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As a young boy in early Nineteenth century Germany, Paul Julius Reuter is impressed with the new telegraphic system and the need for the rapid transmission of news. Sixteen-years-later, in England, Reuter, with his friend Max Wagner as a partner, starts his pigeon post to link telegraphic stations in Europe. Although faced with ridicule and skeptism, Reuter is aided in his project by Ida Magnus, who later becomes his wife, and the service finally succeeds in attracting bankers who want early stock market quotations. When his pigeon post becomes obsolete with the bridging of Europe by telegraphic lines, Reuter embarks upon a revolutionary new plan to transmit the news by wire to newspapers. At first his new plan is also met with skepticism, but it is widely embraced after he is the first to report the peace speech of Napoleon III. Reuter faces yet another threat when a rival firm, Anglo Irish, builds a line which is able to transmit the news faster than Reuters. With all his savings and money borrowed from his friend, Sir Randolph Persham, Reuter secretly builds a line which transmits the news directly across the channel, and his first story is the news of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Reuter's subscribers in London print the news, which causes the stock market to crash. Because no other news of the tragedy has been received, however, Reuter is accused of fabricating the story and Parliament begins a debate about censorship of the press. In the middle of the debate, the official notice of Lincoln's death arrives, vindicating Reuter's reputation and the principles of free speech.