 per month were some of the biggest british newspapers. the french had around 200 distinct titles, and in 1916, about 100,000 french soldier newspapers were being produced each month and distributed. -- biggest big british distributor was 5000, but altogether, more towards 35,000 to 50,000 per month, 100,000 in total for the french per month. it, aeans on the face of minority of allied troops saw these newspapers, on the face of it. but there are elements of
newspaper reading in the early 19th century that we have to keep in mind. first of all, reading aloud in a cafe in 1910 with several people was very normal behavior in european cities before world war i. yes, 100,000 newspapers distributed among the french, but how many of these were read among the troops in the dugout? further, how many people read each issue? these would be passed around and read until they met their obvious, inevitable fate, toilet paper. some were saved for me to read 500 years later. [laughter] dr. nelson: so, it is difficult to tell the level to which french and british saw somewhere, around 50%, but it is hard to tell how much these get passed around.
the other hand, we know everybody read social newspapers in the german army. only 115 distinct titles, so less than the french army, way more were produced in the german army. 1916, aestern front in million soldier newspapers appeared each month for an army of 3 million soldiers. front, oneern million to 1.5 -- sorry, 2 million newspapers were produced each month for an army of one million to 1.5 million, if that seems strange. so, way more saturation on this front. ?o why is that the case i know we will talk more about the eastern front today, already introduced yesterday. on the western front, at this that were not far from
germany, there were german homefront newspapers available to read. you could get reasonably recent german homefront newspapers. in other words, german homefront newspapers on the western front had some competition. also, german officers could read french newspapers. on the eastern front, way out in two weeks forook a german homefront newspaper to show up, and you were in a total foreign landscape. you were not reading in a local material layout -- any local material way out. a deep desire for those newspapers. the germans felt isolated. they were in a very alien landscape compared to the germans on the western front surrounded by civilization and people. they have been studying since they were fighters old. france was not some foreign,
alien landscape to german soldiers. germans wanted to have their newspapers about the east while they were in the east. censorship, there is very little material on british censorship. nothing to be found in archives and i have found. could only go off what was in the newspapers themselves. editor of a magazine wrote, "we are not allowed to insert the names of the various places we go to, neither are we allowed endsscuss too minutely the and outs about our misunderstanding and unpleasantness with the germans. neither are we permitted to criticize too freely our political enemies and friends." that's about all we learned about censorship, and it is in the mode of all communication and description of the british
newspapers, humor. always, everything. .hat's about all we know officers likely looked over the unit newspaper, and then it went out. the french, in 1916 there was informal censorship. officers told to make sure that more outlet not be lowered by soldiers reading these newspapers. after the 1970, muniz in the french army, it becomes -- 1917 mutinies in the french ally, it becomes more formal. in germany, there was more formal censorship. in 1916, you had to send a copy of every issue to the war press office before you can send it out. very interestingly, in 1916, that same war press office attempts to have propaganda articles inserted into these
newspapers. they write what they called for ,espondents -- correspondence correspondent articles framed very ham-fisted way to appear as if they are not propaganda. hansry about franz and sitting around a fire, saying, you know, franz, we really should buy some more bonds. [applause] dr. nelson: really ham-fisted stuff like this sent out to the , notrs of the newspapers ordered, would you please consider placing these articles in your social newspapers? and we get the letters back from the war press saying, not a chance. appears in our newspaper, i
lose all my subtractions overnight. right there in the letters, i will lose all my paying subscribers overnight if this garbage appears. appears in our newspaper, i lose all my subtractions this is really strong evidence that these newspapers are not propaganda mouthpieces for the german army. these are from the soldiers, for the soldiers. and what someone like me has to ,o, especially in a phd defense is argue why on earth are we to believe that what we find in the social newspapers in any way represents the voices of the soldiers? how do we know these are not the nazi equivalent of free pamphlets handed out to soldiers? that is hard to make a case, what appeared on a nazi pamphlet reflected soldier believes, if it was mass printed and handed out to soldiers. that is a hard case to make. , how do i make
