70 years ago

The BBC’s Andrei Ostalski analyzes media coverage of the Nazi-Soviet Pact and the outbreak of World War II:

Until quite recently, the Soviet press had described Nazi leaders as “outcasts”, “moral degenerates”, “misfits”.

Now the press needed to learn how to describe them respectfully, as the leaders of a friendly state.

Furthermore, Soviet journalists needed to correct their psychological approach to this extremely quickly – Stalin had set 23 August as the absolute deadline for von Ribbentrop’s arrival in Moscow for the signing of the pact.

And the Orwell diaries are now covering the events that led up to the start of hostilities on September 1, 1939:

1. Emergency Powers Act passed evidently without much trouble. Contains clauses allowing preventive arrest, search without warrant & trial in camera. But not industrial conscription as yet. [Wireless 6 pm]
2. Moscow airport was decorated with swastikas for Ribbentrop’s arrival. M. Guardian adds that they were screened so as to hide them from the rest of Moscow. Manchester Guardian [h]

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