When War Comes


By MARY E. MURPHY, Ph.D., London, Certified Public Accountant, and of Hunter College, New York

Delivered at the Formal Institution Banquet of Pi Lambda Theta, at Men's Faculty Club,Columbia University, November 30, 1940

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol VII, pp. 139-144.

THIS paper endeavors to achieve a combination of the economic and social aspects of current events transpiring in war ravaged, courageous Britain. You will understand that with so involved a subject it cannot but suffer from the limitations of space. Events are evolving so rapidly and drastically today in Britain that to keep up-to-date requires constant attention to the many details which, in their complicated arrangement and rearrangement, compose the British picture.

An effort has been made to focus your attention upon the salient economic and social movements, particularly with reference to British women, so that you American women may be apprised of your sisters' sacrifices, so you may understand why such sacrifices have been necessary in Britain and why, if they come home to you some day in the future, you may all accept them intelligently and without wasteful hesitation.

Comprehension on your part is vitally essential. Time is running out. Before it is gone entirely, the section of American life dominated or controlled by you women should analyze its pattern of operation, pare inefficiencies to the bone, inject new life and new hope into your endeavors. All of us pray that war does not come to America. All of us, on the other hand, want to be prepared to the utmost. It is our individual responsibility to understand what is happening in Britain so we may accept similar changes which may be introduced at any moment when our huge rearmament program cuts too deeply into our economy, reduces our unemployment to a level where skilled workmen are no longer available and there are strikes and bottlenecks of raw materials or machinery.

Both Britain and the United States possess liberal economic systems, but fortunately this country is richer than Britain. It has larger supplies of labor, capital, productive capacity, food, raw and strategic materials. In a word it is more self-sufficient. It is probable, therefore, less sacrifice will be demanded of us than of the British, but no one can chart the course of future events, no one can predict whether our race to rearm will be won in 1942 or 1945, no one can estimate the demands to be made in future months of industrialists, laborers, consumers, educators. And if one lesson is left to us from the last war it is that control—and with it relinquishment of normal privileges and freedom of enterprise—is an essential part of the national effort to build adequate defenses.

Economic Warfare

Many words have been devoted to the military aspects of mobilization and war; too few to the economic and social processes and implications. This is all the more regrettable as modern warfare emphasizes the recruitment of economic resources for utilization by military and civilian populations. It inflicts, to an ever increasing degree, hardship upon civilians rather than upon armies.

There are so many aspects of economic warfare, that is the organization of a nation's economy on a war basis and the undermining of the enemy's resources, which do notreach public understanding. For example, you realize that the type of economic mobilization adopted by the United States or Britain depends on the probable demand for war supplies and the reserves of productive capacity. If the required war effort cannot be obtained by using these reserves, then consumption must be lowered to release labor to produce armaments.

But you may not understand that it is not enough to cut consumption or private investment with the aim of freeing manpower and capital for the production of essentials for home use and for exportation. In addition, such a program must be supported by positive measures holding the objective of reemploying in essential fields labor dismissed from nonessential industries. Without such measures the sacrifice is ineffectual. Many subtle changes must occur before the economic system, customarily geared for peacetime production of consumers' goods, is changed to one designed to produce war materials which have no permanent value and which, in the long run, must dislocate and damage the economic system of a country following such a course.

Economic Mobilization

Only after a year of war has Britain secured efficiency of war effort and her traditionally liberal economic system still is in process of being converted to war purposes. And while the effort has been voluntary in Britain, in contrast to that of dictator countries, this does not mean that the paying of taxes or the giving of military service is left to the individual decision of those whom they affect, but rather that freedom is combined with efficiency as each British citizen obeys the orders of an authority which he voluntarily accepts.

The index of striking power is the power to produce. That objective motivates life in Britain today. It has been learned, though, that it is infinitely easier to call up men than to mobilize the economic resources of a nation. Many drastic changes have to occur before the maximum war effort is achieved and these changes filter down into every segment of society. Especially do they affect the professional and personal lives of women, for, as Aristophanes has said: "War is the care and business of women," and that has been true of this conflict.

In Britain it was early recognized that insufficient war production would result if industrialists were allowed to follow usual business patterns, with the manufacture of war materials and consumers' goods proceeding simultaneously. The Government hesitated a long time before it took the step, which overrode hundreds of years of British tradition, overthrowing the individualistic attitude so much espoused, of placing every plant, every dollar, every worker, every citizen under Government control. This move, made last May, was necessitated by the fact that voluntary effort to produce armaments was totally inadequate.

