Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the

Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the

Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II [Read] ➪ Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II By Madhusree Mukerjee – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk A dogged enemy of Hitler, resolute ally of the Americans, and inspiring leader through World War II, Winston Churchill is venerated as one of the truly great statesmen of the last century But while he A dogged enemy of Hitler, resolute ally of War: The PDF/EPUB À the Americans, and inspiring leader through World War II, Winston Churchill is venerated as one of the truly great statesmen Churchill's Secret MOBI :Ú of the last century But while he has been widely extolled for his achievements, parts of Churchill s record have gone woefully unexamined As journalist Madhusree Mukerjee reveals, at Secret War: The PDF ´ the same time that Churchill brilliantly opposed the barbarism of the Nazis, he governed India with a fierce resolve to crush its freedom movement and a profound contempt for native lives A series of Churchill s decisions betweenanddirectly and inevitably led to the deaths of some three million Indians The streets of eastern Indian cities were lined with corpses, yet instead of sending emergency food shipments Churchill used the wheat and ships at his disposal to build stockpiles for feeding postwar Britain and EuropeCombining meticulous research with a vivid narrative, and riveting accounts of personality and policy clashes within and without the British War Cabinet, Churchill s Secret War places this oft overlooked tragedy into the larger context of World War II, India s fight for freedom, and Churchill s enduring legacy Winston Churchill may have found victory in Europe, but, as this groundbreaking historical investigation reveals, his mismanagement facilitated by dubious advice from scientist and eugenicist Lord Cherwell devastated India and set the stage for the massive bloodletting that accompanied independence.


10 thoughts on “Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II

  1. Simon Wood Simon Wood says:

    I DIDN T SEE MUCH DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHURCHILL S OUTLOOK AND HITLER S Guess who said that Perhaps it was Subhas Chandra Bose leader of the Japanese alligned Indian National Army Or Nehru or Gandhi during an intemperate moment Or some other Indian nationalist The reality was that none of these Indian political figure made the comparison, rather it was spoken by Churchills contemporary at Harrow, his accomplice in the rearmament debates of the 1930 s and his then Secretary of State for India I DIDN T SEE MUCH DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHURCHILL S OUTLOOK AND HITLER S Guess who said that Perhaps it was Subhas Chandra Bose leader of the Japanese alligned Indian National Army Or Nehru or Gandhi during an intemperate moment Or some other Indian nationalist The reality was that none of these Indian political figure made the comparison, rather it was spoken by Churchills contemporary at Harrow, his accomplice in the rearmament debates of the 1930 s and his then Secretary of State for India, Leo Amery He said it with Churchills views of the Indian people, particularly Hindus, in mind, and with especial regard to how these beliefs impacted on British policies in India during World War 2 in general, and the Bengal Famine of 1943 in particular This famine probably as usual no one was counting with any particular care cost Bengal and the surrounding provinces in excess of 3 million lives, and formed a brutal endpiece to Britains Imperial rule in Bengal that mirrored the famine that accompanied the Empires first steps there in the 1770 s.If anyone has the notion to regard Amerys comparison as hyperbole they would do well to read Madhusree Mukerjee s Churchill s Secret War The centre piece of Mukerjee s book is the Bengal famine of 1943 to which she devotes much space to set the context within which it occurred, analysing the British response stymied by the Hitlerite attitude of Churchill towards Indians , as well as measuring up the practicality and likely results of the options pushed for at the time by Amery and other officials Beyond this the whole of the British policy in India during the War is covered, from India s War effort paid for by the accumulation of Sterling balances in London for gradual payment after the war , the efforts to divide Muslims from Hindus, and the effects of British plans for the defence of Eastern India from Japanese invasion which made famine almost inevitable.Beyond the narrating and analysis of events is Mukerjee s accounts of the main actors, in particular Churchill whose repulsive views on Indians are extensively quoted and his all purpose aide Lord Cherwell whose views of the lesser races make one wonder why he hadn t just stayed in Germany during the Nazi period This pair between them bear a major part of the responsibility for the negligible efforts at avoiding or ameliorating the effects of the famine This negligence was not based on ignorance of the facts, but the fruit of their vicious racial beliefs with regard to Indians that makes Amery s comparison of Churchill to Hitler an apposite one.Overall Churchill s Secret War is the brilliant, well researched account and analysis of India s experience of the second world war Fans of Churchill may be a little upset, but the great mans reputation is long overdue a reappraisal in the popular imagination His policies and opinions on India were perhaps his most brutal, but they are not alone and chime in with his attitudes towards Arabs, whom he advocated bombing with poisoned gas, and other colonial peoples, not to mention the working people of Britain itself Thoroughly recommended


