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Sunday, 26 May 2013

Falling foul of the Censor

Friday, May 26th., Comarques, Thorpe-le-Soken.

Some weeks ago Davray, official Press agent of French Government, asked me to write an article on conscription in England. He laid down the lines, which he had taken from previous articles of mine in the Daily News. I wrote the article exactly on these lines and he was most enthusiastic about it. It was for Le Temps which the Government now controls.

An edition from May 1916
Le Temps was one of Paris's most important daily newspapers from 25 April 1861 to 30 November 1942. Founded in 1861 by Edmund Chojecki (writing under the pen name "Charles Edmond") and Auguste Nefftzer, Le Temps was under Nefftzer's direction for ten years, when Adrien H├ębrard took his place. The early issues of the newspaper reflected Nefftzer's liberal philosophy as well as his Protestantism, and had considerable trouble achieving readership. Nefftzer had to frequently turn to friends in Alsace who were able to help support Le Temps financially. However, circulation continued to grow, from scarcely 3,000 in 1861, to 11,000 in 1869, to 22,000 in 1880. Le Temps soon became the most important newspaper of the French Republic. Journalists and correspondents included Georges Bruni, and Adolphe Cohn in the USA. The Paris edition of Le Temps was suspended by the Paris Commune. The edition of St. Germain, however, ran continuously for 81 years. Le Temps came out of the Nazi occupation politically compromised due to accusations of collaboration with the Nazi regime. At Charles de Gaulle's request, Le Monde was founded on 19 November 1944 to replace Le Temps as the newspaper of record, borrowing the layout and typeface of Le Temps for the new newspaper.

The French Censor turned it down entirely, and Davray in a letter to me this week gives the Censor's actual words. He says the figures were not official (which they were) and might give rise to polemics. Moreover that conscription was now accomplished and no more to be said. But he had kept the article since before the final conscription bill was brought into parliament. The Censor's reason for refusing the article was, of course, purely political. This article gave the arguments on both sides; it stated that conscription - certain to come - would not greatly increase the army - and spoke of the necessity of trade, munitions etc. The Censor didn't like that.

The article would have cleared up misunderstandings into which the French public have fallen. The Censor didn't like that either.
See also, 'Rumours of war' - August 21st. http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/rumours-of-war.html

Another curious example of rumour: that passports to soldiers on leave were now endorsed with the words that if the war ended before the leave ended the soldier must report at such and such a place etc. This rumour, on reflection, is transparently idiotic for lots of reasons, yet many people believed it. I half believed it.

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