Skip to content

10 Dec. 1941

Yesterday evening in her garden with a Frenchwoman, Mademoiselle V., very nice. Calm evening, she gives me her impressions of the war in France, at Saint-Jean-de-Luz which she left just before the Germans arrived June 1940.

Neither of us is optimistic as far as the war is concerned. Our fear is that the Philippines won’t manage to hold out and that [President] Quezon, who had openly criticized the Americans a few days before the war, will change sides.

We hardly dare say goodnight. The owner of the hotel, a crazy old woman, told me the Americans had bombed Tokyo very heavily and we should expect an air raid on Manila in retaliation. No civil defense here and most houses are made of wood. The city could burn like a torch.

In fact a calm night!

Events are moving quickly. Shanghai has fallen in next to no time. The Chinese ceased all resistance after five hours, Hong Kong is under attack and the Japanese are landing in Malaya. I’m surprised not to hear of any British raid on Indochina or of an American victory at sea.

At lunchtime, air raid warning. The sound of airplanes and then loud explosions. I leave the table and go out through the kitchen. Great puffs of smoke on all sides from anti-aircraft fire. I see nine planes, quite high, flying in a V formation. Below the sun it’s as if they’re transparent. They’re bombing Cavite, the naval base a dozen kilometers from Manila.