Winston Churchill, considered to be one of the greatest Britons and Heros in British history, the Prime Minister who led Britain through her finest hour, the list of prestigious labels continue. However, there’s a side of Churchill most people do not know about – once acknowledging these hidden facts about Winston Churchill, labels such as white supremacist, racist, immoral would most definitely be synonymous with his name. Winston Churchill is famous for his inspiring quotes and involvement in leading Britain through WW2 but is not infamous for his victimising quotes and immoral actions.
The Bengal Famine in 1943
During WW2, India suffered from a famine which resulted in roughly 4 million people dying from starvation. This famine was not a result of natural disasters or poor agriculture but instead was triggered by Winston Churchill himself. The British army was ordered to take vasts amount of rice and wheat from Bengal, for example, within 7 months 700,000 tonnes of rice was exported from the country to the middle east. This artificial famine designed by Churchill resulted in even more tragedies to occur throughout Bengal; Women and daughters sold their bodies to feed their families, children became murderers and thieves and fathers became traffickers of their own children.
After a year of this famine, Bengal had requested Britain for food in which Churchill promptly denied on several occasions, even as going as a far as creating a denial policy; where authorities removed boats (the lifeline of the region) and the police destroyed and seized rice stocks in fear that Japanese forces would land. Some describe this tragedy as a “Manmade holocaust” – it took several years for Hitler to kill 7 million+ Jewish people whereas Churchill engineered a famine that lasted a year which killed 4 million+ people. The parallels between Churchill and Hitler seem almost uncanny. However, some may say that Churchill had to make this necessary sacrifice for the betterment of Britain during the war and that this was somewhat a reasonable decision, this is an invalid statement as Churchill is known for being racist against Indians and having animosity for Gandhi’s party. These immoral actions were based on hatred and bigotry against a particular race, similar to another world leader during WW2.
“I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion”
“Relief will do nothing, for Indians breed like rabbits”
These are just some of the quotes Churchill has said regarding the Bengal famine, which displays his overt racism and hatred towards the Indian population.
Institutional racism in Kenya
In 1952 there was a state emergency declared in Kenya by Britain, however, this was just a plot to maintain the institutional racism in Kenya which has been ongoing from the genesis of colonisation. Churchill demonstrates his white supremacist nature by seizing Kenya’s fertile highlands, with his reasoning being that he believed their lands be utilised by white colonial settlers. Thus, this led to locals (or ‘blackamoors’, a name given by Churchill himself) being forcibly removed from their own lands.
Furthermore, Churchill approved having concentrations placed in Kenya which held up to 150,000 men, women and children. Children’s schools were shut by the British who branded them “training grounds for rebellion”. Rape, castration, electric shocks and fire all used by the British to torture the Kenyan people under Churchill’s supervision.
It is clear that Churchill enforced institutional racism in Kenya and was a proud white supremacist who was Britains representative and leader at the time. So what reflection does this show of Britain’s society at the time as well?
Further quotes by Churchill:
There are many things Churchill has done and said over the years which express his immoral side but unless I am attempting to write a book I will keep it short, but I trust you will look more into it.
However, here are a few quotes to summarise the dark side of Churchill:
“My admiration for him [Ibn Saud] was deep, because of his unfailing loyalty to us.” – How Churchill viewed Ibn Saud
“Keep England White” – Churchills motto for debating the adoption of new laws limiting immigration from the Caribbean
“100,000 degenerate Britons should be forcibly sterilised/others put in labour camps to halt decline of British race” / “for tramps and wastrels there ought to be proper labour colonies where they could be sent” – Churchills thoughts on dealing with the disabled and homeless people
“I love this war. I know it’s smashing and shattering the lives of thousands every moment” – Churchills admiration for violence during WW1
When it comes to judging significant figures in the past and present, I find it important to consider *all* their actions and ideologies. Judging an individual without having a full scope of their actions and/or ideologies is undoubtedly expressing ignorance. Despite individuals carrying out benevolent acts in the world, I disagree with classing them as idols or even heroes when they have also committed malevolent acts.