VIDEO: Advice for Americans on English Pubs, 1943

We were alerted to the presence of this film on YouTube by Anthony Harper (@anthonymharper) and it’s a corker.

It was made as a joint pro­duc­tion of the US and UK gov­ern­ments and was intend­ed, in short, to pre­vent Amer­i­can sol­diers act­ing like dick­heads in Britain. The host is Burgess Mered­ith (Bat­manRocky) and he spends the first third of the film – about ten min­utes – in an Eng­lish coun­try pub:

We’re not try­ing to show you the per­fect way to behave in a pub. We’re only try­ing to point out that some of these peo­ple are a lit­tle more reserved than some of us. If you take it easy a lit­tle bit, just at the begin­ning… you’ll make some damn good friends.

It’s staged with the inte­ri­or filmed on a stu­dio set but, as it’s intend­ed to be edu­ca­tion­al rather than pro­pa­gan­da, we can prob­a­bly assume it’s a fair­ly accu­rate por­tray­al. In fact, the advice is still good, on the whole:

What’s that? What’s the dif­fer­ence between bit­ter and mild? I don’t know. One’s bit­ter and one’s mild. You’d bet­ter find out for your­self…

6 thoughts on “VIDEO: Advice for Americans on English Pubs, 1943”

  1. Wow! Halfway through that tone of pleas­ant whim­sy dri­ves off a cliff!

    You don’t get over a prej­u­dice that eas­i­ly. There’s no use pre­tend­ing we’re not what we are.” There’s a mes­sage of hope, rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and inspi­ra­tion for you…

    1. And what he says isn’t true either: the US armed forces were seg­re­gat­ed through­out the war with African-Amer­i­can sol­diers almost always assigned menial tasks (cooks, labour­ers) rather than com­bat or com­mand roles, and they were also even dis­crim­i­nat­ed against under the post-war GI Bill which sup­pos­ed­ly pro­vid­ed free fur­ther edu­ca­tion to all home­com­ing vet­er­ans.

      1. As well as rep­re­sent­ing just 10% of the the army in total, 79% of the sol­diers exe­cut­ed fol­low­ing court mar­tial in Europe dur­ing the war were non-white. I seem to recall read­ing that the locals even protest­ed at Shep­ton Mal­let prison at one point, over the obvi­ous racism of the US mil­i­tary in Eng­land.

        1. There is a but on black GIs and pubs in the just-about-due new book. They were gen­er­al­ly wel­comed by British peo­ple who found them less arro­gant, on the whole, than white GIs who tend­ed to lord it a bit, but vio­lence did flare up in var­i­ous con­fig­u­ra­tions, includ­ing one notable riot/streetfight between black GIs and mil­i­tary police­men out­side a pub.

          But, any­way, mustn’t give it all away…

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