Supporting the War Effort

Invitation to Britain's Home Front

"...quality of blackness which no one who has not known it, can possibly imagine."

"...I can only say that the men are doing their part extremely well in adjusting to a climate which is traditionally in November somewhat rainy, and so has given them plenty of rain and mud to cope with under conditions which require a saving of fuel and therefore an endurance of cold which we know nothing about in the United States of America. Added to this, they have had to learn to live under blackout regulations of which no one in the US has the slightest conception. A blackout here is a total blackout. The countryside loses all of that friendly feeling which twinkling lights that shine out of a window, give you as you walk along a country road in the dark. Here a country road is a dense blackness. A passing car is a black object with two tiny lights and in the cities you carry a shaded torch and should your torch gleam too brightly, a policeman, he is called a bobby over here, will soon tell you what changes you must make. This is a quality of blackness which no one who has not known it, can possibly imagine."

Editor's Note: In the fall of 1942 Eleanor Roosevelt visited Great Britain at the invitation of the queen to inspect U.S. troops stationed there. She spent her time inspecting naval shipyards, hospitals, factories, and schools. However, her main purpose was to examine women's war efforts, including volunteer services in communities destroyed by the war. On November 8, 1942, Eleanor Roosevelt gave a radio broadcast from the Greenbank Building in Liverpool, England on her wartime observations.