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n Journal for Contemporary History - Nie-eensgesindheid in eensgesindheid? Die verkiesing van Hendrik Verwoerd as eerste minister in 1958

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Abstract

Die Nasionale Party was in die eerste dekade van sy bewind in Suid-Afrika (1948 1958) nie so eensgesind as wat 'n mens vandag, in 'n post-1994 Suid-Afrika, sou wou dink nie. Die nie-eensgesinde aspekte van die Nasionale Party (NP) kan baie goed gerekonstrueer word in die gebeure van 1958 toe die dienende eerste minister, JG Strijdom (1893-1958), ernstig siek geword het en 'n interne stryd rondom sy opvolger ontstaan het. Uiteindelik is Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd (1901-1966) op 2 September as partyleier aangewys en het hy die sesde eerste minister van Suid-Afrika sedert 1910 geword. Verwoerd het egter om verskeie redes nie so sterk binne sy party gestaan as wat tans gemeen word nie. Hy moes deur verskeie politieke optrede en gebeure, waarvan die samestelling van sy eerste kabinet in 1958 'n eerste was, sy party in 'n eenheid saambind. Die NP van 1958 was 'n veelstemmige en komplekse party met 'n federale aard, streeksverskille, verskillende persoonlikhede en ideologiese onderstrominge. Teen hierdie agtergrond word die homogene beeld van die NP, sowel as die heersende opvatting van Verwoerd se oorheersende mag oor sy kabinet en party, ten minste met die aanvang van sy termyn as eerste minister, uitgedaag.

This contribution focuses on the inner-party discord of the National Party leading to the election of Dr Hendrik Verwoerd as Prime Minister of South Africa in 1958. The National Party of 1958 was a complex party characterized by a federal party structure, regional differences, different personalities and even ideological undercurrents. In the first section of the contribution the focus falls on the intense political discord within the NP of 1958 until the death of Strijdom on 24 August. In this section the differences and election strategies of the different candidates come to the fore. In the second section the election of Verwoerd as party leader, and more specifically Prime Minister, is reconstructed. The third section focuses on the period from Verwoerd's election as Prime Minister on 2 September until the appointment of his first cabinet on 21 Oktober 1958. It is in this cabinet that he had to unite regional differences, personalities, and even ideological undercurrents. This contribution ends (section 5) with the first cabinet meeting of the Verwoerd era (November 1958) which offered an interesting ideological twist - a twist that even found echoes in the later National Party leading up to 1994.

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/content/contemp/39/1/EJC158347
2014-06-01
2016-12-08
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