quinta-feira, 28 de janeiro de 2010

Statistics at war

One of the first steps I took on taking charge of the Admiralty and becoming a member of the War Cabinet was to form a statistical department of my own. For thispurpose I relied on Professor Lindemann, my friend and confidant of so many years. Together we had formed our views and estimates about the hole story. I now installed him at the Admiralty with half a dozen statisticians and economists whom we could trust to pay no attention to anything but realities. This group of capable men, with access to all official information, was able , under Lindemann's guidance, to present me continually with tables and diagrams, illustrating the whole war so far as it came within our knowledge. They examined and analysed with relentless pertinacity all the departamental papers which were circulated to the War Cabinet, and also pursued all the inquiries which I wished to make myself.

At this time there was no general Government statistical organization. Each department presented its tale on its own figures and data. The Air Ministry counted one way, the War Office another. The Ministry of Supply and the Board of Trade, through meaning the same thing, talked different dialects. This led sometimes to misunderstandings and waste of time when some point or other came to crunch in the Cabinet (...).

Churchill, Winston S. The Second Wolrd War: The Gathering Storm. 1948. Página 420.

More about Lindemann here.

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