Waugh Passage Included in Book on Post-War Germany

A new book edited by Lara Feigel collects writings from various sources describing Germany in the aftermath of WWII. This is Bitter Taste of Victory to be published in the U.K. on 28 January by Bloomsbury. Feigel is the author of the recent study of writers in wartime London entitled The Love-charm of Bombs. The writing by Waugh included in the new book is most likely his description of his trip to Nuremberg in April 1946 to witness the war crime trials. This appears in his Diaries (pp. 645-46) as well as in different form in a letter to Randolph Churchill (Letters, p. 226). Although Waugh originally intended to write a travel book about this trip, his first to the Continent since the end of the war, nothing else came of it. The most characteristically Wavian passage is that describing Joachim von Ribbentrop, former Nazi Foreign Minister, which appears in both sources:

Ribbentrop was like a seedy schoolmaster being ragged. He  knows he doesn’t know the lesson & knows the boys know. He has just worked out the sum wrong on the blackboard and is being heckled. He has lost his job but has pathetic hope that if he can hold out to the end of term he may get a “character” to another worse school. He lies quite instinctively & without  motive on quite unimportant points.

After spending two days in Nuremberg witnessing the trials, Waugh proceeded to his primary destination in Paris where he visited Diana Cooper at the British Embassy.  Martin Stannard, Evelyn Waugh:The Later Years, pp. 163-64.

Other writers whose works appear in the collection include George Orwell (who was reporting for the Observer from Europe when his wife died in the U.K. in early 1945), Rebecca West, W.H.Auden and Stephen Spender.

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