Afrikaner nationalist politics and anti-communism, 1937-1945

Van Deventer, Andre (1991)

Thesis (M.A.) -- University of Stellenbosch, 1991.

Page 106 of digitised copy appears faded on bottom of page due to scanning.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is an analysis of the origins and early evolution of the conception of a communist menace in South African politics. While anti-communist sentiments in the South African political arena does not know any racial or ethnic bounds, it was in the context of white and, more specifically, Afrikaner nationalist politics that the conception of a communist menace, during the latter half of the 1930's, developed a stature and character which placed it on a level distinctively different from earlier references to this perceived menace. Chapter One discusses some of the functions of remarks on communism before 1937. Of importance in this analysis is not simply anti-communism as a political sentiment or an indication of political preference, but rather the origins of a specific kind of anti-communism which developed into an organic part of the larger ideology of Afrikaner nationalism. In this regard attention is focussed on the content, place and role of anti-communism in the main political embodiments of Afrikaner nationalism between 1937 and May 1945, viz. the Gesuiwerde/Herenigde Nasionale Party, the Ossewa-Brandwag, New Order and the Greyshirt-movement. Relating to the content, place and role of anti-communism in the aforementioned organisations, the evolution thereof was affected by a multiplicity of factors which, included, inter alia, the following: World War II, a variety of ideological elements relating to communism as well as other ideologies, differences between Afrikaner nationalist oppositional groupings, campaigns against Smuts and the ruling United Party and specific campaigns e.g. the colour question. Chapters Two, Three and Four discusses some of these elements. Chapters Five and Six discusses the three main component parts of the campaign against communism, namely the Colour Question, 2 Jewish Immigration and the promotion of Christian-nationalist trade unionism as alternative to the perceived communist approach. While the campaign against alleged Jewish compassion for communism had already reached a climax prior to the outbreak of war in 1939, the struggle for the "soul" of the Afrikaner working class and the integration of the 'red menace' (communism) and the 'black peril' (the colour question) progressively grew in stature. Particularly the integration of overt anti-communism and the colour question serves to illustrative the earlier referred to character of anticommunism as an organic part of the ideology of Afrikaner nationalism. In conclusion, some remarks are presented on the functional role of anti-communism in Afrikaner nationalist as well as South African society between 1937 and 1948. Given the fact that this dissertation is a study of conceptions and does not aim to evaluate the factual content or even fairness of remarks attributed to communism, these comments, by nature, will have to be of a tentative nature.

AFRIKAANS ABSTRACT: Hierdie verhandeling is In studie van die oorsprong en vroee ontwikkeling van die konsepsie van In kommunistiese bedreiging in die Suid-Afrikaanse politiek. Ofskoon anti-kommunistiese uitsprake in die Suid-Afrikaanse politiek nie gebonde is aan enige ras- of kleurgrens nie, was dit tog binne die kader van blanke politiek en, meer spesifiek, die ontwikkelende Afrikaner nasionalisme, waar die konsepsie van In kommunistiese bedreiging, gedurende die dertigerjare, In statuur en karakter van sy eie ontwikkel het. Hierdeur is antikommunisme verhef tot In vlak wat fundamenteel verskillend was van vroedre uitsprake. Hoof stuk Een bespreek van die funksies van overte anti-kommunisme voor 1937. Van belang in hierdie studie is nie net anti-kommunisme as politieke sentiment of as aanduiding van politieke voorkeur nie, maar veel eerder die oorsprong van In spesifieke soort anti-kommunisme wat ontwikkel het tot In organiese deel van die groter geheel van Afrikaner nasionalisme. In die verband word aandag geskenk aan die inhoud, plek en rol van anti-kommunisme in die meer prominente politieke bewegings wat hul vereenselwig het met die ideale van Afrikaner nasionalisme, nl. die Gesuiwerde/Herenigde Nasionale Party, Ossewa-Brandwag, Nuwe Orde en die Gryshemp-beweging. Met verwysing na die inhoud, plek en rol van anti-kommunisme in bovermelde bewegings, is die ontwikkeling daarvan beinvloed deur In verskeidenheid van faktore wat, onder andere, ingesluit het die Tweede Wereldoorlog, In verskeidenheid elemente wat betrekking gehad het op kommunisme sowel as ander ideologied en spesifieke beleidsaspekte by. die kleurvraagstuk. Hoof stukke Twee, Drie en Vier bespreek van hierdie faktore. Financial support from the Institute for Research Development (IRD) of the Human Sciences Research Council are hereby greatfully acknowledged. Opinions expressed in this study and conclusions drawn are those of the author and should not be attributed to the IRD or Human Sciences Research Council.

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