Churchill not entirely to blame for Bengal famine | Letters

Churchill not entirely to blame for Bengal famine | Letters

Winston Churchill’s confidant, Frederick Lindemann, poorly advised the war leader, argues Charles Sharp

Bruce Ross-Smith (Letters, 11 May) is unfair in blaming Churchill entirely for the Bengal famine. Most historians blame his confidant and adviser, Frederick Lindemann, for advocating the policy of redirecting food ships to the Atlantic from the India-Australia route. Churchill was probably unaware of the future consequences amid all the turmoil of war planning in 1942-43. Lindemann is a darker, more controversial figure. Had his interference in the development of radar succeeded, we would have lost the war. He was the primary advocate of the RAF’s role in area bombing and “de-housing”. Apart from the civilian casualties it caused, it diverted resources from tactical support by the RAF to the army and navy. Undoubtedly Churchill was a flawed character, but not a genocidal leader. Confronted by “the abyss of a new dark age”, Churchill’s oratory inspired resistance and formed a great alliance that defeated the far greater evils of Nazism and Japanese imperial expansion. He deserves a Nobel for that.
Charles Sharp
London  

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