Some insist that that Kipling was a white supremacist or arch-imperialist; neither of these claims holds water. Yes, he invented the term "White Man's Burden", but understood this as the "White" Man's duty to spread his technology to the less technologically advanced people. Not once did he suggest that any race was superior to another; quite the opposite.
One criticism of him that I think is legitimate is that he did have a period during which he at the very least came perilously close to glorifying war. Kipling was almost obsessive in his animosity to German expansionism, and his disdain of those with less fervent beliefs. It wasn't until his only son, who had bent the rules to get to the front, fell, that he rethought and repudiated his glorification of war. In memory of his son, Kipling devoted a lot of his time to serving on the Imperial War Graves Commission.
Incidentally, Theodore Roosevelt, in whose memory Kipling wrote an elegiac poem, underwent the same transformation, when his son, who had memorized an eye exam chart in order to get into the war as an aviator, was shot down and died. To fathom the depths of Kipling's transformation, recall that Kipling's cousin served Her Britannic Majesty as her Prime Minister three separate times; his lines disparaging a dead statesman are not platitudes.
Epitaphs of the War1914 - 18
“EQUALITY OF SACRIFICE”
A. “I was a Have.”
B. “I was a ‘have-not.’”
(Together.) “What hast thou given which I gave not?”
We were together since the War began.
He was my servant—and the better man.
My son was killed while laughing at some jest. I would I knew
AN ONLY SON
I have slain none except my Mother.
Pity not! The Army gave
Body and Spirit I surrendered whole
This man in his own country prayed we know not to what Powers.
I could not look on Death, which being known,
My name, my speech, my self I had forgot.
A GRAVE NEAR CAIRO
Gods of the Nile, should this stout fellow here
PELICANS IN THE WILDERNESS
(A Grave Near Halfa)
The blown sand heaps on me, that none may learn
Death favoured me from the first, well knowing I could not endure
On the first hour of my first day
R.A.F. (AGED EIGHTEEN)
Laughing through clouds, his milk-teeth still unshed,
THE REFINED MAN
I was of delicate mind. I stepped aside for my needs,
NATIVE WATER-CARRIER (M.E.F.)
Prometheus brought down fire to men.
BOMBED IN LONDON
On land and sea I strove with anxious care
THE SLEEPY SENTINEL
Faithless the watch that I kept: now I have none to keep.
BATTERIES OUT OF AMMUNITION
If any mourn us in the workshop, say
If any question why we died,
A DEAD STATESMAN
I could not dig: I dared not rob:
If I had clamoured at Thy Gate
Daily, though no ears attended,
A DRIFTER OFF TARENTUM
He from the wind-bitten north with ship and companions descended.
DESTROYERS IN COLLISION
For Fog and Fate no charm is found
I was a shepherd to fools
UNKNOWN FEMALE CORPSE
Headless, lacking foot and hand,
RAPED AND REVENGED
One used and butchered me: another spied
I have watched a thousand days
Call me not false, beloved,
For this more ancient bride
Our marriage, often set—
Live, then, whom Life shall cure.
V. A. D. (MEDITERRANEAN)
Ah, would swift ships had never been, for then we ne’er had found,
On a Memorial Tablet in Holy Trinity Church,
We counterfeited once for your disport