  2. Neil Larsen Neil Larsen says:

    I give this book an unqualifiedly enthusiastic recommendation Here is excruciatingly documented proof that Winston Churchill is truly one of the last century s greatest war criminals and genocidal, racist autocrats In the case of the terrible famine that swept the Indian state of Bengal during World War II, we have a clear instance of a mass extermination that could, at multiple times, have been prevented by the actions of the British government under Churchill, but that was consciously allowe I give this book an unqualifiedly enthusiastic recommendation Here is excruciatingly documented proof that Winston Churchill is truly one of the last century s greatest war criminals and genocidal, racist autocrats In the case of the terrible famine that swept the Indian state of Bengal during World War II, we have a clear instance of a mass extermination that could, at multiple times, have been prevented by the actions of the British government under Churchill, but that was consciously allowed to take place purely for reasons of colonial imperial convenience and, just as plainly, out of an abiding racialized hatred of South Asians and all nonwhites really on the part of Churchill, his closest advisers, and the British rulers and governors of Britain s Indian colony We hear endlessly about the famines in the Ukraine in the USSR under Stalin and in China during Mao s Great Leap Forward, but not often about the historical factors that cast doubt on the allegation that these were catastrophes that the USSR or the PRC somehow refused to prevent It s not at all clear that these famines, however much mistaken policies contributed to them, could have been prevented But the famine in Bengal in the 1940s, which claimed millions of lives, clearly could have been prevented, at no great cost to Britain or its war effort It was, Mukarjee s book convincingly shows, allowed to take place because it served British imperial interests, among them the desire to discredit Gandhi, the Congress Party nationalists and anyone else who opposed British rule No wonder Hitler admired the British Raj so much and aspired to do the same in Russia and Eastern Europe as the British had done in India Indeed, as this book also relates, Hitler would have jumped at the chance of a separate peace with Britain if only it had been willing to give him free rein in Russia and Eastern Europe even offering military aid to the British for the defense of its empire That the British imperialists refused this offer can be chalked up purely to their own imperial greed


