The article attempts to assess the coverage of the first months of the war in the Polish illustrated news magazines published in those parts of Poland that had been incorporated into the Russian and Austrian empires. Polish magazines on either side of the border were subjected to censorship and had neither their own war correspondents nor journalists specializing in military themes. The majority of the illustrations and serious analyses were reprints from foreign, chiefly British, press. The war reports were dominated by sensational pictures and articles which showed the exploits of airmen in their propeller-driven aeroplanes, and to a lesser extent other spectacular inventions such as submarines or armoured cars. The few representations of actual battle scenes came almost exclusively from the Western front. A large number of the illustrations showed scenes of destruction caused by military operations on Polish soil. Classical propaganda materials in the form of articles, cartoons, or satirical pieces were very rare. The war coverage in the Polish illustrated magazines was selective and rather incoherent. The reader was shown almost exclusively battle scenes from the Belgian and French fronts and fed with a vision of hostilities in which the role of modern military technology was vastly overemphasized. At the same time he did not get any authoritative commentaries or analyses of the current military situation or the war in general: the Polish magazines were clearly unprepared for this type of coverage.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.