30.6.41

No real news of the Russo-German campaign. Extravagant claims by both sides, all through the week, about the number of enemy tanks, etc., destroyed. All one can really believe in is captures of towns, etc., and the German claims so far are not large. They have taken Lemberg and appear to have occupied Lithuania, and claim also to have by-passed Minsk, though the Russians claim that their advance has been stopped. At any rate there has been no break-through. Everyone already over-optimistic. “The Germans have bitten off more than they can chew. If Hitler doesn’t break through in the next week he is finished”, etc., etc. Few people reflect that the Germans are good soldiers and would not have undertaken this campaign without weighing the chances beforehand. More sober estimates put it thus: “If by October there is still a Russian army in being and fighting against Hitler, he is done for, probably this winter.” Uncertain what to make of the Russian government’s action in confiscating all private wirelesses. It is capable of several explanations.

Nothing definite about the nature of our alliance with the U.S.S.R. Last night everyone waited with much amusement to hear whether the Internationale was played after the national anthems of the other allies. [1] No such thing, of course. However, it was a long time before the Abyssinian national anthem was added to the others. They will ultimately have to play some tune to represent the U.S.S.R., but to choose it will be a delicate business.

[1] It was the custom of the BBC to play the national anthems of all Allied nations each Sunday evening. Peter Davison

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8 Responses to 30.6.41

  1. TimothyMN says:

    Following my usual link at first I wondered if I arrived at the right place. All looked so disconcertingly unfamiliar. The text however did read something like that I was expecting.

    So this is the makeover for the Orwell Diaries. After the initial shock… yes it is better and more readable and, yes, an improvement.

  2. @TimothyMN

    Thank you – glad you like the new look! If you have any suggestions on how we can improve it further, please get in touch.

  3. truth is life says:

    Luckily Stalin took care of the whole Internationale business by just coming up with a new anthem in 1944. However, that was in 1944, so I do wonder what the BBC did between 1941 and then.

    It is also funny to see how people have shifted from being utterly pessimistic about Soviet military capabilities to being utterly enamored of them, even George (your estimate of having the thing wrapped up by 1942 was a bit off!)

  4. Barry Larking says:

    Not nearly as “funny” as the frequent predictions of the immanent collapse of North Vietnam made (using charts and graphs) throughout my teens and student days.

    Seventy years ago the very confusion made prediction precarious. Orwell mentions without accreditation ‘More sober estimates put it thus: “If by October there is still a Russian army in being and fighting against Hitler, he is done for, probably this winter.”’ This was not so far off the truth, though it wasn’t really until Kursk that the game was up. In a book review published in The Observer, (for which Orwell was a columnist later in the war) written in the 70s I believe, A.J.P. Taylor contended that the promise of an easy German victory came not from Hitler but his generals. However, most authorities I have read seem to believe it was Hitler’s decision to surround and annihilate an otherwise helpless Russian concentration of forces near Smolensk that delayed the thrust towards Moscow favoured by at least some of his High Command. Evenso, it must be wondered what Hitler would have achieved even if Moscow had fallen. From this distance in time the whole enterprise seems fatally flawed. Luckily for dear old Blighty fighting on its own.

    P.S. I like the new arrangements.

  5. Sean Forman says:

    One comment on the appearance. It is like you have two separate headers. I would change the large image to a link to the blog front page, get rid of text, “Orwell Diaries, 1938-1942″, and move the subhead “George Orwell’s domestic and political diary entries, posted 70 years to the day after they were written” above or below the Webby award material in the right gutter.

  6. George~~
    You said, “Few people reflect that the Germans are good soldiers and would not have undertaken this campaign without weighing the chances beforehand.”

    Without knowing your sampling criteria (how many conversations you eavesdropped upon, et cetera) I would venture a guess and say that few people reflect on this because it is painfully obvious that the Germans are not good soldiers and did not weigh the chances beforehand.

    “Not only was Hitler a misanthrope, he was a sociopath with an army of idolizing sociopaths.” ~~Anonymous

  7. M G says:

    As Eddie Izzard once put it, Hitler obviously never played Risk when he was a kid.

  8. M G says:

    Sorry, should have put a warning on that, contains language which may offend.

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