Skip to main content

Full text of "Old Master The Life Of Jan Christian Smuts"

See other formats


Jan Christian Smuts 



E. P. DUTTON & CO., Inc. 

New Tork 



the inspiration, 

in gratitude. 











9. COMMANDO 104 

Part Two-POWER 





14. GANDHI 153 

15. UNION 164 








20. TWO-FRONT WAR 240 



Part Three-PHOENIX 

23. UPS AND DOWNS 285 

24. DOWNFALL 293 










35. AT THE HELM 443 


INDEX 463 




Field Marshal Smuts was christened Jan Christiaan. During his 
development which has made him an ardent Briton, while remain- 
ing a proud Boer, he dropped the second "a" from his second 
Christian name. The correct spelling 7 is now Christian. The Old 
Master, however, signs his name merely J. C. Smuts. 

During the period this book covers the Afrikander dropped the 
**d." Today he prefers to be called Afrikaner. 

Defense is spelled with "c" when the word forms part of a name 
or title: Defence Force, or Minister for Defence. This is in South 
Africa the official spelling. 

Part One 



early Boers who were so enamoured of loneliness that they sel- 
dom saw smoke rising from a neighbor's chimney, a delicate 
infant at the beginning, raised on a cattle and sheep ranch close 
to the Cape of Good Hope, he grew during the first seventy-four 
years of his life into that patriarchal loftiness that makes his 
people compare him to Table Mountain, the crest towering 
above the confluence of the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. 

No other man in our times has devoted his life so entirely 
to bringing people and nations together, to making a whole out 
of parts, to co-operation, union, fusion, to the brotherhood of 
mankind. But his brothers leave him alone. Except for a model 
marriage, the effect of which has deeply influenced the fate of 
South Africa, and for his strong feeling for his family, another 
predominant trait of the Boers, his innermost self has remained 
solitary. He became the chief architect of a new country, the 
Union of South Africa, and of a new people, the South Africans. 
He suffered the birth pangs, yet seemed indifferent to the pain 
he endured. For half a century he steered his people through 
every storm. But the waves never succeeded in engulfing him. 
The Old Master remained untouched, secluded, very much 

The twenty-fourth of May, 1870, was joyously celebrated in 



the old Cape Colony. So, of course, was every twenty-fourth 
of May, the birthday of the gracious Queen. The sturdy Dutch, 
the majority of the white people in tie colony, were eager to 
prove their loyalty to their exalted sovereign. It was, to quote 
an old French proverb, a little love and a little faithfulness, and 
just a grain of falsehood admixed. Loudly proclaimed allegiance 
to the Queen was, first, an expression of a genuine personal 
feeling, and, secondly, a perfect excuse for the Dutch people's 
own national self-assertion, which, at about this time, began to 
show itself. 

For a few years the Cape Colony, particularly the Western 
Province, the richer and more civilized part of it, had been 
in the throes of a religious revival. People prayed all night in 
the churches. Small wonder that they spent the night before 
the eventful birthday on their knees, praying God to save the 
Queen. In this general excitement local news lost much of its 
importance. Otherwise, the birth of the Father of the Father- 
land, on the very birthday of Her Majesty, would not have 
passed all but unnoticed. 

The newcomer at Bovenplaats, the farm outside the dorp 
Ribeek West, had certainly the right to claim local attention. 
Not only in the dorp, but even in die center of the district, the 
town of Malmesbury, nine miles to the south and some thirty 
miles north of Cape Towneveryone knew and respected the 
Honorable Jacobus Abraham Smuts, for a time the representa- 
tive of Malmesbury in the Legislative Assembly in Cape Town. 
He was a prosperous yeoman who worked his large Zwartland 
black earth farm wisely and profitably. Working is perhaps a 
slight overstatement. The dirty business of work was done ex- 
clusively by Kafirs. The Dutch farmers of this fertile soil, the 
land of the vine, the land of golden grain, alternately drenched 
with glorious sunshine and ample rainfall, were mere planta- 
tion owners. There had been no poverty among them. Jacobus 
Abraham Smuts, related to all the fanners in the neighborhood, 
was one of those fortunate people. His picture shows a massive, 
solid man, rather paunchy the indispensable sign of pros- 



perity with well-trimmed whiskers and a short beard surround- 
ing a shrewd but jovial face. He was famous for his sober judg- 
ment, his wise counsel, his instinct for the right word and the 
right thing. Steeped in his puritanical creed, which by no means 
entirely excluded a taste for the good things of life, deeply 
attached to his somber Calvinistic church, intelligent in a quiet 
way, traditionalist in much but believing in real progress, frugal, 
thrifty, patient and sometimes petty, a born man of law and a 
theologian, he was the typical, peaceful, cautious Dutch fanner 
of the colony. Men of his ilk never lost their greatest asset: 
their equanimity. When some of the more radical Boers fol- 
lowed flie Voortrekkers to the harsh, poor, and inhospitable 
North, to live undisturbed by British magistrates and mission- 
aries, neither of whom condoned slavery and the shameful 
abuse of the black man, men like Smuts pere only shook their 
heads. They did not wish to be mixed up in other people's busi- 
ness, but they simply could not understand why anyone should 
prefer the wild, barren expanses north of the River Vaal, where 
man must lead a hard, semi-nomadic life and could at best only 
raise rickety cattle, to the rich, fecund soil of home. 

Jacobus Abraham Smuts got along well with his English 
neighbors in the small towns. In his own house only Tad, today 
called Afrikaans, a sort of seventeenth-century Dutch, was 
spoken, but the English language, English customs and man- 
ners that slowly penetrated the colony did not in the least dis- 
turb him. Yet, the times were changing. In 1869, a year before 
the birth of his second son, the Suez Canal was opened, threat- 
ening to drain the commerce from the shipping lanes around 
the Cape of Good Hope. The new short cut might well replace 
Cape Town and its hinterland as the halfway house between 
England and India. The growing of wine was no longer as prof- 
itable. Now a ligger or leaguer, a pipe containing a hundred 
and twenty-six gallons sold for no more than three pounds, 
whereas a few years earlier it had netted the wine grower five 
to six pounds. South African vintages did not really get a fair 
chance in the motherland. London was completely unaware of 



the fact that the colonial Great Drukenstein compared favor- 
ably with better-known foreign wines. 

But Jacobus Abraham Smuts took such reverses quietly, and 
was resigned to the will of God. One could always turn one's 
grapes into brandy, for which there were better chances of 
export and, above all, an insatiable market in Cape Town. "It's 
a beastly place," admitted an inhabitant of the colonial capital 
to an English visitor by the name of Anthony Trollope. "But 
we have enough to eat and drink, and manage to make out life 
very well. The girls are as pretty as they are anywhere else, 
and as kind and brandy is plentiful." 

The peace of the Western Province was not disturbed either 
by the constant Kafir scare disrupting the poorer and less pro- 
gressive Eastern Province. In Bovenplaats, in particular, the 
relations between the white master and his family on one side 
and the colored labor on the other was patriarchal and idyllic. 
The Smuts children grew up with the native boys and girls, and 
listened to the tales of the black oldsters, all veterans of the 
innumerable Kafir and Zulu wars. While in the Eastern Prov- 
ince the maxim was generally accepted that the Kafir must be 
ruled with a rod of iron, since he was by nature a thief and 
obsessed by the sole idea of stealing cattle, the yeomanry of the 
Western Province, largely under the mellowing English influ- 
ence, was much more liberal and tolerant. Although the Mo- 
hammedan Malays made the best laborers, the increasing Kafir 
element, with an ever thinning admixture of the vanishing 
Hottentot, was, if idle by instinct, neither as apathetic as sav- 
ages, nor quite so indifferent as the Orientals. The Kafir, it was 
the general conviction, was not a bad fellow. He was not con- 
stitutionally cruel, he learned to work readily, and soon saved 
a little property for himself. The conditions under which his 
race lived had infinitely improved with the coming of the white 
man. But on the other hand the colonials did not doubt for an 
instant that if the Kafirs could choose whether the white man 
should be driven into the sea or allowed to remain in the coun- 
try, the entire race would certainly decide for the white man's 



The fear that the blacks, forming about four-fifths of the 
total population and increasing rapidly in numbers since the 
British administration had put a stop to their perennial fratri- 
cidal strife, and to their deeply ingrained habit of "eating each 
other up" killing one anotherwould one day outvote or out- 
fight the white man was the dark cloud overhanging the blue 
skies of the Cape Colony. Even now the cloud has not yet dis- 
appeared. The constant fear of losing his supremacy is the white 
man's nightmare in South Africa. This constant living in terror 
explains many anomalies which would otherwise appear inex- 
plicable. It is a silent terror. Polite society does not speak of it. 
Society was much more polite in mid-Victorian times, in the 
Cape Colony as elsewhere. Mother Smuts, ne Catherina Petro- 
nella de Vries, would certainly not have tolerated the slightest 
allusion to unmentionable topics of conversation in her well- 
established farmhouse. 

Mrs. Smuts, by all accounts an energetic, strong-willed lady, 
was the grande dame of her rural society. Descended from an 
old French Huguenot family, many of whom have infused the 
blood of the old Boers with their pride and puritanism, she was 
strongly religious and traditionalist, but by the same token more 
resilient and worldly than the average Boer vrou of her day. 
She had received her education in Cape Town, which city had 
a famous public library, and a handsome museum, more noted 
for its precious collections of South African birds and butterflies, 
than for its two stuffed lions and its long-deceased elephant, 
not to mention an extremely shaky giraffe. Cape Town was the 
city of two beautiful cathedrals most people found the Roman 
Catholic cathedral more impressive than the newer Anglican 
one, over which Bishop Jones at that time presided. Cape Town 
was also renowned for its botanical gardens where all the rich 
flora of South Africa flourished; for its castle, close to the sea; 
for its observatory, its hospitals and sailors' homes, and last but 
not least, for its latest institution: the lunatic asylum at Robben 
Island. But above all, Cape Town was a city of artistic and 
intellectual endeavour. Music and the French language were 
cultivated. Mademoiselle Catherina Petronella de Vries studied 



both. However, when she accepted Jacobus Abraham Smuts 9 
proposal of marriage, she resolved to become a good Boer house- 
wife. She brought her children up to fear God and no one else. 
Her second son, baptized Jan Christiaan, was her problem child. 
He had delicate health, and after his birth, seventy-four years 
ago, no one, not even his mother, thought he would live long. 

Looking back into history, it seems to be more than a mere 
coincidence that little Jannie's natal year gave birth to the new 
South Africa as well. Two incidents ushered in the new times: 
the diamond rush had just started, and on September 1, in 
Durban, Natal, a tall, thin, sickly lad, fresh from England, dis- 
embarked to join his elder brother, a cotton grower, and to get 
rid under the southern sun of a bothersome cough, which might 
perhaps be tuberculosis. His name was Cecil John Rhodes. 

These two events appeared quite unconnected. But they grew 
together. The discovery of diamonds tore South Africa from its 
century-long sleep. Fortune hunters from all over the world 
transformed the faraway land, literally overnight, into a more 
hectic than happy hunting ground. The luckiest of them, and 
certainly the most gifted, towering alike above competitors, 
foes, and friends, was the coughing lad, an English parson's 
son, who at sixteen came to South Africa to work as a farm 
hand, and died at forty-eight, the world's diamond and gold 
king; yet a scorner of money, which was to him only the shabby, 
if necessary, means of realizing his dream which he called the 
establishment of a power so strong as to make war impossible 
hereafter. The flag that should wave over this tremendous 
dream-building was, of course, the Union Jack. 

The Boers did not care for the diamond-and-gold rush that 
set in. To their Old Testament rigidity which, incidentally, 
never prevented them from being shrewd and pennywise bar- 
gainersit was the dance around the golden calf; a nauseating 
spectacle in which they wished to have no part. They had much 
more important things on their minds. In 1872, the Imperial 
government granted the Cape Colony full self-government. For 
almost twenty years the elected lawmakers had learned the 



craft of politics in a sort of shadow parliament that had only 
advisory functions. Now they themselves were the law. Under 
the gentle guidance of Mr. Molteno, the Prime Minister of the 
Cape Colony, who since he had occupied his seat from the 
creation of the first House of Assembly in 1854, handled power 
as to the manner born, the budding legislators took their first 
steps along the stony path of independence. One of their earli- 
est acts was to forbid the extermination of the locust, since the 
plague was sent by God. Simultaneously, the right to use the 
Dutch language in the Cape Parliament was conceded. Mr. 
J. G. Luttig, the newly elected member for Beaufort West, 
made the first Dutch speech, and all the Boer members of the 
House felt better. Jacobus Abraham Smuts was now often ab- 
sent from his farm. His new importance called him frequently 
to Cape Town. At home, his wife took little Jannie by the hand 
and taught him to walk. It was a difficult task. The child, list- 
less and pale, showed no real inclination to put one small foot 
before the other. Nothing indicated the famous mountain 
climber in the making. 

Jannie was not yet seven years old when an event, crashing 
like thunder, tore South Africa asunder. The Transvaal col- 



civilization ended, and the realm of wilderness began. The few 
travelers who cared to cross the border noticed immediately 
that they had entered the territory of the x South African Repub- 



lie, generally called the Transvaal, although no barriers indi- 
cated the frontier. But from this point on the roads were almost 
impassable. The inns, exclusively run by straggling English- 
men or Germans, were primitive. The storekeepers along the 
dirt roads charged eighteen pence for a bundle of fodder for 
a horse, which they themselves had purchased for threepence 
from the farmer. A horse required six bundles per day. A trip to 
the Transvaal was an expensive pleasure for the visitor from 
Natal. When Sir Theophilus Shepstone undertook the trip, it 
became an expensive burden for the English taxpayer, and 
there was no pleasure in it at all. 

Far from one another stood the Boers' farmhouses, very mod- 
est abodes. They usually contained two main rooms with a 
small lean-to: the sleeping place. The fireplace was in the living 
room. Outside the house, at some thirty or forty yards distance, 
a huge oven was built. Considering that most of the houses 
perched on uneven ground, and that none was floored, the 
huts, which in fact they were, appeared sufficiently solid and 
moderately clean. Two massive tables, not infrequently with a 
locker under them, made up the chief furniture. There were 
one or two chairs, never more. The objects in the house were 
rather dirty, and most of all the little Boerlings, who swarmed 
about in droves. The Boers are a prolific race. They marry early, 
lead wholesome, moral lives, and when they lose their mates, 
the widow or widower speedily finds another spouse. Thus it 
often happened that three or four families occupied the same 
two rooms. Yet when a foreigner arrived to stay the night, the 
bedroom, the sanctum even in a very poor house usually 
equipped with a comfortable feather bed was immediately 
cleared for him. These rough and ready Boers of the North did 
not forget their traditional kindly virtue: hospitality. More often 
than not they refused to accept any recompense offered for 
supper and bed, whereas the correct English settlers rarely for- 
got to present a modest bill. The Boers, it appears, were the 
more curious toward strangers. Every new face was welcome 
in their self-imposed isolation. But the welcome was seldom 
extended beyond a single night. At nine or ten in the morning, 



the hour at which the Transvaal Boer got up (the farmers in 
the Colony started their day at dawn), a hearty handshake 
indicated unmistakably that the moment of parting had come. 

Only the Peruvians were allowed to remain a little longer. 
Peruvian was the courtesy name applied to the many Polish and 
Russian Jews who peddled their wares up and down the coun- 
try. From them the Boer purchased the only thing on which he 
permitted himself to spend money, and very little money at 
that: his outfit. The process of haggling over the price of the 
accepted woolen clothing, the fabric mixed with calico, took 
the whole day. One could not dismiss the Peruvian before dusk, 
nor did one care to do so, since the Jewish peddlers were alto- 
gether popular. Were they not the descendants of the chosen 
people? To the Transvaal Boer, whose only reading matter was 
the Old Testament, they were, indeed. At least, as long as they 
came on foot, humbly, their backs bent under the weight of 
their packs, a docile smile on their sweating faces. Some years 
later, it is true, the Peruvians took to Cape Carts with well-fed 
horses, sleek and evidently well nourished themselves, and with 
smiles a little benign and a little insolent. It became also in- 
creasingly difficult to barter with them. And so that ferocious 
anti-Semitism sprang up in the country which still spurs the 
irreconcilables among the Boers. 

The average Transvaal Boer of those times wore the same 
clothes every day. Still, this habit marked a considerable ad- 
vance over the fashions of the previous generation. The chil- 
dren of the Voortrekkers, the generation of about the middle 
of the nineteenth century, were clad in hides. They lived upon 
the carcasses of the beasts they hunted, and what was a matter 
of necessity with them became a tradition with their grand- 
children; to them it was a comfortable way of saving the ex- 
penses of food. Extreme penury was their predominant char- 
acteristic. They preferred to leave their large farms unfilled and 
their pastures empty rather than pay the infinitesimally low 
wages for colored labor. The average Transvaal farm was the 
size of an English county. A man possessing less than six thou- 
sand acres of land was said to own only "half or "a quarter" of 



a farm. But only the few acres surrounding the house were 
ploughed to provide the family with the bare necessities of life. 
This laziness was by no means inborn in the Boer, although, in 
the Transvaal it soon became second nature. It was due to des- 
perate circumstances. What could he have done with his crop? 
There were no roads to transport it; the few dirt roads were 
unusable, a quagmire, since the contractors were never paid by 
the government. There was no market for one's products. In- 
side the Transvaal there were only two small towns, Pretoria 
and Heidelberg, both amply supplied by their surrounding 
neighborhood. Prohibitive duties obstructed any trade or traffic 
with the three other states of South Africa, the Orange Free 
State, a republic, and the two British colonies, the Cape and 
Natal. Above all, there was no money in the country. Only 
direct taxation was known, and the sturdy Transvaal Boer stub- 
bornly refused to pay. For his neighbor, whom more often than 
not he loathed, did not pay either. Descendants of the fiercest 
fighting race, they even refused the call to arms when the sav- 
age tribes around them raided and ravaged the borderlands of 
the Transvaal. 

Sullen, secluded, opposed to change and progress, the Trans- 
vaal Boer of 1870 lived a dreary life. His boorishness was the con- 
sequence of his isolation. He was excluded from all the ameni- 
ties of social intercourse. The churches were too far away, as 
were the schools for his children. The small-town dances were 
reserved mostly for the English-speaking population. His days 
were drab. Only once in a lifetime there were a few days of 
lightness and brightness: when he went vrying. Looking for a 
wife, which came in early youth, the Boer lad employed an old 
established scheme. He began by riding around the country to 
see what young girls within his circle were available. When he 
had made his choice he put on his Sunday trousers, polished 
his saddle or borrowed a new one, stuck a feather in his cap, 
and went forth to conquer. He was further equipped with a 
bottle of sugarplums with which to propitiate his prospective 
mother-in-law, and a candle. As soon as he entered the house 
his purpose was known; it was fully explained by his clean 



trousers, and the candle. If any doubt remained in the mind of 
the mother of a marriageable daughter, the gift of the sugar- 
plums removed it the instant she received it. Without a word 
the candle was offered to the girl. If she refused it, the suitor 
left with no hard feelings. He simply rode on to the house of 
the next lady on his list. But if she accepted it, the candle was 
lighted. The mother stuck a pin into it and retired to leave the 
young people alone until the flame burned down as far as the 
pin. Tender mothers poured a little salt on to the flame so that 
it might flicker a little longer. The marriage took place the fol- 
lowing day. And after a week the old dreariness of life began 

President Burgers set out to conquer dreariness, the Trans- 
vaal disease. He was not one of the northern Boers himself and 
he had no tie with the Voortrekkers. He came from the Cape 
Colony, imbued with its liberal spirit. Originally a clergyman 
of the Dutch Reformed Church, he parted company with this 
intolerant sect devoted to the Old Testament God of wrath, 
gave up holy orders, left his country, and was, an eloquent and 
enthusiastic man, heartily welcomed in the Transvaal. Soon he 
was elected President, thus shouldering a burden that almost 
crushed him. 

The country into which he came was bankrupt, its treasury 
empty, a paper currency, set afloat in 1865, greatly depreciated. 
Taxes could not be collected and quarrels with the far from 
subdued natives were incessant and perilous. Yet Mr. Burgers 
plunged into his task in high spirits. He succeeded in raising a 
loan, borrowing 60,000. He established a national flag, and 
had a gold coinage struck from the then budding gold output 
of the Transvaal: three hundred gold pieces, bearing his own 
likeness, and worth twenty shillings each. In order to build a 
railway from Pretoria, his capital, through the gold fields of the 
Transvaal down to Delagoa Bay in the Portuguese colony 
indeed a prime necessity for the economic expansion of the 
country he betook himself to Holland where he raised another 
loan, saddling his republic with a further debt of 100,000 for 



railway properties. To all this he added the boast that he would 
"liberate" aU South Africa and become the George Washington 
south of the equator. 

His interests, it must be admitted, were above all economic 
and cultural. He attempted to have the long neglected and 
entirely uncultivated public lands surveyed. But no one knew 
in the least what public lands there were, or how their bound- 
aries ran. He issued a code of laws before he had either courts 
or judges to sit in them. His favorite plan was a high-flown 
scheme of education. However, he could only get five children 
all told to attend the one high school that was actually estab- 
lished. The parents paid 15 each for ten months' schooling. 
Hence the total income of the high school amounted to 75, 
whereas Mr. Burgers' budget allowed for a fixed salary of 400 
a year for the headmaster. The district schools in the small 
towns and the rural ward schools failed equally miserably, as 
they were too expensive and pretentious. In the final year of 
the independent First South African Republic, two hundred 
and thirty-six pupils went to the district schools and sixty-five 
to the ward schools. Since the government was penniless for 
many months every year, the salaries were not paid and the 
schools sank into ruin. 

They were as little popular among the Transvaal Boers as 
any of the apparently extravagant measures of reform progres- 
sive Mr. Burgers wished to introduce. The general welcome 
with which he had been received was wearing rapidly thinner. 
The obstruction of the state schools by the Boer people was a 
test case. Out of a total white population of 45,000 at least 
10 per cent were of school age. But only three hundred pupils 
were sent to school. The average Boer found it enough educa- 
tion for his child if he could be made to read the Bible'aiid learn 
sufficient of the ritual of the Dutch Reformed Church to pass 
the confirmation examination. Itinerant schoolmasters who had 
previously contributed a little to a primitive education could 
no longer continue in the exercise of their profession, since 
President Burgers stopped their meager allowances. 

President Burgers, a well-meaning, if vain, man, was cursed 



with the Midas touch in reverse. He floated loans which were 
astronomic in the depressed circumstances of his country, yet 
his administration constantly verged on the brink of bankruptcy. 
He introduced reforms, only to arouse and stiffen the bigoted 
prejudices of his people. He could not even guarantee the secu- 
rity and independence of the Republic, the only possession 
which the grossly materialistic Transvaal Boers prized more 
than life. The black man was lurking around the corner. 

At the end of 1876, the natives from across the border invaded 
and ravaged forty square miles of the Transvaal, burning every 
house in the area. The Boers, indifferent in their seclusion, did 
not "saddle up" as was their proud tradition. There was no fight 
left in them. The natives got away. When the rainy season 
ended, Cetewayo, the great black chief, massed his forces in 
three groups on the borders of the Republic. According to a 
memorandum written by Colonel A. W. Durnford, "he would 
have undoubtedly swept the Transvaal, at least up to the Vaal 
River, if not to Pretoria itself " Twelve years after the South 
African Republic had begun its existence as an independent 
state, it had reached a condition of complete insolvency and 
defenselessness, with no way out of the perils of total ruin and 
chaos. The house was on fire and it seemed certain that the fire 
would spread all over South Africa. 

It was under these circumstances that Sir Theophilus Shep- 
stone arrived in Pretoria on January 22, 1877, accompanied by 
six other gentlemen from Natal, and a guard of twenty-five 
mounted policemen. Sir Theophilus, already an old man, had 
for many years been Minister for Native Affairs in Natal; he 
knew more about the colored problem than any other white 
man in South Africa. Moreover, he was held in especial respect 
by Cetewayo, the King of the Zulus, who was the torch if 
South Africa should, as British and Boer equally dreaded, ever 
be set on fire by the blacks. One of Sir Theophflus' first actions 
was to address a message to his friend Cetewayo, and to the 
Chiefs lieutenant, Secocoeni, saying that the Transvaal, if 
attacked, would be defended by British troops. He received 
a reply in the quaint style of the natives which read: "I thank 



my father Somtseu (Shepstone) for his message. I am gkd he 
has sent it, because the Dutch have tired me out, and I intended 
to fight them once, only once, and to drive them over the Vaal. 
Kabana, you see my impis (tribal chiefs) are gathered. It was 
to fight the Dutch I called them together. Now I will send 
them back to their houses." 