  3. Raghu Raghu says:

    This is not just another book on the horrendous famine in Bengal in 1943 44 when 3 million people died, according to most independent accounts This book is about how Winston Churchill and his chief advisor Lord Cherwell became responsible for inducing and perpetuating the famine and how their racist and contemptuous attitude towards Indians, particularly Hindus, eventually resulted in millions of deaths and laid the foundations for partitioning India on religious lines resulting in further trag This is not just another book on the horrendous famine in Bengal in 1943 44 when 3 million people died, according to most independent accounts This book is about how Winston Churchill and his chief advisor Lord Cherwell became responsible for inducing and perpetuating the famine and how their racist and contemptuous attitude towards Indians, particularly Hindus, eventually resulted in millions of deaths and laid the foundations for partitioning India on religious lines resulting in further tragedy Most accounts of the famine have often dwelt on the ineptness and callous attitude of the British bureaucratic elite in India as the cause of the tragedies in Bengal in 1943 But Ms.Mukerjee shows how Churchill s personal hatred towards Indians, aided by the dubious and cynical counsel of his scientist and eugenicist friend and colleague Lord Cherwell, devastated Bengal during the famine and later set the stage for the massive bloodshed which accompanied the partition of India The book is very well researched and the author, being Benglai herself, has talked to many of the survivors of the famine resulting in a book which is at once scholarly as well as personal Being Indian myself, it was not only heart wrenching for me to read about the role and prejudices of a British aristocrat in this tragedy but realize how ignorant many of us Indians have been in accepting Western accounts of the greatness of Churchill as a democrat of the free world Ms Mukerjee s book places Churchill s hatred towards India and his terrible actions into the larger context of WW 2 and India s freedom One is left with the feeling of asking, what moral right did Churchill have in denouncing Stalin as a brutal dictator The author lays bare the machinations of Churchill, Lord Cherwell, Linlithgow and Wavell during the time of famine Basically Churchill wanted to save foodgrains to feed Greece and Yugoslavia and a post war Britain as part of his geo political game in Europe So, shiploads of foodgrains from Australia passed the Indian ports on the way to Europe without offloading even a kilogram of it to the starving, famine stricken Indians in Bengal For Churchill, it was unacceptable that bread should be rationed in Britain but quite acceptable to let millions of Bengalis die of starvation The only British official who emerges with a clean record was the secretary of state Lord Leopold Amery, who consistently opposed Churchill s plans to promote the Muslim League and partition India as well as plead for grains to feed the millions in Bengal.The book shows that President Roosevelt, being a genuine liberal, was rather contemptuous of Churchill s aristocratic bearing and Britain s conduct towards freedom for India His Ambassador to India, William Phillips reported to Roosevelt on the famine and the president was very sympathetic towards Indian independence and the need for America to help India achieve it But inter dependencies on the war effort in Europe made it difficult for the US to push Churchill too far on India.There are a few other observations which were of great interest to me In spite of the massive starvation, amazingly, shops holding grains were not looted by the people The author says that it was initially due to the people clinging ferociously to their values of not taking to crime and later due to the emaciated condition of the population to take on the well fed shop owners Another unique feature was that not even a single act of cannibalism was reported all through the famine In most places of famine, cannibalism was a common occurrence But the people of Bengal both Hindus and Muslims clearly drew the line when it came to cannibalism due to the strong cultural taboo that prevailed probably for millenniums The author says, given the frequency and intensity with which famines hit 19th century India, accounts of anthropophagy are so rare that they point to a prohibition that prevailed across the subcontinent The book has many other points of research regarding the state of Bengal when the East of India co set foot there and life of the many revolutionaries during the 1940s I feel that this book is a major contribution to Indian history in general and also an important work in the history of the second world war It is required reading for Indians as well as Britishers, especially those Britishers who often like to believe that Britain was by and large a benevolent colonial power in India The revelation that massive starvation deaths were brought about during the second world war not only by dictators like Hitler and Stalin but also by Winston Churchill by using the same domineering power, should be a humbling thought to apologists of European colonialism.Five stars all the way


  4. Sanjana Sanjana says:

    Churchill is still idolized, somewhat unquestionably I can t go a week without seeing a inspirational Churchill quote Mukerjee s account shows the true nature of Churchill Everything we may think about Churchill is relentlessly examined, taken apart, and debunked The book s main focus is on how Churchill was largely responsible for the famine in Bengal in India in 1943 Whatever food was being produced in Bengal during that time was forcibly exported to feed the British empire, leading to Churchill is still idolized, somewhat unquestionably I can t go a week without seeing a inspirational Churchill quote Mukerjee s account shows the true nature of Churchill Everything we may think about Churchill is relentlessly examined, taken apart, and debunked The book s main focus is on how Churchill was largely responsible for the famine in Bengal in India in 1943 Whatever food was being produced in Bengal during that time was forcibly exported to feed the British empire, leading to the deaths of 3 5 million people residing in the Indian subcontinent The drought was a result of nature but the millions of preventable deaths are a result of British imperial policy Amartya Sen even argues that there was enough food in Bengal, despite the famine, to feed the population sufficiently Mukerjee also diligently documents Churchill s racism We read letters and diary entries where Churchill asserts, Relief would do no good, Indians breed like rabbits and will outstrip any available food supply and I hate Indians They are a beastly people with a beastly religion I am not sure how anyone can doubt Churchill s intentions or deny his responsibility in the Bengal famine Overall, this book is heartbreaking but very important


  5. G. G. says:

    Living in the West, I see such an adulation for Churchill as the saviour during the WWII The dark side of this man, his imperial arrogance, barely concealed racist views and the diatribe against India s freedom fighters, particularly Gandhi, is never talked about As a matter of fact, most here in Canada and in the other commonwealth countries including Britain do not even know how this side exists I suppose one good deed conceals one hundred evil ones.This brilliantly written book base on pai Living in the West, I see such an adulation for Churchill as the saviour during the WWII The dark side of this man, his imperial arrogance, barely concealed racist views and the diatribe against India s freedom fighters, particularly Gandhi, is never talked about As a matter of fact, most here in Canada and in the other commonwealth countries including Britain do not even know how this side exists I suppose one good deed conceals one hundred evil ones.This brilliantly written book base on painstaking research is a must read for all from Britain s previous colonies, and indeed the British and the Anglo Saxon British empire of Canada, Australia and New Zealand


