World War ll London Blitz: 4-9-1945 to 4-30-1945 How much longer must we wait for the last utter final collapse?


April 9, 1945

The news. In Italy our troops are within thirty kilometers of Spezia. In Austria, the Russians have taken five of the city districts of Vienna, including the center of the city. Stalin has tonight announced the capture of Konigsberg, and the taking of twenty seven thousand prisoners there. The best news of all, the American Ninth Army has taken Krupp’s, at Essen. The works were handed over to the Americans by a mere employee, who told the American officer to whom he surrendered the place, that not a wheel had turned in the works since March 1, when the R.A.F. bombed them. He also said the Krupp’s-Essen Railway was also destroyed by the R.A.F. Further; the Germans are flocking into Denmark as refugee. One Hundred and Ninety Thousand German refugees are in Copenhagen alone. How much longer must we wait for the last utter final collapse?

April 13, 1945

I was deeply shocked on the first news to hear of the sudden death of President Roosevelt. He died at Warm Springs, Georgia at ten-thirty last night, of a cerebral hemorrhage, very suddenly.

April 17, 1945

I listened this morning to a Memorial Service for Roosevelt, broadcast from St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was beautiful; also it made me know again where my spiritual home is. When I hear the beautiful words of the English service, I know I belong in the English Church. Roosevelt belonged to the Protestant Episcopalian Church of America, the church I was married in. When the congregation began to sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic I began to weep; and when the last post was sounded I felt my heart would break.

Early this morning Reta telephoned to tell me that in this morning’s Daily Telegraph, the number of Cuthie’s camp, number three hundred fifty-seven, was given as one of the prisoners camps liberated yesterday by our armies. I have not seen the Times yet, nor has it been mentioned on the wireless, but I expect it’s true. Thank God.

I got letters from Charlie and Marjorie this morning, for my birthday, also a card from Chic.

April 18, 1945

It is my sixty first birthday. I feel anything but gay and happy; in fact I awoke in one of my moods of sadness and depression.

April 19, 1945

Today all our papers show photos of the various Labor and Concentration Camps in Germany, awful beyond words. The German’s who did these frightful horrible deeds are worse than the fiends of Hell. In Parliament Mr. Churchill has said that he received a telegram from General Eisenhower recommending that we send a delegation of some responsible men to see these things for themselves, and then make their own report to the Government; he said he thought eight men form the Commons and two from the Lords should go, and go tomorrow, and asked for volunteers. I am not going to detail the atrocities here, they are frightful and inhuman. What I want to note is this, touching the problem of suffering. In this gratuitous brutality inflicted upon scores of thousands of innocent men, women and children, by other human beings (the Herrenvolk!), where does God and His Righteousness come in? What about the responsibility of God? These victims were innocent and defenseless, and their sufferings were arbitrarily imposed upon them for years, or until death released them, by the Germans. They did not suffer for their guilt or their sins; they did not suffer as a sacrifice for others. They suffered for nothing. Nothing. How can they be recompensed? Since God permitted everything, and foresaw it all, how can God be excused?

This is a problem. I can’t understand it. It is insoluble. The only way I can come near a solution is to reject the idea of a Personal God.

Ted says it isn’t a problem, and he can easily understand it. There has always been suffering in the world, and this is only a part of it. It is the Law of Suffering, brought about by the sin of Adam. I am appalled at this silly talk. “But you don’t suffer this.” I said. “No,” he said; “but that’s only accidental.” Suffering, yes, some physical and perhaps good even, indicating where the body must cure itself of disease; a great deal of it our own seeking; a great deal of it avoidable; some of it even deliberately sought, inverted pleasure. This deliberate infliction of cruel suffering upon masses of human beings by other human beings, for it’s own sake, and for delight, no, there is nothing good in that suffering. Why did God permit it?

So that the inherent goodness of other better men can show itself in deeds of heroic rescue? What of those who died before rescue? What of the suffering endured which will still remain as having happened? No, that is no answer.

