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n Historia - South African defence in the age of total war, 1900-1940

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Abstract

Based largely on a study of official archives and private papers held in South Africa and the United Kingdom, this article sketches the political-strategic landscape on which the armed forces of South Africa operated between 1900 and 1940 and analyses the organisational and extraneous factors that affected their functioning and influenced their preparation during peacetime. It explores the doctrinal framework, including an assessment of the services' commitment to the problem of doctrine and of their rigour in drawing, learning and implementing the so-called "lessons" of the First World War. The South African reaction to the 'total war' experience of industrialised warfare is discussed and the attempts, apparently always feeble, by the South African state to adapt to the changing face of modern warfare are explained. It comes with little surprise that the Union Defence Force, after the experiences of the Western Front (1916-1918), was still so unprepared for European warfare in 1941.

Hierdie artikel is gebaseer op primêre navorsing uit amptelike argiewe en privaat versamelings in beide die Verenigde Koninkryk en Suid-Afrika, en skets die polities-strategiese landskap waarin die Suid Afrikaanse verdedigingsmagte ontplooi het tussen 1900 en 1940. Verder bied die artikel 'n analise van die samestelling van die Unieverdedigingsmag, hul unieke organisasie en ander faktore wat 'n uitwerking gehad het op die verdedigingsmag se voorbereiding gedurende vredestydperke. Die sogenaamde 'lesse' wat geleer is tydens Suid-Afrika se deelname aan die Eerste Wêreldoorlog, sowel as die gewilligheid om dié lesse in amptelike doktrine te implementeer, word ondersoek. Die Suid-Afrikaanse begrip van 'totale oorlogvoering', en Suid-Afrika se eerste ervaring van oorlogvoering op 'n industriële skaal word ook bespreek. Die halfhartige manier waarop die Suid-Afrikaanse staat aangepas het by moderne oorlogvoering gedurende dié typerk word ook bespreek. Dus is dit geen wonder dat die Unieverdedigingsmag gedurende 1941, veral na die ervaringe op die Westelike Front (1916-1918), steeds grootendeels onvoorbereid was vir Europese oorlogvoering nie.

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/content/hist/60/1/EJC171162
2015-01-01
2016-12-08
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