n Journal for Contemporary History - Cross-border operations of the SAAF in Angola : 1987 - 1989. Prelude to the final stages of the war

Volume 34, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



In one of the most comprehensive works detailing the ''Border War'', , 1966-1989, the author, Willem Steenkamp, reaches the following conclusion: ''If the war proved anything, it was that although most insurgencies end in political solutions, he who has lost the penultimate military phase has no right to say anything when the armed struggle concluded not with a Bang but with the whisper of papers being shuffled at a conference table.'' These words of Steenkamp contain valuable insights into the actions of the South African Defence Force (SADF) during the last few years of the Border War. On the one hand, there were the militarists who wanted to fight it out on the battlefield and who were relentless in their efforts to catch the enemy unawares. On the other hand, there were the politicians who wanted to keep the electorate happy by announcing military victories - without any losses.

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