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n Historia - Changing attitudes of South Africans towards Italy and its people during the Second World War, 1939 to 1945 : conference paper

Volume 58, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X
USD

 

Abstract

The emphasis of this article falls on South African wartime attitudes towards Italy structured around the differentiation in attitudes between the Union government; the domestic sphere; and the armed forces. On 11 June 1940 the Union issued a declaration of war in response to Italy's new belligerent status. Attitudes towards Italy were thus altered from "unofficial" to being an "official" enemy of the Union. Less than a month later, Union soldiers embarked on their first campaign in East Africa and later North Africa. In early 1942 the fighting moved across the Mediterranean to Italy. On 8 September 1943, Italy surrendered to the Allies thus shifting Italy's domestic position from enemy to liberator. Thereafter, South Africans fought alongside anti-fascist Italian partisans against German occupation thus altering their relationship to comrades. Although the war ended on 8 May 1945, many Italian POWs interned in South Africa still awaited repatriation. Some remained in the country or returned and made South Africa their new place of residence, taking advantage of South Africa's acceptance of Italian nationals. Similarly, some South Africans formerly held in European POW camps took Italian wives and adopted a new culture as a consequence of the war. This article illustrates the changing South African attitudes towards Italy during the different phases of the war as well as the variation in attitudes between different factions in South African society.

Hierdie artikel beklemtoon die algemene Suid-Afrikaanse oorlogsgesindheid teenoor Italië, gegrond op die verskille in gesindhede onder die Unie regering, die algemene bevolking en die gewapende magte. Op 11 Junie 1940 het die Unie 'n verklaring van oorlog uitgereik in reaksie op die fascistiese staat se nuwe hardkoppige houding. Die verhouding met Italië het dus verander van 'n "nie-amptelike" na "amptelike" vyand van die Unie. Minder as 'n maand later vertrek die Unie se soldate op hul eerste veldtog in Oos-Afrika en later Noord-Afrika, as deel van die Geallieerders. Die gevegte het vroeg in 1942 tot oorkant die Mediterreense See geskuif na Italië. Die Italianers het op 8 September 1943 oorgegee aan die Geallieerdes en dus het die Italianers se status in Italië verander van vyand tot bevryder. Daarna het Suid-Afrikaners saam met anti-fascistiese Italiaanse partisane geveg teen Duitse besetting, en is hul toe gesien as kamerade. Alhoewel die oorlog op 8 Mei 1945 geëindig het, het baie Italiaanse krysgevangenes wat geïnterneer is na Suid-Afrika, steeds gewag op repatriasie. Sommige het hier gebly en ander het selfs teruggekom en Suid-Afrika hulle nuwe woonplek gemaak, wat dui op die feit dat Italianers plaaslik aanvaar is as deel van die bevolking. Soortgelyk het sommige Suid-Afrikaners wat voorheen in Europese gevangeniskampe aangehou was, Italiaanse vroue geneem en 'n nuwe kultuur aangeneem as 'n gevolg van die oorlog. Hierdie artikel illustreer die verandering van Suid-Afrikaanse gesindhede teenoor Italië gedurende die verskillende fases van die oorlog, asook die verskil onder verskillende faksies van die Unie.

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/content/hist/58/1/EJC136186
2013-05-01
2016-12-09

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