With the demise of the print version of Newsweek, it is worth discussing my favorite cover.
Anyone looking through old news magazines before and during World War II can look no further than Newsweek for dramatic, relevant covers and reporting on the war. Browsing the covers of Time or Life will give the impression there was not a world war occurring.
While there are many to choose from, my favorite cover of Newsweek is the May 20, 1940 edition.
It features a photo of Winston Churchill looking at the camera with gloves in his hand. This magazine came out 10 days after the Germans invaded France and Churchill became the new Prime Minister. In the background is Neville Chamberlain, the former Prime Minister, with one hand in a pocket and another holding a cane.
Both men are sporting lively top hats, but the demeanor is different. Churchill appears ready for conflict while Chamberlain appears reserved, or resigned.
The crowd is a mixed bag. One woman looks like she is crying while everyone else has blank stares.
This is a moment of uncertainty, but with hindsight, the image speaks to what was to come.
Few may recall that after Churchill replaced Chamberlain, Churchill kept him in the cabinet. The new Prime Minister really had no choice, as many in Parliament were not prepared to accept Churchill with great enthusiasm and they were still loyal to Chamberlain. That would change over the following months.
The cover reads “Britain’s Blitzkrieg Answer: Churchill to Fore.” Over the next few months, Britain would survive Dunkirk and the Blitz.
Notice the subtitle of the magazine, “The Magazine of News Significance.” If only news magazines of today were this significant.
My wife bought me a copy, which is hanging in my office.