The Boer War Essay, Research Paper

Boer War

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The people of South Africa were ever woolgathering of a incorporate state. They wanted all its provinces to unify as one peaceable state, but they wanted this to come from within the confines of their ain people and non by agencies of other states taking over. The lone manner to maintain the foreigners out of their provinces was to unite the state. If this end could be accomplished, so their state would go one great state united by their ain South African flag alternatively of any other flag. This seemed to be the motivation of South African governments at the clip the Britain ground forcess were suppressing and colonising other lands. However, there was one obstruction that seemed to be in their manner of fusion. The British authorities was at that clip a barrier and a stumbling block to the Boers ; a stumbling block that was non so easy to acquire rid of. The British ground forces and naval forcess were among the best and well-trained soldiers during the nineteenth century. Because the South African ground forces was non every bit advanced as the British soldiers, they were really much threatened by the authorities of Britain.

In 1886, the find of gold at Witwatersrand in the Transvaal began the day of reckoning of the Boer innovators. Gold and diamonds attracted many aliens like a magnet. Around this clip, British adventurers sought to do a good life in South Africa because of these newfound hoarded wealths and market chances. Among these adventurers, were Alfred Beit, a well-known man of affairs from Germany, and a millionaire from England viz. Lionel Phillips. These two outstanding work forces were of import figures during this period because of their ability to supply fiscal support if needed by the British authorities to endorse up any of its military personnels. Beit and Phillips together controlled the H. Eckstein & A ; Co. , which at that clip was the largest South African excavation concern. Few old ages after the find of the gold, the Afrikaners sensed that there was something incorrect with some of the adventurers. Mark Weber, in his article, put it in his ain words:

& # 8230 ; adventurers tried to prehend control of the Boer democracies by presenting the? unofficial? Jameson raid into the Transvaal. Rhodes organized the venture, which Beit financed to the melody of 200,000 lbs. Although the foray failed, it convinced the Afrikaners that the British were determined to take away their hard-won independency. ( 2 )

As a consequence, the Transvaal governments arrested Phillips because of his part to the foray and found him guilty. If it weren? T for British protestors imploring for his forgiveness, he would hold been put to decease.

Despite the foray, the British High Commissioner for South Africa, Sir Alfred Milner, in secret planned a destructive war against the Boers. Michael Foot, writer of From the Boer War to the Cold War, said that Milner had a dream of his ain new South Africa, but his dream became a incubus when dialogues started. He said, ? Milner was a great decision maker, but no solon and no diplomatist. He hated inefficiency and hold ; most of all, he hated via media? ( 37 ) . Of class, this attitude was likely besides consistent with the president of South Africa. Weber commented on this when he said that Milner wanted a war that would convey the profusion of the Boers wholly to the British Empire ( 2 ) . It seemed reasonably clear that Milner? s motivation for this struggle was to command these freshly discovered gold mines.

The British Commissioner did non desire to do his program known to the populace for fright of more protests. He softly tried to negociate with the president of South Africa at the clip, President Paul Kruger. Alfred Milner knew that the bulk of the foreigners were British life as aliens in South Africa. He so devised a program in which the British new comers could acquire citizenship in a shorter period of clip. He knew that it would assist him out politically, but more significantly, he knew there was money to be made and political popularity to be gained off of these new comers. The aliens were all someway financially stable regardless of their unjust intervention by the South African authorities, and could therefore support Milner? s run. A. Conan Doyle in his book, The Great Boer War, explained the prosperity of the foreigners in his ain words,

? . . .in malice of this prosperity which they had brought, they, the bulk of the dwellers of the state, were left without a ballot, and could by no agencies influence the disposal of the great amounts which they were supplying. Such a instance of revenue enhancement without representation has ne’er been known? ( Doyle 24 ) . This representation was what Milner asked from President Kruger. However, cognizing that the figure of foreigners would transcend the entire figure of their ain population he angrily refused it. Weber quoted Kruger when he said, ? It is our state you want? ( 2 ) . The dialogues lingered on, but eventually broke down with no peaceable understanding. This seemed to prefer Milner because he wanted to avoid any peaceable via media between the two sides. The British commanding officer, Lord Kitchener, knew that the Boers were afraid of being controlled by the imperium because of their deficiency of a greater military power.

