Beer history pubs videos

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

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…

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.

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.

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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