I have in my possession an original guide book issued to American personnel visiting Great Britain during WWII. Thought some you might find it interesting. Of note, the booklet is often reprinted in hardback and paperback form here with and without added comment - and sells well. I believe such a booklet was prepared for G.I.s stationed in Australia I'd love to see it or any other literature prepared for other countries. I've trawled the net in vain for a complete copy of either to simply copy and paste but to no avail. Should someone have better luck, please let me know here and save my keyboard from unnecessary wear and tear. Obviously, I can't type illustrations. Should some kind soul wish to send me a scanner you can find me in Yellow Pages under destitute criminal masterminds'....
I'll type up the contents verbatim and let the booklet speak for itself.
I'll start with the introductory passages and add more at regular intervals, the booklet is a pocket-sized 34 paged affair so bear with me, I'm not a speed typist.
Anyway here goes:-
A Short Guide To Great Britain
War & Navy Departments Washington D.C.
The People Their Customs and Manners
Britain at War
English Versus American Language
British Money, Weights and Measures
Some Important Do's and Don'ts
Glossary of Terms
The British Think So Too
Unity Under The Skin
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 get 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, the freedom of worship, in freedom of speech. But each country has national characteristics which differ. It is by causing misunderstanding about these differences that Hitler hopes to make his propaganda effective.
British Reserved, Not Unfriendly. You defeat enemy propaganda not by denying that these differences exist, but by admitting them openly and then trying to understand them. For instance: The British are often more reserved in conduct than we. On a small crowded island where forty-five million people live, each man learns to guard his privacy carefully and is equally careful not to invade another man's privacy.
So if Britons sit in trains or buses without striking up conversation with you, it doesn't mean they are being haughty and unfriendly. Probably they are paying more attention than you think. But they don't speak to you because they don't want to appear intrusive or rude.
Another difference. The British have phrases and colloquialisms of their own that may sound funny to you. You can make just as many *****s in their eyes. It isn't a good idea, for instance to say "bloody" in mixed company in Britain it is one of their worst swear words. To say "I look like a bum" is offensive to their ears, for to the British this means that you look like your own backside. It isn't important just a tip if you are trying to shine in polite society. Near the end of this guide you will find more of these differences of speech.
British money is in pound, shillings, and pence (this is also explained more fully later on.) The British are used to this system and they like it, and all your arguments that the American decimal system is better won't convince them. They won't be pleased to hear you call it "funny money," either. They sweat hard to get it (wages are much lower in Britain than America) and they won't think you smart or funny for mocking it.
Don't Be A Show Off. The British dislike bragging and showing off. American wages and soldier's pay are the highest in the world. When your pay day comes, it would be sound practice to learn to spend your money according to British standards. They consider you highly paid. They won't think any better of you for throwing money around; they are more likely to think that you haven't learnt the common-sense virtues of thrift. The British "Tommy" is apt to be specially touchy about the difference between his wages and yours. Keep this in mind. Use common sense and don't rub him the wrong way.
You will find many things in Britain physically different from similar things in America. But there are also important similarities our common speech, our common law, and our ideals of religious freedom were all brought from Britain when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Our ideas about political liberties are British and parts of our own bill of rights were borrowed from the great charters of British liberty.
Remember that in America you like people to conduct themselves as we do, and to respect the same things. Try to do the same for the British and respect the things they treasure.
The British Are Tough. Don't be mislead by the British tendency to be soft spoken and polite. If they need to be, they can be plenty tough. The English language didn't spread across the oceans and over the mountains and jungles and swamps of the world because these people were panty-waists.
Sixty thousand British civilians men women and children have died under bombs, and yet the morale of the British is unbreakable and high. A nation doesn't come through that, if it doesn't have plain, common guts. The British are tough, strong people and good allies.
You won't be able to tell the British much about "taking it". They are not particularly interested in taking it ant more. They are far more interested in getting together in solid friendship with us, so that we can all start dishing it out to Hitler.
More to follow