There is no answer. Ted’s theological farrago is simple nonsense. The Christian argument answers nothing. Christianity is a dead horse. By the way I notice Roosevelt spoke always of “God”, and Churchill and Montgomery speak of God but never of Jesus, any of them. Jesus is inadequate for our days. But what of God? Well, God is the sum of goodness, I think. That’s all I can think today.

April 20, 1945

Ted is spieling about “Free Will”, the regular argybargy. I agree the Germans used their free will to work wickedness, but this still doesn’t account for the sufferings of their victims, who did not enter the Labor and Concentration Camps of their own free will, nor accept their sufferings willingly. Ted is hopelessly sunk in his orthodox explanations, which actually explain nothing. It is a waste of time to listen to him. He has the completely closed Catholic mind, and it is worthless.

April 23, 1945

The Russians are fighting in the suburbs of Berlin. I am reading Martha Dodd’s book, “My Years in Germany”, which I missed when it came out in nineteen thirty-nine, though I did send for her father’s book, which was an account of his years in Germany as the American Ambassador. Reading this book today, which ends before the outbreak of the war, I am surprised at the vice, horrors, crimes and madness it reports. One can see that war was the inevitable outcome of it all. What fools of statesmen we kept in office! Martha Dodd scorns Chamberlin and Daladier. In her closing paragraphs she writes: “We have witnessed the rape of Austria, the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, the wholesale and unparallel murder of the Jews, the vicious and destructive class action by unprincipled if hard driven Judases like Chamberlain and Daladier. We have seen even America participate inadvertently in the capitulation to Hitler and his war mongers… if we do not urge a support of international peace and democracies whatever they remain; we do not realize that cooperation with England and France can be effected only when Daladier, Chamberlain and their ilk either change their policies or are removed from office if we do not recognize that the French and English leaders are in desperate straits with their own people because of their betrayal of their nations before, at and after Munich, we cannot possibly understand their pursuit everywhere and especially in our own powerful democracy for support, and appreciate our potentially constructive influence in remolding European affairs. If we do not conclude once and for all, as an American nation, that there is no such thing as isolation when the nations of the world are on our doorstep, we will discover too late that we are fighting the destructive and international Fascist spirit almost single handed, aided surely, only by Russia.”

April 23, 1945 St. George’s Day

General Saunts, is already in San Francisco for the coming conference, is reported as having said last night, that not only must the delegates draw up plans for the establishing of future peace in the world, but that they should also draw up a plain statement of what we aim to live for, a sort of new Declaration of Liberty, I take it. He also said something to the effect that the world must know what it is to live for, because society has suffered such a psychological shock, it could not possible survive another one.

April 26, 1945

Berlin is entirely surrounded by the Russian’s, who also occupy two-thirds of the city. Hitler is reported to be in the city, personally directing the defense.

April 27, 1945

This evening the B.B.C. read an announcement, just given out from 10 Downing Street, to this effect:

General Eisenhower reports that firm contact has been established between his ground forces and those of our Soviet Allies. The commanders of a United States division and of a Russian Guards division met at Torgan on April 26, at four p.m.

So the Russians and the Americans have linked at last, on the Elbe, and Germany has been cut in two. Torgan, unheard of until tonight, is, we are told, northeast of Leipzig.

Moscow announces that Russian forces fighting for the conquest of Berlin have captured Potsdam, Spandau, and Rathenow. Farther west, Regensburg (old time Ratisbon) has fallen to the Americans, the Third Army, today, the Twenty-Seventh of April. Bremen is now virtually in British possession. General Dittmar, radio commentator of the German High Command, has given himself up to us in Magdeburg. He has declared that it is true Hitler is in Berlin, and his own opinion that Hitler would die there. Also he expressed his own belief that the war would be over in a few days. Goring has asked Hitler to allow him to resign from the Command of the Luftwaffe, for reasons of health! He is supposed to be suffering from a bad heart. Maybe is his, but more likely Himmler chose to demote him.

April 30, 1945

Mussolini is dead. The story is he was caught in Como yesterday whilst trying to escape, and was hanged there, with his mistress also, and that today the dead bodies were brought to Milan and exposed there. Hitler is reported dying. He has suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in Berlin. I suppose, in one of his rages, he has literally burst a blood vessel.