This plan meant the death of production of consumers' goods. The remaining goods on the market soon were depleted as only 10 per cent of what Britain uses is produced within the country and the Government had no intentionof wasting valuable foreign exchange, accumulated for the purchase of munitions in this country, upon the importation of dress shoes and Queen olives. As a result, munitions production was speeded up. British women began to dress in slacks, woolen stockings, mackintoshes. This sacrifice may not have been so great for them as it would be for us for they have remained closer to the country, to hunting and riding than we have. To give up silk hose, evening dresses and cosmetics perhaps dislocated their way of life less than it would ours. Consumption was, at once, reduced 40 per cent, and by October of this year butter, sugar, meats and tea were rationed. It is only in regard to the last commodity that the British are a little bitter. No sacrifice is too much to demand of them but everyone hopes that tea rations won't have to be reduced any more!

Introduction of a Sales Tax

When the Government saw that consumption still was not curtailed to a point where most of one's income was saved, with the savings finding their way through individual investment into the purchase of Government war issues, a nation-wide sales tax was introduced for the first time in British history. This exacted from purchasers 12 2/3 per cent of the value of necessities, 33 1/3 per cent of that of luxuries, to the end of raising revenue for the Government and of further limiting the purchasing power of consumers, thereby forcing them to loan their savings to the nation.

Necessities now taxed include clothing, furniture, household goods and office equipment. Luxuries comprise furs, china, domestic cooking and heating equipment, silks, jewelry, haberdashery, musical instruments, clocks, radios and typewriters. Exempt from tax are food, fuel, light, water, rent, children's clothing and drugs. Tobacco and spirits are taxed separately.

Housewives are confronted with heavy taxation, therefore, when they desire to buy necessities or luxuries. After December 1 they will be faced with an increase in rationing, because restrictions are necessary to conserve existing stocks, in order that the effort which would be devoted to their replacement can be released to munitions production, and to permit their exportation. Purchasers, in most cases women, are urged not to buy but instead to save their money, invest it in Government securities, promote the war effort and shorten the conflict. Women find shopping somewhat simplified by the fact that the maximum prices for necessities, such as bread and fresh vegetables, have been fixed by the Government. But Britain's importation of 65 per cent of her food means that with the rise in import costs an increase in living costs is inevitable. Imports are rationed carefully to conserve shipping space and foreign exchange. It has been possible to obtain shipments of war orders from this country to the extent of £40,000,000 a month by careful use of shipping capacity and the convoy system.

War Financing

I do not need to tell you that modern warfare is enormously expensive. For the first fortnight of November, average weekly costs amounted to £72,000,000 which, converted at $4 per British pound, amounts to about $288,000,000. With the ever increasing momentum of war, the public will have to furnish the British Treasury with additional money in the form of taxes if inflation is to be avoided. At the present time war financing is based three-quarters upon borrowing and one-quarter on taxation, but this ratio must be changed in the future so as to still further reduce purchasing power.

The Government's policy of financing the war on a "pay-as-you-go" basis is being followed at present. With estimated war expenditures for the year placed at £3,000,000,000 and with payments for civil services set at £667,000,000, additional Government loans will have to be floated at low rates of about two per cent and additional demands made of citizens to further reduce their incomes through taxation or other schemes not yet devised. The situation has become so drastic that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has stated that he will permit the pre-budget debate, to occur shortly, to be open to members of the House of Commons who will be asked to advance proposals for raising revenue.


There are not enough rich citizens upon whom to levy additional taxation so the earners of wages of £5 a week or less may be asked to contribute to the war effort. This group comprises 88 per cent of the population, 60 per cent of the total personal incomes and accounts for two-thirds of the country's consumption.

Taxes have been forced to ever higher levels in the last months. During the first year of the war they were raised 75 per cent over the previous year's basis. Rates now start at 42 1/2 per cent and rise to 90 per cent on individual and company incomes. A tax of 100 per cent applies to all excess war profits. To provide for speed in collection, taxes are deducted from personal incomes at their source and exemptions have been sharply reduced. Heavy surtaxes apply to all incomes over £2,000.

Keynes' Plan of Compulsory Saving

John Maynard Keynes, leading British economist and advisor to the Treasury, has proposed a plan whereby the consumption of civilians will be reduced by the payment of a percentage of all incomes in excess of a stipulated minimum to the Government. Part of this payment is to be retained by the Government as taxes, with the remainder credited to the account of the individuals with interest at 2 1/2 per cent. The principal is to be repaid after the war in installments.