Sir Theophilus settled down in Pretoria to wait quietly. He 
received hundreds of Transvaal petty politicians, listened to 
their suggestions and grievances, but did not disclose any ulte- 
rior motives of his own. He had come merely as a friend and 
an advisor, he emphasized, to see whether and how the Republic 
could be saved. 

It was impossible to save the Republic from its own politi- 
cians. The English party had little reason to sympathize with 
President Burgers, who had made education in the English 
language almost impossible, and constantly proclaimed it his 
ambition to drive the "paramount power" out of South Africa. 
But whereas the Transvaal British adopted their inbred atti- 
tude of waiting and seeing, the Boer opposition persistently 
undermined the shaky system. The Voortrekker party, the radi- 
cal wing of the Transvaal Boers, composed entirely of members 
of the fierce and fanatic Dopper sect, and led by Johannes 
Paulus Kruger, himself one of the last surviving Voortrekkers, 
and already a sort of sectarian saint (since as a lad in his teens 
he had participated in the extermination of Dingaan, the Zulu 
chief), approached the English with a suggestion to co-operate 
in bringing about the fall of Burgers. At the same time the 
saintly Kruger, ever a past master in the lower levels of politics, 
assured the President of his unwavering support. The Volks- 
raad, the republican parliament, bragged, swaggered, and blus- 
tered, but was unanimous only in opposing any sound measure 
of reform. When its last session was adjourned, President Bur- 
gers commented: "The Volksraad has gone away having done 
nothing but harm." 

The mass of the Boer population remained indifferent. Why 
should a man fight the accursed natives if his neighbor did not? 
Why should he cultivate his land, or more of it than he needed 



to feed himself? Why shear his sheep, if he could not sell his 
wool? Why pay taxes for a nonexistent government? The 
Transvaal Boer had sunk to this condition of not fighting, not 
working, not paying. 

After ten weeks of watching and waiting in Pretoria, Sir 
Theophilus did the only possible thing. Without instructions 
from London, he annexed the Transvaal by a proclamation, 
issued at Pretoria on April 12, 1877, to restore peace and order, 
and bring the country back to normalcy. His proclamation had 
been read and approved by President Burgers, who had only 
insisted on two minor changes readily granted by Sir Theoph- 
ilus. Contrariwise, the British Commissioner approved Bur- 
gers' message of farewell which contained a meek, face-saving 
appeal to the burghers never to weaken in their spirit of inde- 
pendence, but not to have recourse to acts of violence, at least 
not for a fortnight (within which time a sufficiently strong 
British garrison would have arrived from Natal). Heartbroken, 
Burgers returned to his native Cape Colony. The excitable, un- 
stable, visionary, but truly enlightened and patriotic man left 
all of twelve shillings and sixpence behind him in the Treasury. 
His "bluebacks" pound notes sold for a shilling apiece. Yet 
Burgers had not drawn any salary while in office and in addi- 
tion had expended all his modest private fortune on the State, 
and even incurred a heavy personal liability when money was 
urgently needed for the prosecution of the unsuccessful 
Secocoeni campaign. This debt hounded him for the rest of his 
life. However, unperturbed, Burgers resumed his social posi- 
tion in Cape Town, where he joined the ranks of the moderate, 
only slightly anti-British undercover opposition. 

No one in the Transvaal shed a tear at his departure, no one 
grumbled over the annexation. The burghers and fanners had 
every reason to be thankful for their salvation. The price of 
land, until the annexation practically nil, soared as the British 
administration built roads and provided markets. The inflated 
currency was replaced by the most solid money in the world. 
The restive natives were quelled. No one disturbed the peace. 
Even Saint Paulus of the Boers took office under the Crown. 



But he could not stomach his self-imposed subservience. He 
found an outlet for his dissatisfaction in repeatedly demanding 
an increase in his remuneration. When this was refused, he 
plunged headlong into the repeal of the annexation program. 
The English in Pretoria never doubted that he would have 
remained a loyal British subject, had the inducement he 
clamored for been forthcoming. History would have taken 
another turn. The South African war would never have claimed 
its toll of blood and bitterness. 

The restless Transvaal, however, was not destined for secu- 
rity and tranquillity. With both hands the Boers grasped at 
whatever they could get. The country's debts, incurred by Presi- 
dent Burgers, were settled out of the English taxpayers' pockets. 
The responsibility in the country rested on broader shoulders 
than before. 

But with the revival of trade and the removal of burdens the 
old Boer habit of intransigence returned. The dangers and diffi- 
culties of the past were of small account now that they were 
indeed buried in the past. The benefits of annexation had been 
reaped. The pressing needs of the Boers had been relieved. 
Their debts had been paid; their credit restored; their black 
enemies subdued. Repeal would rob them of none of these 
advantages. They would, in short, have their cake and eat it 
too. The men who had silently, many of them cheerfully, ac- 
cepted annexation, became vocal, in fact, noisy and clamorous. 
A wave of extreme nationalism ensued. Now that their stomachs 
were full and their worries removed, the time had come for 
what they called the spiritual things. 

The tide of renewed Boer nationalism engulfed most of South 
Africa. In fact, not even the conservative and wealthy farmers 
of the Cape Colony had been as indifferent to their adventur- 
ous kinsmen in the North as prudence had advised them to 
appear. The Boers, a scattered handful of people at the utter 
extremity of the globe, would never have survived had it not 
been for their flamboyant nationalism which at times could 
be bridled, but never extinguished. 

The repercussions of the rapidly mounting tide of Transvaal 



nationalism were strongest in the Orange Free State. Now the 
only Boer republic left, the Free State saw its territory sur- 
rounded on all sides by the hated red color on the map. The 
Free State Boers had also fled from British rule. While the 
Voortrekkers had crossed the River Vaal, they, in turn, had 
crossed the Orange River. They were actuated by the same 
motives: by their disgust of the philanthropic English treat- 
ment of the natives, and the abolition of slavery by Her Maj- 
esty's magistrates. 

New motives fanned their hatred. As soon as the diamonds 
of Kimberley were discovered, the English annexed the terri- 
tory which had been in the possession of natives, but which 
closely bordered the Free State. Boer farmers who had estates 
in the vicinity of the sudden rush for diamonds were glad to 
sell their property at what seemed astronomical prices. They 
themselves had neither the resilience nor the ingenuity to work 
the mines. Nevertheless, they sat on their newly acquired 
moneybags and cursed the English, who had what it took to 
make millions out of the stones. Perhaps the strongest single 
factor arousing the Free State against the British was a German 
immigrant by the name of Borckenhagen. History has long for- 
gotten this name, but without his incessant anti-British pam- 
phleteering in his paper, the Bloemfontein Daily Express, feel- 
ings in the Free State would probably never have reached that 
white heat that made them side with the Transvaal, although 
they were by no means affected by the tragic conflict between 
the British Empire and the so-called South African Republic. 
Above all, they loathed this intruder Cecil Rhodes. 

The "colossus"-in-the-making did not care. He was on the 
friendliest terms with the Afrikaner Bond, the organization of 
Dutch farmers in the Cape Colony, which mixed a then still 
slight and concealed sprinkling of Boer nationalism with a 
vivid sense for the protection of their agricultural interests. 
With their support, Cecil Rhodes entered the Cape Parliament 
in 1881. It was England's only success in the otherwise blackest 
year of her South African history. The Transvaal Boers had 
risen and defeated an insufficient and badly equipped number 



of English soldiers, storming, at last, their stronghold, Majuba 
Hill. It was an ignominious defeat of British arms. Fortunately 
Sir Evelyn Wood secured adequate reinforcements and judged 
his power sufficient to turn the tables, and to suppress the 
revolt. But instead of establishing the Queen's authority, he 
first asked for instructions from London. Mr. Gladstone was 
Premier, and insisted on an immediate peace, peace at almost 
any price. The Boers took Gladstone's pacifism, which was the 
price he had to pay for his excessive promises to the voters in 
his Midlothian campaign, for English weakness, and exulted 
in their victory. The shamelessly abandoned Loyalists gathered 
in Pretoria, and in tears they buried their own sacred flag, the 
Union Jack. 

All these events seemed entirely unconnected with the little 
boy growing up on a quiet farm in the tranquil Western Prov- 
ince. It was no longer Bovenplaats, a family possession claimed 
by an elder brother of Jacobus Abraham Smuts, who had estab- 
lished himself on a new farm; now it was Klipfontein (Stone 
Fountain), a few miles farther to the north, when Jannie was 
eight years of age, three years before the defeat of Majuba. The 
black soil of the new farm was the best wheat land in all South 
Africa. It demanded redoubled care and multiplied endeavour. 
Another change had taken place. A dark cloud, the first, over- 
shadowed the boy's life. His mother died. Smuts senior, true to 
type, took a new wife, and two more infants arrived. Little 
Jannie, by nature a shy and lonesome child, must have been 
entirely preoccupied with his own changed life. He could not 
know that the turbulent events in the distant outside world 
were leading to the chaos which he would one day be called 
upon to mould into shape. Was the little boy even aware of the 
existence of such people as the English? 

Evidently, he was. 

After the tragedy of Majuba, beset, it seems, with doubts, he 
asked Abraham whether the English were indeed the greatest 
people in the world. 

Abraham, a shriveled Hottentot of close to a hundred years 



old, hesitated a moment. Then he declared: "The English? 
There is one people greater than they. A people coming from 
the high North. They call themselves Scots/' 



Still a toddler, he became touleier: that is, he learned to hold a 
rope ahead of a team of draught animals. This was his appren- 
ticeship. Soon he became a "goose girl/' When he knew all 
about geese, he spent some time caring for the pigs. Goats suc- 
ceeded pigs, to make way in turn for sheep. Finally he was en- 
trusted with the stewardship of a small herd of cows and oxen. 
Now he had reached the top of the ladder. At the age of twelve 
he was an accomplished cattle farmer, and nothing beyond this 
achievement was to be expected of him. The fact that Jannie 
could neither read nor write did not unduly bother his father. 
The eldest Smuts boy received a careful education since he was 
slated to become a predikant. It was not necessary to have a 
second bookish son in the family. 

But when Jannie was twelve his elder brother died of ty- 
phoid. Therefore it became his duty to prepare himself for the 
pulpit of the Dutch Reformed Church. He was, in consequence, 
sent to school in the village Ribeek West, where he lodged in 
the boarding house De Ark, run by the headmaster, Mr. T. C. 

The boy certainly did not relish the change in his circum- 
stances. Described as an easily frightened child who used to 
run away, panic-stricken, when he saw people approaching, 
even those with whom he was well acquainted, he feared the 



big world of the hamlet of Ribeek West. On the veld the child 
had been independent and self-contained. Jannie had even 
done his own cooking. Now all that was left behind: the rolling 
hills of the Black Land, with its rich green grass and wild- 
flowers of every description; his favorite slope on whose sum- 
mit he used to light his primitive stove; the few head of cattle 
which his father had given him as wages for his child labor. 

Mr. Stoffberg had a difficult time in moulding into shape the 
high-strung, stubborn and self-centered country boy, to whom 
a tyranny prescribing proper clothes and regular hours was 
unbearable. "He behaves like a wild bird," the headmaster re- 
ported. The teacher-pupil conflict lasted throughout Jannie's 
first term, and far into the second. 

Then, suddenly, a new passion overtook the boy, a passion 
which proved incurable, and which still possesses the Old Mas- 
ter: the passion for books. Mr. Stoffberg's library, in which 
Jannie was allowed to browse to his heart's content, opened to 
the lad the gates to a new world. His memory at this time was 
so unspoiled that he could, it was said, learn an entire book by 
heart in simply reading it over once. His mind was flooded by 
the onrush of ideas. Gradually, the youngster adjusted himself 
to his surroundings, which meant in the case of Jan Christian 
Smuts that he excelled all others. The belated tyro rapidly sur- 
passed all the children of the neighboring farmers in his class, a 
success that, perhaps, did not make him over-popular with 
them. It is entirely possible that little Daniel Frai^ois Malan, 
another small boy from Ribeek West, four years Jannie's junior, 
was already in his childhood imbued with that implacable 
hatred, born out of impotent jealousy, with which the present 
leader of the opposition in the South African House of Assem- 
bly persecutes and baits General Smuts to this very day. 

But Jannie, it appears, still in elementary school, was as indif- 
ferent to hostility then as now. He did not play with the other 
boys, preferring to keep rigidly to himself. He devoured books 
throughout the night, even on his holidays at his father's farm. 
He took his first successes moving up several classes in one 
term, and finishing the school with high marks in the head- 



master's special scholarship class with the same detachment 
which, for instance, he displayed when he was created a field 
marshal in the British Army on his seventy-first birthday. When 
he passed his final examination, he had certainly taught his 
headmaster an impressive lesson. Unfortunately, teachers sel- 
dom care to learn from their pupils. Almost thirty years later, 
in 1915, when South Africa shook in the convulsive aftermath 
of a revolution which General Smuts with difficulty suppressed, 
Mr. Stoffberg contested the parliamentary seat of Rustenberg 
against his former disciple, llie teacher was once more bested. 

Smuts' way to the pulpit was prescribed. The first step was 
Victoria College in Stellenbosch, an academic institution en- 
dowed with a famous theological seminary which within twenty- 
five years had won a country-wide reputation. The budding 
freshman laid his plans methodically. From his father's farm he 
wrote a letter to Professor Murray, informing him of his inten- 
tion of coming to the college in a few weeks, and asking for 
the professor's kindly advice. A characteristic excerpt from this 
remarkable letter reads: "Such a place where a large puerile 
element exists, affords fair scope for moral, and, what is more 
important, religious temptation. ... Of what use will a mind, 
enlarged and refined in all possible ways, be to me, if my religion 
be a deserted pilot, and morality a wreck? To avoid temptation 
and to make the proper use of my precious time, I purposely 
refuse entering a public boarding department, as that of Mr. 
de Kock, but I shall board privately (most likely at Mr. W. 
Ackermann's) which will, in addition, accord with my retired 
and reserved nature." This highly moral letter concludes with 
a few very practical questions as to tuition fees, school books, 
and examinations. Professor Murray preserved the innocent 
epistle as the early confession of a star-gazing realist. 

The way to Stellenbosch was difficult. There was, once more, 
the dread of the great world, this time a charming old town 
with, at that period, a population of 2,000 souls. There was the 
necessity of providing for the tuition fees. Young Smuts solved 
this problem by selling the cattle he had earned as his father's 



farm hand. Last but not least, a knowledge of Greek was r 
quired. Creek had not been included in the curriculum of tt 
village school. Moreover, no Greek tutor was available whe 
the last moment for matriculation approached. Once more seek 
sion helped. Jannie retired to a farm, exactly one week befor 
the beginning of the term, and stuffed the contents of a Gree 
grammar so completely into his head that he passed the exam 
ination first on the list. For relaxation during this week of gruel 
ing study he had equipped himself with a volume of Shelley 
Another door was flung open to him. He had discovered poetry 
A new sense for beauty awoke. It led him from Shelley to Keat: 
and Milton, thence to Shakespeare (whose lack of religion he 
deplored), and finally to a young lady by the nickname of Isie. 
Sometimes, on his solitary Sunday walks he recited Shelley tc 
the grass on the meadows. Yet it is questionable whether it was 
indeed the harmony of the rhymes that agitated him so deeply, 
or the lesson he learned from the poet's messages. Shelley's 
views on the rights of man influenced him profoundly. It was 
a little later that he fell helpless prey to another poet: Walt 

Still, he lived in complete solitude, engaged in hard study 
and the ascetic pleasures of loneliness. Except for joining the 
volunteers, where he acquired some military training, and for 
teaching a Bible class in a colored Sunday school, he remained 
by himself. He was an outsider in patrician Stellenbosch, then 
as today the most intensely Dutch town in the Cape, whose 
inhabitants disliked the loop line to the main railway because 
the train connected them with the vulgarity abroad. The town, 
one of the oldest in the country, had been founded in 1684, and 
a year later settled by Huguenot refugees, whose Puritan spirit 
still lingered. During the time of Smuts' study, Stellenbosch 
was markedly under the influence of Hofmeyr, the leader of 
the Afrikander Bond, whose new nationalist creed was mingled 
with the spirit of the old faith. The church service was the most 
important event in everyday life. The Scottish professors, who 
at that time almost monopolized Victoria College, encouraged 
regular church attendance and hard work, and not much else. 



They were, however, not averse to co-education. Engagements 
between students were frequent, for people in South Africa 
marry early. Society, "much affected by widows/' as contem- 
porary gossip in near-by Cape Town put it, celebrated such 
events. It was quite an affair when a senior, though to tell the 
truth, a rather backward student by the name of James Barry 
Munnik Hertzog, became engaged to Mademoiselle Jacoba Wil- 
helmina Neethling, a young lady greatly interested in church 
matters. Nevertheless young Hertzog refused to continue his 
preparation for the pulpit, taking to the law instead. 

The history of the Union of South Africa was, until Hertzog's 
death, in November 1942, the history of the running feud be- 
tween the two schoolmates, Smuts and Hertzog. They resem- 
bled one another in but one respect. Jannie, too, during his 
years at Stellenbosch was beset with doubts whether he was 
meant to follow the theological calling. He certainly did not 
abandon his religious convictions. A perpetual student of the 
Bible, particularly of the Old Testament, the Boers' own Book 
of Books, he is the more deeply a convinced Christian for not 
loudly proclaiming faith. But he must have felt a premonition 
that worldly matters would demand his service, indeed, that 
one day the whole world would be his province. He abandoned 
the thought of theology; he read literature and science. 

At home only Tool, the Boer language, had been spoken. 
Now, under the guidance of Professor Mansvelt, Smuts acquired 
a superb High Dutch, both in speaking and writing. One of his 
essays in the Dutch language bore the cumbersome title The 
Commerce and Prosperity of the Netherlands during the Eighty- 
Years' War. Professor Mansvelt was so deeply impressed with 
the opus that he showed it to Dr. Leyds, then the State Attor- 
ney of the Transvaal Republic, who also recognized promising 
talent, and noted the young author's name. 

Throughout his time in Stellenbosch Smuts read and wrote. 
He did not stop with the English poets. He dove into Goethe 
and Schiller and the classic German lyricists. He was proud, he 
asserted in an article, of his Teutonic race. Some observers be- 
lieved that he was simply going through a period of high-brow 



inclination toward the German spirit, not uncommon among 
intellectuals in English-speaking countries. But the fervor with 
which Smuts sided with Germany at the Versailles Conference 
and for many years after, permits at least some doubt whether 
his predilection was, indeed, only a passing phase. 

In his nineteenth year a treatise of his, published in Het 
Zuid-Afrikaanisch Tydschrift, (The South African Magazine), 
caused considerable attention. The piece was entitled Homo 
Sum, and discussed the thorny problem of slavery, South 
Africa's major problem. The young author considered slavery 
as an ethical question that could not be, as was the custom, 
considered merely from the economic viewpoint. He did not 
refuse slavery entirely, but he contrasted the shining example 
of the Hebrews, who gave the slave an opportunity to regain his 
freedom after seven years, with the practice of "those nations," 
including his own, "whose slaves had to bid good-bye to all 
hope of freedom, and were thus bound to descend to the lowest 
depths of degradation and despair, sinking further and further 
in the scale of humanity. Moral elevation, the highest form of 
religion, is based on enthusiasm." 

These few lines reveal three important elements in Smuts' 
make-up: the English influence, bent on giving the African 
natives freedom and equality within the scope of their civiliza- 
tion, admiration for the old Jews, whom he felt akin to his own 
old Boers, and whose county, Palestine, alone among all coun- 
tries, he rates as beautiful as South Africa, and finally his con- 
fession of enthusiasm, a driving power he has never lost, although 
it froze, as it were, during the busy years. 

Enthusiasm, indeed, truth, and other moral values were the 
leitmotiv of all his youthful writing. Even his articles on history 
and economics ever searched for moral causes. "If South Africa 
is to be great indeed, and not to be merely inflated with the 
wind of Johannesburg (then a boom city of gold diggers), its 
greatness will have to depend on its moral civilization, 9 " he 
wrote, early revealing the true aim of his life. 

The citizens of Stellenbosch probably did not take the still 
painfully shy and nervous youth as seriously as he took him- 



self. Their idle conversation, their social life with its well- 
tempered amusements, even their occasional evenings of danc- 
ing, at which he never assisted, seemed to him a waste of time. 
He retired deeper into his shell. He could be abrupt, anti-social, 
awkward. His colleagues took him for a prig. 

He found but one colleague who, though only seven months 
his junior, understood his pathetic solitude: a co-ed, the above- 
mentioned Isie: Miss Sibylla Margareta Krige. By descent the 
two were not well met. Whereas Smuts had been imbued by 
his father with the spirit of inter-racial tolerance in South Africa, 
the Kriges were an old and politically influential family of un- 
reconstructed Boers and Britain-haters, who had left Cape 
Town to live in more congenial, and entirely Dutch, surround- 
ings. Intellectually, however and more than intellectually they 
were destined for one another. 

By all accounts Miss Krige was the most brilliant woman stu- 
dent of her day. She taught school in her spare time, and in 
addition, she, too, wrote articles for magazines, and even for 
the Cape Town newspapers. After a short acquaintance they 
both wrote poems, anxiously disguised under pen names or 
signed only with initials, lest the author of one should discover 
the confessions of the other. An early picture shows Miss Krige, 
now Mrs. Smuts and the much beloved Ouma grandmother 
of her country, as a young girl of medium stature. Her face is 
beautifully proportioned, unlined and untouched, at eighteen 
still a child's face, were it not for her enormous, searching dark 
eyes, arched by strong, almost masculine, brows. Her hair is 
trimmed in a boyish fashion. It is cut short and neither parted 
in the middle nor severely brushed back in the fashion of the 
pious Boer ladies. She wears a high-necked black dress with the 
merest and most innocent touch of coquetry, a white lace collar 
about her neck, and over her dress the white apron appropriate 
to a future housewife. The only jewel she displays is a double 
chain of semi-precious stones. But no one can overlook the heap 
of books piled up in front of the charming young girl who is 
gazing so seriously into the camera. 

Young Smuts courted her in his own way. He translated 



Schiller's Das Ideal und das Leben, and she took down the 
Dutch manuscript. He taught her Creek. When they occasion- 
ally "walked out" into the veld where she admired the flowers, 
which are, indeed, one of the particular beauties of the South 
African landscape, he told her the Latin name and the class of 
each plant and proved his knowledge of the various grasses, 
which has made Smuts one of the greatest of living botanists. 

Of course there was more to their meeting than Schiller and 
Greek and the species of Andropogon, Panicum, and Digitaria, 
growing in the Themedra Triandria to ordinary people the 
South African red grass. It was hero worship on her side, and 
on his a feeling of bliss. Perhaps life need not be spent on 
austere solitude. But it is doubtful whether many words were 
exchanged. The future of an incipient Bachelor of Arts seemed 
rather uncertain. 

In fact, the future, at least the immediate future, of Jan 
Christiaan Smuts was pretty well assured after his eighteenth 
year. In this eventful year of 1888, Cecil Rhodes visited Victoria 
College. The "colossus" was at the peak of his success. A year 
before he had formed his gigantic Goldfields Company on the 
Rand, with the clear understanding that a large portion of the 
profits should be used for purposes entirely outside the com- 
mercial sphere indeed, for furthering his imperial plans. In 
the very year he came to Victoria College he had further suc- 
ceeded in combining all the diamond mines in Kimberley, prac- 
tically the entire diamond output of South Africa, then the larg- 
est in the world. Had it not been for his premonition of an early 
death, due to his incurable heart disease, which prompted him 
to write one will after the other he had just drafted his third 
testament he would have come as the god in the clouds. In 
fact he came as the trusted ally of his friends in the Afrikander 
Bond, to inspect the model institution of Dutch education in the 
Cape Colony, whose Prime Minister he was about to become. 

