Newspapers As a Source for Studying History
History consists of names, dates and wars. But history is also the small details, the interesting facts and minor events which blend together to form the story of the past. Much of this type of information can be gleaned from newspapers of the period.
For example, the history of the Israel Independence War:
1. Who was the first American citizen to be killed in the war?
2. How did American Jewish women contribute to the war effort?
3. What was life like in the Cyprus detention camps?
Newspapers bring to life the atmosphere of the past. Reading newspaper articles from 1948, you are transported back to the tension, uncertainty and pride of the Jewish people at this trying time. Some of the articles provide eyewitness accounts. Others describe the political debates carried out in the United Nations. The battles are described in great detail, as well as statements made by politicians on both sides. You can read about Israel’s leaders, soldiers and citizens. The happy moments, the sad and scary times, the hope and the foundations of today’s State of Israel are all there.
A large collection of newspaper articles from 1948 is available at Towards Statehood, 1946-1948.