The plan includes family allowances of 5 shillings a week per child for lowest income groups to be paid from public funds and an iron ration of goods at low prices to be maintained by the Government. A capital levy is to be imposed at the end of the war to repay sums due on account of the compulsory savings. 5 Some critics do not believe that even this plan is sufficiently drastic as it does not apply to incomes on a low level. It is obvious that some system of enforced savings will have to be introduced if the war is to be adequately financed and if serious inflation is to be avoided. Although recent improvements are to be noted in national savings and subscriptions to loans the financial effort is still insufficient. Money, the petrol to run the war machine, is constantly in demand for the maintenance of the military forces and civilian populations. By September of this year the total gross national debt exceeded £10,000,000,000 and with each day it increases in volume.

Labor Problems

In any discussion of Britain's war effort, primary attention must be given to the manpower available for war production. A grave error was made in allowing manpower to be wasted for the first nine months of the conflict. Little effort was made to train workers for skilled positions, to draw upon the vast reserves of unemployed men and women, to prevent laborers moving from place to place to obtain high wages, to increase hours of work to alleviate fatigueby means of proper working conditions and frequent meals.

Only when Ernest Bevin, that energetic, humanitarian labor leader, frequently referred to as Churchill's successor, was appointed Minister of Labor and National Service were sweeping changes introduced. Labor began to be rationed to insure that war production received first call upon workers, mobility of labor was reduced, working hours were increased and for a period of time a seven day week was enforced, strikes and lockouts were outlawed for the duration of the war, and compulsory arbitration was required for all labor disputes. Three leading members of the Labor Party received places in the Inner War Cabinet, a recognition of the important role played by labor in this conflict.

To aid workers the prices of bread and meat were stabilized at Government expense. The repair of damages caused by bombardment to homes and equipment of workmen whose incomes did not exceed £400 a year was covered by the Government, also.

Although employment reached the highest level achieved in Britain, unemployment statistics are now published only on a quarterly basis. The last statistics of unemployed workers, released in September, shows that 614,000 persons are still wholly unemployed, indicating that production has not yet absorbed all unemployed laborers. At the present time close scrutiny is maintained over all industrial production to ascertain that workers dismissed from non-essential industries are immediately hired in those engaged in war and essential production. The widespread training scheme, introduced by Bevin, whereby workers are trained free of cost and with their families' subsistence provided by the Government, has proved effective although it is still on a voluntary basis.

Wages have increased at least 10 per cent since the inception of war, but the cost of living has risen twice that amount. Several important unions have applied in the last few weeks for wage increases to cover this rise, but so far their demands have been refused as authorities fear that wages will chase prices upward in a vicious spiral. The next month may witness a crisis in the labor movement with nearly 3,000,000 workers demanding wage increases. The Government has been urged to peg wages for the duration of the war, but because of the steep rise in the cost of living to follow this suggestion would cause embarrassment to trade union leaders. Today workers do not enjoy the traditional British holidays, they are fed in communal kitchens with the Government covering the cost of one meal a day, they continue at work although the "Alert" signal warning may have been sounded.

Women's War Effort

At the present time there are more women unemployed in Britain than there were at the beginning of the war. Although it is generally recognized that women compose the second line of defense, adequate utilization has not been made of their services. The Economist, leading financial paper, has urged the employment of women for months, but there is still no women in the Government to organize and coordinate their work. War has swept away many peacetime needs for the services of professional women. A sense of futility has frequently overtaken older women unfit for heavy work, or professional women with special training, when they have offered their services to the Government only to have them refused.

The Central Register of the Ministry of Labor contains almost 100,000 names of women, but less than 500 of their bearers have been called upon since the inception of war. The Ministry's Supplementary Register, of less specialized

workers, offers even smaller opportunities for the placement of women. Few facilities are available to retrain women and there is great waste of womanpower as well as actual suffering in the ranks of those women who, customarily employed, are now idle. It is believed that, in future months, the Government will have to adopt a more positive attitude toward the training and employment of women. As long as unemployed ranks of men exist, there will be no pressure to introduce women into industry, but as these reserves are exhausted women will find their services in greater demand. It would seem wise to train women now, perhaps on a part-time basis, so they will be adequately prepared when need for their services arises.

