Churchill was a genocidaire

Winston Churchill is still revered as a hero of the Second a World War and one of the saviors of democracy. That’s debatable. He gave a few good speeches and it’s questionable whether those speeches were really necessary for the eventual success of the Allies.

What’s not in question is that Churchill was a racist motherfucker who intentially engineered the starvation of possibly over 4 million Bengalis for no other reason than spite.

His own people begged him to let the ships at harbor in Calcutta unload their shipments of food to relieve the horror. Upon being told that the streets were filled with the dead and dying, his retort: “So why isn’t Gandhi dead yet?”


Do you have a cite for that Churchill quote ? The link you posted does not.

What’s the debate? Whether Churchill was an inspirational leader at a time when Britain was facing an existential crisis? I don’t think there’s much doubt about that among historians. That Churchill was a racist? Sure, by modern standards, but so were a lot of his contemporaries. He believed, as did many of his contemporaries and especially those of his generation, in the inherent superiority of the white race and culture. That’s also well known. I don’t really see what significant point you’re trying to make.

This is a Churchill biography/history site, and I’m not claiming it doesn’t try to put its subject in a favorable light, but I do not see how the facts can support a light as unfavorable as your linked sources suggest.

The debate is whether the British authorities, and Churchill in particular deliberately stopped food shipments to Bengal during the famine, because of animosity to the independence movement and racist sentiments. That is Madhusree Mukerjee’s claim, but other historians would disagree.

While Churchill was clearly a racist colonialist (it is often forgotten that one of the reasons his anti-Nazi views were ignored is they were accompanied by virulently pro-colonial views that were anachronistic even by the standards of the time) I am be pretty skeptical, the fact was there was war on, the Britian was planning the invasion of Europe, and allied shipping was being sunk at an incredible rate.

I’d certainly want more evidence than the links in OP before I change my mind.

I’m not that convinced Britain was in an actual existential crisis.
Germany wasn’t really going to invade. They could just have made peace after their defeat in France.

The nightly bombing raids by the Luftwaffe and the U-boats attacking the convoys carrying food and the threat of starvation.

That was quite enough for an existential crisis.

To the OP, agreed but ouch! You have just attacked one of the idols of modern Anglo-American mythology. Prepare for the backlash and excuses. Some of the later have already been seen, for instance the claim that he was a product of his times. Actually no, he was racist even by the standards of his era. Many contemporary commentators mentioned this fact. The other is that “fighting a war”. Duh. Glad to know that non whites lives are less important than those of whites. Refreshingly honest. And positivity Churchillan, he espoused the same opinions.

Churchill was desperately trying to defend the British India from invasion by the Japanese through Burma.

How would a famine in Bengal help to do that?

If you look at the wiki pages on the Bengal famine, you can see there were many factors the contributed to the famine. It was historically vulnerable and the war and arrival of refugees pushed it over the edge.

Sure Churchill detested the likes of Gandhi and the other leaders of Indian Independence, why wouldn’t he? They were political adversaries and they were trying to force the British out of India with strikes and riots at time when the war with Japan was going badly. They were the enemy within, a fifth column, some of whom solicited support from the Japanese and the Nazis.

Churchill was an Imperialist, for sure. That was the prevailing political structure of his time and they maintained power by being a separate ruling class. Social attitudes that, by todays standards, would be considered racist. For that matter, I am sure they had a pretty poor record on LGBT issues as well.

Making a moral issue focussing on Churchills character based on a modern standards rather than those of the time. What is the point of that?

The Bengal famine was just one of the many disasters over which Churchill presided. He had a long and very eventful career. While he can be condemned for a number of great fuck ups, he did inspire the country to fight on when it faced invasion by the Nazis and for that he is well regarded.

He also fought to defend India from invasion by the Japanese and for that he gets no thanks whatsoever. Sure his motives were to preserve India, the most precious part of the British Empire, but consider how India would have fared being part of the Japanese co-prosperity sphere? That would have been a brutal experience.

