National Geographic : 1945 Aug
London Wins the Battle Acme This Is the Way Hitler "Marched Against England" As rescue workers reach him, a dazed V-2 victim clings to debris that was his home. Many Londoners, with stubborn loyalty, stayed in their bombed-out homesites, occupying shacks built from wreckage. American soldiers helped build shelters for thousands (page 150). church known as St. Martin in the Fields, one of London's most familiar landmarks. St. Martin's was completed in 1726, in what was still almost a village, and it did not be come a conspicuous public building. until Trafalgar Square was laid out and the ap proaches to the Strand ingeniously replanned. Happily this handsome church suffered noth ing worse than a minor hit in the basement story which did not seriously damage the structure. If you were a Rip van Winkle dropped down in Whitehall, you would have to be told that London had been through a battle that threatened its destruction. Here in this short street is the heart of empire. The grimy build ing that houses New Scotland Yard, the Treas ury, the Foreign Office, the Admiralty, all are here. While they seem to have come through unscathed, that is not entirely true. There were bomb hits here during the Nazi blitz in the early years of the war. As we talked over tea in the handsome paneled room that is his private office in the Foreign Office, Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden told me about his visit from the late Wendell L. Willkie in Jan uary of 1941. Most of the windows of the Foreign Office had been blown out by a bomb blast a few days before. As Willkie departed, Eden accom panied him down the corridor. The American expressed a desire to talk with ordinary Britons in order to find out what they thought about the war. Eden replied by saying he hoped Willkie would do just that, talk with plain people wherever he found them. At this point they passed a workman on a high scaffolding, replacing windowpanes which had been blasted out. Willkie paused and looked up at him. When he had caught the man's attention, he asked: "How do you feel about going on with this war?"