25 August 2009
Last days of peace in 1939
Seventy years ago Britain was enjoying her last few days of peace before the war with Germany began. The writer George Orwell was busy keeping his diary up to date and the entries are being posted to the web seventy years to the day after they were first written.
The entries themselves are little more than a chronicle of the final days of peace, with a commentary on the number of eggs that his chickens produced and how the vegetable garden was coming along. That said, what makes the entries enthralling was the decision by the editor to include scans of the press clippings that Orwell kept with his diary.
It is by reading those pages that we can see Europe sliding into the war that would finally eclipse the western part of the continent's power, probably for all time.
With that hindsight in mind, taken as a whole the work makes for some sad reading.