It is more important to know the properties of chlorine than the improprieties of Claudius! Frederick Alexander Lindemann (Lord Cherwell)


A man who knew the price of everything and the value of nothing Cherwell may not have been the very model of a modern major-general but he certainly typified the attitudes of Churchill’s Empire toward the lesser people’s of the earth and it was his thought,  so unrelenting in its hubris and hatred and so incapable of understanding the lessons of Claudius, that helped foment so much of anti-colonial backlash that followed the war. Lindemann supported eugenics, held the working class and blacks in contempt and supported sterilization of the mentally incompetent. He convinced Churchill to divert 56% of the UK merchant ships operating in the Indian Ocean over to the Atlantic, a move that added two million tons of wheat as well as raw materials for war fighting to Britain’s stockpile while leading to mass starvation in India. His proposal that bombing must be directed to working class houses since middle class houses have too much space round them – and so are bound to waste bombs, changed accepted conventions of limiting civilian casualties in wartime. He enthusiastically supported the controversial Morgenthau Plan, which Churchill subsequently endorsed, that would have made West Germany less productive than the east. He has been described as having “an almost pathological hatred for Germany, and an almost medieval desire for revenge” He died in his sleep in July 3, 1957, aged 71, only a year after becoming Viscount of Cherwell, at which point the barony and viscountcy became extinct – unfortunately too much of his thought and its legacy remains.

Churchill’s secret war : the British empire and the ravaging of India during World War II  Madhusree Mukerjee  New York : Basic Books, 2010  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xxxi, 332 p. ; 24 cm.  Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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 has been widely extolled for his achievements, parts of Churchill’s record have gone woefully unexamined.

Mukerjee reveals, at the same time that Churchill opposed 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 between 1940 and 1944 directly 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 Europe.

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Combining 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.

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