Legal and Moral Dimensions of Churchill’s Failure to Warn

7 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2010

Date Written: September 14, 2010


Churchill had been given at least forty-eight hours warning that Coventry would be hit. He could have warned the people of Coventry of the impending attack. Yet Churchill determined that any advance warning to the people of Coventry would have enabled the Germans to deduce that their top secret code had been broken. The coded intercepts provided evidence of the Holocaust in progress. Other ways to reveal information that could have by-passed the code system existed, thus providing warning to the public while maintaining a strategic advantage. The international law of genocide would have to develop to go beyond intentional acts to acts of misfeasance and malfeasance. Such expansion would help to close an uncomfortable gap between international law and international morality, for morality and law are symbiotic in the long run.

Keywords: International Morality, International Law, Genocide, Churchill, Coventry Bombing, Ultra Secret Code

JEL Classification: K33, K10, K30

Suggested Citation

D'Amato, Anthony, Legal and Moral Dimensions of Churchill’s Failure to Warn (September 14, 2010). Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1998; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 10-48. Available at SSRN:

Anthony D'Amato (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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