British Empire under Fire

British Empire under Fire

British Empire under Fire

British Empire under Fire

Excerpt

At about eleven o'clock on the morning of September 3, 1939, Mr. R. Dunbar left the Foreign Office in London in an official limousine. Mr. Dunbar was one of those typical civil servants, head of the Treaty Section in fact, whom few Londoners know or recognize on the street. Yet Mr. Dunbar was bearing a message which affected the lives of all Londoners, and the rest of the world too, more than any other single document in twenty years. Mr. Dunbar was journeying to the German Embassy. There, at about 11: 20 o'clock, he handed his message to the Chargé d'Affaires, Dr. Theodore Kordt. The document contained a declaration of war.

Mr. Dunbar Starts Something

Mr. Dunbar's piece of paper was only one of the many documents which were necessary to put the British Empire at war with Germany. On Friday, September 1, the British Parliament had passed a large number of bills giving the government emergency powers of every description and granting the Viceroy of India similar wartime authority. On September 2, King George VI had signed orders which completed the mobilization of Britain's armed forces.

But even after Mr. Dunbar had fulfilled his unpleasant task, the British Empire was not entirely at war. Later in the day, the governments of Australia and New Zealand advised the King to declare war on their behalf. Two days afterward the South African government gave His Majesty similar advice. And on September 8 the Canadian government followed suit. Only Eire, which had announced its neutrality even before Great Britain went to war, remained aloof.

This large pile of documents, all properly signed by King George VI or by some of His Majesty's Ministers, is symbolical of the British Empire today. The procedure for arranging . . .

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