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Bulletins from the Front II (1918)

Newspapers were an important medium for propaganda during the Great War. Written under the watchful eye of the military censor, these reports from the German front lines were invariably positive – despite major setbacks, stalemate, and staggering human costs. By casting the course of the war in such an unrealistic light, reports like the ones included below made it difficult for many Germans to accept defeat.

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1. Freiburger Tagblatt, No. 83, March 24, 1918:

WTB [Wolff Telegraph Service]. General Headquarters, March 23. Under the leadership of His Majesty the Kaiser and King, the offensive against the English front near Arras-Cambrai and St. Quentin has been going on for two days now. Good progress was again made yesterday.

Divisions of the army group “Crown Prince Rupprecht” stormed the heights to the north and northwest of Croisilles. Between Fontaine le Croisilles and Moendre, they penetrated the second enemy line and took the villages of Boulx-Braucourt and Morchies located inside it. A heavy English counterattack was unsuccessful.

Our army broke through the first two enemy lines between Connelieux and the Omignon stream. The heights to the west of Gonzeancourt, Hendicourt, and Viller-Faucon were taken. In the valley of the Cologne stream, Roisel and Marquaixe were stormed. The battle for the heights around Epchy was especially fierce. Surrounded from the north and the south, the enemy had to surrender these positions to our troops. Between Epchy and Roisel, the English attempted in vain to stop the advance of our victorious troops with heavy counterattacks. Everywhere, the English were thrown back with very heavy losses. The heights to the north of Vermand were stormed. We are standing before the third enemy line.

These successes led the enemy to retreat from his positions in the bend southwest of Cambrai. We followed the enemy via Demicourt, Flesquiere, and Ribecourt.

Between the Omignon stream and the Somme, the army group “German Crown Prince,” after taking the enemy’s first positions, fought its way through the Holnon Forest and over the heights of Favy and Rouzy and penetrated the enemy’s third lines.

To the south of the Somme, divisions broke through the enemy lines and, pushing forward without reserve, threw the enemy back behind the Crozat Canal to the west. Rifle battalions forced their way across the Oise to the west of La Fere. Together with the divisions that followed, they stormed the heights crowned by the military fortifications of La Fere to the northwest of the city.

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