The struggle was eventually exposed to the British populace by some of the taking newspapers, particularly those that were owned by imperialists. In these newspapers at that place was a clear indicant that the British governments were forcing for war. Some of these documents were The Daily Telegraph, Oppenheim? s Daily News, and Mark? s Evening News. Even some of the leaders in Britain criticized those that were back uping Lord Kitchener back in South Africa. Weber mentioned this in his article

The Social Democratic Federation ( SDF ) , led by Henry M. Hyndman, was particularly outspoken in its resistance to the war readyings. Justice, the SDF hebdomadal, warned its readers in 1896 that? Beit, Barnato and their chaps? were taking for? an Anglo-Hebraic Empire in Africa stretching from Egypt to Cape Colony, ? designed to swell their? overgrown lucks. ( 2 )

While the dialogue was underway, Lord Kitchener, with the aid of Wernher, Beit and Co. in secret financed an ground forces of about 1500, which subsequently grew to ten 1000. The dialogue was non over yet but the Secretary for the British settlements, Secretary Chamberlain, was acquiring really impatient. The dialogue was described by Thomas Pakenham in his book entitled, The Boer War, he said, ? The lone manner to do him [ Kruger ] spill the franchise was to set a handgun to his caput. . . the longer Kruger delayed, the higher the monetary value he must pay for a colony? ( Pakenham 91 ) . The British functionaries tried seriously to O.K. the five-year franchise, but unluckily Kruger saw it as a strategy to seek to steal his state? s independency and hence rejected it. The two sides could non come to an understanding with each other, and as a consequence of British aggression, the Afrikaners declared war.

On the 11th of October 1899, after Britain failed to follow with the order to take its military personnels, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State took progresss to get down a conflict against Great Britain. The combined forces of the two democracies had a successful invasion in the two

British settlements on their boundary lines, viz. Natal and the Cape of Colony. In December of 1899, the British commanding officer in head, Sir Redvers Buller, and his work forces were defeated on the Natal forepart. He was once more defeated on the boundary line between the Orange Free State and the Cape Colony. This upset the leaders back in Britain, so they sent Lord Fredrick Sleigh Roberts, the new commanding officer in head for the South African field force, to replace Buller. His work forces fought hard and were be able to interrupt through the Boers defence in Natal. After interrupting through Natal, Roberts continued on and captured Johannesburg and Pretoria, the capital of the South African Republic, on 5th of June1900. At this clip Sir Roberts thought that the war was good taken attention of and so he returned to England.

Unfortunately, it was non over yet. The Boers, who had believed that they were contending for a greater cause, resorted to guerrilla warfare. They broke up into smaller groups and destroyed the British supplies, disconnected the railroad paths, and ventured to take over the little British units.

Leonard Thompson in his book A History of South Africa, explained how Roberts? s replacement responded when he said, ? To oppress this opposition, . . .Lord Kitchener, adopted the adust Earth policy that imperial military personnels and Afrikaner rangers had been accustomed to utilizing against Africans. He burned Afrikaner harvests and destroyed 30 thousand farmsteads. . . ? ( Thompson 142-43 ) . Furthermore, others said that the new warlord, Lord Kitchener, had declared a war of entire devastation. As explained in the beginning? South African Yearbook? , ? This struggle involved the full population of South Africa in one manner or another. Boer adult females and kids, who were evicted from farms or small towns put to the torch by the British, were either sent to concentration cantonments where many of them died from disease. . . ? ( 1 ) . These factors describes how unmerciful Kitchener was.

To some people, it seemed as though the war was non against work forces and soldiers, but alternatively it was against adult females and kids. The British ground forcess drove 1000s of adult females and kids out of their places. They did non hold adequate clip to take any of their valuable ownerships before the British soldiers burned down their places. A future Prime Minister, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, one time touched on this affair when he said, ? When is a war non a war? When it is waged in South Africa by methods of brutality? ( Weber 4 ) . It is clear that some of the outstanding members of the British authorities knew that Milner was incorrect. But why did they allow it go on?