Himmler, through Count Bernadette, has offered unconditional surrender, but to the British and Americans only. This news comes via San Francisco. Our governments decline to accept such an offer; they maintain that unconditional surrender must be made to all the allies, particularly inclusive of Russia. Of course.

It is now eleven p.m. and the German radio, at ten-twenty p.m., announced the death of Hitler, “fallen at the head of his army, in the depths of his Capitol.” Admiral Donitz made the announcement, and added that he was now the Fuehrer, by designation of Hitler. Who knows? Why didn’t Goebbels do the announcing?

World War ll London Blitz: 3-1-45 to 3-31-1945 After four o’clock yesterday morning we had no bombs all day, but Gerry made up for his remissness last night all right; beginning at one-thirty he lobbed them over regularly every hour.


March 1, 1945

We had a rough night and a cold morning. After four o’clock yesterday morning we had no bombs all day, but Gerry made up for his remissness last night all right; beginning at one-thirty he lobbed them over regularly every hour. Then we had four between seven-thirty and eight-thirty, and no more until three-thirty this afternoon, since then, silence: and it is now eleven p.m. There is news tonight that President Roosevelt is safely back in Washington.

March 4, 1945

Since Friday Gerry has been sending his doodlebugs over again, night and day, as well as his rockets. Last night he sent piloted planes to bomb us, as well; these were the first he had sent since last July. The B.B.C. reports our defenses shot down six of them, and two more over the Continent. I have been writing letters most of the day. I wrote to Marjorie this afternoon. Now I am going to write a letter to Charlie, to go in the same envelope. The last news I had of Charlie was that his 2A deferment was up on February 7, and he thought it most likely he would be drafted. “But” wrote Marjorie, “it is hard to tell just what will happen; there is much talk, even official, which means nothing and leaves much to the discretion of the local draft boards.” Well, I hope Charlie won’t be drafted. Now I will write to him. So, Au-Revoir.

March 5, 1945

Between thirty and forty piloted German planes are now known to have been over here on Saturday night. We have had two alerts this morning, one at eleven and one at twelve twenty-five p.m. I heard the Gerry’s going over but nothing was dropped in this neighborhood. The Americans have entered Cologne.

March 6, 1945

News on the wireless is that the fall of Cologne is imminent. Several rockets fell nearby during the night but we had no alert for doodles or planes. I cannot concentrate not on anything, apparently. It’s this damn war getting me down. There was an alert just before I went out today, around half past two, and several Gerry planes went over. How can one concentrate on anything? Now it is time to get Ted’s tea, so au-revoir.

March 7, 1945

It was a terrible night, rockets falling every half hour. Ted can sleep through most of the explosions, but I cant. He’s lucky he can take them so callously.

March 8, 1945

It is evening now and at teatime Ted brought in the news of an “accident” to Mrs. Arendzen. As he expressed it “She has caught a packet.” She was in a bus, on her way to Stamford Hill to visit her son, when a rocket fell directly in their path. She is very badly cut about the head and has a deep wound in her breast. In her face they have put twenty-seven stitches! Awful. So it goes; scarcely a day passes that we don’t hear of this sort of thing happening to those we know. Any day it may be our turn. God preserve us, and only God can.

March 9, 1945

On the continent the Americans have crossed the Rhine below Cologne, and, we are told, have firmly established themselves on the eastern bank. Hitler promises to annihilate us with a Death Ray after March 15 He is supposed to have visited Berlin today, which we have bombed now for seventeen nights in succession. Oh, this war! Who will survive it!

March 12, 1945

I expect everybody is catching up on lost sleep, for last night was a nasty night for rockets. Beginning soon after eleven o’clock the damned things dropped over regularly every half hour or so all through the night. Several of them were alarmingly near. I have heard this morning that bad ones fell in Highlands Park and in Upminister. None have fallen since seven fifteen, just before breakfast, but all day planes and gliders have been going out, very noisy. Fierce battles are raging along the Rhine, especially where the Americans crossed last week at Remagen. People begin to say now that they think the war will end by Easter. It could, but I don’t think it will.

