1. “Do your people at home
appreciate the fact that we are
thoroughly pro-Ally over here?”
2. “How about that Blockade?
What are you opening our mails
3. “Would you welcome American intervention?”
4. “What do you propose to do about the submarine menace?”
5. “You don’t really
think we are too proud to fight, do
6. “Are you in favour of National Training for Americans?”
7. “Do you expect to win outright,
or are both sides going to
fight themselves to a standstill?”
8. “Why can’t you Britishers
be a bit kinder in your attitude
Let us take this welter of interrogation categorically, and endeavour to frame such answers as would occur to the average Briton to-day.
But first of all, let it be remembered that the average Briton of to-day is not the average Briton of yesterday. Three years ago he was a prosperous, comfortable, thoroughly insular Philistine. He took a proprietary interest in the British Empire, and paid a munificent salary to the Army and Navy for looking after it. There his Imperial responsibilities ceased. As for other nations, he recognized their existence; but that was all. In their daily life, or national ideals, or habit of mind, he took not the slightest interest, and said so, especially to foreigners.
“I’m English,” he would explain, with a certain proud humility. “That’s good enough for yours truly!”
This sort of thing rather perplexed the American people, who take a keen and intelligent interest in the affairs of other nations.
But to-day the average Briton would not speak like that. He will never speak like that again. He has been outside his own island: he has made a number of new acquaintances. He has been fighting alongside of the French, and has made the discovery that they do not subsist entirely upon frogs. He has encountered real Germans, at sufficiently close quarters to realize that the “German Menace” at which his party leaders encouraged him to scoff in a bygone age was no such phantom after all. Altogether he is a very different person from the complacent, parochial exponent of the tight-little-island theories of yester-year. He has encountered things at home and abroad which have purged his very soul. Abroad, he has seen the whole of Belgium and some of the fairest provinces of France subjected to the grossest and most bestial barbarity. At home, he has seen inoffensive watering places bombarded by pirate craft which came up out of the sea like malignant wraiths and then fled away like panic-stricken window-smashers. He has seen Zeppelins hovering over close-packed working-class districts in industrial towns, raining indiscriminate destruction upon men, women, and children. In fact, he has seen things and suffered things that he never even dreamed of, and they have broadened his mind considerably.