There is now more and more division of opinion – the question is implicit from the start but people have only recently become aware of it – as to whether we are fighting the Nazis or the German people.  This is bound up with the question of whether England should declare war aims, or, indeed, have any war aims.  All of what one might call respectable opinion is against giving the war any meaning whatever (“Our job is to beat the Boche – that’s the only war aim worth talking about”), and this is probably bound to become official policy as well. Vansittart’s “hate Germany” pamphlet [1] is said to be selling like hot cakes.

No definite news from France.  It is obvious that Pétain will give in about taking Laval into the Cabinet.  Then there will be a fresh to-do about the passage of troops through unoccupied France, bases in Africa, etc., another “firm stand”, and then more giving in.  All depends on the time factor, i.e. whether the Germans can obtain a footing in Africa before the Italian armies there finally collapse.  Perhaps next the guns will be turned against Spain, and we shall be told that Franco is making a “firm stand” and that that shows how right the British government were to take a conciliatory attitude towards Spain, until Franco gives in and attacks Gibraltar or allows the German armies to cross his territory.  Or perhaps Laval, when in power, will for a short time resist the more extreme German demands, and then Laval will suddenly turn from a villain into a patriot who is making a “firm stand”, like Pétain now.  The thing the British Conservatives will not understand is that the forces of the right have no strength in them and exist only to be knocked down.


[1] Robert Vansittart (1881-1957; Kt., 1929; Baron Vansittart of Denham, 1941), diplomat and writer, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs 1930-38, chief diplomatic adviser to the Foreign Secretary, 1938-41, was well known before and during the early part of the war for his outspoken criticism of Germany and the Germans.  The pamphlet referred to here was Black Record: Germans Past and Present (1941). Peter Davison

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5 Responses to 7.2.41

  1. Stephen says:

    ” …the forces of the right have no strength in them and exist only to be knocked down … ” True then, GO, and true still.
    Problem is, then as now, they are being knocked down by forces that are still further to the right. US Republicans for example.

  2. max says:

    Reminds one of Mrs T. allowing in the US banks and bankers and handing her people and businesses over to the American free market, leaving us hardly even an ‘unoccupied zone’ any more.

  3. George~~
    What would you suggest as acceptable “war aims,” if you don’t mind my asking?

    Dare I speculate? [Please, don’t] Okay, I will:

    Eric Blair, standing victorious atop a mound of dead conservatives, waving a dripping, bloody broadsword above the world while lightning illuminates the blackened sky, thunder rumbles beneath Earth’s crust and demons howl hungrily in the scorched distance.

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