Brittain, Vera, Diary, 3 August 1914

Diary of Vera Brittain


Case Study: 
From Youth to Experience: Vera Brittain’s Work for Peace in Two World Wars
Brittain, Vera
3 August 1914
McMaster University Libraries
Vera Brittain estate; McMaster University has a non-exclusive licence to publish this document.


of peace and has plunged Europe into a situation the like of which, The Times says, has never been known since the fall of the Roman Empire. The great fear now is that our bungling Government will declare England’s neutrality. If we at this critical juncture were to refuse to help our friend France, we should be guilty of the grossest treachery & sacrifice our credit for ever; moreover we should never be able to lift up our heads or have a friend in Europe again. Besides we should gain nothing, for if we were to stand aside & let France be wiped out, a terrible retribution would fall upon us from a strengthened & victorious Germany.
I sat this morning after breakfast reading various newspapers for about two hours. A rumour is going round to-night that England has declared to Germany that if a German sets foot in Belgian territory her (England’s) navy will immediately act. There are many who think that this policy of vacillation is losing us the opportunity to strike a telling blow – that we should send troops to prevent the Germans getting into Belgium instead of waiting until they are in.
Daddy went down to get a paper this morning & found a [?] queue waiting outside Smiths. The first dispatch of papers from the train were snapped up immediately, & of the next lot, the “Times” there were only a limited number but he managed to get one. I should think this must be the blackest Bank Holiday within the memory of those now living though in spite of this a great many tourists today have been idling about frittering away money which they will soon require for bare necessities. Pandemonium reigned in town. What with holiday-trippers, people struggling for papers, trying to lay in stores of food & dismayed by the information that the price of everything had gone up, there was confusion everywhere. As it was raining hard I first telephoned & then went up to see if the