In recent years I have been trying (in The Daily Babel too) to show with historic evidence that Winston Spencer Churchill, far from having acted as a champion of freedom and civilization, was one of the worst warmongers of the XX century. And that Britons should detest him as the national leader who, while impelling several conflicts and campaigns aimed to uphold the British Empire and Glory, did factually the most to destroy said empire and glory. By the way, a number of bona fide historians did not loose opportunities to stress the uncommon callousness of Sir Winston when confronted with problems of conscience.
It’s well known, for instance, that in 1915 Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, willingly disregarded the human costs of the temerary operation of the Dardanelles. Against the advice of his admirals, the First Lord pushed for the operation: He won, the campaign failed utterly after taking many thousand lives. But the Dardanelles, among the Churchill’s evil deeds, was a comparatively innocent one. Instead nobody pushed the United Kingdom to enter WW2 more than Churchill, the forceful head of the war party in the London Establishment. That is, no Briton more than him acted to transform a regional conflict in Central Europe into the most lethal war in history.
Now an article of TIME (November 29, 2010) indicts the late Premier with a little known crime of sixtyseven years ago. Title: “The Ugly Briton. A scholarly account of Churchill’s shameful role in the Bengal famine leaves his reputation in tatters”. Incipit: <Few statesmen in the 20th century have reputations as outsize as Winston Churchill's. And yet his assidously self-promoted image as what the author Harold Evans called 'the British Lionheart on the ramparts of civilization' rests primarily on his WW2 rhetoric, rather than his actions as the head of a government that ruled the biggest empire the world has ever known. Madhusree Mukerjee's new book, Churchill's Secret War, reveals a side of Churchill largely ignored in the West and considerably tarnishes his heroic sheen,
< In 1943, some 3 million brown-skinned subjects of the Raj died in the Bengal famine, one of history's worst. Mukerjee delves into official documents and oral accounts of survivors to paint a horrifying portrait of how Churchill, as part of the Western war effort, ordered the diversion of food from starving Indians to already well equipped British soldiers and stockpiles in Britain and elsewhere in Europe.
<And he did so with a churlishness that cannot be excused on grounds of policy: Churchill's only response to a telegram from the government in Delhi about people perishing in the famine was to ask why Gandhi hadn't died yet.
<”I hate Indians” he told the Secretary of State for India, Leopold Amery. “They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault”, he declared at a war-cabinet meeting, for “breeding like rabbits”. .
The crime of 1943 against Bengal -better, against humanity- draws Churchill a little closer to Stalin, Himmler, Pol Pot and other assassins. Furthermore, it adds weight to the numerous accusations and witnesses raised against the wartime Prime Minister in the 95 years that elapsed since the bloody Dardanelles expedition. For instance, to the allegation that on July 14, 1943 he ordered the shooting down, in the Gibraltar sky, of the British 4-motor bomber who was carrying, in addition to crew and several passengers, general Wladislaw Sikorsky, head of the Polish government in London and of the Polish Army which was fighting Germans on the side of Britain. Cburchill is commonly suspected to have perpetrated this crime in order to please Stalin, the arch-enemy of right-wing Polish, the one who in 1940 ordered the Katyn mass killing of Polish officers, and in late summer of 1944 forbade the Soviet Army to conquer Warsaw, right across the Vistula, so that the Wehrmacht and the SS could exterminate the Polish anticommunist fighters who had insurrected.
The total destruction by the RAF of Dresden, a city of no residual industrial or military value, when the Wehrmacht had practically collapsed, the victorious Red Army was advancing fast and Dresden was teeming with fugitives from the eastern territories, was additional evidence of the Churchillian cruelty. At least 100,000 persons died.
While Indians mourn the millions who perished in 1943 because of Churchill, the whole world should feel revulsion, if it would know the truth behind the iconic image of the so called New Lionheart projected by the war.propaganda machine. However Churchill had something in common with King Richard I. The latter too, the original Lionheart, was fit to ruthlessness: He did not give mercy to the Saracens who had defended Acre. After surrendering, they were slaughtered by a churchillian command of the Lionheart.
On their part, Britons should pity themselves because destiny and their own subservience to the Tory Establishment gave the political power to the top national warmonger. Churchill’s lifetime vocation to war -almost any war- had an enormous consequence: the cancellation of the British Empire and greatness. After Churchill’s war Britain found herself broke and deprived of a world role. Today’s Britain is just the hulk of a wrecked stately ship. Churchill demanded WW2 so that Britain would stay great. The result was the downgrading to a status of irrelevancy.
Antonio Massimo Calderazzi