5 Pall Mall Gazette, 4 January 1896; Financial Times, 4 January 1896. 6 Evening News, January 1896; FO 64/1386, Sir F. Lascelles. Africa. Despatches. 1-64. Jan.-Apr.
44 Chapter 2in British popular perceptions. This short-lived but extremely pronounced popular crisis, was focussed upon a threat to the Empire as opposed to the metropole. It defined British views of Germany in the following decade and established the key themes in representations of Germany in popular discourse: aggressive German absolutism, covetousness, and the need to match the challenge. Given the contemporary notoriety of the Kruger Telegram, relatively little recent historical research has been devoted to it. In germanophone historiography, diplomatic historians such as Harald Rosenbach have studied the role of the Jameson Raid and Kruger Telegram in the development of Anglo-German relations. In Anglophone scholarship, Paul Kennedy’s Rise of Anglo-German Antagonism(1980)remains foremost in this field.7Few scholarly accounts have analysed the popularreaction to the Kruger Telegram, or its impact, in depth. Commonly the press outburst is briefly noted, before moving on to a discussion of its results in Great Power politics.8Dominik Geppert’s recent Pressekriege (2007), which investigated the press-political dimensions of the crisis, stands as one of few recent approaches which detail aspects of the outburst.9Geppert studied the Kruger Telegram as a ‘media event’, investigating the press management of the German and British governments and the political consequences. Though Geppert’s study revealed much about the behaviour of British and German governments towards the press during the rise of Anglo-German antagonism, his approach ran counter to historians of the media such as Bösch and Ross who have argued for the democratising influence of the growth of mass media. Further, Geppert focussed upon the intersection between official decision making and popular discourse from the perspective of those in power. Historians of race, anti-alienism and popular perceptions have also often overlooked or undervalued the Kruger Telegram, preferring to focus on later events as the catalyst for the changing views of Germany.10Lothar Reinermann, in his discussion of the relationship between the British press and the Kaiser, recently suggested that the damage done by the Kruger Telegram ‘did not last’ and that the Kaiser and Germany were soon to be redeemed by their neutral stance during the South African War.11Although the British relationship with Wilhelm II remained ambiguous after 1896 –marked by shows of fraternity, anger and ridicule - the image of Germany as a whole never recovered.12There is a risk that short term ambiguity may lead to an underestimation of the longevity of the event in popular memory.