There were numerous failings of Churchill, and one can perhaps even go as far that he resisted Germans, only for Britain to remain free from German rule rather than disagreeing wholeheartedly to racial theories (which were the basis of Nazism). But his leadership did also mean that Germany was defeated, together with the help of allies. That is a fact too. So, as with others, we will have to live with the fact that Winston Churchill was not a man without severe personal flaws.
I think Britons knew it, as soon as the war was won, they went and voted for a different direction. Should we be grateful to him? Yes, his leadership of defeating Nazi-Germany was a critical matter.
As my friend Brian Belton a.o pointed out, some of the British high-office holding political key figures at the time were far more conciliatory and open to German Nazism. They may not have chosen the battle stance against Hitler.
Was Churchill a racist, and even white supremacist? On account of his statements and actions, the answer is that Churchill, that robust man who stood up against Hitler, disappoints. Yes, he was a racist and a white supremacist. One has to live with that duality, and it may seem quite regrettable in a world where many people seek for perfect heroes.
The thing is that history has been remembered selectively. I learned about Churchill’s problematic character at university 30 years ago. Few were aware of. It though before the statue was sprayed on.
Had the UK as a whole a more open and honest account of the past, there would be no controversy. We would all know the facts and be very little surprised,
Even the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who reviewed once Churchill’s life, admits on his twitter account ” he sometimes expressed opinions that were and are unacceptable to us today.” He insists he was a national hero nevertheless.
Call him a national hero, as Johnson suggests? A hero, or great man, with considerable flaws, perhaps. Churchill has only got himself to blame for the addendum.
In an essay, I once wrote in uni-days, I examined the argument of the question that racism was a sign of its times, and people who expressed such views then should be given exemption on that account.
I was able to show, again and again, that in each historical episode there were people, who thought otherwise, who did not think Black or Brown people or others were inferior and who did not buy racial theories and spoke out against European racial arrogance. I remember for example the account of a German ship captain who wrote of in his travel journals that he held people in the South to be most human whilst people from Europe behaved like beasts, whilst at the same time Hegel and others theorised that white Europeans were the racial and biological epitome of man. Hegel got his theories wrong because he chose not to know better go to the German harbours and seek out people.
Churchill was racist because he chose to be so, and due to his social surroundings, and unwillingness to consider others as equal humans. But yes, I thank him for leading the fight against Hitler, a racist that was much more dangerous and potent.