The Mail campaigns that changed the world 


Mercy airlift: A daring mission to transport 100 Vietnamese orphans to safety as war ravaged the region, the Stephen Lawrence murder, and a PPE shortage during the global Covid pandemic… the Mail campaigns that changed the world

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Almost from its first edition, the Daily Mail has not just been reporting the news but making it too, with campaigns on issues from bread to barrage balloons, from aviation to unleaded petrol.

This week we are celebrating our first 125 years with commemorative editions dating from 1896. 

Today we highlight our many important campaigns down the decades and our crusades for justice. Many of them have affected not just the way we live – for example our battle to abolish the plastic bag – but also the way we treat others. To make them that much more impactful, we are reporting these issues as we would today.

Only three years into our existence, we commissioned a poem from Rudyard Kipling, set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan, to raise money for the families of Boer War servicemen. 

It was the first of many occasions we asked you, our generous readers, to help. Ever since, you have responded magnificently – whether for the 2004 Tsunami appeal or the incredible campaign for PPE for frontline workers during the pandemic.

We have changed the world in other ways too, from airlifting Vietnamese orphans out of war-torn Saigon in 1975 (above) to demanding justice for the killers of Stephen Lawrence.

There have been countless innovations from the Mail too. The first person to fly across the Channel did so to claim a prize put up by the Mail’s proprietor, Lord Northcliffe. 

And for 100 years until 2008, there was the Mail-sponsored Ideal Home Exhibition, invariably opened – as it was by Princess Diana in 1992 – by a member of the Royal Family.



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