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George Orwell

Best known for the allegorical novella “Animal Farm” (1945) and the dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (1949). In 1939, he returned to the UK after fighting in the Spanish Civil War and worked on his first collection of essays "Inside the Whale".

George Orwell

Best known for the allegorical novella “Animal Farm” (1945) and the dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (1949). In 1939, he returned to the UK after fighting in the Spanish Civil War and worked on his first collection of essays "Inside the Whale".

Some rain in the night, the day overcast & rather muggy. A light shower or two in the afternoon. The ground is still very dry a few inches under the surface. Dug over all the flower garden except the small beds. After the earth has settled the new flowers can go in.

Fine, still & fairly warm. Continued clearing & got nearly to the trellis. Note that the white rambler rose has layered itself here & there. Gave all the broccoli nitrate of potash. Picked more apples. There is still 10–15 pounds on the tree, but how many will keep I do not know. I am only trying to keep the larger ones.

  1. N. Henderson has returned to Berlin with Brit. gov.t’s reply & Parliament meets this afternoon when presumably the affair will be elucidated. 
  2. Practice evacuation of school children said to have gone off successfully. Children to stand by in schools though this is not term time. 
  3. Japanese Cabinet has resigned as result of Russo-German pact. Evident that Japanese policy will now become pro-British. 

Have not been able to keep up the diary, as I have been away. The eggs are, however, entered in the hen book, though I think a certain number were not recorded. Typical autumn weather, except that of late the mornings have not been misty. Nights very clear, & the moon, which is a little past full, very fine. A certain amount of leaves yellowing.

Chilly & misty in the morning, sunny but not too warm in the day, a shower in the afternoon. 

Took up & burnt the final lot of peas, & dug over that patch. Arranged to sell off the March 8 pullets @ 5/6 a bird (paid 4/6 for them). 

11 eggs. Sold 1 score @ 3/–. Total this week: 60.

14:45

We have apparently been in a state of war since 11 am. this morning. No reply was received from the German government to the demand to evacuate Polish territory.

No definite news yet as to what military operations are actually taking place. The Germans have taken Danzig & are attacking the corridor from 4 points north & south. Otherwise only the usual claims & counterclaims about air raids, number of aeroplanes shot down etc. From reports in Sunday Express & elsewhere it seems clear that the first attempted already a British force in France. Bodies of troops with full kits constantly leaving from Waterloo, but not in enormous numbers at any one moment. See more

17:00

 Naval reservists and rest of army and R.A.F. reservists called up. Evacuation of children etc. begins today, involving 3 m. people & expected to take 3 days. [Radio; undated] 

16:10

 Hitler’s terms to Poland boil down to return of Danzig & plebiscite in the corridor, to be held 1 year hence & based on 1918 census. There is some hanky panky about time the terms were presented, & as they were to be answered by night of 8.30.39., H. claims that they are already refused. [ Daily Telegraph ] 

15:50

Invasion of Poland began this morning. Warsaw bombed. General mobilisation proclaimed in England, ditto in France plus martial law. [Radio]

Hitler’s terms to Poland boil down to return of Danzig & plebiscite in the corridor, to be held 1 year hence & based on 1918 census. There is some hanky panky about time the terms were presented, & as they were to be answered by night of 8.30.39., H. claims that they are already refused. [ Daily Telegraph ]

No clear indication of the meaning of the Russian-German pact as yet. Papers of left tendency continue to suggest that it does not amount to very much, but it seems to be generally taken for granted that Russia will supply Germany with raw materials, & possibly that there has been a large-scale bargain which amounts to handing Europe over to Germany & Asia to Russia. Molotov is to make an announcement shortly. It is clear that the Russian explanation will be, at any rate at first, that the British were playing double & did not really wish for the Anglo-French-Russian pact. See more

 Emergency Powers Act passed evidently without much trouble. Contains clauses allowing preventive arrest, search without warrant & trial in camera. But not industrial conscription as yet.

Moscow airport was decorated with swastikas for Ribbentrop’s arrival. Manchester Guardian adds that they were screened so as to hide them from the rest of Moscow.

Hot. Planted 2 rows leeks (about 75 plants). There are 5 different colours of larkspurs coming out. 

9 eggs (4 small).

16:00

Russo-German Pact signed. Terms given in Berlin (File War etc). suggest close pact & no “escape” clause. This evening’s radio news gives confirmation in Moscow in same terms. Official statement from Moscow that “enemies of both countries” have tried to drive Russia & Germany into enmity. Brit. Ambassador calls on Hitler & is told no action of ours can influence German decision. Japanese opinion evidently seriously angered by what amounts to German desertion of anti-Comintern pact, & Spanish (Franco) opinion evidently similarly affected. Rumania said to have declared neutrality. Chamberlain’s speech as reported on wireless very strong & hardly seems to allow loophole for escape from aiding Poles. Eileen on visiting W.O. today derived impression that war is almost certain. Police arrived this morning to arrange for billeting of soldiers. Some people (foreigners) arrived in afternoon looking for rooms – the second lot in 3 days. In spite of careful listening, impossible in pubs etc. to overhear any spontaneous comment or sign of slightest interest in the situation, in spite of fact that almost everyone when questioned believes it will be war. [ The Times; Daily Telegraph; News Chronicle; Manchester Guardian; Daily Express; Daily Herald; Daily Mail; London Evening News]



Hot. Some blackberries reddening. Found a few mushrooms. Most of the corn now cut, & everyone working fast to get in the remainder while the good weather lasts. Coveys of partridges are mostly large (8–12 birds) but the young birds seem rather small. Saw bird which I cannot identify. In size colour & type by flight it resembled a waterhen, but apparently was not a waterhen, as it flew too well & took to the wing too readily, & also it was nowhere near water. It got up together with a hen pheasant, but was certainly not a pheasant at any stage of development.