Cecil Rhodes addressed the students. Smuts was only one of 
the college juniors. Yet the principal had asked him to reply on 
behalf of the student body as academic custom demanded. 
Smuts spoke of the predestined greatness of South Africa, which, 



in her present stage, was comparable with Elizabethan Eng- 
land. He fell in completely with Cecil Rhodes' great and bold 
plan of a federated partnership of self-governing states tinder 
the British Crown. Mr. Merriman, an English-language politi- 
cian who made his career on the Dutch side, a man feared for 
his biting wit, patted Jacobus Abraham Smuts' shoulder. The 
whole audience could hear him whisper to the proud father: 
"Your lad has done it!" 

On the rostrum, the "colossus" shook hands with the lad. Jan 
Christiaan Smuts saw Cecil Rhodes only twice afterward. But 
on these occasions they did not exchange a single word. Both 
men were always in a hurry. Yet their meeting at Victoria Col- 
lege had important consequences. Cecil Rhodes marked down 
the young man as a future collaborator in his campaign for the 
brotherhood of English and Dutch. Smuts, conversely, was now 
ingrained with a conception of Rhodes as the maker of a greater 
British Empire, with South Africa having her due share of the 

A confirmed Rhodes man, his future path was now clearly 
marked out. He took his degree in literature and science with 
honors. He closed his Sunday school, presenting each of his 
colored pupils with a Bible. He wrote a poem Love and Life 
(a Fragment), which subsequently appeared in the Stellenbosch 
Students 9 Annual, from which the following quatrain shall be 

Long are the coming years, 
Counted by lovers' tears, 
When, having lived together, 
Their parted days begin. 

Now, having cleared the decks, his resolve was taken: he 
would read law in order to prepare for statesmanship, and no- 
where else but at Cambridge. 





enough, but, as in everything he undertook in his youth, a 
tremendous effort underlay it. The perpetual obstacle had to be 
overcome: money worries. Fortunately Smuts received an Ebden 
Scholarship, named for a wealthy philanthropist in the Eastern 
Province, but unfortunately the sum was, due to a bank failure, 
reduced to 100 a year, all that the Ebden Trust had guaran- 
teed, but only half the amount actually disbursed in previous 
years. To implement his meager assets he had to take out a life 
insurance policy which his friend and teacher, the Reverend 
Professor Marais, was willing to accept as security for a small 
loan. When the professor, five years later, sent a final account, 
he charged 5 per cent interest. Smuts replied: "Acknowledg- 
ment to Professor Marais of loan to be repaid at 6 per cent 
from September 1." His friends insist that the Old Master, at 
the summit of his wisdom, is still as little money-wise as he 
was as a Cambridge student. 

At the time Smuts set sail for England, sensitive ears could 
discern the first distant thunder clap of the coming tempest in 
South Africa. Cecil Rhodes, who could handle almost anyone, 
did not succeed in coming to terms with President Kruger. 
Abortive negotiations over conditions in Johannesburg, the 
golden city that had sprung out of the reef five years before, 
now teemed with uttlanders foreigners predominantly Eng- 
lishmen, ended with Oom Paul shaking his head: 'This young 
man is getting dangerous." Rhodes stormed: "I meant to work 
with him, but not on my knees." 

The noise was too far away. Smuts did not hear it. Confi- 
dently, and curiously, he embarked upon his studies at Christ's 
College, Cambridge. Again, he did not easily become a part of 
his surroundings. He was somewhat older in years, and defi- 
nitely more mature in mind, than most of his new comrades. He 



spoke with that nasal twang that every South African instantly 
and joyfully recognizes as Malmesbury patois, but which sounds 
distinctly different from Cambridge English. He showed no 
interest in the college sports and games. When the other under- 
graduates were exercising, Smuts sat in the library "pale-faced 
and white-haired," as he was inaccurately described, since his 
hair was fair, so fair indeed that it was easily mistaken for 
white, particularly as it topped an ageless, unsmiling face. He 
no longer demonstratively retired into seclusion, yet he did not 
fit into the mould. The straightforward manners of the South 
African farms and villages in which he had been brought up 
were unlike the misleadingly easygoing appearance with which 
English people seek to disguise the sweat of their labor. No one 
would have reproached Smuts for his hard work. It was only 
the fact that he worked so openly and so unashamedly that 
seemed strange. Probably he had also to overcome a constant 
feeling of poverty. The lack of money "crippled" him, he wrote 
home. But it did not clip his wings. 

Devouring law, Roman, British, and Colonial, he still found 
time to write his first book. It was a seventy thousand word 
essay, far away from paragraph and codex. Its title was Walt 
Whitman: A Study in Evolution. The book was by no means a 
biography. The American poet was in a way the test case for 
Smuts' philosophy of personality. Only a few people have ever 
read the manuscript. Some have maintained that the work con- 
tained the first seeds of psychoanalysis, the new science that, a 
few years later, at the turn of the century, carried Professor 
Sigmund Freud with his Traumdeutung to world fame. But in 
the late nineties London publishers were not interested in what 
appeared to be primarily a study of Whitman, who at that time 
was little known in England. One publisher wrote that had it 
been Goethe the manuscript would have been immediately ac- 
cepted. Perhaps Walt Whitman's time will come, another ven- 
tured to prophesy. But at that moment his name did not mean 
much to the general public. The one magazine to which Smuts 
offered his opus also returned it regretfully. Miss Krige in far- 
away Stellenbosch had copied the seventy thousand words in 



vain. In later years, when the author's name alone could have 
attracted international attention, Smuts stubbornly forbade the 
publication of what he termed his **boyish book." 

He early learned to accept reverses as well as successes. He 
consoled himself with the thought that he had not been for- 
gotten at home. In July, 1892, the Zuid Afrikaan, of Cape Town, 
mentioned ". . . Mr. Smuts who, having gained the Ebden 
Scholarship, thanks to his double B.A., passed first in Law at 
Cambridge/' Yet it took two years and a half longer before the 
Council of Legal Education awarded to Smuts, J. C., Middle 
Temple, a special prize of 50 for the best examination in Con- 
stitutional Law and Legal History. A year before he had caused 
some stir by publishing a piece, Law A Liberal Study, in the 
Christ's College magazine. On June 22, 1894, the Cape Times 
published a London contribution: "Smuts' success is unprece- 
dented in Cambridge annals. He took both Farts I and II of the 
Law Tripos at the same time, was placed first in the first class 
of each, and has been awarded the George Long Prize in 
Roman Law and Jurisprudence; a prize only awarded in cases 
of especial merit. On referring to the Cambridge Calendar you 
will find that this is quite unparalleled." Years later the En- 
cyclopaedia Britannica confirmed this opinion, stating that "his 
success was unprecedented." 

For a short time Smuts read in chambers in London. He was 
oflFered a fellowship at Christ's College, Cambridge, but he de- 
clined it. Cambridge, the ancient seat of learning, had rather 
stimulated than entirely satisfied Smuts' intellectual hunger. 
He had not altogether cut himself off from the life of his fellow 
students, although he had not formed any close or lasting 
friendships with the undemonstrative young Englishmen he 
had met. England was more than ever a bright promise. But 
South Africa was the only country worth living in and living 
for. In the summer of 1895, he returned home. 

The Cape Town newspapers welcomed the returned son in a 
friendly, if not enthusiastic manner. Advocate Smuts was ad- 
mitted to the Cape bar. He went into chambers and began 



practicing at the supreme court. But in a very short time the 
moderate excitement over the brilliant Cambridge student of 
local origin abated considerably. Those who had predicted for 
him a brilliant future as a barrister were patently wrong. Every- 
one had heard that the young advocate was the best man for 
the most involved lawsuits, and that he took enormous pains 
in digging out hundred-and-fifty-year-old precedents to back 
up his cases. But he was not seen in the clubs and coffeehouses. 
He did not play whist. He did not slap backs, and would cer- 
tainly have shuddered had anyone attempted to approach him 
in that fashion. He did not even use the tricks of the trade to 
soften the hearts of a jury. No briefs came. 

The young man with die assured brilliant future had to look 
for minor jobs to keep himself afloat. His superb High Dutch 
came in handy. For a modest fee he examined in the Dutch 
language, a knowledge of which was required of those young 
men among the Cape Boers who sought positions in the Trans- 
vaal Republic. This occupation was nothing more than a stop 
gap. Journalism offered slightly better opportunities. Smuts 
began to write for both English and Dutch papers; soon he 
found a niche in the Cape Times. He reported the House of 
Assembly from the press gallery, he reviewed books, produced 
editorials on his favorite questions of moral and principle. 
Occasionally he earned as much as a pound apiece, but mostly 
it was considerably less. Probably his literary output in this 
autumn of 1895 was not worth much more. Today his yellowed 
pieces sound a little over-emphatic, and it seems as if the writer 
had occasionally lost his direction in the maze of metaphors. 
Yet some distinct traces of the man he was to become were 
already apparent in these months the last before he found his 
ultimate vocation. 

Discussing in the Cape Times the question why so many 
nations were anti-British, Smuts wrote: "The true explanation 
is not British Pharisaism, but British success. It is the success 
with which Great Britain is pursuing the policy of colonial ex- 
pansion, and it is the comparative failure of the attempts of 



other peoples in the same direction which lies at the root of 
this international dislike of Great Britain." 

Very soon afterward, however, Smuts traveled through the 
Transvaal, where the conflict between Johannesburg the Eng- 
lish residents and Pretoria, the capital and stronghold of Paul 
Kruger, ever increased in sharpness. This time he wrote for a 
Dutch-language paper, De Volksbode. While he reported glow- 
ingly on Pretoria "I was agreeably surprised by the aristocratic 
quiet pervading this handsome little town" he scorned Johan- 
nesburg's "colossal materialism." And as to the conflict between 
Oom Paul and the uitlanders, he stated: "We can sympathize 
with the ideals of a farmer-president," although, already a be- 
liever in the Union of South Africa, he made no bones about 
his dislike of Kruger's high-tariff policy, intended to shut off his 
country from the neighboring British colonies. The contradic- 
tion of a eulogy on Great Britain and sympathy with her arch- 
enemy was by no means conditioned by his writing for two 
papers in different languages. It was undiluted Smuts, Smuts 
pure and simple: British by conviction, Boer by blood. 

Altogether this autumn proved to be an unsatisfactory time. 
To be a briefless barrister and a prolific journalist, not much 
concerned with his own mediocre work was not undiluted 
Smuts. The call from Hofmeyr voiced his vocation: not the law, 
not the press politics. 

Hofmeyr was the Afrikaner Bond incarnate. Although he was 
called "the mole" on account of his notorious preference for 
burdening others with the show of leadership, it was he who, 
for thirty years, laid down the law. His support gave Cecil 
Rhodes his majority in the Cape Parliament. It was a marriage 
of convenience. Whereas Hofmeyr visualized a Dutch South 
Africa, Cecil Rhodes dreamed of a united South Africa, nay, 
Pan-Africa, under the British flag. But both were agreed that 
the union of the two colonies and the two republics was the 
prime necessity, and that South Africa, within or without the 
British Empire, must be self-governing. Their racial ambitions 
were diametrically opposed, but neither was a narrow-minded 



racialist. Personally, the great Imperialist liked the Dutch, and 
conversely the Dutch liked him. 

Rhodes, a fisher of souls, was constantly on the lookout for 
young Afrikanders, as the Boers preferred to call themselves at 
that time. He had not forgotten the unusual youth from Vic- 
toria College. He had kept track of Smuts' extraordinary suc- 
cess at Cambridge, and when he was told that this chap was 
hanging about in Cape Town, marking time and becoming pre- 
maturely bitter, the "colossus" had a few words with Hofmeyr, 
perhaps during one of their habitual morning rides when South 
African history was made. 

Kindly disposed himself toward the son of his old supporter 
Jacobus Abraham Smuts, Hofmeyr sent for Advocate Smuts, 
primed him thoroughly, and sent him, as his political debut, to 
the hottest spot along the firing line: Cecil Rhodes' own Kim- 

In fact, Kimberley, where Rhodes had made his first handful 
of millions, was no longer quite his own. The diamond rush was 
over. Dr. Jameson, "Dr. Jim" to everyone, the most highly 
esteemed doctor in South Africa, the most popular character in 
town, and Rhodes' fanatically devoted right-hand man, had 
moved to Bechuanaland, where he served, without pay, as 
administrator of the Chartered Company's newly acquired terri- 
tories. Instead, Olive Schreiner had moved in, a noted novelist, 
asthmatic and hence in need of the crisp air of lofty Kimberley, 
a German by descent, and once a most vocal admirer of Rhodes', 
but now his embittered foe. She and her insignificant husband 
formed a writing team under the pen name of Cronwright 
Schreiners. Under this trade-mark they published a furious 
attack on Rhodes in the Diamond Fields Adventurer. Rhodes 
wished this nuisance stopped. Hofmeyr obliged. Smuts was 
sent to recover Kimberley. 

With the mayor of the town in the chair, young Advocate 
Smuts addressed a large audience in Kimberley Town Hall. 
The De Beers 9 Political and Debating Society sponsored the 
event. The day was Tuesday, the twenty-ninth of October, 
1895. It was an eventful day for the youthful advocate. He sold 



himself to the devil. He pledged his allegiance to Rhodes. Untir- 
ingly, for hours, he defended his idol and all that the "colossus" 
stood for: from his conduct of affairs in the Cape Colony to his 
private annexation of Matabeleland; and, from his native pol- 
icy, expressed in the catch phrase: "equal rights for all civi- 
lized men south of the Zambezi" to his determination to dose 
the ranks between the two white peoples. Certainly, Cecil 
Rhodes was a great Imperialist. But sotacitly understood, 
though plain to every listener was he, Advocate Smuts. One 
could very well be an Imperialist and a passionate South Afri- 
can at one and the same time. Rhodes was both. 

Rhodes was all in all to Smuts. He became obsessed with 
Rhodes. He lived Rhodes. He made Rhodes his hero and leader. 
A future under Rhodes was a great future. All this was not a 
youthful Rhodes-fixation. Smuts had opened his shy and 
secluded inwardness to the man whom he felt, although greater 
than himself, fundamentally akin. The very bigness of Rhodes' 
aims was the essence of Smuts' lifelong philosophy, which in 
later years he called "Holism," derived from: "Whole." What 
Rhodes used to call simply his "thoughts," became Smuts' men- 
tal life. And he did not care to live any life but one in the 
spiritual realm. He did not yet share Cecil Rhodes' deeply 
rooted devotion to the Union Jack. To Smuts it was a good flag, 
because it was Rhodes' flag. 

He returned from his first oratorical triumph, which Ons 
Land, Cape Town's leading Dutch newspaper, ardently eulo- 
gized, filled with enthusiasm. He mellowed. He even resolved 
to visit his father's farm for Christmas. The family and the 
neighbors teased him a little for being unable to speak or think 
of anything but Rhodes. They were themselves loyal supporters 
of their Prime Minister, but primarily because the Afrikander 
Bond insisted on it. The Bond saw to their economic interests, 
it was their true protective power; they owed to their organiza- 
tion, and therefore to its chosen chief of government, their 
loyalty and allegiance. For the rest, they were not as excitable 
as Jannie, who had always been different from the rest. Well, 
it was good to have him at home again. 



Jannie was lounging on the stoep of his father s farmhouse 
when the news came. To him, it was a scare rumor, one of the 
many poisonous stories that circulated as the tension between 
Kruger and the uitlanders increased. Smuts was sick of this 
rumor-mongering. It revolted his straightforward nature. 
Rhodes would never have allowed itl 

An hour or two later the story was confirmed. Rhodes had 
not only allowed it; Rhodes had been behind it behind the 
Jameson Raid, the blundering and abortive effort to unseat 
Kruger by an armed riot, or preferably by bluff. Old man Kru- 
ger had said long before: "111 wait until the tortoise stretches 
forth her head. Then 111 cut it off/' So now he cut it off. At 
Dornkoop, the handful of Jameson raiders were overpowered, 
and ignominiously arrested. To the Afrikander Bond it was an, 
perhaps not quite unwelcome, opportunity of getting rid of the 
English Prime Minister. Rhodes lost his parliamentary majority 
overnight. He was unseated. 

But to Smuts it was the greatest betrayal since Judas* kiss. 
His idol was smashed. With his idol went his idea. The Cam- 
bridge man disappeared. In his place surged the male whose 
tribe had been injured. Smuts was no longer a dreamer of a 
South Africa; he felt a Boer of the Boers, and it is likely that his 
only spiritual companion, Miss Krige, at that time a pragmatic 
nationalist herself, encouraged this change. Smarting under the 
lash, Smuts condemned in print what he had praised at Kim- 
berley. It was Crucifige! no longer Hosanna! He called Rhodes 
"the great racial stumbling block in South Africa." For a full 
year he did not dare to speak in public. He brooded endlessly 
over the matter. Was it Rhodes? Gould it have been Rhodes? 
Rhodes alone? Did not people say that Joe Chamberlain had 
been involved in the conspiracy? And even the Prince of 

Mr. Chamberlain and the Prince were none of Smuts' con- 
cern. To him it was Rhodes, the Englishman. 'The English 
have set the veld on fire," he wrote. "We lift our voices in warn- 
ing to England. If England sends Rhodes back to us, the re- 
sponsibility will be hers. The blood be on England's own head!" 



plomacy in Low German which sounds very much like Dutch, 
replied to a compliment in reference to the gluttonous dinner, 
that, together, they would devour much more. Compared with 
this playing with fire, the Jameson Raid was just the bursting of 
a soap bubble. 

The other cause that finally led to the South African war was 
the impossible position in which Kruger kept the uitlanders. 
These foreigners, mostly Englishmen, but with a large admixture 
of Americans, Jews, and even Germans, were disfranchised and 
politically without rights, exposed to a hostile, corrupt, and 
backward administration, which worked perfectly among the 
antediluvian farmers on the veld, but built, as it were, a dam 
against the onrush of modern civilization. The foreigners con- 
tributed more than nine-tenths of the Transvaal Republic's 
revenues. On the funds extracted from them frequently by 
brutal compulsion the state thrived, and plunged into an arma- 
ment race with England. Oom Paul himself, the son of a shep- 
herd, acquired a formidable fortune. The uitlanders found 
themselves, as Sir Alfred, later Viscount, Milner rightly put it, 
in the position of helots. Yet they only wanted to reform the 
Transvaal, and merely asked for a fair share in its legislation. 
They had to endure the calculated ignominies and chicaneries 
imposed upon them, for long years, until their movement 
merged with Britain's decision not to be ousted from her para- 
mount position in Africa. 

A far greater nation than the uitlanders in the boom town of 
Johannesburg were once disgusted with taxation without repre- 
sentation. The explosion in South Africa, whose repercussions 
made Smuts the man he is, was a repeat performance on a 
smaller and less important, but just as thunderous scene. 

After the Boers' triumph at Majuba Hill, made possible by 
Mr. Gladstone's hasty retreat, the new wave of Boer national- 
ism surged powerfully in the Transvaal. True to their Old Tes- 
tament vision, the Transvaal farmers and burghers saw them- 
selves as the chosen people. The Boers in the Orange Free State 
began asking whether their brethren in the North were not, 



after all, right. Their conservatism matched very closely Oom 
Paul's patriarchal system. Reluctantly, the Free Staters allowed 
the newfangled idea of postage stamps inside the country. 
When the first telegraph line was installed, it had but one cus- 
tomer: The Friend, the progressive newspaper. The radically 
anti-British Express, supported by unanimous public opinion, 
scorned the invention. Railways were considered detrimental to 
the breeding and trading of horses. The Transvaal breeders, 
incidentally, displayed a similar attitude. President Kruger 
could only obtain their consent to build his strategical railway 
to Portuguese Delagoa Bay by assuring a delegation that their 
horses and donkeys would, in fact, find new employment: they 
would be needed to pull the trains. This argument impressed 
the Free Staters, too. Ever more keenly they took their cue 
from the heroes of the Transvaal. To prove that they them- 
selves were made of the same stern stuff, they forbade the speak- 
ing of English in markets and meetings; some members of the 
Volksraad diet even wished to ban the English language alto- 
gether from the streets. President Brand had to threaten his res- 
ignation before he was permitted to accept a British knight- 
hood. But as Sir John Brand he immediately lost his until then 
firm hold on his people and died heartbroken, yielding his 
place to a more severe Afrikander. 

Even the Cape Colony was shaken by the first stirrings of the 
Afrikander movement. True, the Afrikander Bond soon exer- 
cised some soothing influence. Onze JanOur Jan, meaning 
Hofmeyr decreed: "The present time is a time of transition. 
Signs of fusion of the two white races are on every hand/' 
Most of the older Cape Dutchmen fell into line. But the 
younger generation gazed spellbound at the heroes of the 
North, where the conflict between Kruger and the uitlanders, 
as well as the duel between the President and Rhodes two de- 
velopments still independent of one another grew more and 
more perilous. 

The uitlanders complained bitterly about what they believed 
to be London's callous indifference toward the fate of British 



subjects as well as the future of South Africa. These complaints 
were only partly justified. The British Empire, indeed, was 
not built up by an irresistible expansion of an insular nation, 
but, as in the case of India, and South Africa, too, by the 
fanatic zeal of some great men far ahead of their times, among 
them Cecil Rhodes, who had to drag a reluctant Downing 
Street and Parliament behind them. After the self-imposed re- 
treat following Majuba, Downing Street, conscious of having 
exercised supreme self-restraint and magnanimity, could well 
expect that some reciprocal justice would be shown. A man by 
the name of Andrew Marvell did not expect it. "The fault of 
the Dutch/' he rhymed, "is giving too little and asking too 

The Boers were not satisfied with the Convention of 1881. 
They claimed the removal of British suzerainty, the withdrawal 
of the clauses protecting the natives, and, above all, the restora- 
tion of the title South African Republic, which sounded more 
impressive than Transvaal State, the name to which their coun- 
try had been reduced. Moreover, they demanded, although 
they hardly expected to receive it, complete freedom in regard 
to their international relations, and expansion of almost all 
their boundaries, which meant cancellation of the clause for- 
bidding them to annex native territories. This last prohibition 
in particular made Kruger, then the Vice-President in the rul- 
ing triumvirate, see red. He bitterly complained that his coun- 
try was being kraal-walled, and found a sly method of circum- 
venting the text and spirit of the Convention. He embarked 
upon his time-honored method of expansion by trekking. It 
began with small hunting excursions into adjacent native terri- 
tories. There the Boers grazed their own cattle, and thus estab- 
lished, according to old tradition, the right to consider the pas- 
tures as their possession. Frequently this "dry expansion" was 
promoted by fostering rivalries between the various native 
tribes. First one black ckn extinguished another with the sup- 
port of the Transvaal Boers. Then the conquerors were made 
to feel that they had acted on Kruger's behalf, but not really 
with his support. They themselves were exterminated. 



This method was not only cruel, but the more superfluous as 
the Transvaal itself contained immense stretches of unculti- 
vated land, which the inhabitants were entirely unable to con- 
trol, utilize, or administer. Their "land hunger*' was insatiable. 
The individual Boer, who did not cultivate more than twenty 
acres, wanted to own 20,000. He coveted Swaziland, Zululand, 
Bechuanaland, Matabeleland, Mashonaland, and Tongaland. 
This greed involved a double threat: the natives were menaced 
with extinction, and the British highways into the interior of 
Africa were in danger of being cut off. 

Kruger's expansionism was only moderately successful. After 
his invasion of Zululand the English forced him to give back to 
the natives two-thirds of his conquest, including the coastal re- 
gion. Once more Kruger saw himself prevented from reaching 
his anxiously desired goal: access to the sea. Cunningly, he in- 
filtrated Swaziland, until he held the country firmly in his grip. 
But it was a short-lived success. The Swazis shook off the yoke 
of their sjambok (rhinoceros whip) lashing administrators from 
the Transvaal during the Boer War. In Matabeleland Kruger's 
raiders arrived too late. Alone and unarmed, Dr. Jameson, 
Cecil Rhodes' right-hand man, met the Boer troops at Rhodes 
drift, the border, and told them with truly English sang-froid 
that they might loll him, but that this would mean the end of 
the Transvaal. General Joubert's raiders returned. Matabele- 
land was soon a part of Rhodesia. 

Kruger was kindled by the flame of fury. What did these 
accursed English see wrong in the extermination of the natives? 
Had not the blacks been a cruel and vicious enemy when the 
Voortrekkers came to drive them away? Had he, Johannes Pau- 
lus Kruger, as a lad in his teens, not fought in the sanguinary 
battle that crushed Dingaan, the great Zulu chief? And did the 
Boers not cany out the Lord's word in exterminating the black 
vermin? As surely as Kruger knew that the earth was flat, he 
was convinced that there could be no harm in maltreating these 
pagans, the Hottentots, whose women evidently carried the 
mark which God had set upon Cain. 