the connection to say, this is not just propaganda in here? first of all, they paid for these. soldiers paid money for these .ewspapers any specialist of newspapers will tell you that is on enormously important factor. do not pay for propaganda pieces. they paid for them. and second, especially in the larger newspapers, they are full of advertising. capitalism tells us that companies only paid for ads in newspapers that the readership recognizes and buys and wants to read. you will pay for ads in a propaganda organ that has no connection with your audience. ok, and also there is self-censorship going on all the time. it is impossible to really get to, but these editors, there was a self-censorship that happened immediately with these tropicana pieces -- with these propaganda
pieces. the editors since her bows out of the newspapers because they knew their audience would not accept it -- censored them out of the newspapers because they knew their audience would not accept it. and one of the surprising things for all three armies, violence does not exist in the frontline newspapers. there are no depictions of no man's land, no depictions of violence. .hat is a self-censorship these authors and the editorial teams know, our audience does not want to buy our newspaper and read about what they just experienced in no man's land. these are forms of escape, these newspapers. they in some ways take you away, definitely from the violence, but they are not your escapes because they have a lot to do
with the surrounding area, the history of the area they are stationed in, etc. so they are not pure escape fantasy novels, but they are an escape from the horrors the soldiers do not want to read about. , historians constantly ask themselves and have been asking themselves for 100 years about the first world war, why on earth to the soldiers keep fighting? why do these soldiers fight for four plus years? it makes no sense to us. when we heard what we heard yesterday about the battle over don, nobody knows why it is going on. the soldiers do not know what they are fighting for. there are all these myths layered on top, but at the time, very unclear what they are doing . why do they do it?
how did convinced themselves to not walk home? convince they themselves to not walk home? what i look for is that kind of language. or does a british, french, german soldier, through these newspapers, tell themselves why they keep fighting? how does justification work? soldiers arrest to break the major taboo of all society. that is what a soldier is urged to do. you must break the rule you are taught since a kid to never do, you are supposed to kill people. that is the problem in war, convincing soldiers to convince themselves that what they are doing is right. , the easiest wars way for a soldier to do that, the most common way for a
soldier to do that, is to say that he is protecting hearth and home, he is defending. we don't have ministries of war anymore. you have surely become aware of the fact that everyone in the world has a miss -- has a ministry of defense or department of defense. no one has a department of offense. soldiers do not have this idea, i am a purely offensive, aggressive soldier, only going on missions to attack other people. that is not the mindset. everything is done for defense of the homeland. this is a fundamental way in which soldiers talk to themselves about why they are doing what they are doing, defending. itselfrmy in 1914 told this was a weapon of defense, including germany. this was the main way this was discussed in 1914. we will invade everywhere for defense area this -- everywhere
for our defense. this was not a crazy way of thinking, this idea of attacking somewhere else so we are not attacked at home. no one is confused by that notion in today's world. this was the language. no matter what a soldier dead, he was defending. this was true for all soldiers. but it is easier for some soldiers and harder for others, and you see this in the newspapers. .irst and foremost, the french the french newspapers are incredible because the french pend no time at all justifying what they are doing, because nobody needs to justify what they are doing. every french soldier, every french citizen knows that french
soldiers are standing on french soil. .he enemy is on french soil there is no abstract justification here. you see this in a way you do not see in the other soldier newspapers. no attempt to in any way justify what is going on. it is simply pure honesty, incredible, uncomfortable honesty in the french newspapers. dating ah of a nurse wounded soldier, just in a corner of a paid -- bathing the stump of a wounded soldier, bathing the stomp on his leg. it does not appear in the german newspapers, because the french are at ease to say, this is what we are doing, we don't need to talk about it more than that. we are doing this because we have to.
