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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:South African Territorial Expansion and the International Reaction to South African Racial Policies, 1939 to 1948
Author:Henshaw, Peter
Periodical:South African Historical Journal
Geographic term:South Africa
political action
foreign policy
History and Exploration
Ethnic and Race Relations
Politics and Government
Inter-African Relations
international relations
Abstract:South Africa's prime minister Jan Smuts long dreamed of extending Pretoria's sovereign jurisdiction in Africa. But on a number of occasions during his last period in office as prime minister, Smuts's expansionist ambitions were thwarted by a combination of international opposition and local African resistance. His ambitions ran head first into two international obstacles: British imperial obligations in the three High Commission Territories of Basutoland (now Lesotho), Bechuanaland (now Botswana) and Swaziland; and the international community's responsibility for South West Africa (now Namibia). No less significantly, Smuts's ambitions also encountered resistance from African nationalists in South Africa and neighbouring territories - resistance which simultaneously drew strength from and bolstered imperial and international opposition to South African expansion. International opposition and African resistance to expansion were both rooted in deep-seated objections to South African racial policies - to the segregationist policies prevailing under Smuts's United Party, no less than to the apartheid policies that followed under D.F. Malan's National Party. This paper examines the relationship between Smuts's territorial ambitions and the reactions these provoked among African and international critics in the period 1939 to 1948. In so doing, it sheds light on the Smuts government's motives for a proposed radical change to South African racial policies, a change forestalled by the advent of apartheid. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]