The racist nature of Britain in the 1900’s has been used to excuse the white supremacist nature of Churchill; however, it can be recognised that his views were more ingrained than considered usual in this time period. In 1937, Churchill referenced the colonisation of indigenous land in America and Australia, explaining to the Palestine Royal Commission that ‘a stronger race and higher race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.’ His views of racial hierarchy placed white, British protestants above all. Although historians argue that Churchill condemned mistreatment of those classed in ‘lower races,’ his treatment of people in the countries Britain colonised begs to differ.

The Bengal famine of 1943, due to Churchill’s failure to prioritise, led to the death of over 3 million Indian people. Throughout world war two, Churchill forced India to continue exporting rice despite the hardships the country was facing. Over 150, 000 tons of wheat was placed into storage rather than being delivered to those starving in Bengal. Rather than supporting the country which he had colonised, Churchill expressed his racist views, saying “I hate the Indians, they’re beastly people with a beastly religion.” Rather than taking responsibility for the starvation of over 3 million people, Churchill blamed those starving for “breeding like rabbits,” and only after the millions of deaths did the war cabinet even begin to find a solution to end the suffering of the Indian people.

The terrifying extent of the torture implemented on those living within the British empire didn’t end here, however. In 1950, concentration camps were used in Kenya to torture and imprison innocent people seeking independence from the British Empire. Around 150,000 Kenyan people were detained in these camps without a trial, including the grandfather of Barack Obama. Churchill’s repetition of his hatred for Nazism yet the use of their barbaric methods of imprisonment emphasises his corruption and the problem with his glorification.

The assumption is that Britain’s allies and civilians were protected from Churchill’s violent military strategies, this is not true. The unnecessary bombing of European countries led to thousands of unnecessary deaths. The bombing of an Algerian port killed over 1300 innocent soldiers and former British allies in the French fleet. The invasion of the Italian peninsula resulted in hundreds of thousands of innocent casualties. The three-day bombing of Dresden killed between 35,000-135,000 people, many of them being civilians. Although Churchill can’t be held responsible for all these deaths, his choices to bomb countries repeatedly with disregard for the innocent lives lost must be recognised.

Even though Britain can appreciate that Churchill saved many people from Nazism, we must also recognise that he was responsible for the torture and death of hundreds of thousands of people. Although we should learn about the success of Britain in the Second World war, the country must acknowledge it’s problematic past and this poses questions regarding the necessity of a statue which ultimately signifies the glorification of a white supremacist.