Eighty years ago Bormann steps out from the shadows and Montgomery has another triumphal entry


Martin Bormann was publicly given the title "Secretary of the Fuehrer" although this had long been his job. He had already used his control of access to Hitler to make himself the second most powerful man in the Reich. This had been clear to insiders for some while but had passed unnoticed amongst the allies; Bormann cultivated an image of near-invisibility and was rarely photographed. The open acknowledgement of Bormann's status was acutely felt by Goebbels who understood that his previously intimate relationship with Hitler was being diluted.

Lead elements of Patton's II Corps advancing into Tunisia from the West joined with  Montgomery's 8th Army coming from the East. The junction had symbolic but little military importance; only desert lay to the south. The allies were poised for the final drive to Tunis and Montgomery could treat himself to another triumphal entry into a conquered city, the port of Sfax.

The British coalition government suffered a surprise by-election loss at Eddisbury to the Commonwealth Party, founded in 1942 on vaguely socialist and moralistic principles and fronted by the writer J. B. Priestley. The coalition candidate was a Liberal but the local Liberals fielded their own candidate, splitting the vote. The government slogan "Hitler is watching Eddisbury" was singularly inept in implying it would be unpatriotic to vote against their candidate. The successful Commonwealth candidate John Loverseed was a serving RAF pilot, decorated and a Battle of Britian veteran. The turnout was high, underlining  the extent of public discontent at the near-disappearance of real political debate.