September 1, 1943
Four years today since Hitler attacked Poland and started the World War. The Pope announced last week that he would make a broadcast “to the world” today. So far have heard nothing from Rome, but shall probably do so this evening. Yet what can the Pope say that anyone will pay attention to? Hiherto he has always condoned his Italians: condoned war. The non-Italian and non-Catholic world, I think, will turn a very deaf ear today to his holiness the Pope.
Last night Churchill broadcast a speech from Quebec. It sent me to sleep. He uttered nothing but platitudes and compliments, the chief idea seem to be to keep the Russians buttered up so that they keep on fighting. Do we really care for the Russians? I don’t think so.
The Pope’s broadcast was an appeal for peace. Coming now this is farcical, also presumptuous and impertinent. When Mussolini raped Abyssinia and later Albania (and that on a Good Friday too!) the last Pope said nothing. This Pope, Pacelli, is a Roman aristocrat, he has never rebuked Mussolini for any of his war crimes, never pleaded with the King of Italy for peace and justice, never urged the Italian people to disobey their corrupt government. Sometimes he has given out a lot of general rhetorical words, but he has never said to Mussolini, not to the Italians “Thou art the man.” He has never preached Christ the peacemaker and peace bringer. No, he is merely another Machevelli. So long as Italy was attacking her neighbors, think what she has done to Greece! And winning, the Pope uttered no single word of protest, let alone dissuasion; but now that Italy herself is being attacked, and losing, the Pope cries out to the world for peace. Wonderful! Who does he think he is going to get to pay any attention to him? He could have talked the Italians out of the Axis in the beginning, if he had wished to do so. He didn’t. I suppose, like the rest of the clever and tricky Italians, he thought Hitler was going to win the war. By now he has found out differently, so he appeals to the world for peace. Bah! Another rat. Another Italia diplomat, another schemer, that’s all he is. Peace indeed! We are all sick of the war, but we shall carry on with it until the Axis is beaten. The Pope knows the terms for peace for his Italy, unconditional surrender. This war is hell, but we didn’t start it. We shall finish it, and we shall be the victors.
September 3, 1943
The fourth anniversary of our entry into the war, today the fifth year of the war begins. It begins well, for us, for it is announced that at four-thirty this morning British and Canada made a successful landing on the toe of Italy. The allied invasion of the continent of Europe has begun.
September 8, 1943
Italy has surrendered. At half past five this evening General Eisenhower broadcast from Algiers, that our armistice terms have been agreed to, without reservations and the Italians having laid down their arms, fighting against Italy has ceased, the armistice commencing at once. So Italy is out of the war. Eisenhower also added a promise to the effect that if Italy is attacked by any other power, we, the United Nations, will help her fight her attacker. This, presumably, is for the benefit of the Germans. Will the Germans round on Italy? Quite possibly. They signed a peace pact with Russia in 1939, but that didn’t prevent them from invading and attacking Russia in 1941.So what next?
September 16, 1943
The Germans were over this area again last night, and dropped bombs in three different London areas. Nothing dropped here, but it might have done. What’s the use of money in the bank to a dead woman? So I went and bought two new hats and very becoming ones at that. At least I’ll look all right, even if I don’t feel it. Now I have got to cook this afternoon. Mushrooms to be fixed for tea, and I suppose I had better do something about the pastry. What a life!
September 18, 1943
At dinner yesterday the B.B.C. broadcast an announcement of the calling in of all five-point value clothes coupons because of a big theft of these coupons somewhere. So both Hilda and Artie said they would have to return some they had, and what a nuisance. Then there was further talk about coupons, and how few we got, and so on. Thence to the subject of stockings, now, ever since coupons were instituted most girls have complained about no coupons for stockings. Stockings are two coupons per pair, and we have only two coupons to last six months. “How many pairs of stockings did you buy ordinarily before coupons?” I asked her. “ “A pair a week?” (Thinking that a lot). “Oh no,” she said: “a pair a day.” Ted exclaimed at that. “Oh yes.” She said, “”but they weren’t expensive ones.” “And you bought a pair a day?” asked Ted, very incredulous. “Oh, Yes, I had to.” “Why?” “Well they laddered.” “Couldn’t you mend them?” “Oh, no. I couldn’t wear a mended stocking, and when your boyfriend took you out, of course you had to have nice stockings.” “Well what do you do with the old ones?” “Oh, my mother would wear them to do her work in.” Ted shut up, but he gave Artie a long look. After Ted had gone back to the office the conversation still went on about clothes coupons. Hilda said the worst problems were shoes and stockings. I said, “How often did you buy new shoes? “Once a month,” she said. She laughed, and then went on. “Well that wasn’t so bad. You see, I was working in a shoe shop, and my boss was my pal, my boyfriend; and we used to get a bonus once a month, so he used to let me have bargains, so usually I’d buy a pair of shoes with my bonus, or sometimes I’d buy a dress."
September 21, 1943
It is the first day of autumn and the re-opening of Parliament. There was a long speech from Mr. Churchill, who returned from America on Sunday. He said that the bloodiest part of the war is yet to come.