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Is War Changed as It Becomes a 'media Event'? Based on the Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures, Analyse the Historical Significance of the Emergence of Film as A, Medium for Representing War in the 1890s.

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Is war changed as it becomes a 'media event'? Based on the Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures, analyse the historical significance of the emergence of film as a, medium for representing war in the 1890s.

In this day an age when any country is at war it becomes a massive media event, almost everyday news programmes present us with depictions of conflict in various different countries. Media coverage of war has increased drastically over the last century, but why is it so important to provide such extensive coverage? War is changed as it becomes a media event. Firstly it is made accessible to ordinary people who are not fighting, those safely at home are informed of recent developments and events allowing them to feel involved and enlightened. It also transforms war from simply a large scale act of violence to a huge patriotic event, making people feel proud of their country, media depictions being used as a tool with which to increase morale. The emergence of film has had certain significance on the representation of war. Newspapers and radio reports informed the public, but film depictions allow the public to feel more involved.

In the late 1890's, the United States involved themselves in a series of overseas conflicts which became known collectively as The Spanish-American war. It marked a new phase in the nation's history, it joined Britain and France and other imperial powers seeking to gain economic and political dominance through the building of overseas empires. The Spanish-American war marked the first time an American war was captured on film. Motion pictures transported vivid images to the home and shaped viewer's understandings of the conflict. As well as the media creating understanding it was also used as a tool by the government to create public enthusiasm towards the war, this was important to rule out any objection or protest to the war.

Film equipment was still limited to quite an extent, preventing the filming of actual battles. As a result a number of re-enactments were made to represent war, this was a very effective way of representing war as events could be constructed to appear the way the directors wanted them to, allowing them to present war to the public in the way they wanted it to look and achieve desired reactions from the public towards the war. Edison made re-enactments of fighting. Film re-enactments such as 'Shooting Captured Insurgents' showed Spanish soldiers killing Cuban prisoners, while 'U.S. Infantry Supported by Rough Riders at El Caney' and 'Skirmish of Rough Riders' offered patriotic glimpses of the popular Rough Riders fighting, leading audiences to admire these heroic figures, feeling that they were protecting their country.

A re-enactment entitled 'Raising Old Glory over Morro Castle' by Thomas A. Edison (January 1899) appears to be completely constructed to create patriotism. It shows the Spanish flag being taken down and the American flag being raised in its place. Here we see an obvious construction as the castle which appears in the background is a painting. Here we can see how the emergence of film was extremely significant to the representing of war; simple scenes as we see here, could be constructed to create a message to the American people. This one in particular is definitely extremely patriotic, creating ideas of American victory, dominance and superiority. Here we see the great historical significance as these ideas of America seem ever present and Americas citizens have for many years been encouraged to think about they're country in such a way. Film as a medium for representing war is here and very often used as a form of propaganda, encouraging people to believe in their country and the war they are fighting. Scenes shown



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