January 5, 2009

Anyway underfed Bengalis

Altogether malnutrition and diseases stemming from it killed some three million people [in the Bengal famine of 1943].... Despite pleas from [Leo] Amery, the Prime Minister refused to divert scarce shipping to Calcutta and little was done to bring relief when it was most needed, though American aid came later. Churchill regarded the dispatch of food to India as an appeasement of Congress and he believed that "the starvation of anyway underfed Bengalis is less serious [than that of] sturdy Greeks." He added that despite the famine Indians would go on breeding "like rabbits."

-- Piers Brendon, The Decline and Fall of the British Empire: 1781-1997.

... Churchill and Stalin could've gotten a decent conversation out of comparing notes; Stalin didn't beat Churchill by much ... if at all.