Issue Date: April 22, 2008
City: Washington, DC
American journalist Martha Gellhorn (1908-1998) was one of the world’s first female war correspondents. For more than five decades, Gellhorn covered wars in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Vietnam, and Central America. She began her war reporting career in 1937, covering the Spanish Civil War for Collier’s Weekly, and stayed to cover World War II.
What set Martha apart was her insistence on going into the action to interview ordinary soldiers and civilians. She rode with the British RAF on night bombing raids over Germany, and stowed away on a hospital ship bound for Omaha beach during the Normandy invasion. Traveling with the U.S. 82nd Airborne, Martha reported on the Battle of the Bulge, and was one of the first to enter Dachau Concentration Camp. The respected reporter once remarked that she “covered the war wherever I could reach it.”
At 81 years, Martha covered the invasion of Panama by the United States. It would be her final assignment, as she turned down the next offer to cover the Bosnia War. Martha also wrote fiction, including five novels, fourteen novellas, and two short story collections.
In 2008, Martha Gellhorn was honored with a 42¢ U.S. postage stamp part of a five stamp American Journalist se-tenant.