duty, no honor, none of those big words. and that is run through the french newspapers, and they get away with talking about the war in a way you do not see in the british and german press. one letter in the french newspaper i enjoyed, the rank stupidity of the army and vastness of the sea are the only two things which can give an idea of infinity. this is not seen in the other newspapers, that kind of a joke. so, no need to describe how they are proper men doing the proper manly duties of a soldier. the french are not interested, because they don't have to. the british have a very funny, strange role in this war, and
you notice it in how they try to talk about this war. yes, they have the ease of being .n the defense they're protecting soil from being invaded. they get the ease of being the defender. problem is, they are defending french people. what? can you imagine some british grandfathers, great-grandfathers hearing that their great-grandson was going off to die for french people? someone who fought in wars in the 1860's with the germans as the allies against the greatest nation of enemies the british have ever known, the french. and there they were, overseas,
dying for french people, a very strange position to be in, and it is reflected in this strange notion that the british are defending a way of , that by in britain being there in france and jerry, this will protect the home in an abstract way. we will somehow protect england by stopping the germans. it is difficult to thread that needle. that is a difficult job for the british. they occasionally attempt it, but for the most part they avoid everything completely through their total and utter reliance on humor.
everything is a joke. this is actually a very powerful way in which to avoid the real problems of being in this war and not knowing exactly why you are fighting and dying, just avoid it all three humor. -- three humor. -- through humor. all of the british newspapers are jokes. the australian newspapers are all jokes, and even racier, and there is much more cross-dressing in the australian newspapers. really funny stuff. but the canadians, not as funny, i am sorry to say. martin short had not been invented. so the run through with these avoidant techniques of not attacking the officers in the
war, just making a joke out of ,verything, lots of dark humor but also suggestive of the oldest forms of humor we have identified, stuff that would be in place with medieval humor we might read, the lowest and basest forms of universal humor, so i am going to tell you some of those jokes. [applause] -- [laughter] two examplesust from the british newspapers. the first, jack and jill went up the hill to see a frenchman's ter, the french are here, so i can't see what they taught her. the british admit the germans have taken cascara, but doubt their ability to hold it. the enemy is a vacuum waiting
all along the line, and the strain on their rear is tremendous. the germans are trying to suppress this, but it is leaking out in several places. what price a scrap of paper now? sex and the toilet, the oldest forms of humor, still today. and the germans, what do they write about? they have the tough job. they are everywhere the occupier. they are everywhere offensively standing on foreign ground, in the east and in the west. they have told themselves since day one this is a war of defense, and nobody is standing on german soil, defending german soil. yet like all the soldiers in this period, they want to think of themselves as being proper manly soldiers. a proper manly soldier defends women and children, hearth and home. how do we keep that up when we are abroad?
the german newspapers are accessed with the idea of manlyeship, good , constantly describing themselves and talking about themselves as if they are good, upstanding gentlemen, and they have their own kind of fatherly, protective , that theyh fronts are bringing culture and civilization and order to these poor people we are occupying that need us. it is going to be different on the eastern front, but it is also on the western front. lots of articles about these dirty, backward french towns that need german plumbing. german know-how. let's get these people started. this very old idea that the patina ofe a
civilization, but the germans have a much deeper culture. this comes out in terms of, yeah , these french girls are beautiful in the afternoon, but you should see them in the morning. patina of civilization through makeup and dress. this same level of civilization as the french, but it is not deep. a german girl who gets up in the morning looks fabulous before she puts on any makeup. that is what is said in these articles. the level of german culture, thin layer of german civilization -- french civilization. we are defending these people, helping them out. on the eastern front, this is much more extreme. this is the new german colonial empire in the east. here are people who look in more backward than anything we see in france,
vastly dirtier, unpaved streets, no organization, and totally unintelligible linkages. .- languages germans have taken french in school. they can speak a pidgin french with locals in france. they cannot speak polish, or russian, or lithuanian. it is a totally alien landscape that they see as a space where german work and german culture -- and this exists at the lowest level. this is not some abstract. right at the level of these newspapers, the german speak this way about why they are there, because it justifies why they are there. it makes them feel good about why they are there. they are not just ugly oppressors. they are bringing something good. this civilizing mission in the east is crucial, and it runs
