Monday 22nd July 1918
The 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is currently in Egypt, resting and training. One of their diversions yesterday was a talk by a local resident Mr Charles Whitelaw entitled "Why America was late coming into the War".
The adjutant said that Mr Whitelaw's explanation included the following points: many Americans are of German descent; many others are Irish with a deep-seated hatred of this country; the tiny size of the pre-war American army which was just a home defence force; a natural desire to keep out of a conflict which is hugely costly in lives; the fact that Europe is a long way away and the perception that what takes place there is of little relevance to most Americans and the fact that the US saw the opportunity to sell armaments and other material to combatants (mainly the allies) for a profit.
The USA was gradually sucked into the war by such incidents as the sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-Boat resulting in many American deaths, the German atrocities in Belgium and the fact that the president, Woodrow Wilson has, all along, favoured the allied cause. The infamous Zimmerman Telegram suggesting a German-Mexican alliance leading to a Mexican invasion of America was, according to Mr Whitelaw, merely the last straw.
The adjutant described himself as unable to comment on whether Mr Whitelaw's views were accurate. He merely commented ruefully that they were unlikely to see any American troops in Palestine.
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