In the uniformed services British women are extremely active at the present time. These include the Women's Land Army; Women's Voluntary Services; Ambulance Corps; Women's Royal Naval Service; Red Cross; Auxiliary Territorial Service; Civil Nursing Reserve; Women's Auxiliary Air Force; Women's Motor Transport Corps. Women are laboring long hours, in many instances without pay, in some cases merely with their living furnished, in hospitals, nursery schools, canteens, communal kitchens and the various social services.

There are at least 3,000,000 women now engaged in some type of voluntary work. More than 5,000 women are working on farms, where they are frequently told that one man is better than five women. Many more are serving as air raid wardens, bomb shelter supervisors, educational and evacuation directors and clerical workers in innumerable Government offices. Many of them, in fact, have been exposed to heavy bombardment and have continued to cook, nurse, quench fires and warn citizens of raids under nerve wracking conditions, in some instances resulting in their death.

Recently women have taken over the bus and subway services in London. They are driving lorries and ambulances in every part of Britain, and one of His Majesty's ships is completely manned by women, affectionately called Wrens. Last week for the first time in British history, a woman was chosen foreman of the London Sessions Jury. Wherever they are found, women ask no favor and obtain no special privilege. They only beg to be allowed to serve their country in this hour of need.

Thousands of women are carrying on war work in homes by providing hot, wholesome meals for workers and relatives on leave. This task is frequently carried on under extreme difficulty because of shut-down of gas, electricity and war supplies after bombings. Women have been urged by the Ministry of Food to economize in the use of food, to use substitutes, such as macon made from mutton for bacon, to close their kitchens entirely and feed their families at communal kitchens, thereby reducing the use of food, and gas, and providing housewives with additional free time to give the voluntary services.

Women also are cooking for the armed forces. They are running canteens, and exhibiting new interest in dietary problems and the preparation of healthful menus. From this war should come a greater knowledge of correct diet and the latest developments in the field of nutrition than has ever before been achieved in Britain. The Government looks to the women of the nation to maintain family life and morale, to sustain their families' health, and to contribute in some way to the voluntary services.

Women are also making a large contribution to the nation's educational system. They have aided in evacuating thousands of children to the provinces and abroad, and have taken some of them into their own homes. Women have

replaced some men on the faculties of universities and this replacement will be increased in breadth as more men are called to the colors in the future.

Educational Changes

While the universities have opened according to schedule their freshmen classes have been depleted and their senior students are perusing research required by the Government. Their incomes have been cut, but the Government has agreed to continue to support their endeavors until March. What will happen after that date is open to conjecture.

Public schools have been especially hard hit as the middle class support has been reduced by taxation. What the future holds for these schools, public in name, private in operation, remains to be seen, but possibly only the more famous, such as Eton and Harrow, will survive as entities. Others may be combined, Government supported and open to the most promising children of the nation under scholarship grants.

Neither the British universities nor the private schools completely recovered from the last war and this conflict has imposed heavy burdens on them, forcing them to look to the Government, to an increasing degree, for their support, and to provide more scholarships for poor but able students. After this war there will be few British families able to pay £300 or more a year for their offspring's public school or university education. It is interesting to note in this connection that the founders of Cambridge and Oxford view their institutions as as places of intellectual refuge for poor scholars. It is significant that, because of the war, there is a return to the original aims for these universities. About 70 per cent of their undergraduates are now on scholarship or other grants provided by public bodies and this number will probably increase in the future.

Children who were evacuated to the provinces are now attending school in temporary quarters provided by local boards of education or owners of country estates. A recent survey revealed that nine-tenths of all British children now leave school and enter industry at the age of 14. A nationwide program of physical and social education for all employed children between the ages of 14 and 18, in time released to them by employers during each working day, has been inaugurated in order that the next generation of Britons may not be stunted because of their war work.

Social Aspects of the War

From the present conflict there has arisen the general thought that civilian populations must receive as good treatment as military forces from the angle of food, shelter and medical treatment. In some quarters it is even suggested that after the war the Government must guarantee to substrata families the minimum essentials of subsistence. Britain has been appalled by the conditions revealed by the bombing of the East End of London. That people have been allowed to live in this manner all these years now seems devastating and all citizens are determined that these conditions should not be allowed to continue into the future.

