Churchill’s speech in my opinion very good. It will not please the Left, but they forget that he has to speak to the whole world, e.g. to middle-western Americans, airmen and naval officers, disgruntled shop-keepers and farmers, and also the Russians themselves, as well as to the leftwing political parties. His hostile references to Communism were entirely right and simply emphasised the fact that this offer of help was sincere. One can imagine the squeal that will be raised over these by correspondents in the New Statesman, etc. What sort of impression do they think it would make if Stalin stood up and announced “I have always been a convinced supporter of capitalism”?
Impossible to guess what impression this move of Hitler’s will make in the U.S.A. The idea that it will promptly bring into being a strong pro-Nazi party in England is a complete error. There are no doubt wealthy people who would like to see Hitler destroy the Soviet regime, but they will be a small minority. The Catholics will certainly be among them, but will probably be too acute to show their hands until Russian resistance begins to break down. Talking to people in the Home Guard, including Blimps and quite wealthy businessmen, I find everyone completely pro-Russian, though much divided in opinion about the Russian capacity to resist. Typical conversation, recorded as well as I can remember it: –
Wholesale poulterer: “Well, I hope the Russians give them a bloody good hiding.”
Clothing manufacturer (Jewish): “They won’t. They’ll go to pieces, just like last time. You’ll see.”
Doctor (some kind of foreigner, perhaps refugee): “You’re absolutely wrong. Everyone’s underrated the strength of Russia. They’ll wipe the floor with the Nazis.”
Wholesale grocer: “Damn it, there’s two hundred bloody millions of them”.
Clothing manufacturer: “Yes, but they’re not organised”, etc., etc., etc.
All spoken in ignorance, but showing what people’s sentiments are. Three years ago the great majority of people above £1000 a year, or even about £6 a week, would have sided with the Germans as against the Russians. By this time, however, hatred of Germany has made them forget everything else.
All really depends on whether Russia and Britain are ready really to cooperate, with no arrière-pensée and no attempt to shove the brunt of the fighting on to one another. No doubt a strong pro-Nazi party exists in Russia, and I dare say Stalin is at the head of it. If Russia changes sides again and Stalin plays the part of Pétain, no doubt the Communists here will follow him and go pro-Nazi again. If the Soviet régime is simply wiped out and Stalin killed or taken prisoner, many Communists would in my opinion transfer their loyalty to Hitler. At present the British Communists have issued some kind of manifesto calling for a “People’s Government”, etc. etc. They will change their tune as soon as the hand-out from Moscow comes. If the Russians are really resisting it is not in their interest to have a weak government in Britain, or subversive influences at work here. The Communists will no doubt be super-patriotic within ten days – the slogan will probably be “All power to Churchill” – and completely disregarded. But if the alliance between the two countries is genuine, with a certain amount give-and-take, the internal political effects on both sides must be all for the best. The special circumstances which made the Russian military assistance a bad influence in Spain don’t exist here.
Everyone is remarking in anticipation what a bore the Free Russians will be. It is forecast that they will be just like the White Russians. People have visions of Stalin in a little shop in Putney, selling samovars and doing Caucasian dances, etc., etc.