World War ll London Blitz: 6-11-40 to 6-25-1940 Hitler received the French delegation yesterday and informed them of his terms for an armistice. Winston Churchill broadcast on Tuesday night, saying we would fight on “till the curse of Hitler is lifted from the brows of men.”

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Seventy-Eight Western Road, Romford

June 11, 1940

This is my first writing in the new home, and it is a writing of doom. Not my doom,but Europe’s.Yesterday, at six p.m. Mussolini announced from Rome that Italy was at war with Great Britain and France. This is a stab in the back, and was stigmatized as such last night by President Roosevelt, broadcasting from Virginia. The terrific battle of Somme-Aisne has been going on ceaselessly for seven days and nights. The Germans smash in and the allies keep retreating; and it is at this moment, when France is staggering under the Germans, that Mussolini, without reason or provocation, decides to enter the war, fighting for Hitler. King Leopold played the Judas two weeks ago, now it is Mussolini’s turn to act the part. What will be the next tragedy?

What I specifically want to note today is the weather. We have enjoyed one of the most beautiful spring and early summers that England has ever known. There is light, color, sunshine and warmth everywhere. The flowers and the foliage have been perfect, more beautiful than ever before. Last Saturday and Sunday we were very hot, but the blue and gold remained unabated.

Yesterday, Monday the tenth, something extraordinary happened to the weather. I rose early to go to mass with Ted. The mass this Monday and Tuesday was offered for Cuthie. It was a dull morning yesterday, when we left the house at seven a.m., but when we came out of church at eight a.m. and awful blackness filled the sky. It looked as though a frightful storm was imminent. Nothing happened: no rain, no wind, no thunder or lightning, only a spreading blackness and an awful oppressiveness of the atmosphere. This state continued all day. It was dark like a black winter’s day, and we had to switch the lights on to work by. It was an uncanny day.

Then at six o’clock came the news that Mussolini was at that moment announcing to the world the entry of Italy into war against the allies. I thought of the narrative of the crucifixion, . . .and darkness covered the earth.

The very heavens protested against Mussolini’s callousness and treachery. In myself I am at peace: a peace I have not known for years. I am full of grief, too, grief for Cuthie, grief for the world. I am full of apprehension, too. Where is Artie? We have not heard from him since June Third. The probabilities are he is in France. Yesterday Churchill announced that further troops had been safely landed in France, and that more were ready to cross over. The crucial battle of France is being fought now, and England will send quickly all the help she probably can. So if Artie isn’t in France already, I expect he soon will be. God keep him. Deliver us from evil.Amen.

I pray all the time.For Cuth.For Artie.For all the young men who are fighting to defend our freedom and civilization. That is why I am at peace. Deep and deep as is my grief, deeper yet is my peace, because at long last I have made my peace with God. This is the true peace, and there is nothing else in all of life like it. Whatever happens to us, to our lives, to our children, I pray God to keep me, and all of us, in His Grace, now, and forever more. Amen.

June 14, 1940

Today the Germans have entered Paris. Hitler swore to take it on June 15. So he is one day ahead of schedule. Last night, Thursday, M. Reynaud broadcast an appeal to Roosevelt and America, begging for speedy help. Roosevelt has cabled back that the American government would redouble their efforts to send airplanes and munitions, as long as the allied governments continue to


June 16, 1940

At eleven thirty p.m. the French wireless announced that the Reynaud Cabinet had resigned. Marshal Petain had been asked to form a new cabinet, in which General Weygand would be Vice President of the Council. The cabinet had met three times today while M. Reynaud was on his way to the last meeting, at ten p.m. A heavy German bomber bombed a small village square where his staff was waiting, killing thirty-eight people, including eight soldiers, and wounding sixty. What shall we hear tomorrow?

June 17, 1940

One p.m. there is news, not yet confirmed, that Marshall Petain, has sent a message to Hitler, asking for an armistice, and the discussion of terms of peace. There was an agreement between England and France that neither should seek peace separable so now what?

The war is awful beyond words. Germany is winning all the way. No country can stand up to her. Her men and munitions are unending. France is beaten. The Germans have yet beaten her once again. Then what about us? Will the English continue to fight? If in France, Germany can beat the combined armies of France and Britain, what could England do against her alone? The dead; they have died in vain.

June 22, 1940

Hitler received the French delegation yesterday and informed them of his terms for an armistice. He chose as the scene of the ceremony the railway carriage in the forest of Compiegne, where Marshal Foch granted the Germans an armistice on November 11, 1918. The terms offered have not yet been published, but their objects are described as:

1. To prevent a resumption of hostilities

2. To provide all necessary safeguards to Germany for 

continuation of the war against Britain; and

3. To create the necessary conditions for a new peace based on “reparation of the injustice committed by force against the Reich.
So what? The French Cabinet has been sitting most of today, and no armistice has been signed up till now, eight-fifteen p.m. Winston Churchill broadcast on Tuesday night, saying we would fight on till the curse of Hitler was lifted from the brows of men.

Tuesday night the Germans raided us, sending over at least one hundred bombers. A row of houses was demolished in a Cambridge town, causing a loss of fourteen lives. Other damage was done, in Suffolk and Essex. They were very near to us here, and we had a very noisy night indeed. Just the same we stayed in bed. Much damage was done at Southend, and at West Cliff the new technical school was demolished.

Wednesday night again they raided us; they sent more machines but did less damage. Now we can expect bombing nightly until the end. It is very frightening, but after awhile one feels it’s ignoble to show fear, and then ceases to worry. What will be will be. One simply takes the reasonable precautions, and prays.

Ted has taken the week off from Wednesday. We have been fixing the blackouts, laying linoleum etc. Today Stone’s carpet man was here, cutting and binding our carpets to fit those smaller rooms. The carpenter started his odd job yesterday, so gradually we are progressing towards comfort.

It is now a month since Cuthie was lost. His name is in the Roll of Honor in today’s “Times.”

George Godfrey too is missing. Joan wrote me on Tuesday that she had received a letter from the war office; notifying her George was posted as missing, date unknown. Poor Joan.

June 25, 1940

The German war against France finished at twelve- thirty a.m. this morning. At one a.m. the Germans started raiding us in earnest. The warning was given at one a.m and here in Romford the all clear was not sounded until four a.m. The warning was given practically all over England. The German machines were coming over in wave after wave. Ted and I went downstairs, and stayed there till the all clear was given. We sat in the dark in the dining room, listening for the guns and saying our prayers. 

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