The Second World War was the largest single event in human history. It was fought across six of the world’s seven continents and all of its oceans. Fifty million people died, with countless millions more disabled in mind and body. The diary is annotated for the benefit of readers who may not be entirely familiar with Great Britain and its war time government.
Sir Harold Nicolson was born in Teheran in 1886. After his graduation from Balliol College, Oxford, he entered the British Foreign Service and from 1909 to 1929 held diplomatic posts in Madrid, Istanbul, Teheran and Berlin. From 1935 to 1945 he was a Member of Parliament. During his active career he wrote 35 books of history, biography and fiction. Some of his chief works are Tennyson (1923), Some People (1927), Lord Carnock (1930), Public Faces (1932), Peacemaking (1933), Dwight Morrow (1935), The Congress of Vienna (1946), King George V: His Life and Reign (1952), Journey to Java (1957) and Monarchy (1962). He contributed to British, American and European journals all his life. His most famous series of articles, "Marginal Comment," ran in the Spectator from 1938 to 1952. This is his diary.