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Pen and Sword

Pen and Sword: American War Correspondents, 1898-1975

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Pen and Sword
    Book Description:

    Addressing the ever-changing, overlapping trajectories of war and journalism, this introduction to the history and culture of modern American war correspondence considers a wealth of original archival material. In powerful analyses of letters, diaries, journals, television news archives, and secondary literature related to the United States' major military conflicts of the twentieth century, Mary S. Mander highlights the intricate relationship of the postmodern nation-state to the free press and to the public._x000B__x000B_Pen and Sword: American War Correspondents, 1898-1975 situates war correspondence within the larger framework of the history of the printing press to make perceptive new points about the nature of journalism and censorship, the institution of the press as a source of organized dissent, and the relationship between the press and the military. Fostering a deeper understanding of the occupational culture of war correspondents who have accompanied soldiers into battle, Mander offers interpretive analysis of the reporters' search for meaning while embedded with troops in war-torn territories. Broadly encompassing the history of Western civilization and modern warfare, Pen and Sword prompts new ways of thinking about contemporary military conflicts and the future of journalism.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09020-2
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-9)

    In the war in Iraq, many journalists are described as embedded. Being embedded means news reporters are attached to military units engaged in armed conflict. This is not a new development in the history of American war correspondence. In every war discussed in this book (from 1898 through Vietnam) reporters accompanied soldiers into battle. The term ʺembeddedʺ was first used during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, largely because the military was responding to pressure from news organizations that had had only limited access in the 1999 conflicts. Furthermore, in every war save the one in Cuba against Spain,...

  6. 1 The Historical Context for Understanding American War Correspondents
    (pp. 10-23)

    In America, the institution of journalism shelters the nation-state. Even the most local story in a small-town newspaper or on its newscast is national, because the assumptions guiding its construction are grounded in our understanding of the nation-state. Every newspaper article, every newscast, and every documentary affirms and legitimizes the democratic community. No matter where a report appears—in theDetroit Free Press, theNew York Times, the SpringfieldJournal-Register, on NPR, CNN, CBS, or a local radio station—wherever a news report is found, a national public is always present in it.

    I say ʺin Americaʺ because each nation...

  7. 2 Early Encoding of State-Administered Censorship During Wartime, 1898–1916
    (pp. 24-39)

    Nothing more clearly discloses all the thorny issues and problems surrounding the First Amendment than the history of government administrative bureaucracies overseeing what became public knowledge during wartime. The state began to concern itself with the publication of information in wartime at least as early as the U.S. Civil War. The speed of the telegraph ensured governmental oversight. President Abraham Lincoln authorized the military to seize telegraph lines in the North. Many military units in both the North and South refused to allow journalists to accompany them. Some editors were arrested, and publication of some newspapers was suspended.¹ Nevertheless, no...

  8. 3 Censorship During the World Wars
    (pp. 40-64)

    The legal roots of state-administered censorship predate the world wars of the twentieth century. However it is in the world wars that administration of censorship becomes entrenched in bureaucracy. By World War II it is comprehensive and thoroughgoing. This chapter examines the growth of censorship during these epochal wars.

    American war correspondents tried to cover the war in Europe from the beginning in August 1914 until the end in 1918. During this time they experienced four kinds of communications environments (the first three before the United States joined the Allies to defeat the Central Powers): (1) freelancing and happenstance consisting...

  9. 4 Censorship in Vietnam
    (pp. 65-78)

    The Vietnam War is thought of as ʺthe uncensored war.ʺ However, this is misleading in many ways. It is a mistaken belief because censorship had long been the culture of war and its reporting. (This aspect of censorship—its culture—will be investigated in chapter 5.) Reporters in Vietnam had been given a legacy of expectations: everyone knew the legitimacy of censorship rested on a set of ground rules necessary to protect the lives of soldiers or to ensure military success, and no one questioned the Cold War logic that had been instilled in soldiers and reporters alike in learning...

  10. 5 The Culture of Press Censorship During Wartime
    (pp. 79-97)

    In chapters 2, 3, and 4, I indicated that over a period of many years censorship practices evolved along with the social practices of journalism. The turning point for the establishment of behavioral codes during wartime for censor and reporter alike was the second decade of the twentieth century. From then on the story of press freedom during war is the story of the integration of the journalist into the military system.

    This chapter will argue that the press—and this is an observation rather than a criticism—dances with the state at every turn. In other words, by redefining...

  11. 6 Experience and Interpretation
    (pp. 98-132)

    Modern war correspondence involves a set of judgments composed simultaneously of experience and interpretation. The report is only one part of a much larger design that governs being a journalist. The act of reporting war is a situated one with many elements involved: the kind of war being waged, the presence or absence of bureaucratic procedures for clearing stories with the military, and the occupational problems common to a particular time in history.

    Conscription pushed the boundaries of experience and consequently of interpretation of war. This chapter casts the journalistʹs experience and interpretation of war into the larger context of...

  12. 7 The Occupational Culture of the American War Correspondent
    (pp. 133-142)

    The kinds of experiences the journalist has had in reporting the wars this nation has fought were demarcated and examined in chapter 6. This chapter will present a brief sketch of his occupational culture, a kind of summary understanding that a good journalist has when he must accompany troops and write about their campaigns.

    In every war, the correspondent sees the censor as an adversary. Never mind that the latter is a peacetime journalist. When the rules about what can and cannot be written are laid out for him, the savvy reporter will know them thoroughly and obey them in...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 143-150)

    In Americaʹs history, the First Amendment has played a key role brokering the relationship between the nation-state and the citizen. When the First Amendment is curtailed, the freedoms it guarantees begin to withdraw into the shadows thrown up by the machinery of warfare. The constant presence of the First Amendment—its towering importance in our value system, and its centrality to our way of life—forces us to recognize that during war the work of the journalist is cast into the path of the moonʹs passage between the sun and the earth, that is, into eclipse. Like an eclipse, where...

    (pp. 151-152)
  15. NOTES
    (pp. 153-174)
    (pp. 175-184)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 185-188)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 189-194)