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Edgar Ansel Mowrer

Edgar Ansel Mowrer (March 8, 1892 – March 2, 1977) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and author best known for his writings on international events.

Life and careerEdit

Born in Bloomington, Illinois to Rufus and Nellie née Scott,[1] Mowrer graduated from the University of Michigan in 1913. From his elder brother, Paul Scott Mowrer, the editor of Chicago Daily News, Mowrer received a job and in 1914 went to France as a foreign correspondent. From there he reported on events throughout the First World War, including the Italians' defeat at the Battle of Caporetto. In 1916, he married Lilian Thomson; the two had a daughter, Diana, and would remain together until Mowrer's death 61 years later.

Mowrer remained a correspondent in Europe throughout the 1920s and 1930s, living in Rome for eight years before moving to Berlin. In 1933, Mowrer won the Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence for his reporting on the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany, and was named president of the Foreign Press Association. In his dispatches from Germany he had managed to cut below the patina of normalcy to capture events that challenged the belief that Germany's transformation was democratic and natural; he was therefore a target of Nazi ire. In addition to reporting for the Chicago Daily News, Mowrer wrote a best-selling book, Germany Puts the Clock Back, published in 1933, which had angered Nazi officials to the point where Mowrer's friends believed he faced mortal danger.

The German government openly pressured him to leave the country, with Germany's ambassador to the United States notifying the State Department that because of the "people's righteous indignation" the government could no longer hope to keep Mowrer free from harm. When the Chicago Daily News learned about the threats, Frank Knox, the owner of the newspaper, offered Mowrer a position in the paper’s bureau in Tokyo. Mowrer, who did not want to leave Germany, agreed to leave after covering the annual Nazi Party spectacle in Nuremberg set to begin 1 September 1933. After American diplomatic missions to Germany refused to guarantee his and his family's safety, and after a futile personal appeal to newly appointed US ambassador to Germany William Dodd, Mowrer agreed to depart immediately,[2] in return for the release of Paul Goldmann, an elderly Jewish correspondent for the Austrian newspaper Neue Freie Presse, who was being held by the Gestapo for high treason.[3][4]

A Nazi official, assigned to make sure Mowrer actually left Berlin, approached him as he was boarding the train and asked when he was coming back to Germany; Mowrer answered: "Why, when I can come back with about two million of my countrymen."[5] Initially, he became the Chicago Daily News Tokyo correspondent, then later took over as the Paris bureau chief, continuing to report on European affairs until France's defeat by German forces in 1940.

Returning to the United States, Mowrer served as the Deputy Director, first of the Office of Facts and Figures, then, after the OFF's consolidation, of the Office of War Information, from 1942 until 1943. Upon his departure, he started his column "Edgar Mowrer on World Affairs," which he later supplemented with a column entitled "What's Your Question on World Affairs?" After the Second World War, Mowrer wrote a number of books and helped organize the Americans for Democratic Action. In 1956, he took over as editor of Western World magazine, a position he held for four years. In 1969, he moved to Wonalancet, New Hampshire and wrote a column for The Union Leader until 1976.


  • This American World. J. H. Sears & Co. 1928.
  • Germany Puts The Clock Back. John Lane Company (in US William Morrow and Company). 1933.
  • Mowrer in China. Penguin Books (UK). 1938.
  • (with Marthe Rajchman) (1942). Global War: An Atlas of World Strategy. William Morrow and Company.
  • The Nightmare of American Foreign Policy. Alfred A Knopf. 1948.
  • Challenge and Decision; A program for the times of crisis ahead, for world peace under American leadership. McGraw-Hill. 1950.
  • A Good Time to be Alive. Duell, Sloan & Pearce. 1959.
  • Triumph and Turmoil: A Personal History of our Time. Weybright and Talley. 1968.
  • (with Lilian T. Mowrer) (1972). Umano and the Price of Lasting Peace. Philosophical Library. ISBN 0-8022-2103-3.

Further readingEdit



  1. ^ Obituary of Rufus Mowrer - Chicago Daily Tribune; January 1, 1942 - Page 35
  2. ^ Larson, Eric (2011). "Chapter Nine: Death is Death.". In the Garden of Beasts. NY, NY, USA: Crown Publishing Group. ASIN B008NXNDE6.
  3. ^ "Mowrer Secures Release of Jewish Journalist by Bargain with Nazis". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 10 August 1933. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  4. ^ Gendler, Neal (18 July 2012). "Book Review: "Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power, by Andrew Nagorski"". American Jewish World. Archived from the original on 19 June 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  5. ^ Larson 2011, Chapter Twelve: Brutus