Browsing Faculty of Military Sciences by browse.metadata.advisor "Delport, Anri"
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- ItemThe influence of Second World War military service on prominent White South African veterans in opposition politics, 1939–1961(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-03) Plint, Graeme Wesley; Delport, Anri; Van der Waag, Ian; Stellenbosch University. School for Security and Africa Studies. Dept. of Military History.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The nexus between military service and political activism is explored in this thesis. The lives of 153 politically-exposed Second World War veterans are examined. Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of ‘Capital’ and ‘Habitus’ are used to examine the ways in which the war shaped the political views of the servicemen as well as the ways in which the ex-servicemen could leverage their war service to further their post-war political careers. An examination of the fault lines of class and culture, in pre-war, White SouthAfrica, provided crucial insight into the initial habitus and motivation of the volunteer soldier. War-time military service drew together volunteers from every part of South Africa and from each strata of the White community. This provided a common platform to develop shared notions of a common ‘South Africanism’. This shared comradery facilitated their later mobilisation against the National Party (NP) after 1948.The ex-servicemen, having fought German and Italian forces on several warfronts, had been exposed to the dangers of totalitarianism. As a result, some returned with an embedded intolerance of authoritarianism and, after the war, the Springbok Legion (SL)acted as a clarion call against rising racial intolerance in South Africa. The more affluentex-servicemen, often in line with family tradition, joined the established United Party (UP). However, the widely unexpected defeat of the UP in 1948 by the NP triggered the ex-servicemen’s entry into politics. After the NP’s victory in 1948, a cohort of increasingly-politicised ex-servicemen used the NP’s wartime dalliance with fascism to mobilise ex-servicemen en masse as the Torch Commando (the Torch). The Torch Commando brought together ex-servicemen, active in parliamentary and extra-parliamentary politics, as a front against the NP in the 1953 elections. However, the UP’s defeat in the 1953 elections soon exposed the fault lines, particularly in terms of the ex-servicemen in parliamentary politics. The subsequent implosion of the Torch Commando led to the emergence of the Union Federal Party (UFP), and Liberal Party (LPSA) after the 1953 elections, which marked the end of the ex-serviceman identity as a coherent political identity and revealed an array of diverse political views amongst voting Second World War veterans. Tensions between the conservative and more progressive and liberal ex-servicemen in the UP led to the formation of the Progressive Party (PP) in 1959. Finally, increased government repression led to the detention of the more radical ex-servicemen in 1956 and 1960. Their subsequent involvement in the formation of armed formations in the form of the African Resistance Movement and Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) provides continuity between the war against fascism and the armed struggle against apartheid.