Thomas Graham’s Diary – 27th August 1939

This long diary entry discusses the repercussions of the Soviet/German pact and Thomas’ worries about the situation of Poland.

Sir N. Henderson is Sir Nevile Meyrick Henderson, who became the British Ambassador to Germany in April 1937. Henderson was fluent in German and read ‘Mein Kampf’ in the original to get into the mind-set of Hitler before he travelled to Berlin to take up his post. Henderson was in Berlin in August 1939 attempting to persuade von Ribbontrop, the German Foreign Minister, to change the stance on Poland. This mission was a failure and the two men almost came to blows during their final meeting on the evening of 30th August.

Thomas discusses the attitudes of both Japan and Italy to the news of the German agreement with Russia. The Gayda referred to is Virginio Gayda, an Italian fascist journalist. The term ‘pressing’ that Thomas uses refers to betting on golf when one places a second bet after play has commenced.

The ‘queer little fellow Sinclair’ mentioned in connection with attitudes to the Soviet regime likely to be Upton Sinclair. Sinclair was an American author who was known at the time for his socialist sympathies. Throughout his diaries, Thomas exhibits little enthusiasm for socialism and those to the left of British politics.

Stephen King-Hall was the Labour MP for Ormskirk in 1939. His letter to Germany and Joseph Goebbels’ reply was printed in the Daily Telegraph of Saturday 12th August 1939.