A new approach to social problems is evolving in Britain, More positive, efficient, coordinated, far-reaching than that which existed before the war. This serves to illustrate the premise that the present war has more repercussions on all sections of society than did the World War. I do not need to remind any of you of the slums of London, of the grubby, thin, pale faced children found in the industrial areas of Britain, but the dreadful poverty of the lower classes would never have been so forcibly brought to the attention of the more fortunate members of the country if bombings of industrial areas had not concentrated public attention uponthe poverty hidden there, or if poor children had not been billetted in the homes of more affluent families throughoutthe nation. 

Even in the midst of this struggle Britons have united in their pleas that something must be done about the fact that 30 per cent of the population is undernourished. The Government has replied by providing free milk rations for poor families, giving them money for house repairs or providing them with free living accommodations, setting up communal kitchens or canteens to feed them three solid, free meals a day, subsidizing necessary foods for proper diets and teaching housewives how to prepare well-balanced meals.

Life in the Air Raid Shelters

Now that Winter has set in, more and more hours must be spent by civilian populations in air raid shelters. These are located in vaults, church crypts and in the tunnels of the subway which have been extended in new directions. Men, women and children now enter their underground homes at five in the afternoon and do not come out until the "All Clear" signal at eight in the morning, then wash, eat and hurry off to work.

The British, I believe, take particular pleasure in standing long hours in queues. I hope that this mitigates the discomfort of awaiting entrance to air raid shelters to which season tickets, for a million nightly London shelters, are now provided ensuring old people, women, children and workers in war industries preference in securing proper protection. An effort is being made to ascertain that these shelters are provided with the necessary light, heat, ventilation and sanitation. In many of them canteens have been set up as the shelterers declare that air raids make them hungry. Huge quantities of tea, pork pies, chips, lemon squash, sausage rolls and cakes are consumed nightly. The Cockney has proved to be especially adaptable to life in the shelters. He has joined his fellows on many occasions in songs proclaiming the enemy's defeat or in harmless games of darts.

Rebecca West writes of a London family who come nightly to her shelter arrayed in evening clothes and, with their aged servants around them, sit placidly reading Plato and the novels recommended by the London Times. Myra Hess, the noted pianist, has organized concerts at noon in the National Gallery shelters which seat 400 and from which the barking of the anti-aircraft guns can be barely heard,

Affect of the War Upon British Life

The arts are facing a desperate struggle to survive because of lack of large fortunes to support them. Public, rather than private, commissions may be the rule in the future. This war will not permit class structures of British society to remain intact. Large fortunes are being diminished through taxation and no new war millionaires are going to be created. The upkeep of the stately mansions of Britain, with their deer parks, private picture galleries, and a retinue of servants to support such an establishment, may pass into Government hands for use. Many already have been deeded to the Crown because of their national, architectural or historic interest. Some are now being used as schools, convalescent homes and military canteens.

Modern road building and town planning, initiated after the war, may necessitate the sacrifice of old trees, beautiful lawns and playing fields for which Britain is justly famous. The long week-end may be curtailed; traveling reduced because of smaller personal incomes. The burden of the war places a heavy claim upon the traditions of cultivated living, but at the same time it fosters equality of class and education. Burke once said that war never leaves a nation where it finds it, and this is particularly true in Britain relative to social and economic aspects of the war. Today Britain is making her social services more positive, providing the poor with livelihood and rehabilitating them after injury.

Already the beautiful London parks, of which we all have such happy memories, are laid out to be ploughed up for vegetable cultivation in the Spring. Formal clothes have almost entirely disappeared. Sixpenny books receive wide circulation and the new Macmillan War Series, prepared by A. P. Herbert, A. A. Milne, E. M. Forster and other distinguished writers, covering the moral and spiritual issues of the war, are receiving wide circulation.

In the midst of bombardment, Britons continue to carry on their intellectual activities. This past summer, at the very time when everyone feared a Channel crossing would be dared by the enemy, I received a letter from a British professional friend commenting, in four pages of closely typed material, on an article I had published on finance abroad, raising completely obscure issues that I had no conception of, and mentioning not one word about the war! I doubt if we Americans could maintain our academic and personal interests under such circumstances. A couple of weeks ago the British Museum Reading Room was again opened to the public and readers were delighted to find new facilities to promote their researches.

Economic Planning

In this war Britain avoided a major error of the World War and introduced a Ministry of Economic Planning the moment hostilities commenced. The lesson here for America is that planning, to be effective, must cover all sections of an economy. To accomplish this aim, minute, constant attention must be devoted to all the many complicated, interrelated aspects of the economic system. Economic planning is of much greater importance than at the time of the last war and with each additional month of conflict it assumes added weight. This has been recognized by Churchill for in the Spring of this year he coordinated the activities of Britain's Military and Economic Staffs. This was an unprecedented move.