March 14, 1945

On the nine o’clock news this evening the B.B.C. told us that today a new heavy bomb has been dropped on Germany. Its weight is twenty-two thousand pounds, or about ten tons. This is horrifying. I’ve been crying about it. I hate the Germans, and I think they asked for trouble and deserve all they get; but this is truly awful. Germans, too are flesh and blood, and in Germany as elsewhere the civilian is destroyed, the innocent suffer because of the guilty. Twenty-Two Thousand pound bombs are too dreadful to think about. When will mankind return to sanity?

March 15, 1945

We had a dreadful night of bombs, which is not to be wondered at, and an alert for Doodles about five-thirty a.m. I did not come downstairs, I felt too tired to get up. Anyhow the bomb passed over and we were all right. Since then we have heard rockets dropping every half hour or so, not in this immediate neighborhood but I don’t know where. Anyhow they were sufficiently near to bang the doors and rattle the windows. On every news period the B.B.C reports the ten-ton bombs dropped in Germany. The reader seems to gloat about it. I feel ashamed for him. If we must wage war like this we shouldn’t boast about it. I am in an awful state today anyhow. I feel ill, and I wonder whether I may no be mentally ill also. The first is, I can’t stand marriage any longer. I just can’t stand it. In the night Ted loved me. At the very moment he turned me on my back a rocket crashed and shook the bed; but that didn’t make any difference to Ted, not a whit. All of this floods me with revulsion. I loathe the whole business and I loathe the man. Loathe him. This shouldn’t be written I know. If I didn’t spit out my venom in these pages I should go mad. Violently raving mad.

March 26, 1945

We had another bad night with rockets and doodlebugs. However, the war news is good. Montgomery’s Army is across the lower Rhine on a twenty-five to thirty mile front and to a depth of over seven miles. General Patton’s Third Army has made several crossings of the Rhine between Cobbling and Boppard. Churchill has crossed the Rhine, with Montgomery, and visited the troops in the newly won areas on the eastern bank. He also took a ride on the river. He’s seventy, yet acts like this, so Ted says, “What a boy!” To me he seems to enjoy the war, and I have a very disagreeable feeling about such sportiness.

March 27, 1945

Advances were reported last night in all the Rhine bridgeheads. The Canadians have cleared the town of Rees. The American first army in the Remagen sector yesterday advanced twenty-two miles through the German lines. General Patton’s tanks have entered the suburbs of Frankfurt. Lloyd-George has died. So has our neighbor Mr. Fitch. Lloyd-George was eighty-two, Mr. Fitch was eighty-four.

March 28, 1945

General Eisenhower has announced that the main German defense line has been broker in the crossing of the Rhine. The end must be near now.

Good Friday March 30, 1945

We had no bombs during the night, and none so far today. Maybe there will be no more; the whole German Army is reported on retreat in rout. No precise details yet, as “security silence” is being observed at Headquarters.

March 31, 1945

No definite news on the radio, this still being kept back “ for security reasons”, but at least we are told that Montgomery’s forces are fifty miles beyond the Rhine. I keep wondering about Cuthie. That is why I am so touchy today I expect, for to think of him and of what he must be enduring now, brings me to tears. We had no bombs last night.

It is now eleven p.m. and the B.B.C announces that General Eisenhower has broadcast in Germany, to the German troops, and to the Foreign workers in Western Germany, to this effect: Soldiers! Over great portions of your country, your government has ceased to have any effective control; therefore, in order to avoid further useless bloodshed and loss of life, I command you: Surrender! Then followed details how to do so. Then to the foreign workers in Germany he said: I advise you, keep out of the way of the allied armies. Do not work in any factories or go near any railroads, bridges, etc. Take no more orders from the Germans. Go into the country and take refuge there; after we have passed, send delegates to the nearest allied officers depot, and we will make arrangements to return you to your homes and families at the earliest possible moment. We are fully aware of your anxieties, but do not impede us. Keep off the roads. Germans, these orders take effect immediately.