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|YANKS IN BRITAIN|
The bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, six months after Colonel Lee's remark, finally pushed the United States into the war. Four days after Pearl Harbor, on December 11, Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States. Throughout the British Isles, Pearl Harbor was greeted with relief and elation. "England would live," Winston Churchill wrote. "Britain would live; the Commonwealth of Nations and the Empire would live." He remembered Sir Edward Grey's comparing America to a gigantic boiler: "Once the fire is lighted under it, there is no limit to the power it can generate." Churchill later wrote, "I went to bed, and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful."
The British prime minister knew that the United States would soon be providing critical assistance to his hard-pressed nation. America began to build a fighting force in Britain not long after its entry into the war. Before the war ended in 1945, more than 2 million American servicemen and women would be stationed in the British Isles, and there were few Britons who did not become familiar with the sound of an American accent. But in the spring of 1942, not many Britons had ever seen an American. Once in a while, such unfamiliarity led to awkward incidents.