Times had changed, the English insisted. Elsewhere, maybe, 



Kruger replied. But in South Africa, and not alone in his Trans- 
vaal, the mighty baas was determined to make time stand still. 
Was it 1894? He still lived in the year of the Lord 1855, the 
blessed year when he had participated in the destruction of 
Makapan's people in righteous revenge for their massacre of 
twelve Boer men and women. 

But the shrewd old man knew that he was still too weak to 
provoke English power. He proceeded to London. With him 
went General Smit, the victor of Majuba, embodying the "or 
else/' if Kruger's own stiff-necked persuasion should fail. 

It did not fail. London was sick and tired of haggling and 
struggling over South Africa. Lord Derby was extremely an- 
noyed. He granted Kruger a revision of the Convention. The 
new patchwork, the Treaty of 1894, failed even to mention 
British suzerainty. It was anybody's guess whether this privi- 
lege was abandoned, or considered self-evident. The baas of 
the Transvaal State returned as President of the Transvaal Re- 
public. Instantly he interpreted this return to the high-sounding 
name of his country as a silent recognition of his claim to the 
whole of South Africa. 

There was but one fly in the ointment: during the Boer nego- 
tiators' stay at the Albemarle Hotel their money gave out. They 
found themselves in the uncomfortable position of not being 
able to meet their hotel bill for the last few weeks. Finally the 
bill was paid by an un-named benefactor. Baron Grant, the 
well-known stock exchange speculator, received two conces- 
sions in return: the gold concession for the Lydenburg district, 
and His Honor's public assurance of good will, protection, and 
encouragement to British settlers in the Transvaal. Kruger, on 
behalf of the Republic, indeed, published in the London press 
a cordial invitation and welcome; he promised full rights and 
protection to all who would come. 

This was how Kruger's promises were carried out: favoritism 
pure and simple decided the grant of concessions. Those will- 
ing to expend capital and energies in legitimate work could not 
compete. A test case was the dynamite concession, introduced 



under the guise of keeping the control of explosives and muni- 
tions in the hands of the state. The monopoly in dynamite cost 
the mining industry six hundred thousand pounds a year more 
than they would have had to pay for the better, imported ar- 
ticle. Save for the administration's large share in the take, the 
beneficiary was Mr. Lippert, the concessionaire. He had a hard 
fight before the Volksraad agreed to his concession. One anti- 
British member in particular opposed stubbornly all trade and 
traffic with the English. Even Kruger was not able to bridle 
this adversary. But at the decisive division, this same man cast 
his vote in favor of the bill. He explained to the astonished 
House: The voice of the Lord came to me in the night and 
told me to vote for Lippert/' 

The members of the Johannesburg Chamber of Mines strongly 
suspected that this voice might have borne some resemblance 
to Mr. Lippert's own. Indeed, some time later Lippert admitted 
that he had shouted Cod's message through the open window 
of his otherwise irreconcilable opponent. 

It was not always as easy as that. The Hatherley Distillery 
turned out execrable spirits, labeled after well-known brands. 
The firm had the government's monopoly of liquor. Drinking 
became a scourge in the gigantic mining camp of Johannes- 
burg. Particularly the natives were cursed with the habit. A 
third of them were constantly drunk. Their excesses made it 
impossible for the inhabitants to leave their houses after dark, 
or on Sundays. The police offered them no protection. On the 
contrary, the Z0rps Zuid Afrikaan Republican Police were 
young brutes from the platteland, who relished their privilege 
of shoving uitlanders off the pavement, and gloried in their own 
brutality. The government did nothing to check the drinking 
plague. A dozen officials and Boer politicians were large share- 
holders in Hatherley's. 

The Volksraad, it is true, frequently passed resolutions con- 
demning the principle of monopolies. The oligarchy of Boer 
lawmakers, sable-clad, and exercising their parliamentary func- 
tions with the grave dignity of high priests, were bigoted but 
righteous minded. Only when it came to sharing the spoils they 



were not averse to taking. Twenty-one of the ruling body of 
twenty-five men were, in the case of the Selati Railway Com- 
pany, publicly and circumstantially accused of accepting 
bribes, with full details of the bribes received; none of them 
sought to deny the accusation. According to a prominent Trans- 
vaal judge, himself a Boer of the old stamp, only one member 
of the Volksraad measured up to European standards of educa- 
tion. The handful of defiant opponents in the House, led by 
General Joubert, and inspired by a young, very successful cat- 
tle breeder and land speculator by the name of Louis Botha, 
did not exercise the slightest influence. Kruger, lording it over 
his herd, tolerated no criticism. His heavy, red fists thundered 
on the speaker's table, and the whole House was immediately 

Kruger's high protective tariffs, introduced to emphasize his 
country's self-seclusion, deteriorated into mere burlesque. 
Smuggling was carried on openly. Mostly the customs officials 
"stood in" with the smugglers. It was easier than enforcing the 
law properly and relying on the share of the spoils the govern- 
ment would allot the watchdogs. The government, in fact, did 
not pay bonuses any more regularly than salaries. Hence, goods 
subject to heavy duties could be bought at any store at a price 
much lower than the original costs plus transport and duty. 
The customers loved it. The officials rubbed their hands. The 
administration, whose leading functionaries themselves did not 
receive their salaries for six months out of the year, looked the 
other way. 

More profitable even than the trade of the customs officials 
was the business of the veld-cornets. In times of war the veld- 
cornet was the subaltern officer in the commando. In peacetime 
he acted as a district official, who collected taxes, was the petty 
justice, and was, above all, the authority with which each new- 
comer had to register. Since most of the veld-cornets were illit- 
erate, they made a complete mess of the registration. Notwith- 
standing the bribes they habitually exacted, registrations were 
never correct, and never at hand, when, after a number of 



years, the uitlander needed his registration to daixn his citizen- 
ship rights. 

This was some of the pettifoggery that ruled Kruger's oli- 
garchy. The big schemes were carried out by the President 
himself, who had come under the nefarious influence of a group 
of imported Hollanders. He came to rely more and more on 
them as the better elements of the Boer youth threatened to 
become impatient with the prevailing corruption. On April 16, 
1884, Oom Paul, egged on by his Hollander advisors, granted 
to a group of Netherland and German capitalists a concession 
for all railways in the state. Immediately afterward Dr. Leyds 
arrived in the Transvaal. President Kruger had hired him as a 
State Attorney (Attorney General) on the recommendation of 
the Faculty of Law of the University of Utrecht. Dr. Leyds was 
a good-looking, well-bred young chap, endowed with pleasant 
manners, and obviously enthusiastic over his chance to lay 
down the law in the backwoods. His enthusiasm was well 
founded on solid facts: he represented the interests of the capi- 
talists who had obtained the railway concession. Their repre- 
sentative, by the same token the State Attorney, had to super- 
vise the complicated connection on behalf of the Republic to 
which he gladly swore allegiance. He quickly climbed the 
career ladder, and was soon entrusted by Kruger with secret 
negotiations in Berlin. But while in his new home, Pretoria, he 
saw to it that the Hollander promoters of the railways did not 
come to grief in their dealings with the Republic. 

Dr. Leyds found his double position most amusing. In high 
good spirits he described, in a letter to a friend in Utrecht, his 
life among the savages, calling Kruger a "hairy old ape," and 
poking fun at General Joubert and other Boer dignitaries. Hie 
assiduous friend sent the letter back to a third friend in Pre- 
toria, who, for his part, revealed it to the authorities. Joubert 
raised hell. But Kruger cut him short, defended Leyds as 
merely an irresponsible youngster, clung the closer to him, and 
forgave him even the personal insult. There is but one expla- 
nation for this unparalleled mildness in the old man's bearing: 



he felt ever more isolated, even among his own people, and he 
desperately needed some younger man to rely on. During the 
two years State Attorney Leyds controlled the company's 
operations, the concessionaires failed to get their capital sub- 
scribed, they overcharged the government of the Republic, 
they asked excessive fares on the short routes they had, indeed, 
built, they violated vital conditions of the concession. The 
Volksraad was aroused. But the President stoutly defended his 
Hollanders. By his personal influence and the solid vote of his 
ignorant Dopper Party he completely blocked all legislation to 
control the company. He was dead set on getting his railway 
to Delagoa Bay, even at the expense of killing the goose that 
laid the golden eggs. Business in Johannesburg would not be 
able to function normally if the new railway, as was planned, 
should obtain a transport monopoly. What of it, if the uitlanders 
were crushed? Paul Kruger, himself drawing a salary of 7,000 
plus large sums for entertainment into the bargain, owner of a 
number of prosperous farms, did not care for gold. All he cared 
about was the opportunity to make impotent the foreigners, 
who, by the sheer weight of their numbers alone they were 
already twice as numerous as his own farmers and burghers- 
would wrest the power in the state from him, if they obtained 
the franchise. 

He loathed these "dirty vultures" with a zealot's passion. To 
him they were the incarnation of the arch-evil: progress. They 
grew fat on the soil that belonged to his Boers. Did they want 
his state, too? "They can have it," Kruger grumbled. "But only 
over my dead body." 

At a meeting on the Witwatersrand, to which a few uitland- 
ers had come by courtesy, he addressed the audience with the 
words: "My friends, my people, and you uitlanders, murderers 
and thieves. . . ." 

In vain the uitlanders petitioned him time and again. He re- 
fused to receive their delegations until one day he consented. 
Respectfully, the spokesman pointed out the inequities of the 
law: while every Boer lad of sixteen had the franchise, uitland- 
ers were so restricted by law that they obtained the franchise 



only at the age of forty, provided they could prove fourteen 
years residence in the country which due to the inefficient reg- 
istration was next to impossible. Furthermore, their franchise 
was practically prevented by having a petition endorsed by 
the mostly hostile Boer neighborhood. Even then the President 
or the Volksraad could exercise the right of veto, which, in- 
deed, they used to do with a vengeance. 

There were other grievances as well: the uttlanders had no 
voice in the choice of officials. Entirely incapable functionaries 
controlled valuable interests in the most selfish manner. Once 
a Minister of Mines, on learning officially of some flaw in a 
mine's tide, expropriated the mine and attempted to exploit it 
himself. They had no control over education. The Johannes- 
burg Educational Council allotted one shilling and tenpence 
per head and year for the education of uitlander children, but 
eight pounds six shillings per head for Boer children the uit- 
landers, as always, paying nine-tenths of the total amount. 
Municipal government in the English-speaking town was the 
privilege of the Boers. It was as corrupt and negligent as the ad- 
ministration of the Republic. Uitlanders could not even serve as 
members of a .jury. Their press was throttled by censorship. 
Freedom of meeting was restricted by dictatorial laws. 

Patiently, old man Kruger listened. Then he dismissed the 
delegation with the words: "This is my country. These are my 
laws. Anyone who does not like my laws is free to leave my 

From London came no help. 

So the uitlanders established a "Reform Committee," distrib- 
uted all of 350 rifles, and decided to march to Pretoria, to force 
their demands upon the administration. They by no means in- 
tended a revolution. They wished to hoist the legitimate Trans- 
vaal flag on the government buildings but upside down, to in- 
dicate the change. 

They had but one ally: Cecil Rhodes, who had sent his 
trusted friend Dr. Jameson with two hundred and fifty of the 
Chartered Company's Bechuanaland Police and an equal num- 
ber of hotheaded volunteers to Pitsani, allegedly to protect the 


construction of the railway line to Bechuanaland, in fact to 
join their slender force with the uitlanders. 

Rhodes' heart was not in the venture. He knew that he was 
doing something he had never done: he took a short cut, the 
very method of proceeding against which he had always 
warned his friends. But he could not miss the opportunity of 
getting rid of the one great and immovable stumbling block on 
his way to Pan-Africa: Kruger, the mighty old gorilla. Kruger's 
influence was waning; Rhodes knew it. In a year or two he 
would be replaced by the Progressive Party in the Transvaal, 
people with whom one could deal fairly. But Cecil Rhodes 
feared that he no longer had a year or two to wait. He was 
growing stout, his face dark-red; he was shaken by intermi- 
nable heart attacks. Death was upon him. Still he hesitated to 
flash the green light. 

Dr. Jameson, nervous, overworked, restless, did not wait for 
the signal. On the twenty-ninth of December he crossed the 
frontier of the Transvaal. General Cronje, lying in wait for 
them, surrounded Jameson's soldiery, five hundred poorly 
armed men, and took them prisoner. Then Cronje marched to 
Johannesburg, where he rounded up the leaders of the Reform- 
ers. They were ill-treated in jail by their cruel warden, Du 
Plessis. One of the unfortunate men cut his throat while in 
prison. Their leaders were condemned to death. But soon they 
could buy their freedom by paying the astronomic sum of 
25,000 each. 

The German Club in Pretoria exulted. On January 27, 1895, 
the club had given a banquet in honor of the German Emper- 
or's birthday, at which President Kruger had eulogized both 
the old and the present Emperor of Germany, as well as the 
loyalty of the Germans in the Transvaal. Kruger concluded 
with the words: The latter I experienced once again at the 
time of the Kafir War. One day three or four Germans came to 
me and said: *We are indeed not naturalized, we are still sub- 
jects of our Emperor in Germany, but we enjoy the advantages 
of this country, and are ready to defend it in accordance with 
its laws. If Your Excellency requires our services, we are will- 



ing to march out/ And they marched. That is the spirit I ad- 
mire. They were under the kws, they worked under the laws, 
they obeyed the kws, and they fell in battle under the laws. 
All my subjects are not so minded. The English, for instance, 
although they behave themselves properly and are loyal to the 
state, always fall back upon England when it suits their pur- 
pose. Therefore, I shall ever promote the interests of Germany, 
though it be with the resources of a child, such as my land is 
considered. This child is now being trodden upon by a great 
power, and the natural consequence is that it seeks protection 
from another. The time has come to knit ties of the closest 
friendship between Germany and the South African Republic 
ties such as are natural between father and child." 

The young Emperor was perfectly willing to play father to 
the patriarchal child. After the Jameson Raid, Wilhelm II dis- 
patched the historic Kruger telegram, congratulating the Pres- 
ident on having repulsed foreign aggression without appealing 
for the help of friendly powers. 

The earth trembled. But in the Transvaal, Kruger's shaken 
rule was perpetuated. 



ended his speech with the prophetic words: "In a cause in which 
one absolutely believes, even failure personal failure, I mean, 
for the cause itself is not going to fail would be preferable to 
an easy life of comfortable prosperity in another sphere." With 
these words Sir Alfred Milner bade farewell to his friends. He 
was about to embark upon a fatal mission. Appointed Governor 



of the Cape Colony and High Commissioner for South Africa, 
he was being sent to restore order in the fever-shaken country. 
Smuts did not wait for the new man's arrival. He was out of 
politics, indeed, he had been ousted. His people did not accept 
his violent recantation of his association with Rhodes. To the 
suspicious Dutch it sounded too good to be true. To them it 
was English cant, acquired at Cambridge. Smuts was isolated, 
boycotted, excluded. His speech at Kimberley appeared in- 
explicable. Indeed, he could not himself give a satisfactory ex- 
planation. He had been cheated, betrayed by his idol. Yet he 
felt lost and lonely .without Cecil Rhodes. Although his Boer 
nationalism burst into flames, he appeared to be helplessly com- 
promised. He was still shy at that time, thin-skinned and easily 
hurt. He had fallen between two stools. He was disgusted by 
everything English. The rousing welcome the English majority 
in Cape Town gave Cecil Rhodes upon his return from Eng- 
land, where he had successfully defended himself against the 
"unctuous rectitude" of his critics, made Smuts sick. On the 
other hand there was no place for him in the Afrikaner Bond, 
which now methodically sought to obtain complete control of the 
Cape legislation with the aim of severing a united South Africa 
from the British "connection." The Bond fell back upon its 
original Programme of Principles, laid down at Graaf-Reinet in 
1882, and demanded a Union of South Africa under her own 
flag. Even the anti-British gospel of the German Carl Brocken- 
hagen, one of the founders of the Bond, was salvaged from the 
dustbin. The English became usurpers to be expelled. Their 
language was banned from school and home. Intermarriage 
with them was considered unpatriotic. English trade was boy- 
cotted, whereas Holland and Germany became the "domestic 
base" of overseas business. Every Afrikander was expected to 
provide himself with the best weapons available, and to prac- 
tice marksmanship. Two compelling reasons for the "total ex- 
cision" of the "British ulcer" were given: first, the English High 
Church was hardly distinguishable from the satanic Roman 
Catholic Church. Secondly, the English policy toward colored 
races was repugnant and dangerous. Both appeals to the Dutch 



bigotry and racial master-complex were well calculated to arouse 
the masses. In Pretoria, Dr. Leyds rubbed his hands. Now the 
influential Cape Colony would no longer remain indifferent to 
what happened in the Transvaal. 

Smuts was left out in the cold. He found but one consolation: 
Miss Krige believed in him. She comforted him when he sought 
refuge in Stellenbosch. She helped him regain his strength and 
healed his spirit. He was wounded where youth is most vulner- 
able: in his pride. Her soothing influence gave him back his 

In March, 1896, a few weeks before the Norman Castle, with 
Sir Alfred Milner aboard, anchored off Cape Town, Smuts 
went to Johannesburg, not because he loved the center of 
"gross materialism," but because the thriving town, which had 
already relegated Cape Town to second place, offered the best 
opportunities for a struggling young barrister. Spying out the 
land, he found the opportunities satisfactory, went back to 
Cape Town, closed his law office, dropped the British national- 
ity with which he had been born, and returned to Johannes- 
burg. In September, Ons Land announced that Advocate Smuts 
would seek admission to the Transvaal Bar, and commented: 
"it would be a cause for regret if the Cape were to lose one of 
its cleverest, most promising sons. No doubt Afrikaners would 
appreciate his sacrifice if he decided to remain in the Colony 
after all." Smuts had good reason to doubt the accuracy of this 
friendly prophecy. He was admitted to practice in Johannes- 
burg. Ironically, Boer of the Boers, as he then felt himself, he 
was only a second-class burgher in the fatherland of his choice, 
an uitlander, coming from a British colony, and thus a man 
without franchise. 

Nevertheless, he immediately proved a good Transvaal pa- 
triot. Within a few weeks of his arrival in Johannesburg he 
wrote some articles for the Cape Town press, urging strongly 
a more cordial Understanding between the Colony and the Re- 
publics. Besides dabbling a little longer in journalism, he re- 
sumed his evening classes in law, and thus made sure that 
Johannesburg would provide an adequate living for two. 



With his customary unyouthf ul caution, he did not return to 
the Colony before January, 1897. Mr. Gideon Krige met him at 
the train, and asked him to speak a few words not in Stellen- 
bosch itself, but, as a trial, in a political meeting to be held at 
Kuils River, near Stellenbosch. Smuts acquitted himself of his 
task by describing Cecil Rhodes as a permanent barrier be- 
tween English and Dutch. Only a few listeners understood that 
their speaker was already, following his innermost and unshak- 
able conviction, on the way to reconciliation and co-operation. 
He interpreted the difference between the two races as a con- 
flict over an individual. All he demanded was the exclusion of 
a single man, the only man, it is true, whom he could not forget. 

Once more he made a cautious effort to mend his fences. 
Toward the middle of January, he publicly uttered a warning, 
not in Cape Town itself, but at Philadelphia, a small town 
north of the colonial capital, that "if the same course were pur- 
sued (by the English), matters would become still more serious 
in the next years." Again it was a threat against England, but 
with an alternative: if the English would change their course, 
all would be right again. Mr. Merriman, the professional medi- 
ator in South African politics, referred to "Mr. Smuts' eloquent 
speech." But the Kaffrarian Watchman was not so easily ap- 
peased. The newspaper called Smuts a fire-eater and a political 
madman. This tactful insinuation accompanied him throughout 
his life. 

At a Malmesbury meeting, with his father in the chair, he 
took his last shot at Cecil Rhodes. Accused by Mr. Louw, one 
of the few Dutchmen in politics who had remained faithful to 
the "colossus," of unfairness to an absent man, Smuts replied: 
"Mr. Rhodes had ample opportunity to account for his action in 
public without availing himself of it ... I am no longer going 
to have anything to do with him." Smuts was twenty-seven 
years old when he thus buried his relation with his shattered 
idol. At the age of sixty he went to Oxford to deliver the Rhodes 
Memorial lecture, a grand address, and a confession of intel- 
lectual faith in the beloved enemy long in his grave. 

There was one more thing to be done, one thing more im- 



portant than anything else. On Friday the thirtieth of April, 
1897, in the early morning, Smuts was back in Stellenbosch. No 
one was astonished to see him in formal black, since as a young 
man he rarely wore less ceremonial attire. He went to the 
Kriges' house where Isie was already waiting, perhaps a little 
impatiently, for she had, indeed, been waiting for twelve years. 
They were married by the Reverend Dr. Marais, the benefactor 
who had once lent undergraduate Smuts a little money on his 
life insurance. The hour for the ceremony was carefully chosen 
so that Miss Krige's younger brothers and sisters were safely in 
school. Only the bride's parents had been let into the secret. On 
the next morning the couple went off to conquer Johannesburg. 

Johannesburg in 1897, eleven years after its foundation, was 
a town of excitement, energy and activity. Men and money 
from Kimberley had moved in. The old-timers brought, as it 
were, their accustomed surroundings with them. The Market 
Square in Johannesburg was an exact copy of the original in 
jolly, crazy, sweating Kimberley. The town was overcrowded. 
Although hotels were mushrooming, most newcomers had to 
sleep on floors. The streets were rutted tracks. Crossing Com- 
missioner Streetthe main street one sank into the mud. Filthy 
buckets served for drains. Water had to be carted a couple of 
miles from the hills to the north, since the municipal adminis- 
tration, a body in which the uitlanders were not represented, 
refused to lay pipes. In times of drought this scarcity of water 
caused real hardship. But it was always a good excuse for re- 
placing water with other liquids. However, in spite of orgies 
of drinking, in spite of hastily swallowed and irregular meals, 
in spite of dirt and discomfort, of the horrible sanitary condi- 
tions perpetuated by the unclean and unkempt Transvaal ad- 
ministrators, who turned Johannesburg, six thousand feet above 
sea level, a natural health resort, into the town with the most 
frightful child mortality in spite of all these drawbacks, hope 
and enthusiasm ran riot. 

The hope was noisy, the enthusiasm clamorous, the manners 
rough and ready. Yet the predominantly English settlement 



although having a strong admixture of Russian and German 
Jews, oily Portuguese, Hollander speculators, and even Turks 
and Armenians craved the respectability of an English town. 
Soon Johannesburg was laid out in broad thoroughfares. Gum 
trees were planted in the residential districts where they grew 
with incredible speed. Houses were more the object of specula- 
tion in real estate than gems of architectural taste. Everyone 
was constantly moving; the city itself rapidly changed its face. 
The suburb of Doornfontein, where the young Smuts settled 
down, was at that time a respectable district. Later the natives 
swarmed over it. 

The newcomers did not belong to the gay set of Johannes- 
burg. They kept to their kin: to the other Dutch people who, 
also, after the Jameson Raid, had left the Cape Colony disillu- 
sioned. Most of them did not find their promised land in their 
chosen republic, either. When it came to appointments in the 
civil service, President Kruger preferred imported Hollanders, 
crafty and slick fellows, to his own young Boers. It was another 
aspect of his signal inability to come to terms with the new gen- 
eration. Probably he felt the gulf himself, and did not relish it. 
But Oom Paul was now seventy-four years old, his painful and 
incurable eye disease his eyelashes were growing inward, and 
constant medical attention could not relieve his terrible suffer- 
ingkept him in a state of permanent irritation. Besides, he be- 
came ever harder of hearing. Yet this wreck of a patriarch had, 
due to the Jameson Raid, become a saint and a symbol to most 
Boers over all South Africa. His greedy, possessive instinct was 
not sapped by his physical decay. He grew always more stub- 
born, autocratic, intractable, and lonesome. Sternly, he reserved 
all important decisions for himself. But his Hollander advisers 
were left to carry out the routine business. They were headed 
by Dr. Leyds, the Secretary of State, who, according to Milner, 
had won the confidence of Kruger by acting as a protagonist 
against England, and who was "largely the cause of recent 
troubles in South Africa by fomenting differences between 
Great Britain and the Transvaal." 

