The Info List - Wickham Steed

Henry Wickham Steed
Wickham Steed
(10 October 1871 – 13 January 1956) was an English journalist and historian. He was editor of The Times
The Times
from 1919 until 1922.


1 Early life 2 Foreign correspondent 3 Editor of The Times 4 Final years 5 In media 6 Works 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Early life[edit] Born in Long Melford, England, Steed was educated at Sudbury Grammar School and the universities of Jena, Berlin and Paris. While in Europe, he demonstrated an early interest in social democracy and met with a range of left-wing figures, including Friedrich Engels, Wilhelm Liebknecht, August Bebel, and Alexandre Millerand. His encounters formed the basis of his first book, The Socialist and Labour Movement in England, Germany & France (1894).[citation needed] Foreign correspondent[edit] Appointed by Joseph Pulitzer
Joseph Pulitzer
as Paris correspondent for the New York World, Steed joined The Times
The Times
in 1896 as a foreign correspondent, working briefly out of Berlin before transferring successively to Rome (from 1897 until 1902) and then Vienna
(1902–13). In 1914, he moved to London to take over as foreign editor of The Times. During his time in Vienna
he acquired a deep contempt for Austria-Hungary.[1] An anti-Semite and a Germanophobe, in an editorial published in The Times on 31 July 1914, Steed labelled efforts to stop the impending war as "a dirty German-Jewish international financial attempt to bully us into advocating neutrality".[2] From 22 July 1914 on, Steed, in close agreement with The Times' proprietor, Lord Northcliffe, took a very bellicose line and in editorials written on 29 and 31 July, Steed urged that the British Empire
British Empire
should enter the coming war.[3] Seen as a leading expert on Eastern Europe, Steed's views had much influence with decision-makers such as high-level bureaucrats and Cabinet politicians in the First World War
First World War
and its aftermath. During the war, Steed befriended anti- Habsburg
émigrés such as Edvard Beneš, Ante Trumbić, Tomáš Masaryk
Tomáš Masaryk
and Roman Dmowski
Roman Dmowski
and advised the British government to seek the liquidation of Austria-Hungary
as a war aim. In particular, Steed was a very strong advocate of uniting all of the South Slavic peoples
Slavic peoples
such as the Croats, the Serbs
and the Slovenes
into a federation to be called Yugoslavia. The British Ambassador to Italy claimed in a diplomatic dispatch that Steed's fondness for the Yugoslav concept derived from a relationship he maintained for a number of years "filially I believe rather maritally" with a Slavic woman from the Balkans.[1] In October 1918, Steed met with the Serbian Prime Minister Nikola Pašić
Nikola Pašić
to gain his support for the Yugoslav concept; Steed was deeply angered when he learned that Pašić saw the new state as merely as extension of Greater Serbia
Greater Serbia
and had no intention of sharing power with the Croats
or the Slovenes.[1] Steed charged Pašić with being a new "sultan" and severed his friendship with him.[1] Editor of The Times[edit] When the editor of The Times, Geoffrey Dawson, resigned from his post in February 1919, Steed was Northcliffe's first choice to succeed him. Steed had worked closely with Northcliffe during the war, becoming an adviser to him on foreign affairs. Steed was forced to contend with Northcliffe throughout most of his tenure as editor, as the press baron retained considerable control over the affairs of the newspaper.[citation needed] After the war, Steed strongly disapproved of the Bolshevik
regime in Russia. In an editorial written in another Northcliffe paper, the Daily Mail
Daily Mail
on 28 March 1919, Steed accused the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, whom Steed detested, of betraying the White Russians because of a plot by "international Jewish financiers" and the Germans to help the Bolsheviks stay in power.[4] In 1920, Steed endorsed as genuine a notorious anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, writing in an editorial in The Times, where he blamed the Jews for World War I
World War I
and the Bolshevik
regime, and called them the greatest threat to the British Empire. However, he retracted his view on the Protocols in 1921, when his paper's Constantinople
correspondent proved them a forgery.[5] Although Steed was Northcliffe's personal choice for the editorship, by 1922 the press baron was increasingly frustrated by Steed's failure to return The Times
The Times
to profitability. After Northcliffe's death in August 1922, the new owners, John Jacob Astor and John Walter, dismissed Steed on 24 October and brought back Dawson as editor.[citation needed] Final years[edit] In 1923, Steed became editor of Review of Reviews
Review of Reviews
(1923–30), the journal established by William Thomas Stead
William Thomas Stead
in 1890. In the early 1930s, he was one of the first English speakers to express alarm about the new German chancellor, Adolf Hitler. In 1934, he caused sensation with an article claiming to have evidence of secret German experiments in airborne biological warfare.[6] The British government was sufficiently alarmed to start stockpiling vaccines,[7] although a retrospective analysis by the epidemiologist Martin Hugh-Jones has suggested that Steed's evidence could not have amounted to much.[8] On the title page of his 1934 work, Hitler Whence and Whither?, Steed is described as a lecturer in Central European History at King's College London. He died in Wootton, West Oxfordshire. In media[edit] Steed, played by actor Andrew Keir, appears in the 1974 miniseries Fall of Eagles, bringing a rumour of the impending Bosnian crisis
Bosnian crisis
to the attention of King Edward VII, Georges Clemenceau, and Alexander Izvolsky. Works[edit]

