World War II As It Happened
A MaritimeQuest Daily Event Special Presentation



Starting on September 1, 2020 MaritimeQuest began the World War II As It Happened presentation as the Daily Event. Every day I will post front pages of newspapers from around the world so you can see just how everyone learned about the progress of the war. There was no television, only radio, newspapers and newsreels at the cinema, that was the way people received all of their information about the war. This presentation is not only a way for us to look back and see how the public learned about the war, but it is also a study in the press.

"Caveat lector" (reader beware) should be printed on the top of every newspaper. When people look at a newspaper, they expect to read a report from an authoritative source which they can believe. Many times nothing could be further from the truth. To learn about the press one must take into consideration a couple of points. First and foremost you must remember that the number one job of the newspaper is to sell newspapers. Informing the reader is secondary. Something else you should remember is that reporters are not usually experts on a subject, many are only experts at writing stories, what they write about is secondary. Filling column space is also something that must be done, you can't have blank pages, just like you can't have "dead air" on TV or the radio. So there is a lot of "filler" stories. These are usually confined to the inside pages.

I would now like to touch on the authoritative aspect of the press. Authoritarian evidence is what people in authority provide the public. This is done through the press, books, films, television news and so on. It is the most common and quickest was to distribute information. The information is not however always the most reliable information. Empirical evidence is the best and most reliable information you can have. That is to say things you can see, feel, touch or smell yourself, however it is not always possible to obtain such evidence about a said report. You must therefore be able to trust the authority providing the information. People were much more trusting of the press many years ago. Sadly the media of today is so corrupt it is almost impossible to learn the truth about any report. You could spend hours trying to learn the true facts about a story, and you probably could learn them, but people do not have the time to do this for every important story. The dangerous aspect of this is that the people in the media understand this concept and how to use it to their advantage. and in so doing, to the disadvantage of the people.

The press in World War II had to work under censorship rules and with the information provided to them by the various government officials. The mistakes made by reporters were therefore not their fault. If a government official told the press that this or that happened in some distant land, the reporter could not shuffle off to the location to see if it really happened and therefore had to print what was told to them. The government used this to its advantage to keep secrets from the enemy, provide the enemy with disinformation and propaganda. It is of course easily understood why this was done.

I have made attempts to make historical corrections to the reports in these pages. My comments on a report will be in yellow below the report. I also point out parallels to current events where it is appropriate and necessary. "Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it." We do not want to repeat what happened in World War II. I have also provided links which should prove useful. I also highlight some reports which I think might be overlooked or need to be clarified. This includes reports about well known people, events and even some off beat reports, we all need a break from the bad news now and again.

I have included newspapers from several different countries including the United States, England, Scotland, Australia, Canada, Netherlands and Germany. I know of no other resource which allows someone to look at what people around the world were reading all on one page. It also allows you to see what the enemy was reading, which at the time could not be done. Including the German newspapers in this project allows everyone to see what a State controlled press looks like. The German papers have the headlines translated into English. I have no resource for Japanese newspapers.

This project will take six year to complete, that's how long the war lasted. Each front page is linked to a high resolution version of the image so that you will be able to read the stories as the image on the page is too small to read anything but the headlines. Just click on the newspaper you want to read to see this image. I hope you will find this presentation interesting and educational.