Great War II

A while back I wrote a post about early uses of the term “The Great War”. My examples from the Union Jack comic and The Nation magazine were pipped by the OED’s reference – Maclean’s Magazine in October 1914.

But now I’ve come across a reference (which I’ve not checked personally) to an article in The Illustrated London News of August 29th, 1914. It’s by Charles Lowe and is headlined “The Great War”. So is this the earliest example? (Bearing in mind that, as better historians pointed out to me, the term had been widely used for the Napoleonic Wars, and was easily transferred.)
Mr Lowe, according to the extract I’ve seen, was optimistic:

Up to the time of writing – Wednesday morning – the war on the whole shows a balance in favour of the nations allied against Germany and Austria,

Wishful thinking, alas.

2 Comments

  1. Posted July 21, 2006 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I know of a pre-war example of the use of the term, to describe the coming war (if you get my meaning): Arthur Wellesley Kipling’s The Shadow of Glory: Being a History of the Great War of 1910-1911 (London: Alston Rivers, 1910).

  2. Posted July 21, 2006 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    That’s a very interesting usage, Brett. Maybe showing that the idea of a Great War was in the air, just waiting to happen…


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