We are clearing out of Crete. Mention of 13,000 men being evacuated. [1] No mention yet of the total number involved. The most frightful impression will be created if we remove the British troops and leave the Greeks behind, though from a cold-blooded military point of view it might be the right thing to do.

The British are in Bagdad°. It would be even better to hear they were in Damascus. One knows in advance that we shall not make sufficiently harsh terms with the Irakis, i.e. shall not make possession of the oil wells a condition of granting them an armistice. Hess has simply dropped out of the news for some days past. The evasive answers to questions about him in Parliament, denial that the Duke of Hamilton had ever received a letter from him, statement that M.O.I, had been “misinformed” when it issued this piece of news, failure apparently by the whole House to ask who had misinformed M.O.I., and why, were so disgraceful that I am tempted to look the debate up in Hansard and find out whether it was not censored in the newspaper reports.

The sirens have just sounded, after a period of 3 weeks in which there has not been a single air-raid.

[1] Of the 42,500 servicemen on Crete, 16,500 were rescued, of whom some 2,000 were Greek soldiers (Liddell Hart, p. 14). Peter Davison

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5 Responses to 1.6.41

  1. TimothyMN says:

    It’s unclear if Orwell thinks Britain should have assumed control of Iraqi oil wells. The passage could certainly be read that way. If so, then, is a streak of little England imperialism poking out here?

  2. M G says:

    Well, there is a war on! I think he makes plain his attitude in the 3.5.41 entry. No time for pulling punches.

  3. Barry Larking says:

    TimothyMN would perhaps wish for the wells to remain in Iraqi hands? An Iraq that in common with many other ‘neutrals’ supported the Axis? Orwell, critic of Imperialism little or otherwise, certainly did think the oil wells ought to be seized; moreover, that Britain should get on with the seizing! Eventually, having watched helpless as Hitler occupied one ‘neutral’ country after another the British learned that ‘those who are not with you are against you’.

  4. Barry Larking says:

    In the light of Orwell’s alleged “little England imperialism” this has come to my attention:


  5. “‘Imperialism,’ heh,” said Adolf. “It is to laugh!”

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