28.8.41

I am now definitely an employee of the B.B.C.

The line on the eastern front, in so far as there is a line, now runs roughly Tallinn, Gomel, Smolensk, Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson. The Germans have occupied an area which must be larger than Germany, but have not destroyed the Russian Armies. The British and Russians invaded Iran 3 days ago and the Iranians have already packed up. No rumours that one can take hold of about movements of troops in this country. They have only about a month now in which to start something on the continent, and I don’t believe they intend anything of the kind. Beneath the terms of the Churchill-Roosevelt declaration one can read that American anti-Hitler feeling has cooled off as a result of the invasion of the U.S.S.R. On the other hand there is no sign that willingness to endure sacrifices etc. in this country has increased because of it. There are still popular complaints because we are not doing enough to help the U.S.S.R. but their whole volume is tiny. I think the Russian campaign can be taken as settled in the sense that Hitler cannot break through the Caucasus and the Middle East this winter, but that he is not going to collapse and that he has inflicted more damage than he has received. There is no victory in sight at present. We are in for a long, dreary, exhausting war, with everyone growing poorer all the time. The new phase which I foresaw earlier has now started, and the quasi-revolutionary period which began with Dunkirk is finished. I therefore bring this diary to an end, as I intended to do when the new phase started.

This was the last entry in Orwell’s War-time Diary until March 1942. The next entry will appear on this blog on 14th March 1942/2012. In the meantime, why not check out our blog of Orwell’s 1931 hop-picking diary, or his 1936 Wigan Pier diary?

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23 Responses to 28.8.41

  1. Jean-Paul et Heather says:

    OK then.
    See you again in March…

  2. Bogus George. Bogus.

  3. Greg says:

    He’s been just an empty shell without the chickens.

  4. M G says:

    The Wigan Pier diary has been stuck on March since, well March, and I check it every few days. Thanks to all concerned for the diary so far, I’ll return in 2012. In the month since the last post I managed to read all of ‘The Lion & the Unicorn’ linked helpfully by Jamesonlewis3rd, so thanks for that JL3.

  5. M G ~~
    You’re welcome.

    George~~
    I was disappointed. Now I’m despondent. See you around. I guess. [sniff]

  6. andrew says:

    Eric, no! Guys, everybody, if we beg I bet he’ll post more. Come on Eric! This winter is going to suck harder than any winter ever, we need to hear what you think about it!

  7. http://wwar2homefront.blogspot.com/ WW2: A Civilian in the Second World War
    This blog posts extracts from E J Rudsdale’s diaries of life on the home front in Britain during the Second World War. Each extract is posted exactly 70 years after it was first written, so follow events through the eyes of a witness to the war.

  8. TimothyMN says:

    “This was the last entry in Orwell’s War-time Diary until March 1942.”

    Dear oh dear George. It’s so easy to start these new fangled blog type things, but it takes time and effort to keep them going. It seems so tempting to think you can churn out a few hundred extra words every few days. And then, when the day job has left you tired and fretful, it all seems too much effort, something best put off tell tomorrow. And then tomorrow is tomorrows tomorrow. So if you start something George, try and keep it going. Just saying like.

  9. TimothyMN says:

    And I should have added: congratulations on the BBC job. You should now be a bit more financially secure – and not have to go back to the old days of counting eggs.

  10. Sharone Stone says:

    Glad to see You got your self a job on the BBC! Congrats!

  11. Where did Eric Blair derive the personal experience of totalitarian information control which he’d later fictionalize in his most famous book? I suspect he was entering that period now (ie. 70 years ago). How interesting there’s a break in the diary here…

  12. Barry Larking says:

    “Where did Eric Blair derive etc., etc.” Orwell left his work with the B.B.C. because he grew bored with it and because he felt himself (as usual with him at this time) underused as a lowly talks organiser beaming programmes to India, an India that was later discovered not to be listening. That he disagreed with British policy towards Indian Independence at that date was also a factor. Many mistake wartime London in the 40s as the genesis for the atmosphere in ‘Nineteen Eighty Four” if not more of that books effects. True, the organisational background of canteens and the landscape of bomb sites and shortages were drawn from that experience. Yet, I believe John Thompson in his book “Orwell’s London” is correct in drawing attention to the influence on the young schoolboy Orwell of the First World War, of the phenomenon of ‘Victory’ rallies in Trafalgar Square, massive public slogans (including Leetes famous “Your Country Needs You”, obviously a precursor of ‘Big Brother is Watching’) and the militarisation of society as a whole for total war, something completely new. Orwell’s parting shot to the B.B.C. was to compare poetry reading on air as being like “the Muses in striped trousers”.

  13. Gwil says:

    Hi George, did you bump into Dylan Thomas? He’d be in the BBC bar. Or co-working the mikes. Wouldn’t join up. Drank 10 pints of beer the night before his army medical. So he failed it. That’s one way out of the carnage.

    Barry Larking’s “Orwell left his work with the BBC because he grew bored…” – mmm obviously didn’t meet Dylan.

  14. God Is Dead The Video says:

    Are you not posting anymore?

  15. @God is Dead The Video

    There’s a break in the diary at the moment, until 14th March 1942/2012 – but we’ll be posting again from then.

    Hope that helps!

  16. Copywriter says:

    Hey, I love diaries of old written by witnesses. They say much more truth than historians say.

    I would also recommend a diary of German submarine officer, called Iron Coffins.. Amazing things to read there.

  17. andrew says:

    70 years later, there’s another vicious winter in eastern europe… will it be enough to save russia again, this time from the insidious forces of western democracy?

  18. timothyMN says:

    Almost the 14th March when George will find time in his busy schedule for us all again.

    I wonder if he’ll have something on eggs and the counting thereof? I suppose that is just too much to ask.

  19. Winston says:

    Wakey wakey George! Its 14th March!

  20. Mattias says:

    Well now. Looks to me like mr. Orwell is a day late.

  21. Adam says:

    Hello George where are you?

  22. Konifuji says:

    I have heard that the good people of the Orwell prize are suffering from jet lag after returning from their well earned six month holiday but will be back soon with a new entry. What are the odds that it just says “Two eggs”?

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