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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: October 2011

Fifteen - 1 9 4 4

Summary

To his too coy colleagues

Had we but world enough, and time,

This slowness, gentles, were no crime.

We might consume each livelong day

Discussing how can debtors pay.

John Maynard should delight our wits

Describing how each project fits.

James Meade should still expound the laws

of economics, clause by clause

Stout Melville might his land defend

Demanding what the world shall lend.

Mackintosh’ speech would slowly burn

Into our hearts his great concern

For all that helps to foster trade.

McCarthy'd call a spade a spade.

From Clauson and Sir David Meek

We'd cynically learn to speak

In praise of regulation schemes,

Which Dennis Robertson just deems

The deuce. Such talks could last no doubt

For two years more or thereabout.

But at my back I always hear

Joe Stalin’s cohorts thundering near.

We can't expect the war to last

Till all our problems are o'er past.

The other nations may complain

That we had racked our brains in vain.

We do not wish to leave to Joe

Decisions on the way we go.

By the end of 1943 the Allies had determined on an invasion of France (Operation Overlord) in the spring of 1944. Although its exact time and place could not be known, it could be roughly predicted given the need for suitable weather and tides. Assuming it was successful, the war in Europe could end in 1944. In January Allied efforts in Italy, which had been making slow progress since the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, intensified with the landing of British and American forces at Anzio. In Russia the siege of Leningrad was lifted on 25 January. But the Luftwaffe returned to bomb London nightly; and even before the ‘little Blitz’ there was the threat of new weapons that Hitler was planning to launch on London: Lionel discouraged his children from visiting London during the Christmas holidays without telling them the reason (Sansom 1947, 176–83; LCR to IER, 9 July 1944).