Early to mid September 1940 were undoubtably the darkest weeks of WWII.
Britain awaited an air assault followed by a sea invasion by a all-powerful German war machine that was backed by Russia, Italy and Japan along with a host of quasi fascist fellow travellers among the nominally neutral nations.
There was no Big Tent of all possible talents assembled to help Britain, or any of the dozen or so smaller nations who had already fallen, equally alone and isolated, to the Axis powers.
Britain was as guilty in all of this as any nation - for it too failed to build itself a Big Tent internally, to take advantage of its empire's overwhelming demographic superiority over all the Axis powers combined.
That would have meant a quick successful invasion of Germany by a British army made up mostly of the "inferior" darkies of India and Africa and Asia.
No way was that about to happen : Churchill would rather have lost to Hitler first.
It was same around the world : populations transfixed more over issues of who they shouldn't let into their war efforts against Hitler, than in widening the scope of just who they should invite in.
All of them seemingly more intent on shrinking their gene portfolios of possible new talent and ideas than on diversifying their gene portfolios to include anyone who could possibly help.
In Dr Henry Dawson's own America, he had already had almost a decade of his nation repeatedly rejecting requests to help the small peoples of the world against naked aggression.
Now, in September, he learned his medical colleagues had a new excuse to reject requests to help the small people at home while other scientific colleagues were rejecting requests to enlist some of the smallest (and most despised) small organisms to aid the Allied medical cause.
We can all fantasize about turning a big ocean liner clean around - and the stated Allied war aims was a very big ocean liner indeed.
Or we can do what we can, with the tools at hand.
This is what Dawson chose to do.
Acting perhaps only semi-consciously, Dr Dawson gradually molded his colleague Karl Meyer's own penicillium juice synthesizing project into becoming Dawson's personal response to the lack of any 'Big Tent' thinking he saw all around him.
I doubted much if Dawson ever had any illusions about what he could achieve.
But then the kindly fates intervened and Dawson's project did indeed ultimately turn the Allied war aims around in some very important areas.
And their consequences live on to this day....