Smuts' own attitude toward the Hollanders had been in his 



best manner, conciliatory. While still in Cape Town he had 
written: "I am not pro-Hollander. But when the Transvaal 
struggled with poverty, when it was in sackcloth and ashes, our 
educated Cape men were not very eager to run after Cinder- 
ella. It was only from Holland that civil servants were to be 
obtained. It is but natural that those who stood by the country 
in those dark days should enjoy their share of the fat of the 
land, now prosperity has come. . . . Only in one way can the 
so-called Hollander question be solved. And that is by exem- 
plary behavior on the part of the Colonial Afrikanders in the 
Transvaal. They are destined to bring about a slow, quiet revo- 
lution in this country." 

What had been a program when he wrote those lines, be- 
came his practice now that he himself was a Colonial Afrikan- 
der in the Transvaal. His behavior was, indeed, exemplary, and 
he was bent on bringing about a very slow and quiet, almost 
inaudible revolution in the country. 

His exemplary behavior, it is true, differed from the accepted 
standards in high-strung, hectic, convivial Johannesburg. Still 
a tight-lipped, square-chinned, lean young man, he was shad* 
owed by personal tragedy. His twin daughters died in infancy, 
and the son who came in the second year of his marriage was 
also a weak child; he, too, was to die early, actually while his 
father was in the field. Yet personal tragedy did not break him. 
Perhaps he knew that his life would never be entirely his own. 
In his own words he was hard, confident, and successful as a 
young man. Friends were impressed by his "hungry, angry" 
eyes. "Well do I remember the Advocate Smuts of those days," 
a contemporary reminisced. "He was a familiar figure in Com- 
missioner Street, and he did not resemble the later General 
Smuts at all. Imagine a pale-faced, tremendously serious young 
man, who appeared much taller than he really was, owing to 
his thinness; given to conversing with the pavement, absorbed 
in thoughts, and seemingly taking no notice of what went on 
around him; with high cheekbones, and the hungry look that 
betokens the man whose mind is grappling with many prob- 



lems, prominent among which, no doubt, was the question why 
his energy could not find an adequate outlet." 

Once more, but for the last time, Smuts was the lone wolf. 
None of the many causes c61ebre among the quarrelsome popu- 
lace of Johannesburg came his way. Yet he did fairly well. 
After a few months he could give up his law courses; he did 
not need the income on the side line any longer. The event was 
celebrated by a formal dinner in his honor. His hosts, a group 
of prominent lawyers, had tactfully ordered Pudding Diplomat 
by way of dessert. 

The air was thick with rumors. President Kruger was about 
to reshuffle his cabinet. Dr. Leyds could perhaps better employ 
his outstanding qualities, amiability, civilized manners, the 
good looks of a blond young giant, in mobilizing the powers of 
continental Europe against the British menace. In addition to 
the Secretaryship of State, the office of State Attorney was also 
vacant. The Young Afrikander Movement, a clique of youthful 
Boers opposing the British as well as their Hollander counter- 
parts in the Transvaal administration, would perhaps get a 
chance. The movement's uncontested leader was Advocate 

But a storm in a teacup outroared all political combinations 
and conspiracies. After many years of haggling with the admin- 
istration the courts of justice were definitely fed up with 
Kruger's dictatorial habit of overriding their decisions simply 
by passing a besluit resolution which canceled judicial sen- 
tences in the docile Volksraad. The grondwet constitution- 
had guaranteed judicial independence. Chief Justice Kotz6, an 
old antagonist of Kruger's, who had once been defeated by 
Oom Paul in a presidential election, decided a mining case 
against the government, compelling it to repay a sum of a few 
hundred thousand pounds. Conceivably, the already long punc- 
tured and abused constitution was not worth another 350,000 
to Kruger. Moreover, he was aroused at another man's daring 
to be as pigheaded as he was himself. He passed a further 
resolution in the Volksraad, not only forbidding the courts to 
contest legislation, but threatening any judge who attempted 



to do so with instant dismissal. The High Court, in response, 
went on strike, demanding the re-establishment of their rights 
before legal business could be renewed in the Transvaal. The 
state of lawlessness in the Republic, already prevailing to a 
large degree, would thus have been openly advertised. This 
Kruger could not risk at a time when his emissary was appeal- 
ing to European civilization for help against the threatening 
British "transgression of law." Kruger proved his cunning by 
promising that he would pass a suitable measure during the 
VolksraacFs session. 

The entire Transvaal debated whether the special or the 
regular session was meant. The High Court, backed by the 
whole of the legal profession, demanded its protective besluit 
from the special session, which was then in progress, whereas 
Kruger, evasive as ever, insisted that he had spoken of the forth- 
coming, ordinary session. 

Advocate Smuts had his great opportunity. For the first time 
a cause celebre came his way: He was briefed in a sensational 
murder case. But without batting an eye he forsook his chance. 
He perceived a greater one. Provoking the entire bar of the 
Transvaal, he came forth with a legal opinion, supporting the 
President. His paper was long and involved, based on a highly 
scientific interpretation of Roman-Dutch law in which no man 
was his peer, but it boiled down to the simple fact that the 
question which session Kruger had had in mind was open. 
Hence the President could make his own choice. 

Undoubtedly, Smuts believed in what he said. He has never 
uttered a false word. But he disliked Chief Justice Kotz6's med- 
dling in politics. A judge should keep out of it. Finally, he had 
made up his mind to throw in his lot with Kruger and the anti- 
English, perhaps in the hope that he could tame them and 
bring about that "silent and slow revolution" in the Transvaal 
whose necessity he had predicted. 

His judgment, based on the authority of the generally recog- 
nized greatest expert in jurisprudence in the Republic who, 
by a queer fate, happened to be a rather briefless barrister- 
struck like a thunderbolt. 



The Pretoria Volkstem, President Kruger's own mouthpiece, 
suggested Mr. Smuts as a suitable candidate for the post of 
State Attorney, enthusiastically enumerating his qualities. A 
week later, the Rand Post, a conservative English-language 
paper, announced that Smuts, indeed, had been offered the 
post. "He is able and conscientious/' the paper commented, 
"but though he may have all the precociousness of a Pitt, we 
still consider that twenty-eight years is rather too young an 
age for the State Attorney of the South African Republic." In 
his place, the newspaper suggested Mr. Krause, the Public 
Prosecutor in Johannesburg. Tactfully, the Rand Post had 
omitted Smuts' other evident disqualification: although siding 
with the ruling Boer oligarchy, the young advocate was tech- 
nically an uitlander without franchise. 

This fact, coupled with the drawback of his youth he was 
two years too young to become a member of the executive 
indeed prevented Kruger from making Smuts Secretary of 
State, as had been his strong desire. He was enamoured of 
Smuts, the very man for whom he had been looking: a young 
Boer who would be faithful to him. "Our relations were like 
those of father and son," Smuts expressed it later. But Kruger's 
uncanny knowledge of his farmers' and burghers' mood, pre- 
vented him from eliciting a showdown. Mr. Reitz, once Presi- 
dent of the Free State, was appointed Secretary of State. Smuts 
had to content himself with the second job. It was still an ab- 
surd appointment. But there was only slight grumbling among 
the oligarchy. The old shepherds felt that a fresh wind was now 
sweeping over the green pastures of the Transvaal. Some sus- 
picious members of the Volksraad comforted themselves with 
the thought that the intruder would only play second fiddle. 
Little did they realize that this was his innermost inclination. 
Smuts' creative urge was always greater than his personal am- 
bition. The shy youngster developed into a modest man. Until 
he reached the fifties, he always contented himself with wield- 
ing the power "in close harmony" with a resplendent front man. 

In June, 1898, Smuts arrived in Pretoria, and he had come to 


stay. The mellow capital of the Transvaal was already the Boers' 
holy town, although it had only been built some forty years 
before and sheltered an important English minority. The at- 
mosphere was different from that of Johannesburg, not alone 
due to the fact that the altitude was some one thousand feet 
lower. Still, Pretoria lies on a high plateau, and is surrounded 
by gently sloping hills from which the town appears like a great 
park of tall, dark-green poplars showing glimpses of red roofs, 
the towers of public buildings shining above them. 

From near by, however, Pretoria, toward the turn of the cen- 
tury, looked less ideal. City and suburb were strangely inter- 
mixed. Corrugated-iron shacks stood next to dignified bank 
buildings; the State Museum bordered the meat market. But 
everywhere trees and flowers grew, and the town was irrigated 
by the innumerable rivulets that flowed through the ditches. 
Among one-storied houses the spacious government buildings 
and the edifices belonging to banking and business interests 
stood out incongruously. Trolley lines ran through the princi- 
pal streets, but the trams had frequently to stop: the farmers' 
oxcarts and trek wagons had the right of way. 

Pretoria did not belong to its inhabitants, but to the Presi- 
dent's own people. They outspanned on the public square 
when they came to town to partake of the nagmaal, holy com- 
munion, or to see Oom Paul. Kruger's house, a small white- 
washed cottage, stood opposite the Dopper church, the sanctu- 
ary of the fiercest and most bigoted sect of the Dutch Reformed 
Church, where the President sometimes preached, intermin- 
gling his sermon with curses and loud outcries. 

The President spent most of his day on the stoep, the veran- 
dah, of his house, ready to receive any of his burghers, smoking 
his pipe incessantly, using the pavement as a spittoon, and 
drinking, with his callers, innumerable cups of coffee through- 
out the day: the state allowed him 300 a year "coffee money" 
as part of his expenses for entertaining. On the stoep all busi- 
ness of state was negotiated. No records, no files were kept. 
Among all his new impressions, Smuts, punctiliously careful by 
inclination and habit, must have wondered at this form of gov- 


eminent by word of mouth. But he rapidly accustomed himself 
to his surrounding. Here he was not in Cape Town, not in Cam- 
bridge, not in Johannesburg. Here he was where he wanted to 

Before six months had passed, the new State Attorney had 
clamped down on corruption wherever he could stamp out the 
evil without hurting the President's feelings. He was anxious 
not to trespass on Oom Paul's own bailiwick, but he could 
purge some of the evil in Johannesburg. An abstainer himself, 
he was disgusted by the illicit liquor traffic. Instead of hunting 
the small fry, he attacked the evil at its root. He dismissed the 
chief of the corrupt detective service on the Rand. Philosophi- 
cally, this worthy by the name of Bob Ferguson shrugged. 
"Smuts says that I do not get at the big men," was his own 
explanation. On the following day The Standard and Diggers 
News, a Johannesburg paper, announced that the new State 
Attorney would take over personally the whole detective serv- 
ice. "No one doubts the integrity and ability of Mr. Smuts," the 
English paper commented. "He has it in him to make the law 

A series of stern edicts ensued. They were promulgated by 
the six oligarchs of the Executive Council of which Smuts, due 
to his absurd legal status, was not a member and passed by 
the Volksraad. But they had been drawn up by the State Attor- 
ney, some of the sterner ones undoubtedly at Kruger's behest. 
Smuts was eager to serve his paternal friend. He saw in 
Kruger the embodiment of the Boer, character in all its higher 
and larger aspects. He admired Oom Paul's iron will and tenac- 
ity, and his mystic faith in another world. To him, Johannes 
Paulus Kruger was the greatest man, both morally and intel- 
lectually, that the Boer race had produced. The existence of 
such a personality was to him the safest guarantee that the 
scattered, isolated, small tribe of the Boers, his own tribe, 
would never go down. And that was all that mattered. 

That they were opposite poles, Kruger and Smuts, the one 
learned and scientific, a believer in pure intellect, an austere 
thinker yet an enthusiastic idealist ever in search of a better 



world; the other an illiterate, instinct-driven, pigheaded oldster, 
yet imbued with a glowing, if bigoted, creed, an intense feeling 
of pride and dignity, the last pillar of an obsolete microcosmic 
world . . . that they were opposite poles made no difference. 
North and South poles are a globe apart, and yet indistinguish- 
able from one another. 

Smuts, himself painfully correct, could not bring himself to 
stomach the corruption permeating the President's surround- 
ing. Admitting Kruger's nepotism, he told Sir Percy Fitzpat- 
rick, the head of the Johannesburg Reformers: "The President 
wants to do his best. But you have to remember that there are 
a number of hangers-on, people who have personal interests of 
which he knows nothing, and there are times when they make 
it difficult to carry out what we all know ought to be done." 
That old man Kruger should not have known anything of the 
personal interests of his own son-in-law, whom he had effec- 
tively helped to become a millionaire, was a charitable view. 
But Smuts followed his leader blindly. It was a repetition of the 
Rhodes-complex, this time within his own family circle. 

In the very month of November, 1898, in which the detective 
force was put under Smuts' personal control, Kruger waged an- 
other of his favorite two-front wars: against a native tribe as 
well as against his despised uitlanders. He made the Volksraad 
decree that all white men living in the Transvaal were liable 
to military service in the commandos. His cause was righteous, 
nay, religious. The Lord had ordained his chosen people to en- 
slave the Amorites and Canaanites. These strange names, of 
course, stood for the Zulus and the Matabele. But the uitland- 
ers refused to fight for Kruger's Old-Testamentarian craze, 
which they rightly explained by his desire to have slave labor 
for his fanners. 

Smuts, not representing a constituency, spoke in the Volks- 
raad only when it was necessary to explain a legal matter. Now 
he spoke. He suggested a law compelling the uitlanders subject 
to foreign sovereignties to fight or pay. 

Something in his instinct or his intellect, however it is diffi- 
cult to tell die difference, because Smuts is the rare case of a 



man in whom intellect and instinct are as closely wedded as is 
humanly possible must have, at least occasionally, revolted 
against the uncompromising course to which he was now com- 
mitted. On March 3, 1899, the British agent in Pretoria, a dip- 
lomat by the name of Sir Conyngham Greene, sent Milner an 
amazing report. He had been told by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, the 
leader of the uitlanders, that Messieurs Leyds, who served a 
short term as Foreign Secretary before embarking on his mis- 
sion to Europe, Reitz, the State Secretary, and Smuts, the State 
Attorney, had come forward with a conciliatory proposal, to 
which, they insisted, they were able to obtain Kruger's consent. 
The Transvaal Government would offer peace to the whole uit- 
lander population. It would impose no new taxes without ap- 
proval, appoint a European financier as auditor, and grant full 
citizenship rights to everyone after a residence of five years 
from the day die agreement was signed. The government would 
also offer to settle the vexed question of the dynamite conces- 
sion by mutual consent. In return, the government demanded 
the support of the industry in the Chinese coolie question 
which was to become a major headache to Smuts in later years 
as well as in floating a loan; furthermore they insisted on the 
liquidation of the South African League, the foremost British 
patriotic organization in South Africa, and the ceasing of the 
press agitation both in the English papers in the Transvaal and 
in England. 

However, Sir Conyngham added, Fitzpatrick had smelled a 
rat. Even if the offer were bona fide, the shrewd businessman 
believed, the Volksraad would not ratify any such agreement, 
whereas Kruger would have secured his dynamite and prob- 
ably not alone for industrial purposes. Smuts, according to Fitz- 
patrick, was the main agent. "He knows all about everything." 
Smuts insists he and Leyds had proposed and discussed the 
matter with Kruger, who for his part promised to suggest the 
compromise to the Volksraad and felt sure it would pass there. 
During the course of the negotiations Smuts offered further 
concessions. The coolie question should not be included pub- 
licly, and as to the franchise, the uitlanders waiting time could 



be restricted. "So altogether it looks genuine as far as Smuts is 
involved/' Fitzpatrick concluded. "But who can believe that 
Kruger and Leyds have no ulterior aims? Smuts implored me 
as a fellow South African to try to get the proposal well re- 
ceived. It would be the real settlement of all our troubles, and 
the removal of the war cloud forever. The reason for hurry, he 
says, is that Kruger can't keep anything secret for any length 
of time. So Smuts wants to act now. While I believe that he 
means it, although he aims at a Republic of South Africa, I still 
mistrust the others." 

A few days later Sir Conyngham Greene endorsed Fitzpat- 
rick's confidence in Smuts, though he was beset by similar 
scruples concerning the others. "It is perfectly clear that Smuts 
and Reitz are genuine. But it is equally clear that the President 
and Dr. Leyds aim solely at safeguarding their dynamite and 
estranging the Dutch from the Imperial government." 

Milner himself received the same impression, when, toward 
the end of March, Dr. Leyds called upon him for a farewell 
visit before leaving for Europe. Without mincing words, Milner 
warned him not to repeat his manoeuvre of two years before. If 
he again made fair promises to the government in London and 
to the English press, of which nothing more would be heard 
when the crisis was over, he would do irretrievable damage to 
the cause of peace. Dr. Leyds laughed off the warning, and did 
exactly as Milner had expected. He remained the stormy petrel 
of South African politics. His Dutch stubbornness wrecked 
Smuts' well meant peace plan. 

Kruger went ahead with his proposed extension of the dyna- 
mite concession in clear violation of the London Convention. 
The High Commissioner protested. His objection was answered 
by State Attorney Smuts, who, in the shortest possible form, 
answered that the Transvaal Government would uphold its de- 
cision. Obviously he did not wish to stick his neck out again. 
Or perhaps he was embittered by the failure of his first peace 
effort. In his youth he was easily embittered. A telegram Sir 
Conyngham Greene sent Milner on May 15 testifies to Smuts' 
recurrent stubbornness: "The President is being urged, I am 



told, by influential old burghers to give way, and to recognize 
the legitimate rights of the uitlanders before pressure is brought 
to bear from outside. But Smuts and others from the Young 
Afrikander Movement, backed by the Hollander clique, are 
openly defiant. They believe the Imperial Government may 
threaten, but will not act." 

On the same day, another signal fire flared up. The police in 
Johannesburg arrested eight persons on charges of high treason. 
Five were alleged to be British ex-officers, one of them the spy 
master for the War Office in London. The three others, it soon 
appeared, were stool pigeons, arrested on their own faked con- 
fessions, and planted in the cells to spy on their fellow pris- 

The Johannesburg police was under Smuts' personal direc- 
tion. The British agent rushed into the State Attorney's office, 
indignantly protesting against what was evidently a plot to 
poison the Transvaal's relations with England. Smuts washed 
his hands of the matter. The responsibility, he insisted, lay with 
the Public Prosecutor, Dr. Krause. Yet he assured Greene that 
any alleged intention to compromise Her Majesty's government 
would be suppressed. It is, indeed, unbelievable that, even in 
the heat of those explosive days, Smuts himself could have been 
involved in a scheme of that low order. However, the affair was 
the business of his department. Milner, rejecting Smuts' assur- 
ances, demanded a full and speedy investigation. The disgrace- 
ful conspiracy was finally exposed in court, and furnished one 
more proof of the methods used by the Zarps and by the agents 
provocateurs in the service of the Transvaal Government. No 
apology was extended to the Imperial government, nor did the 
innocent victims of the plot receive any form of compensation. 

The dice were loaded. The situation became impossible for 
England, and was fraught with peril for the Transvaal. On May 
13, Dr. Leyds cabled from London: "England has now every- 
where a free hand. I doubt if anybody will do anything for us," 
and a fortnight later from Berlin: "Minister for Foreign Affairs 
says Germany still friendly to South African Republic, but can- 
not assist in war because England is master of the seas. Hopes 



government of SAR will concede as much as is consistent with 
independence. England has not asked Germany." 

Milner, the new opponent of Kruger, was not an elementary 
force as Cecil Rhodes had been. If Rhodes and Kruger were 
both fighting demons, Sir Alfred Milner resembled Smuts very 
much more closely. Both were shy, reserved, and apparently 
haughty and unyielding, but both were warm-hearted idealists. 
They took, it is true, another twenty years before they discov- 
ered this similarity. 

Milner had arrived in the middle of the extreme tension fol- 
lowing the Jameson Raid. Under his soothing influence a de- 
gree of calm was achieved, at least in the Cape Colony. He 
made the leaders of the Bond understand that as British citi- 
zens they could not, without committing high treason, adopt 
the same extreme anti-British attitude that went unchecked in 
the Republics. Perhaps his argument was also made more in- 
telligible to the Dutch master politicians by the dispatch of a 
small number of English troops to Durban, and by a minor 
naval demonstration; a few British vessels showed themselves 
off the coast of Natal. The Bond leaders understood. They were 
impressed by Milner's intensity, whereas he for his part im- 
mediately understood the fundamental unity of South Africa. 
The Cape Colony quieted down. Now Milner went at his next 
task: patching up the relations with the Transvaal. Joseph 
Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary in London, had urged him 
to adopt a policy of patience. Milner was entirely agreed as to 
the wisdom of this course. 

But one more incident occurred that again shook South 
Africa to its foundations. An uitlander in Johannesburg, an Eng- 
lishman by the name of Edgar, involved in a street brawl, had 
been pursued by four of those brute Boer policemen into his 
house, and there shot down by one of them. The murderer was 
arrested, but charged only with manslaughter and released on 
bail of 200. Smuts immediately interfered. He ordered the 
rearrest of the policeman, and a renewed trial. The judge, a 
peasant's son from the platteland, and a fiery nationalist aged 



twenty-four, approved the verdict of the jury, entirely com- 
posed of Boers. The murderer was acquitted for the second 

The uitlanders were in despair. They petitioned Queen Vic- 
toria to come to the assistance of subjects in the Transvaal "in 
which conditions had become well-nigh intolerable/' Kruger 
regarded this petition signed by twenty-odd thousand British 
citizens to their own sovereign as treason toward the Transvaal. 
Smuts told Sir Percy Fitzpatrick with whom he had been nego- 
tiating on the most amicable terms: "I am morally certain that 
you are at the bottom of everything, and when I get proof of 
it, I will put it into you for all you are worth. . . ." All South 
Africa was in a state of unbearable suspense. To continue the 
endless and fruitless negotiations in which he had been in- 
volved ever since his arrival was useless, Milner understood. 
The question of the uitlanders had to be settled once and for 
all. Only one man could guarantee a settlement, President 

Milner availed himself of a standing offer by the government 
of the Free State, to bring him and Kruger together. He arrived 
in Bloemfontein, the capital of the Free State, on May 30, 1899, 
and was on the following day introduced to the President. 
Kruger had brought Smuts as his legal adviser. 

Milner greeted the young man, whom he had long wished to 
meet personally, in the most courteous manner. 

Smuts, who had so far only experienced the tempestuous 
"colossus," Cecil Rhodes, a man who did not fit into any frame, 
was now for the first time confronted with the power of the 
British Empire incarnate. 





the newest building in Bloemf ontein, had been freshly cleaned 
and got in order as a special sign of the neutral host's good will. 
The Free State had good reason to stress its neutral character. 
President Steyn had, half a year before the conference, on No- 
vember 22, 1899, addressed a meeting of the Free State com- 
mandants from eighteen districts on the Caledon River with 
the words: "We must make necessary regulations against con- 
fusion in the event of a sudden call to arms." Among other 
measures it was resolved that at least 10,000 cartridges should 
be stocked in each magazine, and that each burgher should be 
provided with 100 cartridges. 

Since Kruger's English was none too good, Mr. Abraham 
Fischer, Prime Minister of the Free State, acted as translator. 
Mr. Fischer took great pains to stress his impartiality. The fact 
was not revealed that he had just refused the Secretaryship of 
State in the Transvaal, and for a very sound reason: he could 
be of more help to Kruger in steering the allied Free State into 
the latter's camp if and when matters came to a showdown. 

On one side of the conference table sat Sir Alfred Milner 
with his staff: Colonel Hanbury-Williams, his aide-de-camp, 
Lord Belgrave, his secretary, and three clerical assistants. On 
the other side Kruger was surrounded by his crew: Schalk- 
Burger, a member of the Executive Council with a certain 
liberal reputation, Wolmarans, another Transvaal politician, 
and the experts, among whom one lanky young man, more 
neatly clad than his companions, his face clean-shaven, lips 
tightly pressed together, steel-blue eyes fixed on his president, 
as if he wanted to imbue him with his own energy, caused some 
attention, primarily because he could not sit still. Repeatedly 
he jumped up to be nearer to Oom Paul, and to press scraps of 
paper into the old man's hand, although the invalid's red eyes 



could not decipher the scribbled words. However, the youthful 
State Attorney's restlessness was only a minor diversion. The 
general attention was concentrated on the two protagonists. 
They represented not only two countries, but two worlds. 