  6. David David says:

    I thought I was well read on the general subject of the Second World War, at least in terms of the Western Allies, until I read this book I even took a University course on the History of the British Empire and Commonwealth, and I don t recall any discussion of the war time famines in India This is clearly written from the Indian point of view, and there are some conclusions which seem speculative Overall, the book is quite damning of Imperial policy and the comparisons between food requireme I thought I was well read on the general subject of the Second World War, at least in terms of the Western Allies, until I read this book I even took a University course on the History of the British Empire and Commonwealth, and I don t recall any discussion of the war time famines in India This is clearly written from the Indian point of view, and there are some conclusions which seem speculative Overall, the book is quite damning of Imperial policy and the comparisons between food requirements for the home islands and India, are a stark comparison I particularly enjoyed deepening my understanding of the conflict and the post war Independence and Partition of India The audio version is read by an English narrator which adds some interesting flavor somehow


  7. Satadru Satadru says:

    Fucking Heartbreaking.


  8. Subrata Dass Subrata Dass says:

    The book is an amazing look at the horrors that Indians , especially the Bengalis faced during the British Raj and especially under Churchill As we analyze how Economics grew in India we are told repeatedly that India was an agrarian society which magically turned into a service economy in the 1990s but missed the manufacturing bus This book dispels the myth and gives us a closer look into how the Company and her majesty s loyal servants destroyed the advanced manufacturing base already presen The book is an amazing look at the horrors that Indians , especially the Bengalis faced during the British Raj and especially under Churchill As we analyze how Economics grew in India we are told repeatedly that India was an agrarian society which magically turned into a service economy in the 1990s but missed the manufacturing bus This book dispels the myth and gives us a closer look into how the Company and her majesty s loyal servants destroyed the advanced manufacturing base already present in the country in 1770s An interesting revelation is how the start of the industrial revolution in Britain nearly coincides with the battle of Plassey A subtle hint at how the revolution was mostly funded by the riches coming out of the colony Divulgingwill be tantamount to giving out the content of the book. so do read the book to learn


  9. Iñaki Tofiño Iñaki Tofiño says:

    Not every one s cup of tea, obviously, but I had a blast with it Well researched and even better written, the book describes the implications that Churchill and his War Cabinet decisions had on the fate of India and Bengal in particular.Due to their contempt and racism, they performed what can be considered daylight robbery take rice and wheat from India to feed Indian troops fighting outside the subcontinent and leave Bengalis starving to death, literally The lesser figures for 1943 indicate Not every one s cup of tea, obviously, but I had a blast with it Well researched and even better written, the book describes the implications that Churchill and his War Cabinet decisions had on the fate of India and Bengal in particular.Due to their contempt and racism, they performed what can be considered daylight robbery take rice and wheat from India to feed Indian troops fighting outside the subcontinent and leave Bengalis starving to death, literally The lesser figures for 1943 indicate at least 1.5 million deaths Besides, to add insult to injury, the British politicians handled independence in the worst possible way, manipulating people, so that partition became inevitable Apparently, in his late years Churchill repented, but it was too late.Mukerjee has done a great job unveiling these circumstances, digging into political archives in the UK, interviewing famine survivors, freedom fighters so we get quite a clear picture of a blatant case of crimes against humanity


  10. Triya Triya says:

    Heartbreaking and disturbing one of those books which makes you put it down because you just can t take the atrocities that humans have perpetrated against other humans Impeccably researched and somehow written in a detached manner which makes it all thechilling.This is the book that brought to the forefront the horrors that Indians in Bengal had to face during the second World War, because of the British Raj, and exposed the hypocrisy of the defenders of the Raj Never before has the p Heartbreaking and disturbing one of those books which makes you put it down because you just can t take the atrocities that humans have perpetrated against other humans Impeccably researched and somehow written in a detached manner which makes it all thechilling.This is the book that brought to the forefront the horrors that Indians in Bengal had to face during the second World War, because of the British Raj, and exposed the hypocrisy of the defenders of the Raj Never before has the phrase History is written by the victors hit me so hard, since the wide popularity and glorification of Churchill has made it so easy to gloss over the intense hatred he had for Indians, because of his racist outlook Madhushree s book is excellent, the sheer volume of research gone into this is astounding A must read for all fans of Indian history


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