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Parade Antiques Blog

Southgate’s Diary, Part 20 – 29th May 1942

29th March 1942

[Newspaper Cuttings – Reynaud (former French Premier) defense letter from prison – article regarding Blum court case ref. strikes – Propaganda article.

Paul Reynaud was the French Prime Minister in 1940. After the fall of France, Reynaud refused to participate in the newly formed puppet government and resigned. He was arrested in June 1940 by Philippe Petain’s Administration and was held in German custody until the end of the War.

[Cutting re. article on French workers making equipment for Germany]

The English as I see them – A short Dissertation on Foreigners (By Maurice Southgate)

The English in general detest foreigners. They’ll go so far as to criticize and ignore their own nationals, if the latter have lived anytime abroad, either on the continent, in Africa or any other part of the planet. They believe themselves to be superior to any other people and yet, if they admire one new thing from abroad, they take it on board and do not hide their admiration. This together with countless other aspects are what make up the English. In this way how do you expect a foreigner to understand us? We’ll say black and mean white, but not out of dishonesty. The Englishman is direct and has a good heart, but will hide, for fear, his true self. The English masses are less intellectual then the French ones, but although the latter are ready to admire anything foreign, the English are always ready to dismiss it.

Although a Democratic country, where you meet very stylish people sitting in the underground, or waiting for a bus next to a member of the working class. The differences between the classes are enormous. They form classes that are completely separate from each other. I believe this is due, in part, to the education system in England – the Public School and all that. I also find the English people rude and lacking in imagination. They seem to lack imagination in the present and the future. Yet despite this they do look to the future. For this, the English are carrying out politics based entirely on the future – politics in the long term. Which always seems to work for them. Therefore the English do have imagination. How do you expect foreigners to understand us? We pretend to be cold and appear phlegmatic. But when the pressure of the coldness becomes too much. We have to release it by getting drunk in the pub (and knowing it beforehand). The English are nice, but a little naïve. The French will never lend you anything and a German will never seem to understand you.

Very rude yes, certainly the new generation, those between 15 and 30 years old. In the train they put their feet up on the bench opposite without…

The diary ends rather abruptly in Southgate’s brief ‘Dissertation on the English’. Southgate was approved for the SOE in May 1942 and began his training in July. Presumably, things were busying up. Southgate was posted to the Limousin region of France in early 1943, where he organised the STATIONER circuit. He was captured by the Gestapo near Montluçon in 1944 and deported to Buchenwald concentration camp where he remained until its liberation by American forces in 1945.

Maurice Southgate’s words
Translated by Parade Antiques

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Comments (2)

  1. Trevor Butterworth

    Doing a bit of SOE research, I took a break from reading through Southgate’s exit interrogation, and found your site. My, what an interesting pen picture of his time in London prior to being drawn into the SOE.
    I presume that his diaries continue through to his eventual return to the uk, and wonder if there is any chance that future episodes might be forthcoming, – and if not whether there is a chance of viewing his Diaries.
    Thanks anyway to whomsoever translated and posted the chapters.

  2. Trevor Butterworth

    And before you moderate the posting, I see that the latest entry was indeed the last as it just terminated at that point!

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