I am guessing that these old arguments a symptom of the political debate in India that is turning towards Nationalism which feeds on a perception of historic injustice. In that context attacking the legacy of British rule and characters like Churchill is, I guess, fair game because it has little consequence, the British are long gone.

Much more interesting is questioning the Mughal heritage of India by Hindu nationalists.

Apologists galore I see. :rolleyes:

What’s this map all about then?

It’s true that Hitler would have preferred a “peace agreement”, but what they would have wanted would be tantamount to surrender. The Germans already had a long list of influential Britons who were to be arrested.

Yeah, I don’t think anybody here is really denying that Churchill was in fact, as the OP put it, a racist motherfucker. And any suggestion that he didn’t personally care about the suffering of Indians anywhere near as much as the suffering of white people sounds perfectly plausible to me.

But this thread is about the allegation that Churchill deliberately engineered an unnecessary famine in Bengal just 'cos he hated the brown folks that much. AFAICT this is a highly dubious claim when judged by the actual evidence. It is perfectly possible to be an imperialist racist motherfucker without intentionally facilitating the deaths of millions of your country’s subjects.

Oh really? How do you explain the fact that the entire rice harvest was burnt down by the British? Oh, okay, the Japanese is, likely to be your excuse (which it should not be, the famine was the worst in West Bengal, far from the Japanese armies).

Or then how do you explain the fact that Churchill refused to let even a small amount of Australian grain be diverted to India, despite both the Australian Government and Churchill’s own cabinet begging him to do that. Since he said it was needed for Europeans, who were nowhere close to starving? Or the fact that he forbade the Indian Government to employ its own Sterling reserves to buy food? Or to even permit the transfer of food from other provinces.

So if he did not want mass starvation, he sure had a strange way of going about it. And there was food in Bengal during the famine, in shops for British people and Indian military and civil servants.

I cannot really think of any reason why you would be in denial. Except for the fact that this makes you uncomfortable about one of the heroes of your culture.

All those links are reviews of the same book by Madhusree Mukerjee. Do you have any actual cites that show that Churchill actively engineered a famine for political and racial reasons?

Do you have a reputable source for this? Sounds like **** on the face of it, because it makes absolutely no sense. :dubious:

What would you call a “reputable” source? There are plenty if you choose to read them, though I doubt you’ll accept them, many of them being “Indian”.

Happily, for you there is the report of theBengal Famine Commission from 1945, pg 25-26 (Chapter V of the report). This is the production of the British s so I would think it would be “reputable”. The produce of the three main food producing districts was destroyed and thousands of boats (which were at the time the main source of transport for the region) were confiscated or destroyed.

The claim was that RICE was burnt not boats. The report says nothing about burning rice, and certainly not “the entire rice harvest”, only that some excess rice was purchased at above market rate in three coastal regions under threat of invasion.

This says nothing at all about the rice crop being “burnt down” by the British or anyone else.

So it appears that your claim is false.

Bah! There are lots of factors that contributed to the disaster.

The corruption and profiteering by Bengali traders.
Imports restricted by the threat to shipping by enemy action
Civil unrest and the disruptive activities Quit India movement
Defensive preparations to deny resources to enemy
The pattern of land ownership in Bengal making the landless vulnerable
The restrictions on trade in rice between Princely states and Indian provinces
Prioritising resources for groups essential to the war effort
A series of five natural disasters that happened that year: plant diseases, cyclones, floods, malaria, bad weather.

It goes on and on.

Blaming it all on Churchill because he was a racist who hated Indians?

There was certainly no love to be lost between Churchill and the rebellious lawyers that ran the Indian Congress party. They in return had a visceral hatred of British rule and did everything they could to sabotage it. That debate had been going on for many years.

Churchill may not have had much regard for Indian politicians, but it was the Japanese who were the serious military threat. He probably had a few ripe words to say about them as well.

How would a famine in Bengal help defeat the Japanese? It makes no sense.:dubious:

To try and get to some sort of factual answer on this:

With the technology of the time, could Churchill have even commanded the ships outside of Bengal, in anything like real-time?