[Ads-l] Quote: Truth is the first casualty in war

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 19 15:08:20 UTC 2023

Here's a one-month antedating (or interdating) for Garson's great article.
"Mrs. Philip Snowden was the same "Ethel Annakin" cited by Garson. Her
husband Philip, later 1st Viscount Snowdon, became Chancellor of the
Exchequer in 1929. Ethel Snowden was well placed to circulate the saying in
influential circles: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethel_Snowden  The
newspaper report of her address describes at as "bitter" and "fearless."

1915 _San Diego Union_ (July 19) 4:

Secret diplomacy, blundering officiadom, commercial conspiracy, the
suppression of truth, the fostering of race hatred, all the cross currents
and interlocking forces that underlie and lead up to the decrees of "bad
men in power" and plunge nations into war were laid bare and relentlessly
lashed by Mrs. Philip Snowdon [sic], wife of a member of the British
parliament, who was one of the chief speakers last night at the
international parliament of peace at the Isis theatre....

"Someone has said that 'truth is the first casualty of warfare,"' she
[said], "and this has been proved by the appalling misconceptions that have
been spread broadcast since the war began."

[Mrs. Snowden was shared the stage with Frau Riag Hellman, a German peace
activist. The United States was still neutral at this time.]


On Sun, Apr 12, 2020 at 1:09 AM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>

> The adage in the subject line was discussed on this mailing list
> within a thread initiated by Jonathan Lighter back in March 2011.
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2011-March/107699.html
> After a brief interval of nine years the QI website now has an article
> on this topic:
> https://quoteinvestigator.com/2020/04/11/casualty/
> [Begin excerpt]
> Great thanks to Christopher Field, Mark Schulman, Peter Gainsford,
> Peter Olausson (faktoids), and DarksideJohnny whose inquiries led QI
> to formulate this question and perform this exploration.
> Special thanks to researchers Barry Popik, Jonathan Lighter, Charles
> Clay Doyle, Wolfgang Mieder, Fred R. Shapiro, Stephen Goranson, and
> Nigel Rees and others who have explored this topic.
> [End excerpt]
> The earliest close match, I believe, was located by Barry Popik back
> in January 2011. It is listed on his website and also within "The
> Dictionary of Modern Proverbs" (2012) of Charles Clay Doyle, Wolfgang
> Mieder, and Fred R. Shapiro.
> The QI article contains some new information.
> (1) U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson has often received credit for the adage
> based on a speech he supposedly delivered in 1917 or 1918.
> Unfortunately, a precise citation for this elusive oration has never
> been located.
> Now, the QI article reveals that Johnson did employ the line, but he
> was speaking in 1929 about Kellogg–Briand Anti-War Pact. "The
> Baltimore Sun" on January 16, 1929 reported that Johnson said, "The
> first casualty when war comes is truth". The 1948 reference "The
> Macmillan Book Of Proverbs" shifted the date of the Johnson
> attribution to 1918 for unclear reasons.
> (2) Aeschylus often receives credit although the attribution is
> currently unsupported.
> The QI article presents evidence regarding the earliest
> misattribution; historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.'s  biographical
> work "A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House" states that
> JFK credited Aeschylus with "In war, truth is the first casualty" in a
> loose-leaf notebook that he kept for recording bon mots circa 1945-46.
> The QI article also presents a hypothetical mechanism for the
> Aeschylus misattribution. See the 1950 citation.
> Garson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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