19.4.42

Tokio bombed, or supposed to have been bombed, yesterday. [1] Hitherto this comes only from Japanese and German sources. Nowadays one takes it so much for granted that everyone is lying that a report of this kind is never believed until confirmed by both sides. Even an admission by the enemy that his capital had been bombed might for some reason or other be a lie.

[[Eileen] says that Anand remarked to her yesterday, as though it were a matter of course, that Britain would make a separate peace this year, and seemed surprised when she demurred. Of course Indians have to say this, and have been saying it ever since 1940, because it furnishes them if necessary with an excuse for being anti-war, and also because if they could allow themselves to think any good of Britain whatever their mental framework would be destroyed. Fyvel told me how in 1940, at the time when Chamberlain was still in government, he was at a meeting at which Pritt and various Indians were present. The Indians were remarking in their pseudo-Marxist way “Of course the Churchill-Chamberlain government is about to make a compromise peace”, whereat Pritt told them that Churchill would never make peace and that the only difference (then) existing in Britain was the difference between Churchill and Chamberlain.]

More and more talk about an invasion of Europe – so much so as to make one think something of the kind must be afoot, otherwise the newspapers would not risk causing disappointment by talking so much about it. Amazed by the unrealism of much of this talk. Nearly everyone seems still to think that gratitude is a factor is power politics. Two assumptions which are habitually made throughout the Left press are a. that opening up a second front is the way to stop Russia making a separate peace, and b. that the more fighting we do the more say we shall have in the final peace settlement. Few people seem to reflect that if an invasion of Europe succeeded to the point of drawing the German armies away from Russia, Stalin would have no strong motive for going on fighting [and that a sell-out of this kind would be quite in line with the Russo-German pact and the agreement which the USSR has evidently entered into with Japan]. As to the other assumption, many people talk as though the power to decide policy when a war has been won were a sort of reward for having fought well in it. Of course the people actually able to dominate affairs are those who have the most military power, cf. America at the end of the last war.

Meanwhile the two steps which could right the situation, a. a clear agreement with the USSR and a joint (and fairly detailed) declaration of war aims, and b. an invasion of Spain, are politically quite impossible under the present government.

[1] On 18 April, sixteen B-25 bombers, led by Colonel James H. Doolittle, flew from the carrier Hornet and bombed Tokyo. The effect was psychological rather than military. Because the planes had insufficient fuel to make the return flight, they flew on to China. Bad weather forced several crash-landings; one plane landed near Vladivostok and the crew was interned; two landed in Japanese-held territory and some airmen were executed on 15 October 1942. Of the 80 crew members, 71 survived. 

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6 Responses to 19.4.42

  1. For ‘executed’ read murdered.

  2. Absolutely fascinating.
    “Nearly everyone seems still to think that gratitude is a factor in power politics”, writes Orwell. Is it entirely absent?

  3. Ticaitu says:

    For “bombed” read “terror-bombed”.

  4. andrew says:

    great times had by all!

  5. Sorry, it has reappeared!

  6. Why are my comments – pretty inoffensive, surely – always “awaiting moderation”?

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