Orwell Diaries 1938-1942

13.6.42

The most impressive fact about the Molotov visit is that the Germans knew nothing about it. Not a word on the radio about Molotov’s presence in London till the signature of the treaty was officially announced, although all the while the German radio was shouting about the bolshevisation of Britain. Obviously they would have split the beans if they had known. Taken on conjunction with certain other things (eg. The capture last year of two very amateurish spies dropped by parachute, with portable wireless transmitters and actually with chunks of German sausage in their suitcases) this suggests that the German spy system in this country cannot be up to much.

A sequence of four newspaper cuttings is pasted into the manuscript Diary at this point. For full details see Complete Works, XIII, pp. 362-3.;

  1. From editorial in Tribune of 12.6.42. on the death of Wm. Mellor. [1] Their idea of “Vigorous style”.
  2. From Hitler’s speeches, quoted in Reynold’s [2] of 21.6.42.
  3. Tribune of 12.6.42. (article by Wilfred Macartney). Cf. prewar references to axis censorship, radio hypnosis etc. Cf. also German official statements in the Cologne raid.
  4. How we live in 1942 (cutting from E. Standard: Illustration of five women, captioned ‘Russia’s Tommy-Gun Girls are Ready to Fight.’

[1] William Mellor (1888-1942), left-wing journalist and author, edited the Daily Herald, which he had joined in 1903, from 1926 to 1930. He was then Assistant Managing Editor of Odhams Press until he became editor of Tribune, 1 January 1937. He wrote Direct Action (1920) and, with G.D.H. Cole, The Meaning of Industrial Freedom (1918). He was a member of the National Council of the Socialist League.

[2] Reynold’s News was a Labour-inclined Sunday newspaper: see Diary of Events Leading up to the War, 3.9.39, n. 2