To the Women of America!


By QUEEN ELIZABETH of Great Britain

Broadcast over the N. B. C. system, August 10, 1941

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. VII, pp. 693-694.

IT is just over two years since I spoke to the American people and my purpose then was to thank constant friends for much kindness. It is to those same friends, and of even greater kindness, that I want to speak today.

We, like yourselves, love peace and we have not devoted the years behind us to the planning of death and destruction. As yet, fearless as is the valor of our people, we have not matched our enemies, and it is only now that we are beginning to marshal around us in their full strength the devotion and the resources of our great British family of nations, which in the end, please God, assuredly will prevail.

Through these waiting months a heavy burden is being borne by our people. As I go among them I marvel at their unshakable constancy. In many cities their homes lie in ruins, as do many of those ancient buildings which you know and love hardly less than we do ourselves.

Women and children have been killed and even the sufferers in hospitals have not been spared. Yet hardship has only steeled our hearts and strengthened our resolution. Wherever I go I see bright eyes and smiling faces. For though our road is stony and hard it is straight, and we know that we fight in a great cause.

"Instant Help" From U. S.

It is not our way in dark days to turn for support to others, but even if we had been minded so to do your instant help would have forestalled us. The warmth and sympathy of American generosity have touched beyond measure the hearts of all of us living and fighting in these islands. We can and shall never forget that in the hour of our great need you came through with clothes for the homeless, food for the hungry, comfort for those who were sorely afflicted; canteens, ambulances and medical supplies have come in an unceasing flow from the United States.

I find it hard to tell you of our gratitude in adequate terms. So I ask you to believe that it is deep and sincere beyond expression. Unless you have seen, as I have seen,just how your gifts have been put to use, you cannot know, perhaps, the solace which was brought to the men and women of Britain who are suffering and toiling in the cause of freedom.

Here in Britain our women are working in factory and field, turning the lathes and gathering the harvest, for we must have food as well as munitions. Their courage is magnificent, their endurance amazing. I have seen them in many different activities. They are serving in the thousands with the navy, army and air force—driving heavy lorries, cooking, catering, helping and every one of them working cheerfully and bravely under all conditions.

Others are on the land, our precious soil, driving the plow and making a grand job of it. Others are air raid wardens or ambulance drivers—thousands of undaunted women who quietly and calmly face the terrors of the night bombings, bringing strength and courage to the people they protect and help. I must give a special word to the nurses, those wonderful women whose devotion, whose heroism, will never be forgotten. In the black horror of a bombed hospital they never falter and, though often wounded, think only of their patients and never of themselves, and I need not remind you, who set as much store by your handiwork as we do, how great are the difficulties which our housewives have to face nowadays and how bravely they are meeting them.

Women Serve in Many Roles

I could continue to list indefinitely, so many roles in the service, which our women in Britain are giving, but I want to tell you, whatever the nature of their daily or nightly task, they are cheered by the evidence of your thoughts of them. We must depict to you, knitting on your porches, serving in your committee rooms, and helping in a hundred ways to bring relief to our civilian garrison here, so I speak for us all in Britain in thanking all of you in America. I feel I would like to say a special message of thanks to American women. It gives us strength to know that you have not been content to pass us by on the other side. To us, in thetime of our tribulation, you have surely shown that compassion which has been for two thousand years the mark of the good neighbor.

Believe me, and I am speaking for millions of us who know the bitter but also proud horror of war, we are grateful. We shall not forget your sacrifice. The sympathy which inspires it springs not only from our common speech and the traditions which we share with you, but even more from our common ideals. To you tyranny is as hateful as it is to us.

The things for which we will fight to the death are no less sacred, and to my mind, at any rate, your generosity is born of your conviction that we fight to save a cause that is yours no less than ours; of your high resolve, however great the cost and however long the struggle, liberty and freedom, human dignity and kindness shall not perish from the earth, I look to the day when we shall go forward, hand in hand, to build a better, a kinder, a happier world for our children, May God bless you all.