Orwell diaries begin final countdown to war

I posted last month about George Orwell’s diary entries from 1939 appearing daily in blog form on the same dates 70 years later.

If you have a historical interest in the beginnings of the Second World War, this would be a good time to start following it. His entries include clippings from the British newspapers, which on August 22, 1939, reported the flight of German Foreign Minister Von Rippentrop to Moscow to conclude a “non-aggression pact” with the Soviet Union– in fact an agreement to carve up Poland. (The news appeared on the front pages along with reports of a lightning strike that killed seven at a park in Ilford, Essex.)

I hope we get some clippings from The Daily Worker (now The Morning Star).

Of course we know all too well how things proceeded from there. But reading “the first draft of history” is always fascinating.

Update: From The Daily Telegraph, August 24, 1939:

The Reich Foreign Minister arrived at the [Moscow] central airport at one o’clock from Koenigsberg, East Prussia, in Herr Hitler’s giant four-motor Focke-Wulf Condor transport, displaying a huge swastika on the rudder.

Herr von Ribbentrop stepped out, wearing a dark overcoat and a black felt hat, to receive a more elaborate reception than was accorded the Anglo-French missions when they arrived.

Though on that occasion the Union Jack and the Tricolour were missing, to-day a large swastika was flying from the mast and five smaller ones on the airport building confronted the father of the Anti-Communist Pact.

These smaller ones were hastily manufactured last night when it was found impossible to obtain German flags in Moscow.

And here’s the front page of the British Communist party’s Daily Worker for August 24, 1939. Make of it what you will.