Many people suffered as a effect of Milner? s selfish actions. In his book, A History of South Africa, Leonard Thompson said that about 28 1000 civilians suffered from this awful calamity. Most of them were kids who died from diseases caused by an overcrowded environment in the concentration cantonments. He besides mentioned that the Boer ground forces had declined due to some unwellnesss and deficiency of nurturing nutrient. He said that President Kruger traveled to Europe where he died before he had a opportunity to see his native people once more ( 143 ) .

After this monolithic devastation from the British military personnels, the Afrikaners decided to endorse off because they knew that the war would finally be them the lives of all their kids, married womans, animate beings, and their harvests. There did non look to be another manner out except to give their independency.

On 31 of May 1902, merely before midnight, the two parties signed the peace pact known as the? Treaty of Vereeniging? . Thomas Pakenham made a remark on this when he said,

The ballot was taken in the great trade name at Vereeniging, shortly after 2.00 p.m. on Saturday 31st May. A gesture was drafted, summing up the six chief grounds why the authoritiess must accept the British footings: no nutrient for adult females and kids, and no agencies to go on the war ; the concentration cantonments ( this was for propaganda intents ) . . .The delegates voted for Kitchener? s peace by an overpowering bulk: 54 to six. ( 603-604 )

Even though the Boers fought hard to continue their land and their state, they could non get away from licking. Fortunately for the Boers, Britain thought that they should besides hold portion of the wealth from war compensation. The two sides talked it over and came to yet another dead terminal. The two sides merely went to war to work out a dissension when alternatively they acquired many casualties.

After the war, the Afrikaners were forced to subscribe the peace understanding. It was a dearly-won war particularly for the British because they did non anticipate the war to last for three old ages. Pakenham summarized this when he said, ? . . . Milner? s small? Armageddon? , which was expected to be over by Christmas 1899, had cost the British taxpayer more than $ 200 million. The cost in blood was every bit high? ( 607 ) . The cost of war to the Boers was much more because of all the human deaths, loss of good land, and loss of any military power. Pakenham explained in his book, ? On the Boer side, the cost of the war, measured in agony, was possibly perfectly as high ; comparatively, much higher. It was estimated that there were over 7,000 deceases among the 87,365 Boer. . . ? ( 607 ) . However, these statistics did non include the figure of adult females and kids who died in the concentration cantonments.

One may hold asked what was the existent cause of the Boer War? Some have suggested that it was because of Sir Alfred Milner ; some have said it was because President Kruger was a obstinate leader, and some claimed that it was because of the gold. At any rate, the war caused was a war that was unneeded. Merely because two sides could non negociate a just colony, war became the lone solution. This was barely a just result because as we all know, whoever has the most money, wins. Britain was the strongest universe power, and was colonising really quickly. The more settlements they possessed, the more money they were able to get. The Boers were, unluckily, no lucifer for the British. This simple fact is what made the Boers so upset when they lost ; they didn? T back down because they knew what was just. Britain ne’er backed down because they knew who would ever predominate. The Boer War is a premier illustration of British attitudes in the eighteenth century. Of class, the British authorities ne’er heeded those that opposed the war, and those that supported the war were someway made to believe that Britain was at the centre of the existence. Although people were enduring, the British merely included it as one of their triumphs over another state, but the Boers included it as the individual greatest calamity that of all time swept over their land.

Doyle, A. Conan. The Great Boer War. New York: McClure, Phillips & A ; Company, 1900.

Pakenham, Thomas. The Boer War. New York: Random House, 1979.

South Africa. ? The South African Yearbook. ? Government. 7 Feb. 1999. 30 May 2000


Taylor, A.J.P. From the Boer War to the Cold War. London: Penguin,1996.

Thompson, Leonard. A History of South Africa. Revised ed. New Haven and London:

Yale, 1995.

Weber, Mark. ? The Boer War Remembered. ? Research Paper. 30 May. 2000


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