Great Lives

Tuesday 2 April



George Bell, bishop of Chichester, was the most famous churchman of his day. His brave speech attacking the allies' bombing tactics in the Second World War is remembered here by Peter Hitchens as one of the clearest, most coherent and measured statements ever made about the war.

But his contemporaries did not see it quite the same way. "Don't let's be beastly to the Germans," sang Noel Coward in 1943, in part inspired by Bell's anti-war stance.

But George Bell was not a pacifist - he just believed that the British should not be as barbaric, as he saw it, as the Nazis who had provoked the war. In his speech Bell said, "... to justify methods inhumane in themselves by arguments of expediency smacks of the Nazi philosophy that Might is Right."

Producer / Miles Warde for the BBC

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