Quaker Studies

Quaker Relief and Rehabilitation: The Bengal Famine 1942–45

Quaker Studies (2020), 25, (1), 95–112.

Abstract

The Friends’ Ambulance Unit and the American Friends Service Committee responded to the Bengal famine, 1942–45. Relief and rehabilitation during the Bengal famine are under-studied despite a large database of written records housed in the AFSC archives and the London Friends House Library. Much of the existing work on the Friends’ Ambulance Unit and the American Friends Service Committee focussed on efforts in Europe and China rather than India. In an attempt to fill a gap in historical knowledge, this paper will demonstrate how humanitarian disaster relief and rehabilitation attempted to improve conditions during the Bengal famine. Relief also provided an opportunity for pacifists to provide relief in areas greatly affected by war before massive non-government international organisations existed, as is the case today. I argue that, while small in size, the transnational response made by non-government humanitarian organisations is an early example of government attached relief operations.


Details

Author details

Baumann, Steven Patrick