route these newspapers. -- throughout these newspapers. what are some universal experiences? i have artie mentioned there is no violence in these newspapers. enemy.s also no none of these newspapers depict the enemy except occasionally as a joke. there is one sketch in the german newspaper enemy. called pee .tream of a french soldier there is a sleeping french soldier, a dream bubble above and it says "i need new clothes." a german yelled from the trenches that he had a wife in birmingham, but tommy hollers back, get your heads down or there will be a widow. there isthough we know
nothing the top would like better than for these neighbors to be filled with images of baby charge enemies just to up their soldiers to want to kill even more, even though we know that is what the top wanted, it does not exist. the soldiers would not accept those images. we know from the letters that they hated those images in the home front newspapers, this idea of baby killing germans and all the stuff. once the soldiers are in their front, they get the idea, those soldiers are like us, we have to kill them because we have to, but they are pretty much like us. the image of the enemy does not exist in the place where it should exist, if a certain theory was true. this has been growing in the last decade. i am hoping it is not growing anymore. i completely disagree with it, put forward mainly by french history professors to try to
understand why soldiers fought for four plus years. they said the only way we can argue they did this for four years is because soldiers love killing the enemy, soldiers hated the enemy, and desperately enjoyed wanting to kill these guys. this is called the war culture thesis. soldier newspapers completely destroyed that idea. these newspapers would be filled with images of terrible if that were to be true, and it is not there at all. women, as a universal experience, are everywhere in the social newspapers -- soldier newspapers. in the newspapers printed by soldiers, for newspapers, women are everywhere and the soldiers are accessed, constantly , constantlyobsessed
chasing women. for the french, it is difficult to tell who they are talking about, because whether it is women just in the rear or in the home front, it is difficult to , but they they are are everywhere in the french newspapers and often nude, not in the british or german. there is the alpine unit, the most manly of french units. their newspaper, the first six issues makes it appear as if all this unit does is chase skirt all the time. and some good jokes in their, too. there is an output is to getting dressed, the woman is still in bed, and she says, "so what do you think of that counterattack?" >> [applause] dr. nelson: --
[laughter] dr. nelson: the british, same thing. translation, "she ai look at at'd home." [laughter] dr. nelson: the germans a little different, because this comradeship extends to the homefront, because germans often talk about women on the homefront as comrades as well. working hard and doing their dirty -- their duty for germans. homefront is a bit of a different depiction. but the frontline, the western front, is full of german girlfriends and wives, open descriptions of marrying the women in occupied france, and there is a big difference from the eastern front. no girlfriends on the eastern front. sketches of german soldiers
talking to publish girls, slavic sketches.etimes nude actually, there is one nude image in all the soldier newspapers, and that is a lithuanian and a bathhouse. but they look at images of these women and are suggestive of what is happening on the front, but no girlfriends. there is a fundamental difference between the germans on the western and eastern front. you are not allowed to talk about having a polish girlfriend. a huge difference between these two fronts. lastly, 1916, soldier newspapers helping us understand why these soldiers are able to hold out. you think of 1916 on the western front alone. we call it the battle of her done. it is a war all by itself.
in any other scale, that much material, bigger and longer and nastier than many other wars in history. it was right next to another battle. you think of what is happening on the western front in 1916, and how in the hell did these soldiers keep fighting during that, and i argue with these newspapers it is because of the ,tories they tell themselves the understandings of their roles, the narratives they tell themselves that helps us understand how they held up during this period. thank you. [applause] lora: ladies and gentlemen, we had a brief. baying time for questions and answers -- had a brief period of questions and answers. i encourage you to come down to this microphone. >> to commercial newspapers
today are doing the opposite, writing about the german atrocities in belgium, things that are going on, the horrific nature of warfare. were these commercial newspapers being read by the troops on the front lines? >they d -- .r. nelson: they do read them but the soldiers' newspapers directly reference and mock these homefront newspapers, and the soldier letters directly mock these. this idea of eyewash, look at the eyewash the civilians are getting about this war. the soldiers are completely aware of it. british soldiers are completely aware that the belgian neutrality thing is meaningless. none of them are there to fight for belgium, and they make jokes about fighting for poor little belgium. like, what are you talking about? referenced, they read them, but they read them with a very cynical eye.
