June 11th 1940
Tuesday June 11th
Yesterday Italy declared war on Britain and France, so the end of Fascism there is not to be “natural”, but unnatural and violent like the crimes it has committed. So be it. Those that have preached the corruption of mankind must perish in the corruption of mankind.
I think no one hates the Italians, only remembers with limitless scorn that this is the nation who used tanks and poison gas against unarmed Abyssinians*, who in deliberate mockery of the holiest day in the civilised year shelled Durazzo on Good Friday**, who bombed and machine gunned refugee columns in a miserable land where they had formented rebellion. “As ye sow, so shall ye reap”. They are ringing their bells now, but soon they will be wringing their hands.
The bombing of undefended villages, which Vittorio Mussolini declared to be “such sport”, will look very different when it is Tuscan and Romagnan houses that are falling, and Italians who are dying instead of “niggers”*** and Albanians.
When I remember that the conscience of most men of goodwill never condone the outrages of Fascism, I still - even with Paris almost in the jaws of barbarism**** and half of Europe under its heel - believe in the spirit of man. And, above all, I believe in the terrible judgements of God.
* In the Second Italo-Ethiopian/Abyssinian War from October 1935 to February 1937.
** During Italy's annexation of Albania in 1939.
*** The inverted commas here are Lorna's own. We believe that she is indicating that she finds this term offensive and would not use such vocabulary herself to describe the population of Ethiopia.
**** The day before Lorna's wrote this diary entry, on June 10th 1940 Paris had abandoned all defensive efforts in the face of almost certain capture by the Germans.