21st October 1942

The war assumes a more political aspect.  Nationals of enemy countries, if they are opposed to the elected Governments of those countries, are regarded as allies, as is now the case of the Italians in America and Austrians in England.  The war, as the public are told, is really aimed at changing the form of Government in Germany and Italy.  Will it be permissible, after the war, to conduct all political business by warlike methods? 


Anonymous said...


A curios entry.

Though it is seems clear from previous entries Rudsdale is a pacifist, he often writes of how he is going to great lengths to avoid being conscripted – but never talks of being a conscientious objector. This entry seems to indicate that he has little knowledge of what has happened in Europe from the mid 1930s onwards – the rise of the Nazis and Hitler’s invasion of other European countries almost seem to have passed him by.

To write

The war, as the public are told, is really aimed at changing the form of Government in Germany and Italy.

is almost embarrassing to read.

Yes, Hitler was ‘elected’ but by a flawed election where a minority party formed the government because the other two parties could not agree on a form of coalition. Then in power, the minority government became a dictatorship with the undemocratic introduction of laws to enforce their position along with the full control of the military.

The war was not, as the modern phrase would have it, about regime change – it was to protest against the invasion of those countries and to protect the UK from becoming the next one and to rid the world of an extremely dangerous dictator. It was for these reasons that my late father and my partner’s late father volunteered to take part (my father was in a reserved occupation so could have easily stayed at home.)

The journal does reveal things about the war and the behaviour people that we are often unaware of, but it does show Rudsdale on occasion to be very blinkered and only concerned with things that affect him directly (his horses and the attractiveness of almost any woman he meets!)

Mike Dennis

E J Rudsdale said...

Hello Mike, Many thanks for your helpful comments on today's extract and for providing such a succinct analysis of the reasons for going to war and your family's reasons for volunteering. My grandfather served in the RAF in WW2 and I am sure he would have not have been in agreement with Rudsdale at all! Rudsdale's pacisfism seems to have been of a pragmatic variety and his failure to acknowledge the real issues of the war was not in accord with the majority of the population. I assume he made these comments in his diary in response to a newspaper article or a radio broadcast made around this time, perhaps a rare occasion when political issues entered his rather self-absorbed world! Thanks and best wishes, CP