Post-blogging the 1913 scareships: conclusion

Yesterday's post was, thankfully, the last entry in my post-blogging of the 1913 phantom airship wave. I've searched the available (to me) primary sources up until the end of April 1913 and can find no further references; and Watson, Oldroyd and Clarke's exhaustive compilation of phantom airship sightings has only 7 entries from May onwards. In fact in terms of people seeing scareships it really was over by mid-March, but I'm also interested in people talking about scareships, which lingered a little longer. It's definitely time to draw a line under the exercise, and to start analysing what I've found in preparation for my AAEH paper. There'll be more posts along those lines in future, but here I'll comment briefly on the post-blogging as post-blogging.

By some measures this was the most extensive attempt at post-blogging I've yet carried out: 69 posts over nearly four months. That's nearly twice as long as the Sudeten crisis series, and nearly four times as long as the 1909 scareship wave posts. Still, there wasn't a post every day and the scareships only briefly dominated the news, for about a week at the end of February 1913, so researching and writing the posts wasn't as gruelling a task as for the Sudeten crisis or the Blitz. The latter series in particular was quite tough to write as there was so much on-topic material that I had to be very selective. Also, I wanted to give space to non-Blitz news when the press gave it priority. I decided not to do that this time for a couple of reasons. One was, obviously, to save time. The other was that I wanted to focus squarely on the phantom airships themselves; with very few exceptions I only quoted from newspaper articles which mentioned them in some way (even if only in passing), and talking about other things would have obscured the scareship signal. I'm not sure that this was a wise choice, as this means that so much of the context is missing. For example, there was a lot of discussion of airships and the menace they posed in this period that didn't refer to mystery airships at all: the phantom airship scare was only one part of a greater airship scare. Hopefully a sense of this came through. Of course I noted all these other airship references for my own purposes and will use them for writing my paper. There's also the wider European military and diplomatic situation, particularly the fighting in the Balkans and things like France's move to a three-year conscription period and increases in German military spending. This is all obviously relevant background, and again some of it snuck into the posts. But apart from the expansion and activities of Germany's Zeppelin fleet, few explicit links were made in discussions of scareships. Likewise for all the other preoccupations of the press at the time, though intriguingly suffragettes seem to get jokingly mentioned alongside scareships reasonably often, which perhaps suggests they both had this combined aspect of menace and mirth. But that's getting perilously close to analysis, so I'll end this here.

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4 thoughts on “Post-blogging the 1913 scareships: conclusion

  1. Avinash Machado

    Very well done,Brett.Would it possible to make it available in a Epub or PDF file?

  2. Post author

    Thanks, Avinash. I’d like to at some point (probably combined with the 1909 scareships) but the problem is finding the time — it’s easy enough to generate an EPUB but editing it is quite time consuming.

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