A charity named after Winston Churchill has provoked fury by rebranding itself amid concerns over his views on race.
The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has removed pictures of the wartime leader from its website and is changing its name to the Churchill Fellowship. Volunteers at the trust said it was ‘rewriting history’.
One told The Sun: ‘He was voted, by the people, as the Greatest Briton in a BBC poll in 2002 but is now erased from his own charity by the woke brigade.
‘You can’t imagine what he would have to say about it all but I’m sure he wouldn’t think it was Britain’s finest hour.’
A charity named after Winston Churchill has provoked fury by rebranding itself amid concerns over his views on race. Pictured: Sir Winston and Julia Weston, the charity’s chief executive
The original Winston Churchill Memorial Trust name has been removed from the charity’s website
The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has removed pictures of the wartime leader from its website and is changing its name to the Churchill Fellowship (pictured)
Another volunteer said: ‘It beggars belief that the man who saved this nation in our darkest hour finds himself cancelled in this way.’
Woke campaigners have long had Sir Winston and his legacy in their sights over what they perceive as his racist attitudes and policies.
Was Churchill racist? Controversial acts of one of Britain’s greatest leaders
Winston Churchill is regarded as one of the greatest leaders of all time for uniting Britain during the Second World War and playing a pivotal role in defeating the Nazis.
But he had racist views that were common in the British Empire during the early 1900s and has been blamed for several controversial episodes in Britain’s history.
– He took little action when in 1943, India, then still part of the British empire, experienced a famine in which 3million people died. Churchill even appeared to blame Indians for the famine, claiming they ‘breed like rabbits’. The famine was sparked by the Japanese occupation of Burma the year before, which affected rice supplies.
– In 1937 he said he had no sympathy for Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia, who were enslaved and succeeded by whites. He said: ‘I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.’
– Churchill advocated the use of chemical weapons, particularly against the Kurds and Afghans. In a 1919 war memo he wrote: ‘I cannot understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes.’
Controversies surrounding his rule include whether he could have acted more decisively to prevent the Bengal Famine, which left three million dead in India in 1943.
The charge against the former PM is that he viewed the Indians as not worth saving. His defenders say he was fighting a war at the time and acted swiftly in the circumstances to solve a problem that was not of his making.
The trust was set up after the death of Sir Winston in 1965 to help send British citizens abroad on travel scholarships known as Churchill Fellowships. Trustees include Sir Winston’s grandson Jeremy Soames.
A statement on the trust’s website last night said: ‘Today there is controversy about aspects of Sir Winston’s life. Many of his views on race are widely seen as unacceptable today, a view that we share.
‘At the same time, he is internationally admired for his wartime leadership in saving Britain and the world from Nazism. We acknowledge the many issues and complexities involved on all sides, but do not accept racism of any kind.
‘As a forward-looking charity aiming to improve lives throughout the UK, what we take from Sir Winston’s example are values for the future: global learning, public service and, above all, a belief in the potential of all individuals.’
A spokesman for the trust added that the foundation remained ‘proud of our connection to him and his contribution to saving the world from Nazism’ but added: ‘At the same time, some of his views on race are widely seen as unacceptable today.’
The Fellowship scandal is not the first time Sir Winston’s name has been dragged into woke culture wars.
The Cambridge college that bears his name has been urged to change it to reflect ‘inclusivity’. A plan to hold a debate there to discuss his views was dubbed ‘idiotic’ earlier this year.
Last summer Black Lives Matter protestors daubed his statue in parliament Square with the words ‘is a racist’ under the ‘Churchill’. It led to widespread outrage and other statues being boxed-in for subsequent demonstrations.
Meanwhile visitors to his former Kent home Chartwell are given warnings over his links to the slave trade and colonialism by the current owners the National Trust.
How the Bengal Famine claimed three million lives and sparked a furious debate about whether Churchill was to blame
The Bengal Famine of 1943 was one of the worst human disasters in British imperial history, claiming three million lives.
The disaster was triggered by a cyclone and flooding in Bengal in 1942, which destroyed crops and infrastructure.
In the early stages of the famine the local government denied it existed, and historians accept humanitarian aid was insufficient.
Winston Churchill has also been blamed for down-playing the crisis and arguing against re-supplying Bengal to preserve ships and food supplies for the war effort.
The Bengal Famine was triggered by a cyclone and flooding in Bengal in 1942, which destroyed crops and infrastructure
Secretary of State for India Leopold Amery recorded that Churchill suggested any aid sent would be insufficient because of ‘Indians breeding like rabbits’.
However, despite his unsavoury comments about Indians, Churchill’s defenders insist that he did try to help and delays were a result of conditions during the war.
They point out that after receiving news of the spreading food shortages Churchill told his Cabinet he would welcome a statement from Lord Wavell, his new Viceroy of India, about how he planned to ensure the problems were ‘dealt with’.
He then wrote to the Viceroy in a personal letter: ‘Every effort must be made, even by the diversion of shipping urgently needed for war purposes, to deal with local shortages.
‘Every effort should be made by you to assuage the strife between the Hindus and Moslems and to induce them to work together for the common good.’
According to the Churchill Project: ‘There is no evidence that Churchill wished any Indian to starve; on the contrary, he did his best to help them, amidst a war to the death.’
The amount of aid increased greatly after the British Indian Army seized control of famine relief from the local government in October 1943.
By December, more food arrived after a record rice harvest, and deaths from starvation declined.
Even so, more than half of famine-related deaths happened in 1944 after the food crisis had abated, with thousands falling victim to diseases including malaria and cholera.