"Yesterday morning the
British Ambassador in the United States handed the American
Government a note stating that, unless we heard from North Korea
by midnight that they were
prepared at once to give up their nuclear weapons and plans, a
state of war would
exist between us.
I have to tell you now that
no such undertaking has been received, and that
consequently this country is at war with North Korea, as allies
of the American forces.
I don't need to tell you what
a bitter blow it is to me that all of our long struggles to
peace have failed. Yet I do not believe that there is anything
more or anything
different that I could have done that would have been more
Up to the very last it would
have been quite possible to have arranged a peaceful
and honourable settlement between North Korea and the USA, but
Hong Gi-dong would not listen.
He had evidently made up his mind to use his nuclear program
whatever happened, and
although He now says he put forward reasonable proposals which
were rejected by
the USA, that is not a true statement. The proposals were never
shown to the
United States, nor to us. His action shows convincingly that
there is no chance of expecting that this man will ever give up
his practice of using force to gain his will. He can only be
stopped by force.
We and the United States of
America are today, in fulfilment of our obligations, going to the
South Korea. We have a clear conscience. We have done all that
any country could do to
establish peace. The situation in which no word given by North
Korea's ruler could be
trusted and no people or country could feel safe has become
And now that we have resolved to finish it, I know that you will
all do what is necessary
with calmness and courage.
At such a moment as this the
assurances of support that we have received from the
United Nations are a source of profound encouragement to
The Government have made
plans under which it will be possible to carry on the
work of the nation in the days of stress and strain that may be
ahead. But these
plans need your help. You may be taking your part in the fighting
services or as
a volunteer in one of the branches of Civil Defence. If so you
will report for
duty in accordance with the instructions you have received. You
may be engaged in
work essential to the prosecution of war for the maintenance of
the life of the
people - in factories, in transport, in public utility concerns,
or in the supply
of other necessaries of life. If so, it is of vital importance
that you should
carry on with your jobs.
Now may God bless you all. It
is the evil things that we
shall be fighting against - brute force, bad faith, injustice,
persecution - and against them I am certain that the good will
Austin turned off the
television, hoping his fiancée didn't hear. He knew she would
panic and he didn't want to do that to her, not now.
Unfortunately, it was too late. Nicole came skidding into the
living room from the kitchen, he eyes filled with
'Was that what I think it
'What, that? No baby, don't
worry about it. That was nothing.' He lied, his voice
'Austin, don't you lie to me!
That was Bernard Jones on television all official and everything.
In times like these, there is only one reason the prime minister
would be making such an official and solemn speech. We're at war
aren't we? They're going to send you and the team out there
and... and...' Her speech was drowned out by chest racking sobs
that overtook her.
Austin sighed and wrapped his
arms around her. Yes, the Prime Minister had just announced a
state of war, and that would surely mean that he and his squad
would be shipped out soon to go and help out. He wanted
desperately to comfort her before the call came, but he had
already begun to feel the excitement of impending
He had trained for years for
this moment; and despite knowing that the war would bring nothing
but misery to the country for however long it dragged on for, he
couldn't help but look forward to seeing his first real
All at once, Nicola's sobs were
drowned out by the shrill shriek of the phone. This was it, the
call that would change his life. He disentangled himself from
Nicole, watching as she sank into the sofa still crying. He
turned away from her as he lifted the
'Corporal Newman, You are to
report for duty along with your squad at oh-eight-hundred hours.
Do you read?'
'Yes sir, loud and
'Very good, further details on
arrival.' The line went dead.
The voice from the phone was
familiar to Austin, it belonged to a General in the army. The
same General that he had always taken his orders from. They had
never met, this General preferring to communicate by telephone
and emails. Austin didn't even know his name, instead referring
to him as either General or O.
He hadn't ever stopped to
wonder why, he supposed it was something to do with security, and
those with top clearance would know who he really was, he had
never steered him wrong yet. He replaced the receiver in its
cradle and turned to look at Nicole. She had stopped crying and
was looking at him expectantly.
'That was the General sweety, I
am reporting for duty at 8 tomorrow
'Austin... I know you have to
get ready, you don't have much time. I'm sorry for being so
selfish, you just make sure you come home alright?' Her clear
blue eyes pleaded with him.
'I'll do my best, I erm, I have
to go talk to the squaddies. We'll talk tonight OK?' He squeezed
her shoulder as he turned and left the living
Austin had a lot to do, he
headed up stairs so he could make his calls in private. First he
called around all the members of his squad, making sure the
General had called them all and they knew where they were going.
After a brief catch up with his friends, he began calling his
His mother was the hardest, she
had lost his father to cancer the year before, and she was
unwilling to accept that her son was going to be in danger and
she couldn't help. For nearly an hour he comforted her, and
reminded her that he didn't have a choice. Eventually he
convinced her that he would be fine, and that it was Nicole that
would need help. His mother agreed to look out for her and ensure
she would never be dealing with things alone. He knew the promise
was a good one.
