British Wives of Germans (23 august 1917)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

British Wives of Germans is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in The Times on 23 august 1917.

See also his second letter on the same topic: British Wives of Germans (28 august 1917).

British Wives of Germans

The Times (23 august 1917)



Sir, — As president of the Divorce Law Reform Association, I receive numerous letters from various victims of those abuses of British law which were so roundly condemned by a Royal Commission, but have not yet been amended. There is a movement afoot at last which will, I hope, meet the favourable consideration of the Government, to turn all the present separations into divorces. It is surely obvious, apart from humanitarian considerations, that to sterilise an appreciable part of our people when there are such gaps in our numbers is a national folly. There is another class of sufferer, however, for whom I would plead, and whose case should receive instant attention. These are the British wives of German husbands, who should, if they desire it, receive their release from a position which is terrible and unnatural. One of these writes :— "Although away from me he cannot refrain from sending insulting messages in respect to my nationality. I am married according to English law, but not, owing to his deception, according to German law." Another writes :— "If we could only escape from this detestable and unnatural position of alien enemy, which at times is literally unbearable !" Surely the bitter cry of these poor women should be heard in high places. No doubt some retaliation would be expected from the Germans, but if a German husband had such feelings towards his British wife in Germany that he desired to divorce her, it is all to the good that he should do so. The difficulty in this, as in all other cases of divorce, is that the sufferers are a small minority, and if the majority have not the imagination to understand, and the charity to help their pitiful condition. their situation is indeed hopeless.

Yours faithfully,

Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex, Aug. 21.