Was Winston Churchill a racist? British resource shows the dark side of Churchill’s legacy and exposes him as a genocidal racist.
In 1943, Winston Churchill, then prime minister, was speaking to the British Cabinet about the famine that was raging through Bengal, India. Churchill told the secretary of state for India, Leo Amery, that the Indians were “the beastliest people in the world, next to the Germans.” and would continue to breed “like rabbits.” After another such outburst somewhat later, Amery was prompted to remark of Churchill that he, Amery, “didn’t see much difference between (Churchill’s) outlook and Hitler’s.”
This story has been recounted by British historian Andrew Roberts. In Roberts’ book, Eminent Churchillians, his writings challenge the mythologized image of Winston Churchill that has been carefully cultivated over the past decades, as the great defender of “western freedoms” against Adolf Hitler and, later, against the communist menace.
The reality that emerges from his research among various archives and documents, is that Winston Churchill was a racist degenerate, who supported the sterilization of “inferior” races, eugenics measures to defend the “British race,” and the establishment of apartheid in South Africa to separate the races, among other atrocities.
Indians were “the beastliest people in the world, next to the Germans.”
Another controversial work is that of University of Swansea’s (Wales) Professor of Politics, Clive Ponting. In his book Churchill, Ponting bases his findings on secret British government papers that have been made available to the public in recent years at the U.K.’s Public Records Office in Kew.
According to Ponting’s research, Churchill was a racist who wanted to forcibly sterilize 100,000 “mentally degenerate” Britons, and to send tens of thousands of others to labor camps, in order to halt the decline of the “British race.” In 1899, Churchill sent a letter to his cousin Ivor Guest, stating that the improvement of the British breed is my “political aim in life.”
By 1900, Churchill was embracing the proposals of the Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Feeble-Minded, which concluded that “the feeble-minded” were a danger to the British race, and should not be allowed to “breed.” He wrote privately to Prime Minister Herbert Asquith: “The unnatural and increasingly rapid growth of the feeble-minded and insane classes, coupled as it is with a steady restriction among all the thrifty, energetic and superior stocks constitutes a national and a race danger which I find impossible to exaggerate. I feel that the source from which the stream of madness is fed should be cut off and sealed up before another year has passed.”
As Home Secretary in 1910, he unsuccessfully tried to introduce forcible sterilization. He also circulated to his government colleagues a pro-eugenics lecture by Dr. Alfred Tredgold, an adviser to the Royal Commission, who spoke on the theme, “The Feeble-Minded: A Social Danger.” In this paper, Tredgold argued that “the feeble-minded” made up the class of “criminals, paupers and unemployable, prostitutes and ne’er do wells,” who were breeding almost twice as fast as the national average. The dilemma facing Britain came from the fact that, in the natural world, these “inferior people” would be eliminated, but the modern state kept them alive. Hence, what was needed urgently were social laws, to ensure that the unfit did not propagate and did not interbreed with “healthy” members of society and thereby “lower the general vigor of the nation.” In his note of recommendation to his colleagues, Churchill affirmed that “Dr. Tredgold speaks from wide experience and with special authority. This address gives a concise and, I am informed, not exaggerated statement of the serious problem to be faced.”
The improvement of the British breed is my “political aim in life.”
In fact, writes Ponting, newly released Home Office files, originally closed to the public for 100 years because of their sensitivity, “show that Churchill was an extremist on the subject [of sterilization], and wanted to go much further than the Royal Commission, Dr. Tredgold, Home Office officials, and ministers.” He was especially impressed with projects for “the forcible sterilization of degenerates” that were then being carried out in such American states as Indiana. He began to promote the idea, rejected by others in the Home Office, for forced labor camps, or labor colonies, for the “feeble-minded.”
According to Ponting, Churchill “thought blacks were inferior. He said so after his trips to Africa. He even thought Australians were a bad lot because of the stock they came from.”
Churchill’s “belief in the inherent superiority of the white race, in the world mission of the British empire, and his belief in the efficacy of public hanging were formed in the last two decades of [the 19th] century. … At that time, racist beliefs were prevalent in Europe and America, and equally influential were the ideas of social Darwinism, a ‘philosophy’ which argued that nations were like species in the international struggle only the fittest would survive. In the decade after Churchill entered parliament in 1900 many among the political and social elite felt the nation was falling behind and its future was at stake. Britain was rapidly losing its industrial preeminence and share of world markets to the United States and Germany, and the Boer War had shown that its strategic position was weak and its defense organization a shambles. Among the elite there was a movement for ‘national efficiency’ … on the fringes [of which movement there was support for] social eugenics, the idea that the ‘British race’ had to be purified to fit it for the struggle with other nations.”
“Apartheid: Made In Britain”
On April 18, 1994, the London Independent had a feature by Africa editor Richard Dowden entitled, “Apartheid: Made in Britain.” Dowden debunked the myth, widely propagated by the British government and in the British media these days, that the British are the conceptual authors of “democracy” in South Africa, and that democratic practices there were nonexistent until the British arrived on the scene. “In fact,” cautioned Dowden. “the British tradition, as purveyed by both English-speaking South Africans and the parliament at Westminster, has played a less than a glorious role in establishing democracy.”
Dowden went on:
“It was two renowned Englishmen, Cecil Rhodes and Winston Churchill, who at crucial moments planted the seeds that were to ripen into policies which deprived black people of democratic rights in South Africa. A third, Jan Smuts an Afrikaner by birth who became a committed supporter of the British Empire — was also an architect of laws which were later to become the framework of apartheid. Like Churchill, Smuts has a statue in Parliament Square, but in South Africa, both will go down as men who destroyed rather than built democracy in the country. . . .
“Rhodes believed that the world should be ruled by the Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic races: One of his dreams was to force the United States of America back into the British Empire. “[Smuts] is usually regarded as the man who represented liberal democratic values in South Africa. In fact, Smuts believed that South Africa should be a ‘white man’s country’ and he believed in ‘segregation’ — which is simply English for apartheid.”
Dowden asserts that apartheid was institutionalized when the Union of South Africa Act was passed in 1910, with Churchill playing a “vital role” in establishing the system. Churchill was then Under-Secretary for the Colonies and had campaigned for years for a system of “Afrikaner self-rule” that, in practice, excluded black Africans from the right
“a foul race protected by their pollution from the doom that is their due.”
Even other work that is reported to be more sympathetic to Churchill cannot escape from admitting some damaging points. Norman Rose, professor of international relations at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, in his book Churchill – An Unruly Life, challenges the notion of the late British leader as an opponent of the appeasement of Hitler.
According to Rose, “The convention is that he was an anti-appeaser in the thirties and opponent of [Neville] Chamberlain. Yet, in fact, he rarely opposed the Government during that period. He was certainly in favor of appeasing Mussolini over Abyssinia and was sympathetic to Franco.”
Rose has also uncovered what some believe to be the most damaging racist quote from Churchill, his description of the Hindus as “a foul race protected by their pollution from the doom that is their due.”
Churchill, the controversial political giant had a dark and ugly side of racism and imperialism that underpinned his worldview. Oscar Wilde described his life and legacy with the phrase: “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”