Britain is not open about the stuff we’ve done at all.
Slavery is taught but that’s about it. And even then the focus is on “We stopped it”, often leaving out the part about profiting from it for 200 years.
The crimes in Ireland are only taught at A Level history, meaning that most of the public is truly ignorant of British colonialism in Ireland. A huge portion of the English public voted Cromwell to be one of the greatest Britons ever, and he committed horrific acts against Ireland and Scotland.
There’s little mention of any imperialism in Africa. When it was revealed the Mau Mau’s would be getting a memorial statue funded by the UK, people were outraged and basically denied that we ever did anything wrong. The Boer and Zulu wars are forgotten, especially the bit about the concentration camps.
There’s absolutely 0 public discussion regarding British imperialism in India. People’s knowledge seems to go as far as “We gave them trains so they should be grateful”. The British tied mutineers to cannons and blew them up. The Indian economy shrank under British rule more than any other nation in the modern era. From about 20% of global GDP (Similar to China and Europe) at the start, to about 1% at independence.
And that’s not even mentioning the Native Americans. Long before someone ever dreamt up the idea of United States, the European colonists were quite happy killing, abusing, and conning the natives.
There’s a reason another phrase for the Union Jack is “The Butcher’s Apron”. You don’t get to be the world’s first hyperpower without slaughtering a lot of people.
People really are awfully naive if they think the whitewashing of history happens only in one country.
Prime example of the British mentality is this: “we made their countries better”.
My dad has actually said that. Mention the war crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing, and general horrific stuff and he gets genuinely angry with you. I’m sorry, but history is not there to be swept under a rug. If you want to celebrate how successful we were, remember who we were standing on to get there.
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