Mencken underwent a transformation from his experiences in Berlin. From abroad, he witnessed how an irresponsible press could manipulate the news, provoking misunderstanding between two warring countries; this helped form his myopia towards Hitler's Germany. The year 1917 marked Mencken's personal struggle as an independent and controversial public voice. The many examples of censorship, the practice of war news, and the anti-German sentiment he witnessed marked the beginning of a process of maturation for Mencken. His first-hand experience covering the war hardened the ideas he already formed and provided a host of evidence about notions he previously discussed in his defunct column “The Free Lance”.
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