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Lord Rothermere.


Harold Sidney Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere (26 April 1868 – 26 November 1940) was a highly successful Britishmarker newspaper proprietor, owner of Associated Newspapers Ltd. He is known in particular, with his brother Alfred Harmsworth, the later Viscount Northcliffe, for the development of the Londonmarker Daily Mail and Daily Mirror. He was a pioneer of popular journalism. He was also the elder brother of the Liberal politician Cecil Harmsworth, 1st Baron Harmsworth.

Newspaper proprietor

Harmsworth founded the Glasgow Daily Record, and the Sunday Pictorial, but his greatest success came with the Daily Mirror, which had a circulation of three million by 1922. His elder brother died without an heir in that year, and he acquired control of the Daily Mail.

Rothermere's descendants continue to control the Daily Mail and General Trust.

Harmsworth was created a baronet, of Horseymarker in the County of Norfolk, in 1910, and was raised to the peerage as Baron Rothermere, of Hemsted in the County of Kentmarker, in 1914.

Public life

Rothermere served as President of the Air Council in the government of David Lloyd George for a time during World War I, and was elevated to Viscount Rothermere, of Hemsted in the County of Kent, in 1919. In 1921, he founded the Anti-Waste League to combat what he saw as excessive government spending.

Revision of the post-WWI treaties

Rothermere strongly supported revision of the Treaty of Trianon in favour of Hungarymarker. On 21 June 1927, he published in his Daily Mail an editorial titled Hungary's Place in the Sun, in which he supported a detailed plan to restore to Hungary large pieces of territory it lost at the end of the First World War. This boldly pro-Hungarian stance was greeted with ecstatic gratitude in Hungary.

Many in England were caught off-guard by Rothermere's impassioned endorsement of the Hungarian cause; it was rumoured that the press baron had been convinced to support it by the charms of a Hungarian seductress (she turned out to be Austrian). Rothermere's son Esmond was received with royal pomp during a visit to Budapest, and some political actors in Hungary later went so far as to inquire about Rothermere's interest in being placed on the Hungarian throne. Rothermere later insisted he did not invite these overtures, and that he quietly deflected them. His private correspondence indicates otherwise. He did purchase estates in Hungary in case Britain should fall to a Sovietmarker invasion. There is a memorial to Rothermere in Budapestmarker.

Appeasement

In later life Rothermere used his newspaper ownership in attempts to influence British politics, notably being a strong supporter of appeasement towards Nazi Germany, in part - it is thought - because of a shattering experience during World War I when he had three sons reported killed or missing in the same week. In the 1930s, he urged increased defence spending while being the owner of the only major newspapers to advocate an alliance with Germany. The Rothermere papers for a time in 1934 championed the British Union of Fascists (B.U.F), and were again the only major papers that did so. Rothermere famously wrote a Daily Mail editorial entitled "Hurrah for the Blackshirts", in January 1934, praising Mosley for his "sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine".

In 1934, a Mercury-engined version of the Bristol Type 135 cabin monoplane was ordered by Rothermere for his own use as part of a campaign to popularise commercial aviation. First flying in 1935, the Bristol Type 142 caused great interest in Air Ministry circles because its top speed of 307 mph was higher than that of any Royal Air Force fighter in service. Lord Rothermere presented the aircraft (named "Britain First") to the nation for evaluation as a bomber and in early 1936 the modified design was taken into production as the Blenheim Mk.I

Secret British government papers released in 2005 show that Rothermere wrote to Adolf Hitler congratulating him for the annexation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, and encouraged him to march into Romaniamarker. He went on to note that Hitler's work was "great and superhuman". The MI5marker papers also show that Rothermere paid a retainer of £5,000 per year to Stephanie Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst, a glamorous Austrianmarker princess and German spy, intending that she should bring him closer to Hitler's inner circle. She was known as "London's leading Nazi hostess". The secret services had been monitoring her since she came to Britain in the 1920s and regarded her as "an extremely dangerous person". As World War II loomed, Rothermere stopped the payments and their relationship deteriorated into threats and lawsuits. [114144] [114145]

Grand Falls, Newfoundland

In 1904, on behalf of his older brother Alfred, Harmsworth and Mayson Beeton, son of Mrs Beeton the famed author of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, travelled to Newfoundlandmarker to search for a supply of lumber and to look for a site to build and operate a pulp and paper mill. While searching along the Exploits Rivermarker they came across "Grand Falls", named by John Cartwright in 1768. After purchasing the land a company town was built and today is known as Grand Falls-Windsormarker.

Bibliography

Rothermere, Harold S.H., Warnings and Predictions, Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd., 1939

References

  1. Romsics, Ignác, Hungary’s Place in the Sun: A British Newspaper Article and its Hungarian Repercussions
  2. "Hurrah for the Blackshirts"
  3. Address to Kiwanis and Rotary Club of Grand Falls-Windsor
  4. Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society


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