The Daily Banner of July 13, 1918, had to have been embarrassing. Across the top of page 1, the main headline proclaimed that German Chief of Staff Paul von Hindenburg, in effect commander of the German military, had died following a heated meeting with the Kaiser.

Problem was — it didn’t happen. Hindenburg ended the war as the German commander and retired in 1919. He was later elected president of the Weimar Republic. One of his last acts as president was to appoint Adolf Hitler as the German Chancellor in 1934. He retired in 1935.

The surprising thing was that there was no follow up in the next few days explaining how such a mistake was made. To be fair, the story was put out by the Associated Press, but it was quoting a report by the French newspaper Les Nouvelles. You would have expected there would have been some attempt made to confirm the story before distributing it worldwide.

In any event, by the second week of July there was a lull on the Western Front.

 

Chuck Martin: 740-397-5333 or cmartin@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews

 

 

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