you mentioned the depictions of women and jokes in british newspapers. where their feature articles? there feature articles? what kinds of articles about the soldiers themselves did they have? dr. nelson: all the variety you would see today. sketches, small jokes, poetry, longform fiction that goes over , a germannths newspaper describing the local history of this polish town we are based in, full-page, several pages. seriously, a complete variety, and nothing that would look weird to you. everything would look like newspaper stuff. advertising, with what type of advertising did the
soldiers want? for the most part, theater and entertainment going on. about, lots of innuendo a psychic, this woman? is she a psychic, or is it a brothel? a lot of stuff hints at this kind of thing going on. on.ain kinds of sins going but for the most part, theater, any kind of theater that can be seen, local goods that you can buy, like things that can be sold to soldiers. a german occupation newspaper in northeast france, all stuff you can buy is in their. buyll stuff you could
these in there. if youuestion involves could comment on the lasting impact that these newspapers had. did the soldiers bring these reading habits, these things that they write? did they honor what was being read and written after the war, or did they leave that whole life behind when they returned to peace time? of units keptlot making their newspapers through the 1920's as part of reunions. they would do manuals. -- annuals. they would put together the old team and do an annual copy. in terms of how they affect how soldiers think about these wayss, one of the direct we can trace these things is through memoir literature.
it is fascinating how trying to see what we find in letters, stuff written in the war, to how stuff is written later in the war is20's, when the seen as meaningless and having no -- in the war, it is not a meaningless war. it is simply we have to do this and are going to do it, and we are not about to have a mutiny. in the late 1920's, memoir literature comes out, making it seem that soldiers in the front were ready to flank the officers. -you wonder if what they getsienced in the war altered by the mood of the 1920's, a massively antiwar made. .- mood that is one way i would like to look for if things change or stay the same. that would be one way to trace.
trace, editors of newspapers to go -- who go and write memoirs later on. >> could you speak more about the art produced by the newspapers? dr. nelson: they loved their sketches and artwork, but the only thing they asked -- the only things they would ask the soldiers to stop sending him, because they would constantly get material from soldiers and printed in the newspapers, and a few times, no more poems about spring, please. [laughter] dr. nelson: more than once i saw that. they would be sketches, almost always charcoal sketches. very hard to get color, so almost everything is a sketch. landscape i would say is the number one sketch. young woman, right?
woman. young a funny way to say that. had sketches of local women. ofes, oxford boys, lots cartoon type images, and there was a certain theme towards the end until of the war for the germans as it becomes what we heard yesterday, this idea of the spirit will win over material. these classic images of german nightknights. we are the ultimate manly comrades. against all the technical business our allies are throwing at us. as you all are about to head to a break, please consider your personal poems about spring . also, i know many of you still have questions, and i am certain that dr. rob nelson will answer
them. i look forward to seeing you back at 9:45. please bring dr. nelson a warm round of applause. [applause] announcer: interested in american history tv? visit c-span.org/history. you can see our upcoming schedule or watch a recent program. american artifacts, road to the white house: rewind, and more, at c-span.org/history. >> i am a white male, and i am isjudiced, and the reason it , it is something i was not taught, but something that i learned. i don't like to be forced to like people, i like to be led to like people through example. what can i do to change, to be a better american? .> that was a remarkable moment
i did not realize until i stepped off the set, because there were calls after that, we just had to keep rolling, how powerful it was. there was something in his voice that touched me, and you can hear it. it is so authentic as he searches for the words to say something to a national audience that most of us will not admit in our homes, open vote --, "i am prejudiced." announcer: a guest on c-span's ofhington journal in august 2016. she talks about that interaction and her follow-up. >> part of the reason for that, this is august. we have had this racially charged summer with donald trump's campaign, with black lives matter and the police shootings, and the tragic events in baton rouge, dallas. it was really a time when people felt like all they were seeing on tv about race was bad news,
and here was, first, a white man admitting that he was prejudiced, which for people of color, we kind of all said, finally. announcer: sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's you're watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span 3. to join the conversation like us on facebook at c-span history. >> next on lectures of history rose college professor charles mckinney teaches a class about early civil rights efforts during the world war ii era and describes movements to end segregation and court cases challenging separate but equal education opportunities. his class is about 45 minutes. professor mckinney: good afternoon. let's spend a bit of time discussing world war ii and the african-american experience. or what ke