Oom Paul in his tightly buttoned, stained frock coat, sat hud- 
dled in an armchair, a fringe of thick, unkempt hair surrounded 
his broad chin and his heavy animal face, marked by bushy 
brows and a cunning, stubborn expression. A strong will, it ap- 
peared, was once more pulling together his enormous mass of 
flesh. He obviously did not fear the duel in which he was now 
about to engage. It was not a new experience to him. Nothing 
was new to the patriarch. Why, had he not, three years earlier, 
triumphantly tricked Sir Hercules Robinson, another British 
High Commissioner? Moreover, the victory at Majuba Hill was 
still in his blood. He himself had not participated in the battle. 
But since that glorious day he was doubly sure that God in 
heaven and the Liberal Party in England would never desert 
him. Both blessed his determination to prevent foreigners from 
having a voice in his country. He breathed heavily. It sounded 
as if he were drawing his strength from the nation of shepherds 
for whom he stood; one of them, and yet their exalted leader. 
The recent elections had shown that not only the burghers but 
also the spokesmen of the Young Afrikander Movement were 
no less zealous and fanatic than he was himself. On the very 
eve of the conference the Volksraad had vetoed the franchise 
to some uitlanders who had acquired their right to citizenship 
by fourteen years of residence. This provocative gesture was 
clearly intended to stiffen their President for the forthcoming 
negotiations. The Volksraad would agree to no concessions, 
even if such were imposed on their President. While Kruger sat 
slumped in his armchair, shivering even in the warm South 
African autumn, his men on the veld were drilling; rifles were 
being distributed among them; veld-cornets galloped from farm 
to farm, instructing the burghers not to leave their homes, and 
to hold themselves ready. Paul Kruger grinned. It would please 
the Lord to let His most faithful believer see another, the 
crowning victory, either at this conference table or on the bat- 



tlefield, before he closed his burning eyes. Whether by nego- 
tiation, or by the might of arms, the hated rooineks rednecks 
would be driven into the sea. 

Opposite the prophet sat Milner, tall, thin, with a strong face, 
calm, immaculately attired, the prototype of clean, intelligent 
efficiency. Equipped with all the learning of the schools, he was 
wont to keep his strong emotions in leash to his reason. He was 
reserved to the point of shyness. In manners and looks he ap- 
peared austere. Throughout all the trials that beset him he kept 
his unshakable nerve, and his resolution of steel. Yet he was 
far from nursing prejudices, or even rigid opinions. He had 
come to Bloemf ontein with his mind open to new suggestions 
and ideas. But it was impossible to shake his ardent belief in 
the civilizing influence of the British Empire. It was to this 
cause that he devoted all his energies. He was not as cunning 
as Kruger, but very much wiser. And he met the old fanatic's 
pitchfork with the cold steel of his intellect. 

The first meeting of the conference lasted but two hours. Al- 
ready at half -past four in the afternoon, Kruger was becoming 
tired. He had been rambling along all the time, his tone con- 
ciliatory, skilfully avoiding any concrete statement. He put in 
a brief appearance at the evening reception given by President 
Steyn of the Free State, and was just as evasive when the con- 
ference was resumed the following morning. 

Kruger was biding his time. Time was all that counted. Time 
for further armament. But, above all, time until the rains would 
pour down. In the dry sub-tropical winter, with the veld a 
desert, the Boer commandos were immobilized. Their horses 
could find no forage. The men could not move. A man without 
a horse was only half a man. 

But he could not distract Milner. At the second session, Sir 
Alfred decided to confine the proceedings to one clear issue: 
would the President grant reasonable and immediate measures 
of enfranchisement to the uitlanders? If such a measure was 
promised, promised without ambiguity, the High Commissioner 
was prepared to enter into consideration of other causes of 
friction, but they must not obscure the main issue. Enfranchise- 



merit was the vital question, and the acid test of Kruger's sin- 
cerity and good will. 

Kruger fell back on obstinate, repetitious assertions that he 
could not sacrifice the independence of his country, a sacrifice 
which had never been suggested or asked of him. He grew visi- 
bly weary, hesitated in answering, his words lost in cumber- 
some, involved sentences. Whether he feigned fatigue, or es- 
caped into it, was not clear. 

It was then that Smuts jumped into the breach. Long before 
Fischer had finished translating Milner's replies, Smuts had 
already scribbled the answers on loose slips, pressing them into 
Kruger's hand, or, since the President could not make out the 
writing, handing them over to his fellow-delegates sitting next 
to Kruger. Smuts was as much a legalist as Milner. Moreover, 
he knew from his years at Cambridge how the English mind 
worked. Intuitively, he had the answer to every question, and 
his counter-demands were speedily prepared. Mr. Fischer, sens- 
ing that the position of the Transvaal delegation was improving 
slightly, dropped the last vestige of impartiality. Unabashed, 
he now aided Kruger's dilatory tactics, and did his best to 
soften Milner's slashing rapier thrusts. 

Thus Kruger was able to offer plausible-sounding, but decep- 
tive alternatives to Milner's franchise proposal. But soon he 
deviated from the central theme, throwing more monkey 
wrenches into the discussion. Now it was his turn to make de- 
mands: renunciation of British suzerainty, acceptance of "neu- 
tral arbitration" by the Imperial government, British cession of 
the whole of Swaziland in order to provide the Transvaal with 
the long desired access to the sea. These demands were so 
firmly entrenched in his mind that he could repeat them mo- 
notonously without visible signs of fatigue. He simply rumi- 
nated his stock-in-trade phrases. But to any question of a mod- 
erate and temporary reform he was more than hard of hearing. 
He was suddenly deaf. Full and honest franchise meant to him 
the inevitable subjection of his rule to the voting power of the 
inhabitants. It spelled the end of the system of fattening con- 
cessions and monopolies, of his dictatorial control of the judi- 


ciary, the end of corruption in the police, and of the cruel 
treatment of the natives; the end, above all, of his dream of 
Afrikanderdom's supremacy over all South Africa. "It is our 
country that you want/' he burst out, bowing his head between 
his big, red hands, hot tears streaming down his bearded cheeks. 
In a way he was justified. To him his system of corruption 
was, indeed, his country. But the English had no desire to wrest 
from the Boers the hard-won independence to which they 
clung so tenaciously. The conflict was greater. It was a clash 
between two civilizations. The stream of the new life, indus- 
trial, democratic, self-governing, surged against the barrier of 
a primitive oligarchy, corrupt by tradition, and still further de- 
teriorated by wealth acquired overnight. 

Milner tried to explain that His Honor was entirely wrong. 
Not only had Her Majesty's government not the slightest desire 
to infringe the independence of the South African republic, but 
actually less than full democracy was asked. The uitlanders, 
although outnumbering the burghers by two to one or better, 
would content themselves with eight seats in the Volksraad, 
thus acquiring a platform to vent their grievances, but only a 
small minority in the House of Assembly. 

With flying fingers, Smuts wrote and wrote. 

Embarrassed, Kruger stammered counter-proposals: he in- 
sisted on seven years of residence before enfranchisement, thus 
cutting down the old period by half. Milner listened attentively. 
He waited for the escape clauses. They came in abundance. 
The limitations and restrictions attached, rendered Kruger's 
compromise proposal a sham. 

Patiently, Milner explained why he had to insist on five years 
before enfranchisement not to gain two years but for the 
". . . principle of legal continuity . . ." Smuts murmured with 
a faint smile, as if he were a mind reader. 

Milner seemed to pay no attention to the interruption. But 
he was impressed by the "brilliant" State Attorney, as he called 
Smuts after the conference. 

The principle of legal continuity, Milner argued untiringly, 
was established on those terms of enfranchisement in the Trans- 



vaal which had been offered by the South African Republic 
itself in the "great deal" following Majuba. But more impor- 
tant, he added, were clear, simple formulas of admission, avail- 
able to every duly qualified claimant. 

Kruger tolerated no further interference on the part of his 
legal adviser. Precisely these conditions he rejected. With 
strong accents in his already broken voice he upheld the pro- 
visos enabling his government to elect potential electors, ad- 
mitting supporters, excluding opponents. 

The last three days of the conference were a cumbersome re- 
peat performance. Kruger reiterated his parrot-cry of "my inde- 
pendence!" time and again. He adhered obstinately to his point. 
Yet he must have felt that, at last, he had to deal with an Eng- 
lishman whose will was as strong as his own, and whose brains 
and power of argument were infinitely superior. His dogged- 
ness in the end made him look foolish and insincere. 

This became painfully evident to Smuts. He was aware that 
the two republics had not a chance in the world against the 
might and power of Great Britain. If he felt a Boer of the old 
stamp, he had certainly inherited their predominant trait. He 
was a born negotiator. Something new, he understood, must be 
produced to save the conference; some alternative plan must 
be found. 

One more afternoon was spent on a discussion of the scandal 
of the dynamite concession. Kruger gave a confused account, 
but he explained that he was considering a new agreement with 
the company. When asked to give a written statement about 
this new agreement, he disdainfully refused to comply. He was 
accustomed to government by word of mouth. Every deviation 
from this rule would endanger the independence of the Trans- 

On the following day, the day before the last, Kruger in- 
sisted that concessions acceptable to the uitlanders would 
be "worse than annexation," and would "put an end to my 
indep . . ." 

At this moment a telegram was delivered to Lord Belgrave. 
He read it, nodded, smiled, and passed it over to his chief. 



Even the austere Milner smiled in turn, and handed the 'tele- 
gram around to his staff. Everyone seemed pleased. Finally the 
message was returned to Lord Belgrave, who folded it and put 
it into his pocket. 

Milner apologized for the short interruption, and asked His 
Honor to proceed. 

But Kruger was much too intrigued by what were evidently 
new and important instructions to the English delegation. He 
had lost his thread and repeated the precious words "my inde- 
pendence" several times before he dropped heavily back into 
his armchair. 

Everyone awaited an important announcement from Milner. 
Instead, the High Commissioner merely suggested an adjourn- 
ment. Now it was quite clear that some great event was in the 
making. Bloemfontein buzzed with rumors. The Intelligence 
Service of the South African Republic, a most efficient organi- 
zation directed by the State Attorney, was set to trace various 

After a few days the full truth about the telegram filtered 
out. It read: "Flying Fox has won the Derby, Westminster." 
Flying Fox belonged to the Duke of Westminster, Lord Bel- 
grave's father. 

But this was the single ray of light illuminating a somber 
scene. Kruger sprang a few more conjurer's tricks, all of which 
miscarried. On the last day of the conference, Monday June 5, 
Kruger declared: "I am not ready to hand over my country to 
strangers ... I understand from His Excellency's arguments 
that if I do not really give the whole management of my land 
and government to the strangers, there is nothing to be done/' 

Jumping up, Milner protested that he had proposed nothing 
that would have any such effect. 

The final meeting was in the afternoon. Kruger stated for- 
mally in a grave voice, having recovered his patriarchal dig- 
nity, that his own franchise proposal went as far as it was pos- 
sible to go. He would submit it to the Volksraad, as a step in the 
right direction, even if His Excellency did not fully agree with 



it, provided that His Excellency would recommend arbitration 
on future differences. 

To Milner it was a clumsy trap. He saw both loopholes. The 
Volksraad could just as well disagree, and arbitration could 
only mean indefinite prolongation of the quarrel without fur- 
ther progress. The High Commissioner summed up: "Since the 
parties have found themselves unable to agree on the principal 
topic of discussion, the status quo ante is restored. I am not 
authorized to discuss the question of arbitration. But any defi- 
nite proposal which His Honor might make at any time will be 
submitted to the consideration of Her Majesty's government." 

After an elaborate exchange of compliments the conference 
broke up. Kruger said: "Milner is a hard man to tackle." He 
felt himself misunderstood. In a way the High Commissioner 
had, indeed, misunderstood him. Kruger had not the slightest 
wish to prolong the quarrel indefinitely. He only wanted to 
keep negotiations alive until the rains came. With a sigh of 
resigned righteousness he looked up to his Lord. He could not 
discern even the tiniest cloud in the sky. He sighed once more. 
Then he looked at Smuts, at this nice boy at his side, this con- 
firmed pacifist. His Honor smiled. 

Oom Paul had good reason to smile. He was as sure of his 
case as he felt justified in his cause. Imperial Germany stood 
behind him. Already, Sir Edward Malet, British ambassador in 
Berlin, had protested against Germany's encouragement of the 
Boers in their hostile attitude toward England. Sir Edward had 
pointed out that this might lead to serious complications. But 
Baron Marschall Biberstein refused the warning. It was, he in- 
sisted, based on unfounded rumors. Joseph Chamberlain him- 
self felt the necessity to substantiate the English complaint. "It 
appears from information in the possession of the Intelligence 
Department," he told the House of Commons, "that during the 
last nine months the Boers have already imported 50 field guns, 
26 maxims, 45,000 rifles, more than 20,000 rounds of large and 
30,000,000 pounds of rifle ammunition from a foreign power. 



There is no reason to believe that such purchases are not go- 
ing on/' 

Backed up by his young emperor, Baron Marschall replied 
from Berlin that Germany insisted on her right to support 
President Kruger. Any retreat from this position would spread 
a storm of indignation throughout the Reich. Wilhelm II, for 
his part, scribbled one of his famous marginal notes to Mar- 
schalFs report on the Transvaal affair: "We must vigorously 
make capital out of this affair for eventual naval increases to 
protect our growing trade/' 

When Baron Marschall's diary was published, Wilhelm II's 
final folly was disclosed. The diary contains the following entry: 

January 3 At ten o'clock conference with His Majesty, at which 
Hollmann, Knorr, and Senden also present. His Majesty developed 
rather amazing plans. He proposed the establishment of a German 
Protectorate over the Transvaal, an idea from which I dissuaded 
him right away. Then the young master demanded mobilization of 
the Marine, and dispatch of German troops to the Transvaal. On my 
objection that this would be war with England, His Majesty said: 
"Yes, but only on land." 

In the end the Emperor contented himself with sending 
Fuerst Hatzfeld, his ambassador in London, with an insolent 
oral ultimatum to Downing Street. Shrewdly, the aged diplo- 
mat presented himself at an hour when he knew Lord Salisbury 
would be absent. Thus he was unable to carry out his mission. 

Kruger was perfectly informed about events in Berlin and 
London. Dr. Leyds constantly commuted between the two cap- 
itals. He had been received in audience by Wilhelm II an hour 
before the latter had despatched the Kruger telegram which 
turned the "All Highest" into the Dr. Jameson of the world. 

Moreover, the German Consul General in Pretoria, Herr von 
Herff, sat daily on Kruger's stoep. He obtained the President's 
permission to send 5,000 German settlers of military age into 
the Transvaal. But when he alluded to the possibility of a Ger- 
man Protectorate, Oom Paul insisted that arms came first and 



diplomatic niceties later. So the stream of German arms floating 
in through Delagoa Bay flowed ever broader. 

According to Portuguese harbor statistics, the turnover of 
war material in the port of Louren9o Marques had more than 
quadrupled in the year 1897. It had jumped in value from 
61,903 to 256,291. Over a million and a half pounds were 
expended on the fortifications around Johannesburg. In Febru- 
ary, 1898, they were equipped with heavy Krupp guns. Ger- 
man artillery officers, still in the Emperor's uniform, were 
placed in command. In the same month Kruger reported to his 
executive council that he had just acquired a very large con- 
signment of rifles, field guns, and ammunition. However, he 
did not even entrust his six colleagues in the government with 
exact figures. The loquacious President well knew that garru- 
lousness was the Boers' cardinal sin. The other was a complete 
lack of discipline. But that the autocrat did not learn for a year 

He had enrolled ten thousand volunteers. Seventy thousand 
pounds a year was allotted to the Secret Service, operating pri- 
marily in the British colonies, more money than the British In- 
telligence Service had ever seen. A naturalized British citizen 
of German descent furnished Milner a list of nineteen promi- 
nent journalists, officials, and civil servants in the Cape Colony 
who were bribed by the Transvaal Government. An Irish jour- 
nalist, back from Pretoria, reported: "A member of the Volks- 
raad asked me whether the Queen would send down all her 
army to be 'eaten up' "the Kafir expression "or whether she 
would content herself with sending the boys." 

In fact, the great white Queen across the seas sent no sol- 
diers at all. Joseph Chamberlain, backed by almost the entire 
government of his day, particularly by Lord Salisbury, the 
Prime Minister, exercised all his remote influence to save the 
peace. A war, he insisted, would be most unpopular among 
the English people. South Africa was too far away. 

Milner was on the spot. After Bloemfontein he knew that 
either a show of power or Britain's ignominious retreat from all 
South Africa was inevitable. He was depressed by the indiffer- 


ence he encountered at home, and aroused by the defeatist at- 
titude of Sir William Butler, his commander in chief, who re- 
fused to take any precautionary measures, or indeed to budge, 
as long as he had not received orders from the War Office. But- 
ler even refused to recruit volunteers, for which, Milner in- 
sisted, "the material was plentiful and excellent/' Butler would 
make no strategic preparations. "The General's heart," Milner 
wrote to Chamberlain, "is on the other side." 

There was no half-heartedness whatsoever on the side of the 
Boers. For five years the Transvaal had spent more than half 
its revenues for armament. After Bloemfontein, money was no 
longer a consideration. Why, the English in Johannesburg were 
paying all. Pretoria was now as well fortified as Johannesburg. 
A ring of forts was built on the hills surrounding the capital. 
Large consignments of arms of all sorts in cases marked "Agri- 
cultural Implements" and "Mining Machinery" were smuggled 
into the Transvaal through the British ports of Cape Town and 
Durban. Soldiers of fortune congregated from all over the 
world. The soldiers' pay in the smallest republic was the high- 
est in 'the world. But only the foreign condottieri, French and 
German instructors, penniless Russian aristocrats, Balkan komir 
tatschi, and last but not least a group of Irishmen from Chi- 
cago, disguised as an ambulance corps and abusing the Red 
Cross, drew money. The burghers were prepared to fight for 
love, and for their hatred of the British. 

Pretoria was an armed camp. Commandos from the platte- 
land marched through the streets on their way to the border of 
British Natal. Batteries of artillery paraded before Kruger. 
Thousands of men exercised in all night rifle practice. Indeed, 
the President had to hold back his people who were spoiling 
for a fight. It was still too early. The veld was still bone dry. Yet 
a mere week after the breakup of the conference at Bloemfon- 
tein, Kruger introduced a draft law in the Volksraad, ha- 
ranguing his lawmakers: "I don't want war, but I will not give 
anything further away." 

Cables from Leyds, who covered Europe at top speed, en- 
couraged the President and his advisers to stand firm. To yield 



would endanger the independence of the Republic and lower 
its prestige in the eyes of friendly nations, Dr. Leyds advised. 

On July 2, he cabled from Paris a summing up of his London 
experience. "According to Labouchere" the leftist Radical 
"neither the Prime Minister nor his colleagues are desirous of 
war. The cabinet is against Chamberlain. The House of Com- 
mons is only waiting for the next step of SAR government to 
bring an honorable solution. Scott (Manchester Guardian) pro- 
poses President Kruger should take an extraordinary census in 
order to determine the number of uitlanders, and how many of 
them desire franchise. This would cause delay. Scott says that 
gaining time is gaining everything." 

That was exactly what Kruger thought. He no longer lis- 
tened to his foreign emissary. Indeed, he heeded no one's ad- 
vice. Retired amid the turmoil around him, he gazed at the sky. 
Sometimes he shook his head. Even from Johannesburg, which 
was deluged by rain in and out of season, came no report of the 
slightest drizzle. How he hated Johannesburg! 

Was there no peace party among the Boers? Louis Botha, 
one of the youngest members of the Road, was against any ad- 
venture. He loved his fatherland, above all its green pastures, 
which a war, a senseless war at that, an impossible war, would 
seriously damage. But the opinion of the junior member did not 
count. General Joubert, the expert and presumptive comman- 
der in chief, was against the war. But since he had once unsuc- 
cessfully contested Kruger's presidency, his advice would only 
drive the stubborn old man further into his madness. General 
De la Rey, the most Christian soldier, a quiet, retired patriot 
without any worldly ambition, raised his voice in warning. He 
was laughed down in the Volksraad, and shrugged: "All right. 
Go ahead. I will be with you. And I will still be in the fight, 
when all of you are fugitives!" He was resigned to the will of 

Smuts was the only one who was not resigned, never re- 
signed. To all outward appearance he was one of the most 
fiery leaders of the war party. The English-language press 


warned of him. Indeed, he backed Kruger in every way. As 
State Attorney he was responsible for maintaining internal or- 
der in case of war. He introduced a new franchise law that 
looked harmless enough, but was so full of traps and snares 
that it virtually strangled every possible move of the foreigners. 
He worked out a great plan for infesting Ireland, India, and 
the British possessions and colonies with a network of seditious 
agitators to undermine the Empire from within. The plan 
aroused general amusement when some of its details filtered 
out. India, of course, was the country whence these disagree- 
able brown competitors had moved into Natal. But where, 
for God's sake, was Ireland? How long would it take to trek 
there by oxcart? Smuts, though lacking any military experience, 
even submitted to Kruger a plan of grand strategy, suggesting 
a double-pronged attack on English territory. He kept Kruger 
busy, while he was busying himself. 

On July 12, he visited the British agent in Pretoria at the lat- 
ter's house. A long conversation ensued. Sir Conyngham Greene 
used the opportunity once more to press for a guarantee con- 
cerning the franchise law. Smuts, in grave earnest, replied that 
the Republic could not admit the right of Her Majesty's gov- 
ernment to any guarantee unless Great Britain agreed to some 
reasonable scheme of arbitration. He did not wish to drive a 
Kafir bargain an expression Milner had used at Bloemfontein 
but something in return would be expected. 

The personal negotiations between the two men dragged on 
until the end of August. Greene was all the time under the im- 
pression that the State Attorney was bargaining on behalf of 
his government. In fact, Smuts had embarked upon a one-man 
crusade to prevent war. This fact was clearly revealed when 
Secretary of State Reitz became involved. His was a different 
tune. He wrote a note, dated August 19, which was entirely un- 
satisfactory. Greene remonstrated. But Smuts' peace plan had 
obviously been upset by the Transvaal Executive Council. 
Stiffly, its disillusioned author had to answer: "The terms of a 
settlement as embodied in a formal note of this government 
dated August 19 were very carefully considered. I do not be- 



lieve there is the slightest chance that those terms would be 
altered or amplified. Your decision will therefore have to be 
arrived at on those terms as they stand/' 

Imperturbably, Sir Conyngham Greene replied: "I take it 
that the negotiations are meant to be off." 

Smuts had gained a few precious weeks for Kruger. Unwit- 
tingly, his single-handed peace crusade had played into the 
bellicose President's hands. 

Now only did the government in London understand that 
war was upon them. Reinforcements from India, those rein- 
forcements Milner had been urging and pressing for in vain, 
were finally sent. Although they had a smooth voyage under 
the brilliant September sun, they arrived too late. 

In the first days of October the rains fell. Violent downpours, 
accompanied by hailstorms, thunder and lightning, caused 
much damage. The earth trembled. But the grass burst forth. 
Overnight the desert was Jehovah's green garden. The horses 
in their ramshackle stables stamped their hooves impatiently. 
They did not fear the tempest. Neighing, they trotted out of 
the suddenly opened doors. Few of diem ever returned to their 

Praising the Lord who sent the rains, every October anew, to 
make the land of his chosen people fertile, to feed man and 
beast, on October 9, Kruger dispatched an insolent ultimatum 
to the English. It demanded the instant withdrawal of all 
troops from the borders of the Transvaal and from British soil, 
and the re-embarkation of all units which had landed in South 
Africa during the last years. 

The ultimatum expired within forty-eight hours. To the wild 
melody of the downpour a hesitating man, General Joubert, on 
October 12, 1899, crossed the border of Natal, invading British 





last shot, were fired by the same man: the amazing Mr. Smuts. 
The first volley was in the nature of a propaganda barrage. 
During the three days that elapsed between Kruger's ultima- 
tum and the actual aggression against British territory by the 
commandos under General Piet Joubert, the Review of Re- 
views, a leftist London magazine, edited by Mr. Stead, then the 
official spokesman of the pro-Boer party, published a pamphlet 
A Century of Wrong. The co-ordination between Pretoria and 
the praetorians in London, it appears, was not entirely fault- 
less. A Century of Wrong had been released rather hastily. The 
Dutch original Een Eeuw van Onrecht, a Transvaal Govern- 
ment publication, limped a few days behind. The authorship of 
the hymn of hatred was attributed to Mr. F. W. Reitz, the Sec- 
retary of State of the South African Republic, who had studied 
at the University of Edinburgh, and practised as a banister at 
the Inner Temple, London, before returning to his native kraal. 
Conceivably, a man with so thorough an English background 
could know where his attacks would hurt most. To him the 
English were a nation of pharisees: "Under the cloak of reli- 
gion the British administration continued to display its hatred 
against our people and nationality, and to conceal its self- 
seeking aims under cover of the most exalted principles. The 
aid of religion was invoked to reinforce the policy of oppres- 
sion. Emissaries of the London Missionary Societies slandered 
Boers. It seems there is no place for the God of Righteousness 
in English policy." More than half the pamphlet was given to 
the discussion of the English "capitalistic jingoism." A particu- 
larly virulent paragraph began: "The development of British 
policy in South Africa had hitherto been influenced at different 
times by the spirit of jingoism, and by the zeal for annexation 
which is so characteristic of the trading instinct of that race." 



