n Historia - Chemiese wapens in Suid-Afrika : die gifgasfabrieke by Klipfontein en Firgrove, 1940 - 1945

Volume 48, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X
  • Author Abel Esterhuyse
  • Source : Historia, Volume 48, Issue 1, May 2003, p. 221 - 244
  • Accreditation : Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)
    SciELO SA
    The International Bibliography of Social Sciences (IBSS)



<b>Chemical weapons in South Africa : the poison gas factories at Klipfontein and Firgrove 1940 - 1945</b> <br>The recent trial of Wouter Basson and the current war in Iraq once again placed the manufacturing of chemical weapons in the foreground. The production of chemical weapons in South Africa can be traced back to the Second World War when the British government, for strategic reasons, requested their South African counterpart to assist with chemical weapon production. The British government wanted the production to take place outside the European theatre of operations. This request led to the founding of the chemical weapons factories at Klipfontein in Gauteng and Firgrove in the Western Cape. Although the British government largely financed these factories and assisted in the chemical processes, South Africa did the actual production and chemical weapons were supplied to Britain and Australia during the war. Production was scaled down after the Allied invasion of Europe in June 1944. At the request of the British government, the Union government destroyed the remaining stock of chemical weapons by dumping it into the sea near Port Elizabeth. After the war both factories were used for the manufacturing of agricultural and industrial chemicals.

Die onlangse verhoor van Wouter Basson en die huidige oorlog in Irak het weer die vervaardiging van chemiese wapens op die voorgrond geplaas. Suid-Afrika se betrokkenheid by die produksie van chemiese wapens kan na die Tweede Wêreldoorlog teruggevoer word. Die Britse regering het om strategiese redes die Suid-Afrikaanse regering versoek om behulpsaam te wees met die produksie van chemiese wapens. Die Britse regering wou die produksie daarvan buite die Europese teater van operasies onderneem. Dié versoek het gelei tot die oprigting van die gifgasfabrieke by Klipfontein in Gauteng en Firgrove in die Weskaap in 1940. Die fabrieke is ná die oorlog vir die produksie van landbou- en nywerheidschemikalieë gebruik.

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