28.7.40

This evening I saw a heron flying over Baker Street. But this is not so improbable as the thing I saw a week or two ago, i.e. a kestrel killing a sparrow in the middle of Lord’s cricket ground. I suppose it is possible that the war, i.e. the diminution of traffic, tends to increase bird life in inner London.

The little man whose name I always forget used to know Joyce[1], of the split-off fascist party, commonly credited with being Lord Haw-Haw. He says that Joyce hated Mosley passionately and talked about him in the most unprintable language. Mosley[2] being Hitler’s chief supporter in England, it is interesting that he should employ Joyce and not one of Mosley’s men. This bears out what Borkenau said, that Hitler does not want a too-strong Fascist party to exist in England[3]. Evidently the motive is always to split, and even to split the splitters. The German press is attacking the Pétain government, with what motive is not absolutely certain, and so also are elements of the French press under German control. Doriot[4] is of course to the fore here. It was a shock to me when the Sunday Times also stated that the Germans in Paris are making use of Bergery[5]. But I accept this with caution, knowing how these small dissident left parties are habitually lied about by the Right and the official left alike.

[1] William Joyce (1908-1946), known as Lord Haw-Haw supposedly from his way of speaking, was an American citizen who never acquired British nationality, although he spent most of his life in England and was a rabid nationalist. He became a Fascist for whom Oswald Mosley’s line was too mild. In August 1939 he went to Germany and in 1940 became a naturalised German. Throughout the early part of the war he broadcast propaganda to England. He was hanged by the British, 3 January 1946.

[2] Oswald Mosley, head of the British Union of Fascists

[3] See Orwell’s ‘London Letter’, Partisan Review, March-April 1941

[4] Jacques Doriot (1898-1945), a Communist who had turned to Fascism, was leader of the Parti Populaire Français, which was financed by the Germans. On 25 March 1943, he wrote to Hitler: ‘L’armée allemande et ses allié́s ne combatant pas seulement pour l’Allemagne, mais pour Europe et par conséquent pour France’. He was behind the formation of La Legion des volontaires francais contre bolchevisme (the LVF) – a first step in military collaboration with Germany during the occupation. Some 10,000 volunteers served in the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front (information from Memorial Museum, Caen).

[5] Gaston Bergery, a French deputy and intellectual, moved from the extreme right to the extreme left, and after the fall of France collaborated with the Germans. Peter Davison

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12 Responses to 28.7.40

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 28.7.40 « THE ORWELL PRIZE -- Topsy.com

  2. orwellfan says:

    Your footnote on William Joyce is seriously misleading.
    Technically it is true that he was an American citizen, though only because he happpened to have been born there. He certainly never claimed to be a U.S. citizen at any point in his adult life, and it is significant that nobody in the United States at the time, or since, ever claimed it on his behalf. Do you really suppose that, if the British had hanged a person known and accepted to be a U.S. citizen, the U.S. government would have had nothing at all to say about it?
    More to the point, while he did not take British citizenship (or rather, to avoid anachronism, become a British subject), he travelled between Ireland, Great Britain and Germany on a British passport, which he could only have obtained by representing himself as a British subject. It was for that reason that his conviction for treason against the British Crown was legally appropriate, as well as being richly deserved.
    I hope that the footnote is misleading because it was intended to be concise, rather than because you have fallen for the tiresome myth, beloved of Joyce’s ageing fans and of various extreme-left ignoramuses, that his hanging was somehow illegitimate or inappropriate. We live in a world in which otherwise intelligent people imagine that it makes sense to protest that hanging a traitor infringes his “human rights”. Joyce, and of course Orwell too, did not.

  3. Michael Teller says:

    One of the aspects of G.O. that I enjoy is his love of nature. Here he spots a Kestral in London. When in London (I am an American)I picked up a wonderful book on “Bird-Watching in London: A historical perspective” by E.M. Nicholson

  4. Smudged Kohl says:

    Herons and hypocrites.

  5. itwasntme says:

    Very interesting, all this switching and changing of parties, affiliations, tendencies. People are realigning according to their natures I think, rather than from any deep thoughtfulness about the issues involved. As an American during our several little “crises” here now (political, economical) I must remind myself to use my brain to temper my personal tendencies. Always good advice, no?

  6. Pingback: Airminded · Post-blogging 1940

  7. Now that it’s Monday the 29th, another British destroyer is sunk and the whole eastern half of the Channel is placed out of bounds for Royal Navy destroyers in daylight. Minesweeping operations continue, however, ensuring that access can be gained if necessary.

  8. * At 0010 hours on 30th July, bombs were dropped on Hull causing some damage to shops.
    * St Athan aerodrome was bombed early in the morning of 30th July, the married men’s quarters demolished and other buildings damaged. No casualties have been reported.
    * Twelve HE bombs were dropped on Norwich at 0600 hours on 30th July. A bus station was hit and buses destroyed and damaged. Houses and a water main were also damaged and some casualties were caused.
    * After the Norwich raid, no bombs were reported all the day of 30th July until 2212 hours, when bombs were dropped at Esher and Farleigh in Surrey, but no damage has been reported.
    * During the night of 30th/31st July, Barry Docks were bombed, no damage has been reported; bombs were also reported to have been dropped at Cwm Bargoed (Glamorgan) where damage was done to the railway track.
    http://www.raf.mod.uk/bob1940/july30.html

  9. Wednesday the 31st
    De Gaulle tells British government “he sees no reason why” UK should not reopen diplomatic relations with Vichy France…..

    Meanwhile, one of my operatives leaked this Memorandum by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Note the ominous tone of the last sentence: “It is important not to give up the right to drop leaflets…..the right to drop pamphlets abusive of the Vichy Government.”

  10. 01AUG40
    @ukwarcabinet tweets that Stafford Cripps in Moscow complains Foreign Minister Molotov will not meet him. Halifax to discuss with USSR Ambassador…..

  11. [Excerpt] Recommendation of the Chiefs of Staff (W.P. (40) 291) (see Minute 7):

    (e) We consider that, for the present, Middle East requirements take prece­dence over all plans for assistance to Afghanistan. In any case, such assistance should be limited to the forward move to Jalalabad-Kandahar. It is recognised that the despatch of forces overseas from India must be dependent upon the retention in India of adequate forces for the defence of the North-West Frontier and for internal security.

  12. Barry Larking says:

    It cannot be ‘misleading’ to describe someone born in the United States as an American. One of the greatest Americans of the 20th century, if national honours are anything to go by, was Werhner Von Braun. Joyce forged his British passport application which in peacetime usually attracted a forty shilling fine. This last fact comes via A.J.P. Taylor, candidate I think for ‘left wing ignoramus’. Taylor thought Joyce a victim of justice; or, perhaps like myself, simply opposed the death penalty.

    E.M. Nicholson is better known as Max. He worked at Bletchley Park as a codebreaker. He was knighted sometime later, for his work in nature conservation apparently. Orwell’s interest in natural history is not only sincere but accurate. His novel ‘Coming Up for Air’ is the current environmental debate (minus global warming) forty or fifty years ahead of its time. But it’s not much of a novel.

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