n Journal for Contemporary History - Afrikaner unrest within South Africa during the Second World War and the measures taken to suppress it

Volume 37, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



South Africa's involvement in the Second World War was strongly opposed by elements within the white South African community, especially the Afrikaners. The majority of Afrikaners were historically anti-British, although some supported Britain, and the issue of participation divided them accordingly. Activist elements, such as the Ossewa-Brandwag, became platforms for discontent and various militant groupings violently opposed South Africa's participation in the war. Gen. JC Smuts, infamous amongst Afrikaners for his brutal suppression of the Afrikaner Rebellion in 1914-1915, as well as striking miners in 1913-1914 and 1922, utilised the Union Defence Force (UDF) and South African Police (SAP) to facilitate internment, to spy and to guard strategic objectives in an effort to prevent sabotage and serious damage to the war effort.

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