ANZAC Day Public Holiday

All National Library reading rooms will be closed on Anzac Day, Wednesday 25 April.  Regular reading room hours will resume on Thursday 26 April. See our public holiday opening hours for more information.

Introductory Activities

These activities are designed to activate students’ prior knowledge, develop critical thinking skills and establish an understanding of the key terms and concepts relating to World War I. They will help set the scene for the role media played in communicating news from the frontline to the home front. The activities will also help students to explore the concept of newsmaps. A variety of primary sources have been selected to show students the diversity of news material available at the time, and to support the development of interpretation skills.

Start by discussing with students the differences between media today and in 1914. Analyse some of the advances in communication and technology that have made access to information easier, or more challenging.

Key terminology:

  • official war correspondent
  • newsmap
  • propaganda
  • Australian Imperial Force (AIF)
  • Allies
  • monarchy

Background questions:

  • Why did Australia declare war on Germany in 1914?
  • What kind of media coverage of the war was there in 1914?
  • What are some of the implications of a war only presented in print?

On the home front, people only had access to print media. What challenges would this have presented to them

What forms does media coverage take today, not just for conflicts in the world but for other topics as well, such as political events, entertainment and sports.

Fact or Fiction? The role of print media in World War I

What role did the media and official war correspondents have in World War I?

As a whole class, critically analyse the resources below. This material provides a cross-section of print media from the time. They show the need to critically evaluate information that was presented to the Australian public during the war.

Have the class answer these questions for each resource.

Who published the source? Why is this information important?

  • What information can we gain from the source?
  • How would the public have felt viewing the source?
  • Is the source primary or secondary?
  • What is the main purpose of the source?

Resources

The Anzac Book

Gallipoli, poem by Sergeant Sydney Bolitho

The Trumpet Calls Norman Lindsay 

Full version of The Trumpet Calls Norman Lindsay on Trove.

‘Ashmead Bartlett’s Story of Dardanelles Overture’, The Sunday Times (Sydney), 13 June 1915, p.3

Full text of ‘Ashmead Bartlett’s Story of Dardanelles Overture’, The Sunday Times (Sydney), 13 June 1915, p.3 on Trove.

The sources highlight the blurred line between fact and fiction that occurred during World War I, and the presentation of propaganda, which focused predominantly on the successes of campaigns and encouraged the recruitment of young men. This provides an interesting comparison between print media of the past and today’s journalism. It also highlights the need to scrutinise information carefully and critically analyse underlining messages.

What is in a newsmap?

 As a class, explore the newsmap by Karl Lehmann-Dumont, Humoristische karte von Europa im Jahre 1914 (Humorous Map of Europe in the Year 1914).

Full version of Karl Lehmann-Dumont, Humoristische karte von Europa im Jahre 1914 on Trove.

Have the students answer these questions:

  • Each of the countries is represented by a caricature and a collection of unique symbols. What are the symbols and what do they represent? Why do you think the author created the map in this way?
  • Why would maps like this have been appealing to the public?
  • What country do you think the author is from? Why do you think this?
  • Does knowing the author’s country of origin change your perception of the information presented?
  • Think about print media today. Where would you find a similar use of caricatures as a commentary on events?

The following images are newmaps published in various Australian newspapers between 1914 and 1918.

Have students select a newsmap to investigate further. A selection is available below or students can explore Trove to find their own. 

Use the following questions to support students’ interrogation of the newsmaps. 

  • Who published the newsmap?
  • What symbols are presented in the map?
  • What message is the newsmap trying to convey?