n Journal for Contemporary History - South Africa's land forces, 1912-2012




The South African (SA) Army's history can be traced back to 1912, when South Africa's first defence force was established. In this article a review is provided of the development and deployment of South Africa's land forces in the course of a hundred years (1912-2012), with the emphasis on the role played by these land forces in the First World War (for example in the suppression of the Afrikaner rebellion, in the conquest of German South West Africa, the campaign in German East Africa, on the Western Front in France and in Belgium, and in Palestine), the Second World War (for example in Abyssinia, North Africa, Madagascar, and in Italy), in the war in the north of South West Africa (Namibia) and in Angola (1966-1989), as well as in the efforts to keep law and order in South Africa itself. The developments in transforming the Army of the old South African Defence Force (SADF), together with other armed forces, into a new Army in the post-apartheid South African National Defence Force (SANDF), are also briefly discussed. Throughout, historiographical matters are mentioned by means of references, either in the text or in footnotes, to the most important available sources. For obvious reasons, this is merely a broad introduction to an extensive topic.


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