While this torrent of abuse went entirely unchecked among 
the English pharisees and jingoists, a good number of Dutch- 
men in the Cape Colony shook their heads. Who would have 
expected such unbridled language from the Honorable Mr. 
Reitz? It was the climax of the pamphlet itself that provided 
the answer to this question. It read: "The spirit of capitalism 
found its incarnation in Mr. Cecil Rhodes. Although he prob- 
ably had no exceptional aptitude for politics, he was irresistibly 
drawn towards them by the stress of his interests. By means of 
his financial influence together with a double allowance of elas- 
ticity of conscience, he succeeded. . . ." 

And now it was clear to everyone who the real author was. 
Only one man was capable of such vilification of Cecil Rhodes, 
who at that time, as the leader of the Progressive Party, played 
again a formidable role in Cape politics: Mr. Smuts. He had in- 
deed written the pamphlet, or most of it, in his superb High 
Dutch. Mrs. Smuts, his partner in politics too, was responsible 
for the brilliant English translation. 

The piece was written in the white heat of injured righteous- 
nesscharacteristic, however, of the confusion of a young en- 
thusiast's feelings, during the very days when the author was 
conducting most amiable negotiations with the British agent in 
Pretoria, and it left behind no trace in Smuts. Undoubtedly, he 
was soon willing to forget it. But his enemies never forgot it. 
Right now, while this war is on, the Zeesen transmitter, Dr. 
Goebbel's lie-factory, broadcasts the dusty, yellowed pamphlet 
regularly in its Afrikaans hour. 

The din of the battle soon outroared the propaganda volley. 
Against 27,000 English soldiers south of the Limpopo, the river 
at South Africa's northern border, only 11,000 of whom were 
stationed in the Cape Colony, the Boers had mustered an over- 
whelming force. They numbered 90,000, and were equipped 
with 110 guns, mostly of German make. The Boer commandos 
were made up of men born on horseback, unexcelled in marks- 
manship, confident that the Lord of battles was protecting 
them. They were well-equipped, and excellently fed. In the 



State contingent, which rushed to the help of the Trans- 
/aal and provided some of the toughest fighters, each burgher 
lad brought along his riding horse, saddle and bridle, the 
ichterlaaier rifle thirty cartridges, and half a pound of pow- 
ier. He had to provision himself for eight days. His saddlebag 
Dulged with meat, cut in strips, salted, peppered, or dried, with 
sausages and "Boer biscuits" (small loaves twice baked, with 
"ermented raisins instead of yeast). The Boers had learned 
3nough from their German friends to know the Prussian dic- 
:um: the fuller the belly, the better the army. They were sure 
Jiat English soldiers, drawing nothing but their nauseating 
iaily ration of blikkiescos, as the Boers contemptuously called 
.he hallowed bully-beef, would prove easy prey. 

According to General De Wet, the trouble that immediately 
started was over the distribution of meat, when the private sup- 
Dlies had given out. Now the vleiskorporaalmeat corporal 
landed out portions of raw meat to the burghers. They dif- 
: ered in size and quality, and since the impartiality of many a 
deiskorporaal was not above suspicion, the rule was made that 
le had while performing this duty to stand with his back to- 
vard the commando, pick out the nearest piece and, without 
ooking around, give it to the next man in line. Those burghers 
vho were not favored by fortune showed their dissatisfaction. 
Quarrels according to the Generalwere frequent. 

The burghers roasted their meat on a spit cut from the 
Dranches of trees. A skilful warrior was able to produce a bomt- 
*pana team of oxen not of the same color by alternating 
Dieces of fat and lean meat on his spit. To provide ample por- 
ions the commandos were forced to kill all the oxen and sheep 
n their terrain of operations, but they boasted of never wast- 
ng a bit. Sometimes the meat was sandwiched between bis- 
cuits of flour cooked in boiling fat and called stormjaegers, 
^torm hunters, since they were so rapidly cooked, or maag- 
jomme, stomach bombs, on account of their digestive effect. 

Well-fed and God-fearing, the Free State Army began the 
var in grim earnest by attacking and capturing an English ar- 
nored train at Kraaipan. General de la Rey was their victori- 



While this torrent of abuse went entirely unchecked among 
the English pharisees and jingoists, a good number of Dutch- 
men in the Cape Colony shook their heads. Who would have 
expected such unbridled language from the Honorable Mr. 
Reitz? It was the climax of the pamphlet itself that provided 
the answer to this question. It read: "The spirit of capitalism 
found its incarnation in Mr. Cecil Rhodes. Although he prob- 
ably had no exceptional aptitude for politics, he was irresistibly 
drawn towards them by the stress of his interests. By means of 
his financial influence together with a double allowance of elas- 
ticity of conscience, he succeeded. . . ." 

And now it was clear to everyone who the real author was. 
Only one man was capable of such vilification of Cecil Rhodes, 
who at that time, as the leader of the Progressive Party, played 
again a formidable role in Cape politics: Mr. Smuts. He had in- 
deed written the pamphlet, or most of it, in his superb High 
Dutch. Mrs. Smuts, his partner in politics too, was responsible 
for the brilliant English translation. 

The piece was written in the white heat of injured righteous- 
nesscharacteristic, however, of the confusion of a young en- 
thusiast's feelings, during the very days when the author was 
conducting most amiable negotiations with the British agent in 
Pretoria, and it left behind no trace in Smuts. Undoubtedly, he 
was soon willing to forget it. But his enemies never forgot it. 
Right now, while this war is on, the Zeesen transmitter, Dr. 
GoebbeFs lie-factory, broadcasts the dusty, yellowed pamphlet 
regularly in its Afrikaans hour. 

The din of the battle soon outroared the propaganda volley. 
Against 27,000 English soldiers south of the Limpopo, the river 
at South Africa's northern border, only 11,000 of whom were 
stationed in the Cape Colony, the Boers had mustered an over- 
whelming force. They numbered 90,000, and were equipped 
with 110 guns, mostly of German make. The Boer commandos 
were made up of men born on horseback, unexcelled in marks- 
manship, confident that the Lord of battles was protecting 
them. They were well-equipped, and excellently fed. In the 



Free State contingent, which rushed to the help of the Trans- 
vaal and provided some of the toughest fighters, each burgher 
had brought along his riding horse, saddle and bridle, the 
achterlaaier rifle thirty cartridges, and half a pound of pow- 
der. He had to provision himself for eight days. His saddlebag 
bulged with meat, cut in strips, salted, peppered, or dried, with 
sausages and "Boer biscuits" (small loaves twice baked, with 
fermented raisins instead of yeast). The Boers had learned 
enough from their German friends to know the Prussian dic- 
tum: the fuller the belly, the better the army. They were sure 
that English soldiers, drawing nothing but their nauseating 
daily ration of blikkiescos, as the Boers contemptuously called 
the hallowed bully-beef, would prove easy prey. 

According to General De Wet, the trouble that immediately 
started was over the distribution of meat, when the private sup- 
plies had given out. Now the vleiskorporaalmeat corporal- 
handed out portions of raw meat to the burghers. They dif- 
fered in size and quality, and since the impartiality of many a 
vleiskorporaal was not above suspicion, the rule was made that 
he had while performing this duty to stand with his back to- 
ward the commando, pick out the nearest piece and, without 
looking around, give it to the next man in line. Those burghers 
who were not favored by fortune showed their dissatisfaction. 
Quarrels according to the General were frequent. 

The burghers roasted their meat on a spit cut from the 
branches of trees. A skilful warrior was able to produce a bomt- 
spanB. team of oxen not of the same color by alternating 
pieces of fat and lean meat on his spit. To provide ample por- 
tions the commandos were forced to kill all the oxen and sheep 
in their terrain of operations, but they boasted of never wast- 
ing a bit. Sometimes the meat was sandwiched between bis- 
cuits of flour cooked in boiling fat and called stormjaegers, 
storm hunters, since they were so rapidly cooked, or maag- 
bomme, stomach bombs, on account of their digestive effect. 

Well-fed and God-fearing, the Free State Army began the 
war in grim earnest by attacking and capturing an English ar- 
mored train at Kraaipan. General de la Rey was their victori- 



ous veggeneraal fighting general. His legal adviser, not really 
involved in the thick of the fight, was the newly appointed 
judge, James Barry Munnik Hertzog, son of a pub-owner in 
Kimberley, grandson of a German immigrant, whose picture 
the faithful young man carried in his breast pocket throughout 
the campaign and, who was within a few weeks, President 
Steyn's right-hand man. Judge Hertzog was thirty-three years 
of age when the Boer War broke out. He was a careful dresser. 
With his well-trimmed black hair and short-cropped mus- 
tache, and his gold-rimmed spectacles he looked like a stranger 
among the Boers from the veld. He won military fame by be- 
ing the first to quit Bloemfontein when Lord Roberts was be- 
sieging the capital of the Free State. Under cover of night he 
took his men across a bridge. The whole commando sang: 
"Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do!" It was taken for a 
British detachment and got away, unmolested. For this feat of 
arms the Judge was promoted to general, and, for all practical 
purposes, soon dropped out of the actual fighting. 

Smuts, although spoiling for the fight, had serious duties that 
kept him for the first months of the war in Pretoria. His was the 
main task of organizing both the home front and the army in 
the field. As often as he could, he visited the battle fronts to 
render strategic assistance. Except for a short time in Stellen- 
bosch, where he had been a member of the volunteers, he had 
not the slightest military training or experience. Yet his plans 
were respectfully listened to. The State Attorney's authority in 
strategic affairs went unchallenged. Smuts had his own expla- 
nation for it. To him everything, botany or statecraft, general- 
ship or philosophy, is simply a matter of straight thinking. 

He expended much of his energy on demanding aggressive 
prosecution of the war. The Boers should not content them- 
selves with their initial successes. Time was against them. He 
knew better than any other man the power of the Imperial 
army, once it was fully mobilized. He implored General Jou- 
bert not to idle around besieging Ladysmith, but to bypass this 
English stronghold, and thrust forward. The aged Commander 



in Chief, however, was reluctant. He quoted the Biblical virtue 
of patience, a strong argument among Boers. Louis Botha, still 
a veld-cornet from the district of Vryheid, joined in Smuts' 
pleading. General Joubert liked Louis Botha. Everyone liked 
him. He had, it was generally agreed, a magic personality. But 
to the aged Commander in Chief he was, at thirty-nine, still a 
youngster. His advice, too, went unheeded. As both Smuts and 
Botha had foreseen, Ladysmith gallantly, and at times desper- 
ately, defended by General White withstood the siege until the 
town was relieved by English reinforcements. Boer strategy 
had missed a great opportunity. But the loss was more than 
compensated. Out of their unsuccessful joint pleading grew the 
comradeship of Botha and Smuts, which entered and made- 

Kimberley, too, was encircled. On the last train connecting 
the town with the outside world, Cecil Rhodes arrived. Purple- 
faced, bloated, gasping for breath, he was still the colossus. 
Immediately upon his arrival he set up his autocratic rule. It 
was a benevolent autocracy. "What do you want?" became his 
famous question. All could have anything from him: money, 
food, shelter. He even had a heavy gun manufactured in the 
workshop of his company. It was a makeshift cannon, patched 
together by a couple of engineers who had seen the design of 
a howitzer in a technical magazine. But the monster could be 
fired, and it kept the Boers at a respectful distance. Rhodes 
opened the mines to the women and children of Kimberley for 
protection. The gold mines became the model for the air-raid 
shelters of a later day. He was less benign toward the English 
officers and generals, whose progress was much too slow for his 
own furious speed. After Kimberley had been besieged for two 
months, Rhodes addressed a letter to Lord Roberts, advising 
him ironically that there was a perfectly good, flat approach to 
the town through the Spyfontein Hills. After a further two 
months Kimberley was relieved. 

Cecil Rhodes was not relieved until two years later when 
that "good, clean death," death from heart failure, he had so 



often spoken of, came to him. He died on March 26, 1902, at the 
age of forty-eight, two months before the end of the Boer War. 
History records his last words: "So much to do. So little done/' 
On the tombstone of the lonely reformer of the world in the 
Matoppo Hills only these words are inscribed: "Here lie the 
remains of Cecil John Rhodes/' 

After five months of reverses and retreat, the government 
and the people of England suddenly realized that they were 
faced with a tremendous military task whose difficulties no one 
had foreseen. Overnight the nation pulled itself together. 
Great Britain's two great soldiers, Roberts as commander in 
chief, and Kitchener as his chief of staff, were dispatched to 
South Africa. An unending stream of men and equipment fol- 
lowed. Disregarding the secondary theatres of war, the new 
English leaders thrust right into the enemy's heart. They made 
for Johannesburg and Pretoria. 

Some of the Boers tried to put up a stiff resistance. But it 
was always the same thirty or forty men in a commando aver- 
aging three or four hundred, who threw themselves at the 
enemy, harassed the British advance platoons, and, indeed, ex- 
acted heavy sacrifices. The great majority of the citizen-soldiery 
refused to budge when the bugles sounded for action. They 
were well within their rights. They could elect and dismiss their 
commandants, and if one of the higher-ups showed too com- 
bative a spirit, one word from the ranks was enough. The word 
was: Loop! It stands for: Scram! 

The presence of women in the laagers was another constant 
hindrance. The energetic Boer ladies wished to keep even their 
fighting husbands under control. The government refused Gen- 
eral De Wet's demand to call the womenfolk back. The Presi- 
dent insisted, and rightly so, that such an order would cause 
open mutiny. 

Even retreat with the laagers was a difficult job. The Kafir 
drivers alone mastered the complicated art of inspanning. But 
in the skirmishes most of the Kafirs were either mowed down, 
since their masters had not equipped them with weapons, or 



they deserted. Hence the burghers were left to do the dirty 
work themselves. Unfortunately, few farmers knew which oxen 
were to be placed in front and which behind. Every retreat was 
a melee of terrible confusion. The aft-oxen placed in front of 
the span and fore-oxen behind, were too bewildered to move. 

In the Free State Army an epidemic of heart disease broke 
out. An old law provided that a burgher who could produce a 
medical certificate pronouncing him unfit for duty should im- 
mediately be exempted from service. The military doctors were 
swamped with cases of sudden and severe heart attacks. One 
of them on a single morning pronounced nineteen patients un- 
fit. But when the twentieth approached him, his hand pressed 
to the left side of his breast, die doctor lost his patience and 
barked: "No more heart attacks today!" Then he softened: 
"Come again tomorrow!" 

General De Wet found a way to check the disease. He ob- 
tained a government order forbidding the doctors to write cer- 
tificates. Only those burghers to whose poor health three old 
women were willing to testify would from now on be released. 
The percentage of old women in the districts of Fauresmith 
and Jacobsdahl must have been high. All the burghers from 
these two districts returned home. Commandant Weilbach, en- 
trusted with the defense of Bloemfontein, deserted without in- 
commoding the old ladies of his town as soon as Roberts' troops 
approached. When even the mighty General Piet Cronje sur- 
rendered, most of the burghers lost heart. Panic set in. "The 
hands-uppers are our undoing!" De Wet said gloomily. 

Personally, he was not undone. Nor were Botha, De la Rey, 
Beyers, and a few other Boer commanders in the field. When 
all seemed lost, they formed that tightly knit brotherhood of 
generals that carried on the hopeless war, already lost within 
seven months, for another two years. Smuts even went them a 
couple of months better. 

Unable to delegate even a part of his crushing burden to 
others an inability which has marked General Smuts through- 
out his life, and explains why he always holds three or four 



posts at a time the State Attorney, indeed, ran the government 
in wartime Pretoria. The duties of his own office required 
enough attention. Questions of internal rule and international 
law, the activities of the police and the secret service, the treat- 
ment of English subjects, supervision of the mines, problems 
like the legal position of the inhabitants in parts of the country 
that rapidly changed from hand to hand, "annexed" by Boer 
raiders, and again occupied by the English all these and in- 
numerable similar tasks were a full-time occupation. 

It was, incidentally, in his capacity as State Attorney that 
Smuts met Winston Churchill for the first time, although it was 
not a personal meeting. South Africa, today, still teems with 
old-timers boasting that they captured Churchill when the 
armored train in which the young newspaper correspondent 
rode was held up near Chieveley. Every Boer general who vis- 
ited London after the war let it drop that he had been the hero 
of the day, and Mr. Churchill pleasantly acknowledged every 
individual feat. Thus the legend arose that Smuts had taken 
him prisoner. 

The facts, however, are these: after the first month of the 
war, to be exact, on November 14, 1899, Winston was captured 
between Chieveley and Frere, when the Boers trapped an 
armored train which the correspondent of the Morning Post 
was accompanying. Having left his revolver behind in the train 
when he ventured into the veld, he threw up his hands when he 
saw himself held up by a group of bearded Boers. It was the 
only thing to do. The fate of the world might otherwise have 
taken a different turn, and not for the better. 

The prisoner was dispatched to Pretoria. On his way he was 
constantly surrounded by Boers curious to see "the greatest and 
the latest correspondent of the day," to quote a contemporary 
ditty. They displayed no hard feelings. Cordially they repeated 
time and again: "You know it's those damned capitalists and 
Jews who have caused the war . . . God is on our side . . . 
Every man has a stake in the fight for liberty." This last asser- 
tion was well founded: one had paid no taxes for four years, 
another was a friend of the veld-cornet. The ticket collector 


drew absurdly high wages: "No British government for me!" he 
said determinedly. "Is it right," they asked their prisoner in a 
most friendly manner, "that a dirty Kafir should walk on the 
pavement without a pass, either? That's what they do in your 
British colonies/' 

In Pretoria he was taken to the prison for British officers, in- 
stalled in the State Model School in the fashionable suburb of 
Sunnyside. It was a long, low red-brick building, standing on a 
sandy avenue, lined with detached white houses. The prisoners 
had ample opportunity to watch the gay boulevard of suburban 
Pretoria from their windows. Winston found the spectacle petty 
and contemptible. He disliked the ugly women with their 
bright parasols, the fat burghers, the arrogant, white-helmeted 
policemen, the slimy, sleek officials of every nationality prome- 
nading during office hours. Most of all he detested the red- 
faced, snub-nosed Hollanders, and the oily Portuguese half- 
castes, prevalent among the bureaucrats. 

One of these oily Portuguese was M. de Souza, who occupied 
the lucrative position of Secretary of War. Landrost Opperman, 
a "Peruvian," was in charge of the prison since, although he 
was a commandant, he was too fat to fight. Both these officials 
refused to listen to Churchill's well-founded complaints. As a 
noncombatant war correspondent his detention in a military 
prison was so much the less justified as the Boers had made it a 
rule to release all British civilians. The upkeep of the many fire- 
men, telegraphists, and railway workers, who had been cap- 
tured was too expensive. Winston had not fired a shot; indeed 
he had been captured unarmed. He tried to get in touch with 
Mr. Macrum, the American consul in Pretoria, representing the 
"protective power." But this gentleman was so fanatically pro- 
Boer that he refused to interfere; in fact he found it difficult to 
discharge his diplomatic duties, and was soon replaced by Mr. 
Adelbert S. Hay, a young and resourceful diplomat who did 
much good during the fall of Pretoria. 

A batch of other civilians, railway men, were just about to be 
sent home. Winston wrote two letters, addressing them to the 
Secretary of War and to the Commander in Chief, General Piet 



Joubert. He explained his legal position, and demanded to be 
released with his fellow English civilians. Receiving no answer 
within a few days, he lost his patience and made good his es- 
cape. On the next day, incidentally, a young lady of the best 
Pretoria society and the Pretorians prided themselves that 
their best society was very goodwas arrested for having 
aided and abetted the escape of a noted English war corre- 
spondent. Winston Churchill has always been too tactful to 
acknowledge such help, if, indeed, he did receive it. He left 
the prison one day before the State Attorney's answer was de- 
livered. . . . The generals had referred Winston's letter to him. 
The gist of Smuts' reply was: "Winston Churchill a noncom- 
batant? Impossible!" 

Winston Churchill's flamboyant reports on the war were, of 
course, known to Smuts who acted as his own press chief, and 
as a most resourceful one. For the first time the Transvaal saw a 
propaganda campaign on a world-wide scale, not the least im- 
portant part of which was the planting of misleading rumors in 
the South African and English press. By the same token Smuts 
was also "chief of information" spy master Kruger's handy 
man, steering the old man between the rocks of spelling and 
grammar as the author of Presidential decrees and messages, 
and finally in charge of supplying the fighting forces. He him- 
self supervised the dispatch of the guns from the Pretoria forts 
to the battle lines. The German officers in command of the Boer 
artillery made this job a little difficult. But Smuts overrode the 
"technical difficulties" which they pleaded. 

He worked incessantly as was his habit, but quietly as ever. 
His sovereign calm affected the capital. As the British columns 
approached Johannesburg, Pretoria was already awaiting its 
doom, but in quiet dignity. Kruger still spent his days on the 
stoep of his cottage, smoking, spitting, gulping down innumer- 
able cups of coffee. His burghers copied the example of Kruger 
and Smuts. They were completely shut off from the world, both 
by Smuts' rigid censorship and by the fighting armies around 
them, but this isolation was exactly what they had always 



longed for. A few turbulent sessions in the Volksraad evoked 
local interest. The fact that an enemy army of some 150,000 
men was slowly but steadily approaching left them undis- 

The men in command racked their brains to find a way out of 
the perilous situation. Should they blow up the gold mines in 
Johannesburg? The mine owners, after all, the Jews and capi- 
talists, were guilty of all the trouble. If they saw their millions 
vanishing, they would be quick to bring pressure on the British 
government to conclude peace, peace at any price, in order to 
rebuild the mines and resume business as usual. 

Botha was against it, and Smuts, after some hesitation, agreed 
with him. The Boers, after all, still held the Rand. If they 
caused wanton damage they would compromise their moral po- 
sition in the world. Nevertheless, in Johannesburg, Judge Kock, 
the same who had presided over the Edgar trial, tried a little 
dynamiting of his own. Botha, who meanwhile had advanced to 
the rank of military commander in chief, ordered the mischief- 
maker arrested. 

After the capture of Johannesburg by the English the situa- 
tion changed. Now Smuts himself, in an attack of fury, sent a 
force of dynamiters to the Rand. He did not reckon with the 
local commandant, Dr. Krause. Twice in their running feud the 
State Attorney had bested the Public Prosecutor. First, when 
Smuts got the government job for which Dr. Krause had been 
the preferred candidate, secondly, when Smuts left his antago- 
nist holding the bag after the abortive attempt to construct a 
sensational spy case. Now Dr. Krause's time for revenge had 
come. He arrested Smuts' dynamiters. Since the Pretoria gov- 
ernment no longer exercised any authority in occupied Johan- 
'nesburg, Dr. Krause, later to become a reputed K.C., was in a 
position to save the Rand. 

The fate of Pretoria was decided by the fall of Johannes- 
burg. Kruger fled to Machadodorp, a village on a hill near the 
Portuguese border, and set up government in a few railway 
cars on a siding. Botha decided to defend every step of the 
way to Portuguese East Africa, the last unoccupied part of the 



Transvaal Smuts remained in town. His was the hardest job: 
the definite liquidation. 

With a handful of adherents, he tried a few abortive sorties 
against the enrolling British Army. But this was more of a fool- 
hardy gesture than grand strategy. He had to comfort his con- 
science. When this was done, he went at his real task. He had 
to extract the government's treasure from the National Bank. 
The directors of the bank politely but determinedly refused to 
hand over the government funds to the State Attorney, who 
had no official legitimation for receiving them. To test their at- 
titude, Smuts had originally only asked for the 400 in cash 
which formed a very small part of the entire hoard. When he 
did not get it, he called in his entire detective corps, and 
forced the directors at the point of fifty revolvers, to hand over 
to him everything: the 400 in cash, half a million in gold 
bullion, and 25,000 war funds, at the disposal of his friend 

The gold hoard was immediately stowed away in the next 
train, which was the last one to the Portuguese border and 
which did, in fact, escape the shells from Lord Roberts' how- 
itzers already pounding the railway line in an attempt to 
destroy it. 

