Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain 1942

Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain 1942

This eBook is a copy of the original pamphlet which consisted of seven pages of typescript, printed on poor quality foolscap size paper. It was issued by the United States War Department in 1942 and distributed to American servicemen who were going to Britain to prepare for the invasion of occupied Europe. Many of them had never been abroad before, and the pamphlet‘s aim was to prepare the American GI for life in a very different country and to try and prevent any friction between them and the local populace. The eBook is as close as possible as to how the original looked.

It is a small book and displays a genuine affection for the British people and way of life in words that are quite charming and sometimes sentimental and may bring a smile to the modern reader.

I have annotated the text to explain the meaning of some words, phrases and historical events that may be unclear to those on both sides of the Atlantic.

Here is a brief extract from the opening paragraphs:

YOU are going to Great Britain as part of an Allied Offensive – to meet Hitler and beat him on his own ground. For the time being you will be Britain’s guest. The purpose of this guide is to start getting you acquainted with the British, their country, and their ways.

America and Britain are allies. Hitler knows that they are both powerful countries, tough and resourceful. He knows that they, with the other United Nations, mean his crushing defeat in the end.

So it is only common sense to understand that the first and major duty Hitler has given his propaganda chiefs is to separate Britain and America and spread distrust between them. If he can do that, his chance of winning might return.


NO TIME TO FIGHT OLD WARS. If you come from an Irish-American family, you may think of the English as persecutors of the Irish, or you may think of them as enemy Redcoats who fought against us in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. But there is no time today to fight old Wars over again or bring up old grievances. We don’t worry about which side our grandfathers fought on in the Civil War because it doesn’t mean anything now.

We can defeat Hitler’s propaganda with a weapon of our own. Plain, common horse sense: understanding of evident truths.

The most evident truth of all is that in their major ways of life the British and American people are much alike. They speak the same language. They both believe in representative government, in freedom of worship, in freedom of speech. But each country has minor national characteristics which differ. It is by causing misunderstanding over these minor differences that Hitler hopes to make his propaganda effective.

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