How Churchill 'starved' India




 
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October 29th, 2010  
perseus
 
 

Topic: How Churchill 'starved' India


Some Liberal historian's often compare some of Churchill's exploits in WWII to the leaders of the Axis countries. For example, did he treat Indians any better than Hitler treated the Russians?

A lesser known fact of WWll is that three million Indians died in a famine during 1943, partly because of the policy of prioritising food for the war effort. Rice was exported from India and shiploads of Australian wheat would pass by India to be stored for future consumption in Europe. He also formulated a scorched Earth policy were boats and rice were removed in case of a Japanese landing.

Was this necessary? Would he have done this if they were Scandanavians for example?

For more detail see How Churchill 'starved' India
October 29th, 2010  
LeEnfield
 
 
I know that millions died in India at this time, but do you honestly think that Churchill would see millions of Indians die of starvation for his other aims. Churchill had hoped to keep India tied to Britain after the war so would he have deliberately starved all those people then hoped that they would stay loyal. Churchill was many things but stupid he wasn't
October 29th, 2010  
MontyB
 
 
I think one of the great misconceptions of WW2 from an allied point of view was that we were somehow more squeaky clean than the Germans but the reality is that we were fighting the Axis to determine who the big man on the block was going to be and not because of the righteousness of the cause.

When you look at the actions of both Churchill and Stalin against there own allies it is very hard to separate them from Hitler.

Saw a very good documentary on the Soviet Union last night in fact and how similar it was to the Nazi regime yet the allies turned a blind eye while using the same atrocities committed by the Germans as the justification for war.
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October 30th, 2010  
perseus
 
 
Unethical it might have been, but I'm still not prepared to put Churchill in the same park as Stalin and Hitler. They both systematically killed millions for purely political ends, not just military convenience. Churchill also stood up against Stalin who wanted to mass execute civilians as an example, he said "let me be the first one".

That said, I'm afraid this didn't help Churchill's cause after the war, and must have encouraged India to believe they could govern themselves better. They were in for a nasty surprise though.
October 30th, 2010  
LeEnfield
 
 
Who was responsible for the management of India at this time, Well you had an Indian Congress plus the Viceroy of India, now why isn't the Viceroy of India held to blame rather than Churchill. Do think that Churchill was going to spend his days watching over India or worrying about how the war was going on all the different fronts and having countless meetings with all sorts of people as he tried to get things done on these fronts. If you feel that the top man should carry there can then that would be the Emperor of India King George.
October 30th, 2010  
Yin717
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeEnfield
If you feel that the top man should carry there can then that would be the Emperor of India King George.
Very good, lol.

To be totally frank I think Churchill didn't do it entirely in hate of India. I mean, he maybe overdid the export of rice but of course we were trying to fight a war and imagining what might have happened to India if we had lost the Battle of Britain? (Especially if it was because the pilots were to ill to fly.) As to the ships in case of a Japanese attack, well Britain had already seen what Japan had done in China and if I'm honest if Japan had attacked India they probably would have starved India as well, probably far worse. I think it was probably best that the Allies got hold of the rice so that they could at least attempt to take India back.
October 30th, 2010  
LeEnfield
 
 
India had voted to support Great Britain during WW2, and they raised the largest volunteer army that has been recorded in the world to fight for Britain. Churchill had spent time in India and never once have I ever seen pass any remark that could be classed derogatory about India, so why should he want to cause suffering there.
October 30th, 2010  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by perseus
Unethical it might have been, but I'm still not prepared to put Churchill in the same park as Stalin and Hitler. They both systematically killed millions for purely political ends, not just military convenience. Churchill also stood up against Stalin who wanted to mass execute civilians as an example, he said "let me be the first one".

That said, I'm afraid this didn't help Churchill's cause after the war, and must have encouraged India to believe they could govern themselves better. They were in for a nasty surprise though.
So it is more acceptable that multiple thousands (some claim up to 1 million) of Indians die in order for Britain to have a surplus of food?

I hate to be the one that says this but if there is any one man in history that single handedly destroyed the "Empire" it was Churchill, his lunacy throughout WW1 cost it the Dominions and what he didn't sell the American's in WW2 left because of his colonial policies.

If you look at several of Churchill's quotes I think it more likely that given a free reign he could easily have matched Hitler but probably not caught Stalin...

"I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes." -- Writing as president of the Air Council, 1919

"The unnatural and increasingly rapid growth of the feeble-minded and insane classes, coupled as it is with a steady restriction among all the thrifty, energetic and superior stocks, constitutes a national and race danger which it is impossible to exaggerate... I feel that the source from which the stream of madness is fed should be cut off and sealed up before another year has passed." -- Churchill to Asquith, 1910

"You are callous people who want to wreck Europe - you do not care about the future of Europe, you have only your own miserable interests in mind." -- Addressing the London Polish government at a British Embassy meeting, October 1944

"One may dislike Hitler's system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as admirable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations." -- From his Great Contemporaries, 1937

"It is alarming and nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organising and conducting a campaign of civil disobedience, to parlay on equal terms with the representative of the Emperor-King." -- Commenting on Gandhi's meeting with the Viceroy of India, 1931
October 31st, 2010  
perseus
 
 
Monty

You are largely preaching to the converted. But its all relative. For tyrants, Stalin and Hitler are difficult to beat.

At worst it was gross negligence at best perhaps stockpiling in view of the Uboats. Remember, supplies were still under threat during the first half of 43. Later though it was difficult to justify, perhaps he had an obsession with the Balkans.

Of course if Churchill had been born in Stalin's environment with the autonomy this would have given him, who knows?

Le Enfield did you read the link?

Quote:
Leopold Amery, secretary of state for India, and Field Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell, soon to be appointed the new viceroy of India, are deliberating how to ship more food to the colony. But the irascible Prime Minister Winston Churchill is coming in their way.

"Apparently it is more important to save the Greeks and liberated countries than the Indians and there is reluctance either to provide shipping or to reduce stocks in this country," writes Sir Wavell in his account of the meetings. Mr Amery is more direct. "Winston may be right in saying that the starvation of anyhow under-fed Bengalis is less serious than sturdy Greeks, but he makes no sufficient allowance for the sense of Empire responsibility in this country," he writes.
October 31st, 2010  
Yin717
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
I hate to be the one that says this but if there is any one man in history that single handedly destroyed the "Empire" it was Churchill, his lunacy throughout WW1 cost it the Dominions and what he didn't sell the American's in WW2 left because of his colonial policies.
Actually I would disagree. Even after WW2 we still had a relatively large Empire. I personally believe...well actually it's more of a fact that Thatcher really ruined the Empire. Unlike Churchill, she actually gave no regard to the commonwealth whatsoever and all the countries actually wanted to leave. If you thought Churchill was tough, Thatcher was something far worse.
 


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