Divided union: South African nationalist opposition from 1939 to 1943
- Číslo 2 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourcePrague Papers on the History of International relations, 2019, 2, 73-95
Union of South Africa, Second World War, United Party, National Party, Afrikaner Party, James Barry Munnik Hertzog, Jan Christiaan Smuts, Daniel François Malan
South Africa’s participation in World War II was accompanied by a specific and, to some extent, paradoxical development. The declaration of war on Germany alongside Great Britain and other dominions was preceded by a government crisis that resulted in the collapse of Hertzog’s cabinet. The new coalition government led by Hertzog’s long-time political rival Jan Smuts had to face strong nationalist opposition. This opposition supported by Nazi Germany was extensive but fragmented, causing it to be defeated in the 1943 elections. However, this defeat led to a paradoxical result. The ultra-conservative and fiercely anti-British politician D.F. Malan became the undisputed leader of the opposition and capitalized on his position to clinch an electoral victory in 1948. The goal of this paper is to identify the reasons for this paradoxical development based on the analysis of both the activities of various opposition groups and personal animosities among their leaders. The analysis is based on the existing literature as well as on archival materials, in particular the reports of South African counterintelligence.