The rightwing reaction is now in full swing, and Margesson’s entry into the Cabinet is no doubt a deliberate cash-in on Wavell’s victory in Egypt.  Comically enough a review of Wavell’s life of Allenby which I wrote some months ago was printed in Horizon just at the time when the news of Sidi Barrani came through.  I said in the review that as Wavell held so important a command the chief interest of the book was the light it threw on his own intellect, and left it to be inferred that I didn’t think much of this.  So the laugh was on me – though, God Knows, I am glad enough to have been wrong. [1]

The word “blitz” now used everywhere to mean any kind of attack on anything.  Cf. “strafe” in the last war.  “Blitz” is not yet used as a verb, a development I am expecting.

[1] For Orwell’s review, published in December 1940, see 712.  General Wavell’s forces broke through the Italian lines under General Graziani at Sidi Barrani on 9 December 1940.  In the March issue of Horizon, the Editorial Comment concluded with this paragraph: ‘To the Spectator, and the many Horizon readers who have objected to Orwell’s review of Wavell’s Allenby, the Editor would like to point out that the review was written in the early summer, at a time when, after France, the title of general was unreassuring, and when Orwell had no inkling that the biographer of Allenby was to prove greater than his subject.  It was several months before space could be found for it, and Mr. Orwell states that he was mistaken about General Wavell, and is glad he was mistaken, sorry to have made the mistake’ (162).  For correspondence in The Spectator occasioned by this review, see Orwell’s letter in reply, 778. Peter Davison

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21 Responses to 2.1.41

  1. mike says:

    “blitz” as a verb? oh, I hope not!

  2. andrew says:

    oy vey, it’s even what we call pancakes nowadays! i had three blitzes for breakfast just this morning. (but, i may still be so blitzed from last night that i’m not sure if there’s another letter that’s creeped in there over the long decades…)

  3. Barry Larking says:

    Orwell may indeed have been correct in his opinion of Wavell. It was O’Connor who showed what initiative could achieve against greater numbers. Subsequently Churchill’s interference in the conduct of operations prolonged the desert war and cost lives. Churchill sacked Wavell and later Auchinleck when his insistence resulted in their defeats.

  4. Friday, 3.1.1941:
    A decree in Germany outlaws the use of Blackletter Gothic typefaces in favour of Antiqua.

  5. Random. Saturday, 4.1.1941:
    …de Gaulle demands the immediate release of Muselier…Dublin and some adjoining areas are bombed by the Luftwaffe…Greek forces launch a drive westwards, towards Valona…Wavell orders British forces to advance into Cyrenaica, to exploit their victory against the Italians. 7th Armoured Division under General Creagh detours around Bardia and marches toward Tobruk…German-born actress Marlene Dietrich becomes a naturalised US citizen…

    French Indochina was granted dominion status.

  6. Hold on there, George! Custer is on the way. He’ll be with you in a year.

  7. Posted January 5 and awaiting moderation:
    The heart-wrenching story of Amy Johnson

  8. Posted January 5 and awaiting moderation:
    We also have Operation Compass.

  9. Posted January 5 and awaiting moderation:
    We also have Operation Compass.

  10. Yes, I know that posting more than one link in a comment requires approval from the moderator.

  11. Ben says:

    come on George we’re waiting here…

  12. Jameson,
    Perhaps there’s a Marlene Dietrich filmette in the archives to keep our sinking spirits up as we wait for George to return and the Luftwaffe’s bombs rain down on Blighty?

  13. I’m the sexy lola.
    Der liebling of the fashion.
    I have a pianola.
    At home in my drawing room.
    I’m the sexy lola.
    Everybody knows me.
    But no one can touch my pianola.


  14. Meanswhile, since it is Thursday, the 16th:
    There are German and Italian attacks on Malta and especially the damaged carrier Illustrious. A force of about 80 Stuka dive-bombers attacks and, although 10 are shot down, they hit the carrier again as well as the cruiser Perth. The harbor facilities are also badly hit.
    The Maltese population failed to take adequate shelter in today’s raids. Tonight, they are digging deep into Malta’s limestone strata, suddenly aware that, despite the defending British aircraft – which shot down five Stukas today – the Luftwaffe will not let up.

    In the current ‘Aviation’ magazine T.P. Wright, of the Curtis-Wright corporation states that the aircraft industry of the US is at present working upon some 45 or 50 different military models and that this is a condition which does not make for speed. He estimates the present air strength of Germany and Italy at 41,000 planes, of Great Britain at 24,500 and the United States at 6,000.

  15. George~~
    During these agonizing lapses in communication, I console myself by watching films such as Metropolis. I am just finishing up H. G. Wells’ Things to Come:

    Raymond Massey starring as John Cabal and Oswald Cabal

  16. I just consoled myself by writing a poem about the inner-workings of Jean Cocteau so far as the muse is concerned. Has anyone ever written a poem about George? I mean the real George. Not an easy task I would say. I wouldn’t know where to start.

  17. Some propoganda from last month: Holly and barbed wire.

  18. Pingback: 22.1.41 « THE ORWELL PRIZE

  19. Ezov says:

    Blitz is a verb,just like “nuke”.

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