Study Guide

George Orwell Spanish Civil War & WWII

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Spanish Civil War & WWII

Orwell was excited when Britain entered World War II in 1939, hoping that the war would convert more people to socialism. He volunteered for military service but was rejected because of his poor health. Instead, he contributed to the war effort at the BBC, where he was hired in 1941 to produce propaganda radio programs to be broadcast in India. He worked there for two years but eventually grew frustrated with the BBC, which he described as a cross between "a girls' school and a lunatic asylum." Its publication was delayed because English publishers were afraid of offending the Soviet Union, Britain's wartime ally in fighting against Nazi Germany, and also because a Soviet spy working in the Ministry of Information found some success in suppressing it. Once the book was finally published, however, it found both commercial and critical success.

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