Sir Harold George Nicolson was a British politician, diplomat, historian, biographer, diarist, novelist, lecturer, journalist, broadcaster, and gardener.
27 Facts About Harold Nicolson
Harold Nicolson spent his boyhood in various places throughout Europe and the Near East and followed his father's frequent postings, including in St Petersburg, Constantinople, Madrid, Sofia, and Tangier.
Harold Nicolson was educated at The Grange School in Folkestone, Kent, followed by Wellington College.
Harold Nicolson attended Balliol College, Oxford, graduating in 1909 with a third class degree.
Harold Nicolson entered the Foreign Office that same year, after passing second in the competitive exams for the Diplomatic Service and Civil Service.
Harold Nicolson served as attache at Madrid from February to September 1911 and as Third Secretary at Constantinople from January 1912 to October 1914.
In December 1917, Harold Nicolson had to explain to Sackville-West that he had contracted a venereal disease as a result of an anonymous homosexual encounter and that he had probably passed it to her.
Harold Nicolson served in a junior capacity in the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 for which he was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 1920 New Year Honours.
On one occasion, Harold Nicolson had to follow Vita to France, where she had "eloped" with Trefusis, to try to win her back.
Harold Nicolson personally disliked Reza Khan and called him "a bullet-headed man with the voice of an asthmatic child".
Harold Nicolson writing in the third person stated he had a "Kipling inside him and something of an 'empire builder'" told the Persian officials that the note was "so categorical to be almost offensive" and wanted it withdrawn.
However, much to the satisfaction of Reza Khan, the British had to abide by what Harold Nicolson called a "frank and honest" note by withdrawing the Savars.
From 1930 to 1931, Harold Nicolson edited the Londoner's Diary for the Evening Standard, but disliked writing about high-society gossip and quit within a year.
Harold Nicolson stood unsuccessfully for Parliament for the Combined English Universities in the general election that year and edited the party newspaper, Action.
Harold Nicolson entered the House of Commons as National Labour Member of Parliament for Leicester West in the 1935 election.
Harold Nicolson often supported Churchill's efforts in the Commons to stiffen British resolve and support rearmament.
In October 1938, Harold Nicolson spoke out against the Munich Agreement in the House of Commons:.
In June 1940, Harold Nicolson met the French writer Andre Maurois at the time when France was on the verge of defeat, which led Harold Nicolson to write in his diary:.
Harold Nicolson said that never before in his life had he experienced such agony as he did when he saw Paris basking under a lovely summer day and realised that he might never see it again.
In February 1944, Harold Nicolson caused controversy with a column in The Spectator by saying that art was irreplaceable, but human life was expendable.
Harold Nicolson opposed the bombing of Monte Cassino abbey and said that it was a great work of art that itself contained many works of art that could never be replaced even if that meant the death of his own son, Nigel Nicolson, who was serving in the 8th Army as it was fighting the Battle of Monte Cassino, and that it was morally better to take thousands of dead and wounded than to destroy the abbey of Monte Cassino.
In 1960, at the Paris summit, Harold Nicolson wrote about the behaviour of the Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev implying that he was "a little mad" and the "exchange of insults is not the best method of conducting relations between sovereign states".
Harold Nicolson noted that "although I loathe antisemitism I do dislike Jews".
Harold Nicolson is remembered for his 1932 novel Public Faces, which foreshadowed the nuclear bomb.
Harold Nicolson's diary is one of the pre-eminent 20th-century British diaries and a noteworthy source on British political history from 1930 to the 1950s, particularly in regard to the period before the Second World War and the war itself.
Harold Nicolson was in positions high enough to write of the workings of the circles of power and of the day-to-day unfolding of great events.
Harold Nicolson was appointed Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1953 as a reward for writing the official biography of George V, which had been published the previous year.