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Part 1: 1939 (The Daily Express, the Daily Mirror, the News of the World, The People & the Sunday Express)

Popular newspapers were one of the primary means through which ordinary people in Britain received their news about the war.  They now provide an excellent and immediate source for students and scholars alike, describing the progress of the war and its impact on the home front.  The papers provide:

  • Hundreds of thousands of photographs and maps - making the war more intelligible and reducing it to a human scale.  There were even diagrams illustrating the impregnability of the Maginot Line.
  • Detailed accounts of the latest developments whether on the home front or the battlefield.  Germany's territorial ambitions in Poland and the Balkans are analysed, as are Japanese incursions in China.
  • Insightful articles by leading writers and politicians, such as Leon Trotsky asserting that "Stalin is afraid of Hitler" (writing in The Daily Express) and David Walker's first hand reports for The Daily Mirror from across Europe right up to the outbreak of war.
  • Masses of material for the study of popular culture, such as George Formby's regular column in the News of the World and the sheet music that was printed opposite.

Part 1 covers 1939, and the earlier issues demonstrate that war was by no means a certainty.  Whilst Michael Foot warned of the sread of anti-semitism in The Daily Express, Winston Churchill's regular articles in The Daily Mirror show that he was still hopeful that war could be averted.

The Daily Mirror

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