How many attempts..

How many attempts have there been to explain what the Second World War did to Britain? One thousand? Ten thousand? What
none of them can undermine is that in that titanic struggle the English had the clearest idea of what they stood for and, therefore,
the sort of people they were. It was nothing to do with Hitler's pride in his Fatherland, it was something smaller, more personal, and I think, more quietly powerful. Take David Lean's 1945 tale of forbidden love, Brief Encaunter. The couple meet in the tearoom of a railway station, where she is waiting for the steam train home after a day's shopping. A speck of coal dirt gets caught in her eye and, without a word of introduction, the gallant local doctor steps forward and removes it.