Thomas Graham’s Diary – 30th & 31st August 1939

The anxiety continues for Thomas and his family with him here coming back to his diary throughout the days as the situation develops. There is a very real sense of tension in the writing as Thomas describes his guess as to why the Germans have not yet made any move towards Poland. One factor is the presence of the German Liner SS Bremen in New York. Thomas guessed that the German’s might not want to commence hostilities if there was any chance of this valuable commercial vessel being prevented from returning home. The German authorities had issued a command for all German merchant ships to head home immediately on the 26th August 1939. At that time, Bremen was two days from New York so her Captain made the decision to continue with the journey in order to allow the 1,770 passengers on board to reach their destination. Bremen left New York on 30th August with no passengers and headed for the Russian Port of Murmansk. During this journey, her crew painted her grey for camouflage and she managed to avoid patrolling Royal Navy cruisers.

Thomas has some very robust opinion about various political figures including Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda manager, whom he despises, Neville Chamberlain, whom he admires, and Stanley Baldwin who is, according to Thomas, ‘SUCH AN ASS’!