South Africa pp 344-374 | Cite as

Smuts and the Liberal-Nationalist Confrontation, 1939–48

  • T. R. H. Davenport
  • Christopher Saunders


Smuts took South Africa into the Second World War out of concern for the future of the human race, and in particular for that of Europe, ‘this glorious mother continent of Western civilization — the proudest achievement of the human spirit up to date’, which seemed to be in danger of destruction in the short term by Hitler, or in the longer term by Stalin. It was a choice, as he put it, ‘between the Devil and Beelzebub’, since Hitler was ‘another Attila’, whereas Stalin and the communists, the ‘looters’ who grabbed half of Poland, had taken the wrong turning, ‘for man is primary, not society’.


Black Worker African Trade Unionism Native Policy Nationalist Party African Miner 
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Bibliographical Notes

13.1 South Africa and the Second World War

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13.3 Liberal reform initiatives and a polarised response, 1942–3

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13.4 The mineworkers’ strike of 1946 and the Fagan Report

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13.5 Xuma’s ANC and the rise of the Youth League

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13.6 ‘CAD’, ‘Anti-CAD’ and the Non-European Unity Movement

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13.7 Durban’s Indians and the ‘Pegging’ and ‘Ghetto’ Acts

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13.8 The Nationalist victory in 1948

  1. Basson (n. 11.2); Briand-Kyrik (n. 9.10); Cronje (n. 14.4); D’Oliviera (n. 16.1); Hancock (1968) (n. 10.1); Heard (n. 13.1); Legassick M., ‘Legislation, ideology and economy in post-1948 South Africa’, JSAS 1 (1974) 5–35; Malan (n. 11.2); O’Meara (n. 14.1); Paton (n. 11.2); Rhoodie (n. 14.4); Serfontein (n. 14.4); Stultz (n. 12.3); Thorn (n. 11.2); Verslag van die Kleurvraagstuk-Kommissie van die Herenigde Nasionale Party [Sauer Report] (unpublished typescript).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© T. R. H. Davenport and Christopher Saunders 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. R. H. Davenport
    • 1
  • Christopher Saunders
    • 2
  1. 1.Rhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  2. 2.University of Cape TownSouth Africa

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