chapter  9
16 Pages

The Hague as a framework for British and American newspapers’ public presentations of the First World War

WithThomas Munro

This chapter examines the messages about The Hague that appeared in select British and American newspapers in the first two months of the war. It argues that The Hague was embedded in popular understandings of war in Britain and the United States. The difficulty of interpreting The Hague's rules was evident in the British and American newspapers' coverage of the aerial bombardment of cities. Newspapers also discussed German responses to the claims that their soldiers were mistreating civilians and thus demonstrated the public awareness that The Hague determined not only how civilians in occupied territory should be treated, but also how they should behave. The newspapers became a site for public engagement with the debate about using dum-dums. Public engagement with these legal ideas was clearly demonstrated by how the British and American public critically evaluated the belligerents' accusations in letters to editors.