And This Is Our Men's Guide To America

The War Illustrated, Volume 6, No. 134, Page 115, August 7, 1942.

By way of the companion to the above, here are some of the most interesting paragraphs from a small blue-covered pamphlet, "Notes For Your Guidance," which is handed to every young Briton who goes to the U.S.A. for flight training.

You will not be expected to tell your hosts and hostesses what is wrong, in your opinion, with them and their country. During this war, and probably after, our fate is closely bound up with that of the United States, and we shall need in this country people who understand the American viewpoint and interpret to us their reactions.

You are going to America as guests. Therefore, you will receive almost unbounded hospitality, the American standard of hospitality being as high as any in the world. Remember, that there is just as high a standard expected of the guest as of the host. You will be expected to feel and show appreciation. Do so.

The Americans are a tremendous nation who have built up standard different from our own in many ways. After all, their forefathers and predecessors in the continent fought to be independent of us. Grant them to be so in your mind as they are in fact.

You are going to the United States to learn. To learn your job, and, in doing so, to learn to like and understand Americans. This is almost as important as your technical training.

For Englishmen, ways of speech are often bound up with ideas of class distinction. Of course, there are differences in any country between the speech of the so-called well-educated and the ill-educated, and America is no exception, but you must beware of transferring unconscious assumptions drawn from your English experience to totally different conditions. The United States were a revolutionary, equalitarian country all the time the frontier was moving west, and, in spite of changes, remain so in sentiment to this day. Speech is not an index of class position, either way.

Just as we have a kind of stage Irishman and stage American in the national gallery of literary mythology, so the Americans have a stage Englishman. Don't be offended if you are measured up against certain characters in Dickens, or more likely against Bertie Wooster and Jeeves. It is poetic justice - and you will live down the comparison, and be taken as a regular guy when your hosts get to know you.

You will find plenty of sportsmanship and a code of what is done and what is not done. But it is not always our code, and you may be surprised at some of the things that are done.

Don't expect the stately minuet of cricket, with its elaborate etiquette, on the baseball field, and remember that barracking is part of the art of the game. The idea is to win, not just to have a game. That idea is not altogether unknown in some games in other parts of the English-speaking world - and it is not a bad idea for a fighting man.