Humour, Neutrality and Preparedness: American Satirical Magazines and the First World War, 1914-1917

Trott, Vincent (2021). Humour, Neutrality and Preparedness: American Satirical Magazines and the First World War, 1914-1917. War in History (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0968344520944205

Abstract

This article discusses how American satirical magazines responded to the First World War during the period before US intervention in 1917. By focusing on these previously overlooked sources, it demonstrates that satirical humour performed two significant functions. First, it acted as a tool of persuasion, through which magazines sought to agitate for or against American intervention in the conflict. Second, it became a major means with which periodicals sought to ostracise German Americans, fuelling nativist sentiment. Ultimately, satirical magazines suggest that, while responses to the war were initially diverse, most Americans had come to support military intervention by April 1917.

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