Seventy years ago, in May 1940, Britain was in a desperate situation. The German attack on France had started on 10 May. On 13 May, the new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, told his Cabinet, and then the House of Commons, that he had nothing to offer but “Blood, toil, tears and sweat“. J.B. Priestley, who was a household name thanks to his novels, plays and journalism, responded by helping raise morale through his BBC Postscript radio broadcasts and many other writings. I am indebted to Dr John Baxendale for the thought that, despite their huge political differences, Churchill and Priestley were both masters of communication, Churchill of traditional political oratory, and Priestley of the newer, more intimate, radio style.
Over the next few weeks, I will blog about Priestley’s war, looking at the Postscripts and some of his less well-known 1940s works.