The Habsburg
Monarchy (1913) A Short History of Austria-Hungary
and Poland (1914) Through Thirty Years, 1892-1922: A personal narrative (1924) Journalism (1928) The Real Stanley Baldwin (1930) The Antecedents of Post-war Europe (1932) A Way to Social Peace (1934) Hitler Whence and Whither? (1934) The Meaning of Hitlerism (1934) Vital Peace: A study of risks (1936) The Doom of the Habsburgs (1937) The Press (1938) Our War Aims (1939)

See also[edit]

Robert William Seton-Watson

References[edit] Notes

^ a b c d Margaret Macmillan, Paris 1919, p. 114f. ^ Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War, p. 32, 195. ^ Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War, p. 217. ^ Margaret Macmillan, Paris 1919, p. 80. ^ Andre Liebich: "The Antisemitism of Henry Steed", Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 46, No. 2, 2002. Retrieved 21 December 2016. ^ H. Wickham Steed, "Aerial warfare: secret German plans", Nineteenth Century and After 116 (1934), 1–15. ^ Brett Holman, Airminded: The Wickham Steed
Wickham Steed
affair in popular culture, 17 February 2007 ^ Martin Hugh-Jones, ' Wickham Steed
Wickham Steed
and German biological warfare research', Intelligence and National Security 7 (1992), 379–402.


Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, London: Basic Books, 1999. Macmillan, Margaret Paris 1919 New York: Random House, 2002.

External links[edit]

Works by or about Wickham Steed
Wickham Steed
at Internet Archive The Habsburg
Monarchy (1913)) eLibrary Austria Project (eLib Projekt) full text A Short History of Austria-Hungary
and Poland (1914) Historical Text Archive full text Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Works written by or about Wickham Steed
Wickham Steed
at Wikisource

Media offices

Preceded by Geoffrey Dawson Editor of The Times 1919–1922 Succeeded by Geoffrey Dawson

v t e

Editors of The Times
The Times
and the Sunday Times

The Times

1785: John Walter 1803: John Walter, 2nd 1812: John Stoddart 1817: Thomas Barnes 1841: John Delane 1877: Thomas Chenery 1884: George Earle Buckle 1912: Geoffrey Dawson 1919: Wickham Steed 1923: Geoffrey Dawson 1941: Robert Barrington-Ward 1948: William Francis Casey 1952: William Haley 1967: William Rees-Mogg 1981: Harold Evans 1982: Charles Douglas-Home 1985: Charles Wilson 1990: Simon Jenkins 1992: Peter Stothard 2002: Robert Thomson 2007: James Harding 2013: John Witherow

Sunday Times

1821: Henry White 1822: Daniel Whittle Harvey 1824: Clarkson 1828: Thomas Gaspey 1835: Unknown 1850: E. T. Smith 1858: E. W. Scale 1867: Edmund Scale 1874: Joseph Hatton 1881: Neville Bruce 1887: Phil Robinson 1890: Arthur William à Beckett 1893: Rachel Beer 1901: Leonard Rees 1932: William W. Hadley 1950: Harry Hodson 1961: Denis Hamilton 1967: Harold Evans 1981: Frank Giles 1983: Andrew Neil 1995: John Witherow 2013: Martin Ivens

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 17216777 LCCN: n88144632 ISNI: 0000 0001 1021 7543 GND: 120199939 SUDOC: 061281069 BNF: cb11479264d (data) NLA: 35521372 NDL: 00682495 NKC: jn20000605138 SN