28.6.40

Horribly depressed by the way things are turning out. Went this morning for my medical board and was turned down, my grade being C., in which they aren’t at present taking any men in any corps…. what is appalling is the unimaginativeness of a system which can find no use for a man who is below the average level of fitness but at least is not an invalid. An army needs an immense amount of clerical work, most of which is done by people who are perfectly healthy and only half-literate… One could forgive the government for failing to employ the intelligentsia, who on the whole are politically unreliable, if they were making any attempt to mobilise the manpower of the nation and change people from the luxury trades to productive work. This simply isn’t happening, as one can see by looking down any street.

The Russians entered Bessarabia today. Practically no interest aroused, and the few remarks I could overhear were mildly approving or at least nor hostile. Cf. the intense popular anger over the invasion of Finland. I don’t think the difference is due to a perception that Finland and Rumania are different propositions. It is probably because of our own desperate straits and the notion that this move may embarrass Hitler – as I believe it must, though evidently sanctioned by him.

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11 Responses to 28.6.40

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 28.6.40 « THE ORWELL PRIZE -- Topsy.com

  2. Pingback: Airminded · Post-blogging 1940

  3. I’m amazed that George is depressed about not been picked for soldiery on medical grounds. I think of Dylan Thomas who went to the pub and drank 10 pints the night before his army medical to make sure he didn’t pass it. Dylan’s excuse was that he could never bring himself to shoot anybody. As we know he ended upworking at the BBC. George should be happy that he’s not going to be used as cannon fodder. Mentally he seems to be stuck in the romance of the Spanish Civil War.

  4. anonymouser says:

    And now the war begins in earnest. The Russians are now massed on the Prut river, less than 200 km from Ploiesti with nothing between but wide rolling plains, prime tank country. The refineries are there, producing more than a third of Germany’s already-inadequate supply of oil.

    At the same time, Stalin’s other fist is clenching in what used to be Poland – the defensive fortifications, such as they were, are being dismantled, troops and airports moved closer to the border.

    Hitler has no choice but to strike first. It will he interesting to see how long George will take to cotton on to this.

  5. Max says:

    It wasnt the romance of Spain that lay behind Orwell’s disappointment at not being fit to fight. Unlike Dylan Thomas he knew that pacifism didn’t work with Nazis who would put a bullet in the back of your neck as soon as look at you. And, as an intellectual he knew that when and if an invasion came he was a marked man. Remember he chose not to flee to safety in Canada. Hitler was defeated by men like Orwell and not (much as I love him) by boozy old poets like Dylan.

  6. Blair has already expressed his acceptance of various worst-case scenarios and a willingness to fight to the death in the name of England and [whatever his definition is] of a Socialist Revolution. His current situation is nearly analogous to his prisoner-of-war scenario wherein his egg-selling and writing-crap-for-money activities are merely cover stories to tide him over until the credits roll and he is the Last Englishman Standing, waving a bloody sword, hip-deep in a sea of Luxury Tradesmen corpses.

    Marxists have [what I consider] an inordinate hatred of the British “shopkeeper” and would send them all into the coal mines, if they had their way. Soon afterward, though, they’d be looking high and low for somewhere to get a tooth brush and/or a pint and/or petrol…..

    Orwell should be proud of the avant-garde illiterate imbeciles with whom he interacts; Print media, paper, ink, time spent utilizing such things—such luxuries will be completely phased out—they are actually on the cutting edge.

  7. itwasntme says:

    An interesting phrase”…the intelligentsia who on the whole are politically unreliable…” I wish he would elaborate here. Does he mean the intelligentsia would turn communist and not support the government? He seems somewhat more “international” in his thinking than the general public in the UK and colonies turned out to be. He doesn’t see his countrymen as having the same mindset as he does – that he will fight them on the beaches, etc., even though he is part of the intelligentsia. Has counting eggs kept him out of touch?

    The part about “change(ing) people from luxury trades to productive work” is a bit of a puzzle to an American, but might it refer to the servant class (and tradesmen) mainly supporting the upper class? Hey, all I have for reference for this period close at hand is the TV series “Upstairs, Downstairs,” so maybe a commenter could add something here for me.

  8. In my mind, Blair’s has yet to define his version of socialism. Therefore, I have chosen to identify it with the expressionist film Metropolis (1927).

    It has been said that Orwell was not a socialist of the Stalinist variation; I guess that’s a good thing, but in what way could Blair’s variant possibly vary such that the much-coveted revolution stands a chance of victory and historic “success?”

  9. Pingback: P.O.S.Z.U. » “politically unreliable”

  10. Max says:

    Blair’s socialism had about as much chance of succeeding as any decent high-minded philosophy has today in a world corrupted by money and greed where the belief that there is no such thing as society prevails. We can thank the grocers (fathers and offspring) Orwell is said to have hated for that, I supposse.

  11. Stephen says:

    @ Max: in total agreement with your points.

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