January 26, 2022 marks the 80th Anniversary of the United States troops arrival in Europe. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States declared war on Japan. In response to this declaration of war, Germany and Italy, Japan’s allies, declared war on the United States. This caused the U.S. war effort to be divided on two fronts. The American opinion was that there should be retribution against Japan, but after a meeting between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, the leader of Great Britain, it was determined that Germany posed the most immediate threat. By pursuing a “Germany first” strategy, the allies were able to put up a stronger fight in Europe.
On January 26, 1942, members of the American vanguard unit arrived in Belfast. These were the first of approximately 1.5 million American troops that would be stationed in Great Britain or would pass through to fight towards Germany. The experiences in Europe were very different from anything the American troops were used to. This was the first time that many of the servicemen went outside the country. Upon arrival in the United Kingdom, the American troops were given a pamphlet by the War Department telling them the do’es and don’ts during their time there. Some of the important sayings in the pamphlet were, “Never criticize the King or Queen,” and “The British don’t know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don’t know how to make a good cup of tea. It’s an even swap.”
This event led to further strengthening of the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. It is an important part of World War II because it was the beginning of the United States’ time on the European front. Without the addition of the United States on the side of the Allies, the war could have had a very different outcome.