Statue of famous Suffragette will stand among some of Britain’s most bloodstained imperialists
A lifelong women’s rights campaigner, Fawcett helped to bring about the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which allowed some women to vote for the first time. She founded the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies in 1897, which used peaceful tactics to campaign.
However, Fawcett’s monument will stand in Westminster alongside the inventor of the concentration camp and a field marshal nicknamed ‘Butcher,’ responsible for 2 million casualties among the men under his command.
RT takes a look at some of the British icons who, despite reputations steeped in blood, are commemorated in bronze along Whitehall.
Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris
Air Marshal Arthur Harris ordered the Royal Air Force (RAF) “terror raids” during World War II, including the firebombing of Dresden which killed an estimated 25,000 civilians and obliterated the city.
The attack was widely criticized because of the “blanket bombing” which hit civilian areas as well as military targets, killing thousands of innocents.
General Sir Charles Napier
General Sir Charles Napier, commander of the East India Company’s Bombay Presidency Army, defeated the Muslim rulers of Sindh, in what is now Pakistan. He then proceeded, against orders, to conquer the entire province.
“Our object in conquering India, the object of all our cruelties, was money,” Napier wrote in 1842.
“Every shilling of this has been picked out of blood, wiped and put into the murderer’s pocket … We shall yet suffer for the crime as sure as there is a God in heaven.”
Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India
As Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905, Curzon oversaw one of the many famines to afflict the subcontinent during the period of British rule.
While 1.25 million people starved to death, and a further 2 million succumbed to disease, Curzon cut rations he considered “dangerously high” and attacked “indiscriminate alms-giving” that “weakened the fiber and demoralized the self-reliance of the population.”
Field Marshal Viscount Wolseley
Britain’s response to the “Indian Mutiny” of 1857 was savage. A captain at the time, Field Marshal Viscount Wolseley swore an oath of “having blood for blood, not drop for drop, but barrels and barrels of the filth which flows out in these n*****s’ veins for every drop of British blood” that has been spilled by Indian soldiers.
Most accounts suggest around 100,000 Indians were killed following the rebellion – in many cases, forced to lick blood from the floor before being hanged, bayoneted in the stomach or tied over the mouth of cannons and blasted.
Field Marshal Earl Kitchener
During the Second Boer War, in response to the guerrilla tactics of the Afrikaners, Field Marshal Earl Kitchener vastly expanded the use of a new tactic: concentration camps.
Tens of thousands were interned in filthy, under-supplied and exposed camps.
By the end of the war, 28,000 Boers, mostly women and children, had died in the camps. The black victims of the policy went uncounted.
Field Marshal Douglas Haig
Field Marshall Douglas Haig was nicknamed ‘the Butcher’ during World War I, after leading British troops into the bloody slaughter of Verdun, Passchendaele and the Somme.
There were 2 million casualties among men under his command.
Lord Palmerston launched the first Opium War, forcing China to import a drug that blighted millions of people’s lives. In light of the British addiction to Chinese exports – silk, ceramics and tea – opium was the only commodity that saved the British balance of payments from deficit.
His time at the Foreign Office was described by the Liberal politician John Bright as “one long crime.”