Courtesy Reuters

Why Britain Fights

ANY Englishman who sets out to interpret to readers in the United States the aims and objects of British policy under present circumstances must approach his task with a sense of deep responsibility. All must recognize how different is the situation of the two countries; yet close sympathy and clear understanding between them have never been more necessary than they are today.

The British people have just entered on what may prove the gravest struggle of their history. They have decided that victory in this war is so important that no sacrifice can be too great to ensure it. They are fighting, and sending their sons to fight. They are accepting compulsion in every sphere of life. They are enduring taxation on a scale hitherto undreamt of. They know that the Britain of the past is gone. They look into a future dark and obscure. Yet they are united and resolute as perhaps never before. Why is this? Toward what goal are they painfully struggling? And how do they hope to achieve it?

An interested inquirer who went out into the streets of any English town and asked the people he met what was the main aim of British policy would get in the great majority of cases the answer "Peace." And of course that is, so far as it goes, true. At the same time, it clearly is not a complete answer. For if peace were her only object, Britain's policy would be simple if not heroic. She would be willing to sacrifice everything for it -- her possessions, her traditions, her liberties. She would do away with her army, her navy, her air force. In order to avoid war, she would cheerfully submit to any humiliation. That is the extreme pacifist attitude and it is sincerely held by a number of excellent people. But it is not the view of the British people as a whole. Everyone knows that there are in fact things for which the people of

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