Negotiating Identities in Britain During the Second World War
Transnational communities of allies
In January 1941, the novelist Rose Macaulay wrote about the consolations of war:
The pageant of life is enormously enriched by the presence of so many foreigners in our midst … the uniforms of Polish soldiers mingle with those of Czechs, Norwegians, Dutch and Free French … And not only foreigners. Driving in the country, you are continually hailed by the rich accents of young men in battle-dress from Alberta or Montreal, who seldom know where they are and always want to go somewhere else. They are, as a rule, enormously charming.1
Macaulay was writing before America entered the war and GIs began arriving in Britain. Mollie Panter-Downes, in her regular ‘Letter from London’ for the New Yorker in June 1942, produced a similar description of the transformation of British scenes and soundscapes that encompassed their arrival:
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