Clare Hollingworth, the trailblazing journalist who broke news of World War 2, is celebrated in today’s Google Doodle
Clare Hollingworth, the war correspondent who broke the news that Germany was about to invade Poland in 1939, is being honoured today in a Google Doodle.
On what would have been her 106th birthday – and just ten months since she died – Clare Hollingworth’s Doodle shows her as a young woman sat at a typewriter. Notebooks and a newspaper behind her are adorned with the letters of the word Google.
Hollingworth grew up on a farm during World War One and saw firsthand the German bombers flying overhead. She studied domestic science in Leicester but wanted to be a writer, much to her mother’s dismay.
Her father took her on tours of battlefields including Poitiers and Agincourt and she later became secretary at the League of Nations Union before attending London University’s School of Slavonic Studies and the University of Zagreb.
After marrying her League of Nations colleague, Vandeleur Robinson in 1936, the couple travelled to Warsaw to help refugees from the Sudetenland. This experience impressed the editor of the Daily Telegraph, Arthur Wilson, who employed Hollingworth as a reporter in 1939, after she had written from the New Statesman.
Hollingworth travelled back to Poland as part of her new role and crossed the border between Poland and Germany, through the exclusion zone. As she passed through a valley she spotted thousands of troops, tanks and artillery approaching the Polish border and she reported her find to the paper.
The scoop became a front page lead on 29 August, 1939 (less than a week after becoming a full-time journalist) and it is often referred to as the greatest scoop of the 20th Century.
German tanks rolled into Poland three days later but the British Embassy dismissed the claims saying that negotiations between the UK and Germany were going well. To prove herself, she said she was forced to hold her telephone out of her window so the embassy could hear the Wehrmacht.
“Daring in her approach, Hollingworth often said she was happiest roaming the world, traveling light, and ready for danger,” wrote Google in its accompanying blog post. “This spirit led her reporting across the world, from working with Jewish refugees in Poland, to covering the Greek and Algerian civil wars, to being the first person to interview Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the shah of Iran.”
Much of her early work was not attributed to Hollingworth but she later went on to win Woman Journalist of the Year in 1962 and a lifetime achievement award from What The Papers Say in 1999. The pioneering woman died in January this year while living in Hong Kong.