Churchill's shocking role in the Bengal Famine

Other | Thursday 27th July 2017 | Patience

In Madhusree Mukerjee's book, Churchill's Secret War, the author shows us a much darker and shameful side of Winston Churchill.

 During 1943 the British government ruled the Bengal province which saw a devastating famine that killed 3 million men, women and children.

 Mukerjee offers up evidence that shows Churchill ordered huge quantities of food to not be delivered to India, as the famine set in. Instead, the food was shipped to already well-fed British soldiers and stockpiles where given to the UK and countries in Europe, like Greece and Yugoslavia, as part of Churchill's Western war effort.

 At one point the Bengal people begged the British government to send ships as the famine reached unbelievable proportions. Survivors who were interviewed by Mukerjee described parents dumping their starving children into rivers or wells, to spare them from the pain.

But Mukerjee blames Churchill's racism for his refusal to help. The prime minister's response to the famine in a war-cabinet meeting was to blame the Bengal people for "breeding like rabbits."

Lord Wavell, appointed Viceroy of India at the time, described Churchill's government as "negligent, hostile and contemptuous" in its treatment of the Indian citizens of Bengal, and that is putting it lightly.