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ministry of information George Orwell
Senate House University of London, site of the

wartime Ministry of Information

 


In the years before the war, in the late 30s, Orwell was anti-war, thinking that Britain would become fascist in order to fight fascism . But after the Stalin-Hitler pact of 1939 and the war loomed large he became patriotic. He tried to join the armed forced, but was rejected for health reasons, a deep disappointment to him , but he was able to join the Home Guard . Orwell moved to London during the Blitz ' You can't leave when people are being bombed to hell.'

 

George Orwell's war time union card using his pen name

 

 

 
After the ordeals of Spain and writing the book about it, most of Orwell's formative experiences were over. His finest writing, his best essays and his great fame lay ahead. In 1940, Orwell closed up his house in Wallington and he and Eileen moved into 18 Dorset Chambers, Chagford Street, NW1. He supported himself by writing freelance reviews, mainly for the New English Weekly but also for Time and Tide and the New Statesman. He joined the British Home Guard soon after the war began (and was later awarded the "British Campaign Medals/Defence medal").

In 1941 Orwell took a job at the BBC Eastern Service, supervising broadcasts to India aimed at stimulating Indian interest in the war effort, at a time when the Japanese army was at India's doorstep. He was well aware that he was engaged in propaganda, and wrote that he felt like "an orange that's been trodden on by a very dirty boot".

 

Orwell, 2nd from right standing next to William empson, T.S.Elliot before microphone, making VOICE a monthly redio magazine program of the Eastern Service of the B.B.C.

 


The wartime "Ministry of Information", which was based at Senate House University of London, was the inspiration for the "Ministry of Truth" in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Nonetheless, Orwell devoted a good deal of effort to his BBC work, which gave him an opportunity to work closely with people like T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Mulk Raj Anand and William Empson
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