Four Newspaper Illustrations from 1914


A century ago, in 1914, war erupted across Europe following the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, a conflict that by its end claimed 37 million casualties worldwide. It was four years of fighting that closed the 19th century and set the 20th into motion. Because its worst horrors remained to be seen (Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum est” captures the disillusion well), there was still hope it’d come to a speedy end.

Although this small sample is not representative of every published illustration, political cartoon, and comic, it still provides some insight into the nation’s feelings of that decisive year. Here we see doubt over the merits of sustaining a standing army (this being 15 years after the Spanish-American War and the nation’s first foray into imperialism). We see as well both doubt and optimism for war — and finally hope for 1915.

I hope you find them as interesting as I did.

The Day Book - The Unbidden Guest - 1914

“The Unbidden Guest!” The Day Book, February 21, 1914. 

The Day Book - War - 1914

“War!” The Day Book, April 17, 1914.

The Day Book - One Possible Good Result of the War - 1914

“One Possible Good Result of the War,” The Day Book, August 19, 1914.

The Sun - Let There Be Peace - 1914

“MCMXV: Let There Be Peace,” The Sun, December 27, 1914.

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