✍ There is a Spirit in Europe… A Memoir of Frank Thompson [1947]

por Teoría de la historia

PA123941In June, 1944, Frank Thompson, who had been dropped by parachute in Bulgaria to aid the partisans, was shot by the Germans. It was not till March, 1945, when an eye witness of the shooting, a Bulgarian delegate to the World Trade Union Conference, came to London, that the full story was revealed in England. “By what right do you, an Englishman, enter our country and wage war against us?” he was asked. Major Thompson answered, “I came because this war is something very much deeper than a struggle of nation against nation. The greatest thing in the world now is the struggle of Anti-Fascism against Fascism”… This memoir, which is prepared by his mother, Theodosia J. Thompson, and brother, Edward Palmer Thompson, from his letters and diaries, is not only the record of a charming, vivid and sensitive personality; it is a testament to the new Europe, to the new society in which Thompson was finding comradeship and fulfilment. In the course of his years overseas he was experimenting, studying, taking part in all Army activities, perfecting hiniself as an officer and following closely events in Europe; listening to European and Russian radio news, making contacts and friends among the soldiers and people of all nationalities he met. From 1942 onwards he became increasingly aware of the movements taking shape in Europe: “I’m unspeakably angry about a great many things, but optimistic about the final result. Black and white are beginning to show up uncomfortably in a great many places. And the overwhelming balance of courage, brains, humour, vitality and perseverance are on our side”. He comments bitterly on B.B.C. propaganda to Eastern Europe, on reactionary aspects of British Army life, on living conditions in the Middle East and Persia. It was as a Marxist, as one in love5444840 with life in all its forms, that he learned about people and about the war, analysing with charm and humour and integrating his experiences until, at the time of the Bulgarian mission, “his widely varied personality closes like a fist into tight integration; he sees at last an opportunity for living with all his faculties extended—in close comradeship to a Clearly sighted end”. A partisan leader said: “Yes, he was a good man. He shared our hardships, he understood our problems and he even learned our songs”. Himself he wrote of the Yugoslav Resistance: “It’s heartbreaking to think of the casualties these splendid people have suffered. But a democrat has a great advantage over the people he is lighting. Even his death is in a sense, creative. When a democrat dies—that is, a man who has shown as they have by word and action that he cares more than anything for democratic freedom— then one, or a hundred new ones are created by his example”. Frank Thompson was a democrat of this type.

[M. J. CARRITT. “National Hero of Bulgaria” (reseña bibliográfica), in The Labour Monthly (Londres), vol. XXIX, nº 10, octubre de 1947, p. 318]