Browsing by Author "Delport, Anri"
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- Item‘Boks and bullets, coffins and crutches’ : an exploration of the body, mind and places of ‘Springbok’ South African soldiers in the First World War(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2015-12) Delport, Anri; Nasson, Bill; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of History.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In 1914-'18 the Great War, as it is still widely known today, engulfed the world, including the recently-founded Union of South Africa. As opposed to other empire and Allied states, the Union’s experience of the global war’s intoxication in August and September 1914 was more complex, inconsistent and layered. The cry for war was heard in a period of increased urbanisation and class antagonism towards the ruling order. Yet, in the more pro-British centres and for struggling poorer inhabitants, the call was answered and many rushed to enlist to fight in what was seen as a European War. Many men were probably unaware of the defined yet covert contract into which enlistment translated: the handing over of one’s body and mind to the state, thus allowing the government to dispose of it as it saw fit both during and after the war. It is the aim of this thesis to consider and explore what happened to the bodies and minds of white volunteers who saw service beyond the domestic borders. This exploration includes a comparative analysis, since it considers the impact of war on fighting South African soldiers in three markedly different campaigns. The first troops arrived in German South West Africa in 1914, and the majority remained until the end of hostilities in 1915. This was followed by the posting of two expeditionary forces to Europe and East Africa in that year. The different geographical locations of these three campaigns also meant varying climates, environment, food, clothing, types of warfare and, also, the contracting of different diseases and the inflicting of wounds. All of these factors had a differing bodily and mental impact. Furthermore, enlistment experiences changed men’s bodies and minds enduringly, for even after the cessation of hostilities, many men were never the same. The extent to which men’s bodies were altered depended at times on their physical state upon enlistment. The state’s ideal of “fit”, “able bodied”, and “healthy” depended on a set of schedules determining recruitment requirements and was also mirrored in the post-war years as these criteria came to determine men’s economic standing. Accordingly, this thesis will explore the impact of the war on men’s bodies and minds by considering their condition upon enlistment, and their state during the war years as well as during the post-war era. These different phases were reflected in the altered identity of men from ‘fit for duty’, to ‘servicemen’ and, lastly, to ‘ex-servicemen.’ The experiences of these men, changed by war, form the focus of this thesis.
- ItemChanging attitudes of South Africans towards Italy and its people during the Second World War, 1939 to 1945(Historical Association of South Africa, 2013-05) Delport, AnriThe 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.
- ItemStumbling on Civvy Street : the re-adjustment of white South African war veterans to life in post-war society, 1918-1928(Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Military Science (Military Academy), 2016) Delport, AnriThe First World War ended in November 1918. As the ink dried on the last treaty in August 1920, the conflict was officially resolved in legal terms. However, this legal finality did not extend to the lives of the soldiers of the war. Their stories of broken lives, shattered marriages, lost careers and opportunities highlighted the fact that the effect of the war lasted well beyond armistice. During the war, some effort had been made by the Union of South Africa to accommodate ex-servicemen, which led to the founding of the office of the Commissioner for Returned Soldiers, the War Special Pensions Act (No. 29 of 1916),[i]the office of the Military Pensions Commissioner, and the Governor-General’s Fund. Through mutual co-operation between these institutions, a variety of schemes were launched to see to the re-integration of the ‘returned soldier’. Such ventures aimed at making ex-servicemen a productive part of the Union workforce, but did little to assuage ex-soldiers’ other needs and future deprivations. In the early 1920s, the atmosphere of mass pride and gratitude to those who had fought for country and empire began to dissipate and a different battle for ex-servicemen began to unfold. Society began to forget, financial aid was reduced, limbless men battled with ideals of masculinity, and the reality of finding and holding down a job was felt more acutely. The former valiant Springboks were being alienated from different spheres of life in the Union. In comparison with other Empire Dominions, South Africa’s loss of life in wartime was relatively light. Yet, for the great majority of soldiers, to have survived was not to have been left unscathed. Some paid their own price with scarred bodies and shattered minds in the form of wounds, amputations and psychological disorders. For the fallen, the war was over. However, for the surviving ex-servicemen, another war began: that of dealing with readjustment to civilian life. The study on which this article is based considered the extent to which men were able, given their altered bodies and minds because of warfare, to reintegrate into post-war society.