Finally she let him go, and
feeling the usual exhaustion that comes with talking to his
mother, he began packing his overnight bag. After he had packed
his Combat Uniform, and a selection of clean undergarments, he
began searching for personal effects.
He knew he couldn't take
anything too big with him, he had to be able to carry everything
on his person at all times. He found his favourite picture of
Nicole, and folded it into the pocket on the chest of his
uniform. A little something to get him through the cold nights.
He yanked the chain around his neck, pulling it out, to ensure
his I.D. tags were still there. Not able to think of anything
else to carry with him, he zipped his bag and tossed it down the
'Austin! What have I said about
just tossing things around?' Nicole's angry voice drifted up to
him. 'Look at this, you've knocked over the hall table.' He could
hear her sighing in frustration and righting the table his bag
had knocked over.
He began to go to her to help,
but found himself frozen on the staircase, just watching her. All
at once he realised he didn't know how long he would be away for.
At this point he didn't even know where he would be going. As he
watched her move through the hall, straightening the bits and
pieces his bag had tried to destroy, he felt a sudden surge of
love and regret.
She looked up and saw him
staring and, walked to the foot of the stairs. She read the look
on his face and held out her hand.
'Come on babe, what's the
'Huh? Oh, right, nothing. I was
just watching you. That's all.' He quickly rearranged his
'Yeah? Sure. Come on, lets go
out to eat tonight, who knows when we'll get the chance again?'
Her voice was soft, understanding and he followed her, never
taking his eyes from her.
They spent the evening at
Austin's favourite restaurant, but their dreams of a quiet dinner
were ruined. Seems the whole town had decided to have 'one last
meal out' in wake of the war declaration. It didn't matter to
them though, for them the place might as well have been
After dinner they headed to the
bowling lanes with the intent of having some fun together before
he left. Nicole wanted him to forget about the pressure and the
dangers for tonight, so they could both enjoy each other's
company without a big goodbye hanging over them. Although he
tried to hide it, behind his arrogance and excitement he was
afraid. He was afraid that he might never come back to this
woman, and if he did she might not want him any
They drank, danced and bowled,
not caring that people were looking at the couple. After a couple
of hours, they both knew they'd have to go home. Austin had to be
up and ready to leave early the next day, so he needed to sleep
early. He took Nicole home and, pausing only once at the foot of
the stairs to kick his shoes off, led her
'You know Nicole, I love you. I
promise I will come home, and as soon as I do I will make you
Mrs. Newman.' Tears threatened to spill from his eyes,and he
blinked them back.
'I know babe, let's not talk
about that now. There is plenty of time for promises and tears
tomorrow. I love you.' She pulled him close, wrapping her arms
He sat down on the edge of the
bed, pulling her down with him, eager to spend his last night at
home in her arms.
The following day, Austin was
pulled out of a deep and comfortable slumber by his mobile phone
screaming from the bedside table. He groaned and lifted it to his
'Good morning Corporal! This is
your early morning wake up call. Up and at 'em
'McCall? Is that you? I hate
you.' A deep chuckle came back to him.
'Aye Sir, I know you do, all
the same get off that beautiful woman of yours and pull your
pants up. We're coming to get you in an
Austin had missed his team, it
had been a while since he had seen them all. McCall thought he
was funny, but at five in the morning, he wasn't feeling it. He
pulled himself out of Nicole's arms and made his way to the
bathroom. He stepped into the shower and proceeded to hit the
front of the control box until cold tendrils of water descended
upon him. The shock woke him properly, and he adjusted the
settings, warming the water.
He was in the shower for a mere
ten minutes, but when he arrived downstairs, Nicole was waiting
with bacon and toast, coffee and orange juice. She was smiling,
but he could see the calm was surface only.
'Did you sneak down while I was
in the shower? Or am I still dreaming?'
'I heard your phone, came down
about the time you were fighting the shower. Enjoy, can't have
you leaving on a poor breakfast.' A tear escaped and slid down
As Austin finished his
breakfast, the front door opened and in strode
'Good morning lovers! Time to
go Sir. Your carriage awaits.' He signalled the door as he
'Still haven't learned to knock
I see McCall.' Nicola poked him and gave him a brief hug. 'You
make sure my soldier comes back in one piece, you
'I'll be one second McCall.
I'll meet you out there.' Austin told him, nodding at the
McCall squeezed Nicole and
released her into Austin's arms, smiled and left them to say
'This isn't goodbye, so don't
you dare say it.' Nicole whispered.
'I'll be home soon. Look
'Stop it. No goodbyes. I love
you, be safe. Now go.' She cut him off and squeezed him
'I love you.' He waited while
she planted a kiss on his cheek and turned, closing the door to
his home for the last time in who knows how
Authors Note: The declaration of war
speech was adapted from
Transcript of Neville Chamberlain's Declaration of war from world
war two. Any suggestions on a title will be taken into
consideration. Thanks for reading!