The appointment of Arthur Greenwood, Laborite, last June as Economic Coordinator, has served to strengthen the country's economy. Britain no longer has a free economic system but a planned economy to achieve the necessary intensification and expansion of economic effort. After the war economic controls and the Ministry of Economic Planning may continue to operate.

The enormous problems of demobilization of armies, increase in unemployment, production for consumption rather than for war must be faced. It is believed that many schemes introduced during the war to alleviate economic and social inequities may be continued. For example, family allowances, minimum wages established by law or bargaining, but considering the size of the worker's family, a basic ration of food and clothing provided by Government subsidies, all designed to help the poor, may become part of the future scheme of things in Britain.

Laski's provocative new book "Where Do We Go From Here" discusses the possibility of the upper classes voluntarily abdicating some of their rights and privileges. Whether or not this will be the case is open to speculation, but certainly innovations on a large scale have been made and will be introduced because of this war. The little man is having his day in Britain, but he has been found resourceful and plucky. He has served to inspire all Britons and all the world. The tales of him and his class are legion.

Consider the man who watched the fire of an incendiary bomb destroy most of his home and who, turning to his wife, said: "Wal, cheer up, gal, we've very little mice anow." Or the East End mother who emerged from the ruins of her little house, pushing her perambulator of pots and pans, and dragging five sleepy little children behind her, and declaring to the bobby who asked her if she were evacuating, "Evacuating? Course not! We're goin' up again, ain't we, mites?" Certainly it is people such as these who have borne the brunt of the attack. They deserve and are receiving the attention of the Government to the degree never before in Britain's history.

Post-War Britain

Already spade-work in research is being done, by a special committee under Lord Balfour's direction, on reorganization of the nation after peace comes. Problems of national planning, social environment of citizens, geographical distribution of industrial populations and educational experimentation are some of the problems under study at the present time.

This type of visionary, idealistic thinking is going on in Britain just as certain reserves of food are being accumulated to feed the peoples of Europe as soon as they are freed from the yoke of the oppressors. War does not leave men, money and machines where they stood before it came and detailed plans must be made now to change the economy back to a peacetime basis as soon as the war ends.

Unpreparedness for peace may be as dangerous as unpreparedness for war. Britain is endeavoring to avoid this state of affairs by devoting some of her most able minds to problems following in the wake of war. Distorted war industries must be changed over to consumption goods manufacture; workers and their families redistributed to points of new employment; local governments in depressed areas aided financially; export trades revitalized; the standard of living of people raised; welfare and social services sustained; towns reconstructed.

There is a growing realization that the economic and social orders are changing and will demand a new type of society after the war if stability and security are to be achieved. The Government's effort during the war to increase efficiency and reduction in production and distribution costs are a move in the general direction of raising the standard of living, and this must be continued in the future. Ernest Bevin recently declared that the whole economic life of Britain should be devoted to giving security to the community as a whole, that this thesis, rather than a profit motive, should be the primary war aim. Certainly pressing problems of unemployment and social injustice, which emanated from the last war and were not solved continuing into this struggle, should see solution in the near future. This thought receives echo throughout the nation today, in Parliament, professional groups, offices, factories and homes. Out of such a movement toward a better life for more people may arise a new Britain.

I believe it was Emerson who said: "I find the Englishman to be him of all men who stands firmest in his shoes." Today English men and women are standing firmly for freedom and all the things the democratic ideal holds sacred.

I stand humble before this coordinated, efficient, courageous war effort of civilians in their many capacities throughout Britain. Humble before the Government servants in Whitehall poring over their military maps and economic plans. Humble before the men and women in London and the provinces who have stood up, without flinching, to bombardment, suffering and terror.

But especially humble before those children who set sail from Britain in recent months in their role of defenders of freedom. Clutched to their lonely hearts was the little volume "Token of Freedom," prepared by Americans who are living, in various professional and business capacities, in Britain. I hope you may have the delight of reading this little book sometime. It contains the immortal words of Dante, Shakespeare, Lincoln and many others. I am confident that Walt Whitman's inspiring and hopeful lines must be in the minds of those children and of all Britons all over the world during these dark days:

Keep heart O Comrade;
God may be delayed
By evil, but he suffers no defeat.
God is not foiled;
The drift of the world will
Is stronger than all wrong.