By that time Pretoria was in a state of chaos. Whatever au- 
thority remained was divided between the absent government's 
last representative, Smuts, and the self-constituted Committee 
for Peace and Order. But neither peace nor order could be 
maintained. Pretoria had lost its poise. While every burgher 
who could trekked out of town, men and women loaded like 
pack animals with their most precious belongings, some with 
household furniture, others with immense quantities of food- 
stuff, the great building near the railway station, the govern- 
ment storehouse, where food for the fighting forces was being 
kept, was looted. The State Attorney did nothing to prevent the 
looting. Indeed, Smuts had thrown open the doors of the store- 
house. Rather than see his supplies fall into the hands of the 
British, he preferred to see his burghers helping themselves to 
the provisions. For hours the people of Pretoria, women and 



children, Kafirs, burghers, shopkeepers, and ladies and gentle- 
men who were certainly not in need of food, mobbed the build- 
ing, ripping apart the zinc walls, fighting for their loot, and 
staggering away, loaded with everything they could carry. The 
police looked on passively. The only restriction that was rigidly 
enforced was the forbidding of snapshots. Such photographs 
would not have made good propaganda. As the days went on, 
the Jewish shops, unfortunately also located in the neighbor- 
hood of the railroad station, were broken into and emptied by 
the crowd. 

But Pretoria lost no time in tidying itself to receive the con- 
querors. The Pretoria Club, the center of the Boer notables, 
was empty, whereas the English Club was the scene of a jubi- 
lant banquet. Shopkeepers suddenly displayed pictures of the 
Queen, the Prince of Wales, Lord Roberts, and Joe Chamber- 
lain. Mr. Hay, the new American consul, betook himself to the 
prison for captured English officers, who, after Churchill's es- 
cape, had been removed from their comfortable abode in the 
State Model School to a depressing quarter outside the town, 
where they were now kept in fenced dark dungeons. Mr. Hay 
besought the twenty imprisoned officers to accompany him to 
Waterval, a camp where 5,000 British soldiers, prisoners, were 
herded under atrocious conditions. The officers should keep 
their men under control lest they get out of hand now that the 
hour of liberation was rapidly approaching. The English pris- 
oners behaved themselves perfectly. They cheered, when, on 
June 4, the advance guard of Lord Roberts' forces entered 
Pretoria: A hatless young civilian with that speed with which a 
born journalist pursues a scoop, raced through the streets to 
greet his old prisonmates. He was accompanied by his cousin, 
the Duke of Marlborough. 

Smuts escaped into the hills of Magaliesberg in the Western 
Transvaal to join the remnants of De la Rey's forces. To him, 
the fall of Pretoria was a blessing in disguise. The war was 
practically over. But his fight was just beginning. 



Chapter 9 COMMANDO 


in the month of September, 1900, after less than eleven months 
of war. Kruger, a fugitive on the Portuguese border, countered 
the annexation with a manifesto of protest. With this last, 
empty gesture of stubbornness the old man left South Africa. 
He took a six months' vacation to promote the Boer cause in 
Europe. After his departure on a Dutch vessel, the engine of 
the government train got up steam, and the rolling refugee 
government moved a few miles farther in the direction of the 
Portuguese border. 

Fuimus Troes: the Boers had been. But the last die-hards, 
Steyn, the fugitive President of the Free State; De Wet, his 
commander in chief; Botha, who still raided the Eastern Trans- 
vaal, and De la Rey with his new right-hand man Smuts, from 
the Western Transvaal met at Cypherfontein, and swore they 
would not give in. They determined that each should go his 
own way. De Wet and Smuts should go into the Cape Colony 
to arouse the Cape Dutch. From their revolution alone a re- 
vival of the shattered cause was still to be hoped for. 

De Wet twice tried to cross the border of the Colony. Both 
times the fire-eating martinet was ignominiously beaten back. 
As for Smuts, the diary of Lord Milner contains the following 
entry: "De Wet made his last incursion into the Cape Colony 
in February 1901. Hunted for several weeks, he barely made 
his escape. His mantle fell upon the worthy shoulders of Smuts, 
who, after riding through the Orange River Colony, pene- 
trated within a hundred miles of Cape Town itself. Constantly 
hunted, but never caught by British columns, with extraordi- 
nary cunning and determination, he maintained himself in the 
heart of the Colony until the end of the war." 

It reads so easily. . . . 

It was a pilgrimage through hell and high water, yet to 



Smuts, as he recalled this tempestuous time in later years, it 
was the greatest "boyish" pleasure of his life. While it lasted, 
the joy of discovering his own physical fitness, his entire ab- 
sence of fear, his resourcefulness in practical matters, above all 
the fact that he was a man of action and not only of thought- 
all these new sources of strength which he found in himself 
gave him a new lease on life. But they were overshadowed by 
his separation from his wife. Mrs. Smuts was sent to Maritz- 
burg, though not to the detention camp which made the name 
of this little town ominous to the Boers, and to a great many 
English people as well. She could live with her children an un- 
disturbed life in a house of her own, and it was there that she 
first met Miss Hobhouse, a middle-aged woman who had come 
from London to look after the unfortunate Boer women and 
children, and whose public life climaxed when she became a 
traitor to England as the First World War broke out. 

Early in 1901, Smuts, now the chief of his own commando, 
took the Modderfontein Range from the English, and held it 
against repeated counterattacks. In fact, this was thus far the 
only success on the credit side of the Boer ledger. Everywhere 
else the last fighting Boers were harassed by English troops. 
Kitchener established his net of blockhouses which finally de- 
cided the war. 

In May the Boer commandants met to review their perilous 
position in a secluded farm in the Transvaal. They decided to 
ask Kruger's advice. Chivalrously, the British allowed the out- 
law Smuts to get into contact with his absentee President. 
The news from Europe was bad. Dr. Leyds had been cold- 
shouldered in Berlin. Wilhelm II received him with bad grace. 
He was obviously angry that the Transvaal had ordered some 
Creuzot guns. "We are the gun merchants of the world!" he 
said. What he did not say was that he had already made a 
complete volte-face, going so far as to send Lord Roberts a 
complete strategic master plan of how to conquer South Africa, 
a plan that duly landed in the British war lord's wastepaper 
basket. Kruger himself had been informed in his exile at 
Utrecht that he would be arrested the moment he tried to cross 



the German border. But even this humiliation at the hands of 
the Germans did not temper his spiteful hatred of the British. 
To the kibitzer, now watching the battle from the safe distance 
of 6,000 miles, no gamble was too high. He insisted on the con- 
tinuing of the suicidal struggle "until the last means of resist- 
ance are exhausted." 

On June 20, the spokesmen of the refugee government met 
again at Waterval. They discussed Kruger's order. The die- 
hards, Steyn and De Wet, won out. Smuts was already back in the 
field. But President Steyn was able to produce a letter from 
him, stating that if the Boers had to give up at that moment it 
would be with the intention of resuming their fight as soon as 
England was in difficulties. 

The men at Waterval, however, were determined to continue 
the struggle. Now the commandos concentrated on guerrilla 
warfare. Smuts took to it like a duck to water. It was a game of 
thinking and acting at once, truly a game after Smuts' heart. 
The guerrilla warfare of the commandos demanded a high de- 
gree of mobility, incessant surprise action, the harassing of the 
enemy without ever being trapped, destroying his means of 
communication, railroad lines, bridges, and telegraph wires, 
clamping down on isolated small bodies of English soldiers, 
being everywhere and nowhere; in fact, guerrilla warfare de- 
pended on ruses rather than on rules. Smuts could play his life- 
long favorite game of matching his wits against any comer. But 
it was not the English alone that he had to fight against. The 
weather and the ground, rains, streams, hills, jungles, deserts, 
all were his enemies. He had to fight against starvation, thirst, 
tropical days and ice-cold nights, in which two men slept under 
one blanket, when indeed there were blankets, to steal a little 
warmth from one another's body. More often than not they 
fought in rags. Gradually they were reduced to stripping killed or 
captured Englishmen of their uniforms. They were forced to re- 
lease their prisoners since they could neither feed nor transport 
them. Most of them were released naked, and most Boers, when 
captured, were found wearing English uniforms. This was a 
.dangerous aspect of the game. In accordance with interna- 



tional law, Kitchener had decreed the capital penalty for those 
captured in English uniforms. Actually, however, the prisoners 
always escaped with their lives. The General understood the 
necessity; they must be clad in one way or another. 

With a force of three hundred and fifty men, Smuts ventured 
into the Cape Colony. His main objectives were to detract some 
British troops from the North, to see whether a raid on a larger 
scale would be possible, and, above all, to arouse the Cape 
Dutch. In this supreme aim, however, he failed. He was able 
to collect some three thousand rebels who volunteered to join 
with his original handful of Transvaalers. Nine-tenths of them 
were British subjects, committing high treason. But the big up- 
heaval failed completely. Although the Colonial Dutch sympa- 
thized with their brothers in the North, they were much too 
cautious and too phlegmatic to be lured into adventure, even 
by the now most renowned son of their own soil, the son of 
Jacobus Abraham Smuts. 

Smuts showed his habitual indifference to the failure, al- 
though it spelled the complete breakdown of his only reason- 
able hope. He did not give in. Now he had three to four thou- 
sand men behind him; many of the newcomers had two horses 
at their disposal. And how many British and Colonial troops 
opposed this formidable body? About fifty thousand, if Smuts' 
spies reported the truth. And his intelligence service, relying on 
Kafirs, was rarely misinformed. He felt that the odds were even. 

In forced marches, ascending steep mountains, crossing 
swollen rivers, relying on the horses' instinct when human in- 
genuity failed, always harassed by General French's columns, 
often by two or three of them in concerted action, constantly 
worried by the shortage of clothes and food, Smuts on the war- 
path pressed forward. 

Early in September he entered the Colony east of Alival 
North, but he was already swinging southward when his pur- 
suers arrived. Some of his men were ambushed at Dordrecht, 
but their leader was seen almost at the same time near James- 
town. Colonel Gorringe engaged and defeated him north of 



Tarkastad. Smuts escaped and, in his turn, ambushed a detach- 
ment of the 17th Lancers. Only a few of the surprised men 
survived. Some of them reported that the guerrilla leader had 
personally behaved well, as a chivalrous soldier. But he had 
been unable to restrain his men from what an English under- 
statement calls "unworthy acts." 

Probably "Mannie" Maritz was at the head of those who 
committed the unworthy acts. A former Johannesburg police- 
man, famous for his unbridled cruelty even among the ill- 
reputed Zarps, he followed Smuts, the anti-English leader, with 
doglike faithfulness. But there must be now and then a little 
fun in guerrilla warfare, and Maritz, then as later, had his full 
share of it. Smuts had no objections. Toward the end of his 
campaign he promoted, on his own authority, the ex-policeman 
to the rank of general. 

Smuts* chief lieutenant was van de Venter, later General Sir 
Jacobus van de Venter, and General Smuts' assistant in the East 
African campaign during the First World War. In their days in 
common as guerrilla leaders van de Venter was probably the 
only man with whom Smuts shared his plans. For the rest he 
remained inaccessible, even in this interlude of his life when 
for the first time he experienced real comradeship, hardship 
and shared danger, and an abiding sense of mutual trust. 

He never disclosed his plans to his men. They were never 
allowed to know where the commandant would take them next 
or why they fought here and escaped there. Strangely, the 
Boers, the most stubborn individualists in the world, inbred 
scorners of any established authority, roughnecks among whom 
each insisted that he was as good as the next man, if not better 
strangely, these Boers obeyed Smuts' every word without 
question. Probably they were impressed by his complete ab- 
sence of fear. The commandant acted frequently as his own 
scout. When friendly Kafirs warned him not to venture in a 
direction where English patrols might be lying in wait for him, 
Smuts halted his men, and spied out the dangerous spot alone. 
Once he was poisoned by eating "Hottentot bread/' an other- 
wise harmless fruit of the forest which was toxic in spring. The 



great botanist had forgotten this detail. He fell gravely ill and 
had to be carried or tied on to his horse. But the commandos 
marched on. 

The refugee government promoted him Commandant Gen- 
eral in supreme command of the Boer forces in the Cape. He 
took his new dignity in his stride. But when at last he became a 
first-class burgher of a non-existent Republic, endowed with 
the franchise for the non-existent Volksraad, his measure of 
happiness was full. 

His last adventure led him through Namaqualand, the desert 
country in the far west of the Cape Colony. He was set on 
conquering the copper mining village of O'okiep, held by a 
small British garrison whose commander, Colonel Shelton, con- 
temptuously refused Smuts' appeal to surrender. The defend- 
ers beat off two assaults by Smuts, carried out on April 6 and 
12. The British, in turn, challenged their besiegers to a football 
match. The question whether to accept the invitation was hotly 
debated among the men of the commando. It took these loqua- 
cious soldiers a full fortnight of argument to arrive at no deci- 
sion. On April 26, 1902, the question was suddenly dwarfed. 
Smuts received an invitation together with a safe conduct 
signed "D. Haig, Colonel" to join peace negotiations which had 
begun the very day he had for the last time hurled his men 
against O'okiep. 

First he hesitated. He took a solitary walk in the veld to 
think over the new situation. He still had two thousand six 
hundred seasoned men under his command. The other com- 
mandos, he guessed, must for their part muster about seven 
hundred all told. With this formidable force the war might drag 
on indefinitely. His men would hate to hear that all must come 
to an end. This was the last boyish thought of Smuts' life. 

He packed his saddlebag, not forgetting the Greek Testa- 
ment, and a much thumbed volume of Kant's Critique of Pure 
Reason, his most faithful companions during the two glorious 
years of raids. Off he went to the peace conference. On his way, 
he visited the old farm near Malmesbury. His father, it is said, 
did not recognize him. The thin, lanky youngster with the hag- 



gard cheeks and hungry eyes was gone. So strong was the im- 
pact of the war on Smuts, although primarily an intellectual 
impact, that it transformed him physically as well, and com- 
pletely. Now his chest was broad, his skin reddened; he held 
himself erect. A yellow beard covered his chin and he strode 
with a firm step. He was ready to shoulder untold responsibili- 
ties. He had left his youth behind. 


Part Two 



gorgeous uniform as Commander in Chief in South Africa, 
mounted on a black charger, surrounded by his Pathan body- 
guard in their oriental splendor, he met Smuts' train at Kron- 
staad and continued the journey with him. 

Smuts was not impressed by the display of imperial pomp. 
Emerging from a bitter campaign which he and his men had 
been forced to conduct mostly in the stolen uniforms of the 
killed or captured enemy, he found Kitchener's glamour rather 
misplaced. Moreover, he was suspicious. Surely, by showering 
him with honors, the British wanted to soften him up for the 
forthcoming negotiations. Why, otherwise, would they have 
dispatched a troopship to Port Nolloth to bring him to Cape 
Town with a military escort befitting his rank as Commandant 
General, when his army was barely still in existence? Why did 
they insist on putting a battleship, lying off Simon's Town, at 
his disposal as a residence during his one week stay in Cape 
Town? Why in God's name had Lord French, a notoriously 
tough customer, comported himself so mildly and so amiably 
when he appeared at Matjesfontein station to wish his foe of 
the day before bon voyage to Pretoria? Perhaps Smuts should 
not have let Lord French get away in his damned armored 
train, as he had once foolishly done in the days of battle. 

Well, the battle was over. But qot for Smuts. He peppered 
Kitchener with reproaches about his harsh conduct of the war 



as the two rode together through the barren land of the Trans- 
vaal, the curtains drawn over the windows of the compart- 
ment, lest the Commandant General should be disturbed by 
the crowds that gathered at every stop. Indeed, the victor had 
to defend his victory under the accusing finger of the van- 
quished. Only an English general would have taken this absurd 
situation with a smile. Kitchener did smile. He was anxious to 
get away from South Africa, the grave of so many military 
reputations; the war was over for all practical purposes, the 
peace must be signed, and that was all that counted. In fact, 
Kitchener had for a long time been trying to bring the war to a 
rapid and mutually honorable conclusion. At the end of March, 
1902, while his army drove on relentlessly, he suggested to the 
government in London that it guarantee the Boers full self- 
government within two or three years, provided that they be- 
haved themselves. He hated the idea of a dictated peace. He 
was anxious lest the ultimate reconciliation of the two white 
races in South Africa should be definitely precluded. Besides, 
he wanted peace before the approaching coronation of King 
Edward VII. But Natal, where people had had ample experi- 
ence with their Boer fellow citizens, demanded an uncondi- 
tional surrender of the foe as a prelude to any concessions, and 
other parts of the Empire, primarily Australia, who had made 
great sacrifices in the Boer War, backed up Natal. 

Kitchener's actual negotiations with the Boers started on 
April 12. Smuts was six hundred miles away assaulting O'okiep 
on the very day that Schalk-Burger, Kruger's understudy, with 
a few other Boer leaders, graciously were received in Kitch- 
ener's house in Pretoria, to read the seven peace conditions. 
The gist of it was although not expressed in so many words 
that the Republics should remain independent, if they prom- 
ised to reform. Regretfully, Kitchener saw no basis of negoti- 
ation in this proposal, nor could he commit himself to any 
particular time when the Boers should receive self-government. 
"Is there no means of ending this war without depriving us of 
our self-respect?" asked Steyn, who had a marked predilection 
for empty, great words. Tactfully, Kitchener assured him that 



men who had fought so well could not lose their self-respect 
by facing the inevitable. He carried his sympathy so far as not 
to use a strong bargaining argument. The day before he had 
received the information that General Ian Hamilton had 
smashed the bulk of De la Key's forces under General Kemp at 
Roodeval. Kitchener felt certain that the Boers, maintaining 
excellent communications by heliograph, must already be aware 
of their grave setback. 

On the next day, a Sunday, Milner arrived in Pretoria. He 
took up quarters in the Old Residency. His arrival gave the 
negotiations a new direction. He was firmly convinced that 
British sovereignty, founded on an acknowledged military con- 
quest, could alone be the basis of peace negotiations. Already 
he had long-devised plans for resettlement, reconciliation, and 
reconstruction. But he required a certain length of time under 
a modified Crown Colony government until the political storm 
had blown over. He did not agree with the concessions Kitch- 
ener planned. He was not ready to sacrifice the British in South 
Africa, and still less the Dutch loyalists, in order to save the 
faces of the bitter-enders, who were now in a desperate plight. 
Each day their numbers diminished, each day their prestige 
dwindled. But each day, on the other hand, the strength of the 
National Scouts and the Boer volunteers on the English side 
increased. That was why Milner disliked Kitchener's vague 
promises and unnecessary concessions. The general's tendency 
to avoid awkward details would certainly compromise the ac- 
complished victory, and render the task of peacemaking im- 
measurably more difficult. 

On Monday, April 14, Milner occupied his seat at the con- 
ference table. He introduced himself by saying that, in spite of 
any rumors to the contrary, he was most anxious to see an end 
of the bloodshed, and a settlement honorable to all. It was a 
duty to humanity to repair the damage. 

President Steyn, ever evasive, wanted new British proposals 
to submit to the burghers in the field, not to the entire Boer 
population. He would present them not as his own suggestion, 
but as the terms of the conqueror. However, on the same after- 



noon he weakened and decided to ask for an armistice in order 
to consult his own people, and for safe conduct for one of their 
delegates from Europe; obviously the understudy wanted to 
burden Kruger himself with the responsibility for swallowing 
defeat. Even conciliatory Kitchener declared that an armis- 
tice was premature, and that the safe conduct had already been 
refused by the government in London. However, he would in- 
vite the British Government to formulate new terms. 

Milner had the measure of his opponents. On Wednesday he 
sent a "secret, private, and personal" cable to Chamberlain, in- 
forming the Colonial Secretary that the result of the negotia- 
tions evidently depended more on personal considerations than 
on the exact nature of the terms. "Three-quarters of the Boer 
representatives," he wrote, "want to give in, but no one wants 
to take the lead in doing so. Each is manoeuvring to put some- 
one else in front, and if they finally decide to give way they will 
try to make it appear that they are acting under pressure from 
the burghers in the field. In fact these men will do exactly as 
their leaders secretly desire. The Free Staters are much less 
friendly than the Transvaalers. Judge Hertzog (whose name 
appeared for the first time in an official document) is probably 
quite irreconcilable; he is said to have great influence with 
President Steyn. . . . But my greatest difficulty is Lord Kitch- 
ener," Milner continued. "He is extremely adroit in his man- 
agement of negotiations, particularly as to what he gives away. 
If he knew as an absolute certainty that His Majesty's govern- 
ment would not yield on certain points, no one would be more 
skilful in steering the Boers away from these points, and guid- 
ing the discussions into directions in which some concessions 
are possible. Lord Kitchener even suggests that a definite date 
should be fixed for introduction of self-government, exactly 
what Schalk-Burger demanded. But Lieutenant-Governor Major 
Goold-Adams in the Orange Free State, and Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor Fraser of Natal were horror stricken by that idea. They 
warned me that Kitchener would wreck the whole result of the 
war. Responsible government can only be given when all traces 
of racial animosity will have disappeared." 



The cleavage between Milner and Kitchener was politely 
concealed. But to Smuts it was plainly visible when he entered 
the negotiations. He was determined to carry them to a success- 
ful conclusion. He went right to the core of the matter. He 
brushed aside President Steyn, who was already annoying Mil- 
ner with his incessant parrot cry of independence, just as 
Kruger had done three years earlier at Bloemfontein. He sim- 
ply asked whether the Boers were expected to become Brit- 
ish citizens. Milner and Kitchener referred to the terms of 
Middleburg, to a peace offer the London government had made 
a year before, and which had been rejected by the Boers with- 
out explanation. Milner pointed out that the British negotiators 
were not authorized to discuss on any other basis. Kitchener 
added that, a month previously, President Steyn had under- 
taken to consult the Boer people on the definite proposals of 
the British Government. If the Boers now refused to discuss 
those terms, His Majesty's government should be informed at 
once. Chamberlain, indeed, was informed, and he answered 
that the Middleburg terms still stood. The Boer delegates re- 
tired to consult their electors. 

In Vereeniging Union, a little village on the Vaal River where 
Kitchener had ordered tents to be erected, the Boer delegations 
met: thirty men from the Transvaal, thirty from the Free State. 
The Free Staters were in a comparatively easy position. Their 
state was essentially Dutch. Whatever happened, it would not 
lose its national character. Matters in the Transvaal were differ- 
ent. Already the majority of the population, a short time before 
still the despised and disfranchised uitlanders, had taken over. 
They were assisted by the National Scouts, those Boers who 
had sided with the English during the war, and by the peace- 
minded part of the Boer people. If matters could not be settled, 
it might easily happen that the fighters on the veld, the stanch- 
est of the Boers, the protagonists of independence, would be- 
come outlaws and be crushed piecemeal. Then, indeed, the 
Transvaal would be definitely lost. Hence the delegates from 
the Transvaal were not for surrender, but for a compromise. 



Generals De la Key, Beyers, and De Wet described condi- 
tions in their districts. Their reports were contradictory. De la 
Rey was not afraid of starvation, the gravest peril, since, in his 
opinion, he could get all the food he wanted from the enemy. 
Beyers admitted that in his section the Kafirs were in open 
revolt against the Boers. (The Boers invaded the native kraals 
and stole the food, since they believed that it was all right for 
the blacks to starve, but never for a white man. ) De Wet was 
as cantankerous as ever. 

Smuts gave a cautious, but on the whole pessimistic account 
of the state of affairs in the Cape Colony. The Colony, he as- 
serted, would not rise. The ultimate outcome would be decided 
in the Republics. 

Finally, F. W. Reitz, the Secretary of State in the defunct 
Transvaal government, made an appeal to reason. At his be- 
hest, three conditions were stipulated and next day proposed 
to Milner and Kitchener as peace terms: first, the Republics 
were prepared to surrender their independence in foreign rela- 
tions. Secondly, they wished to retain internal self-government 
under British supervision. Third, they were willing to give up 
parts of their territory, meaning Swaziland, whose administra- 
tion was costly and unprofitable, as well as accursed Johannes- 
burg into the bargain. Moreover, they offered to enter into a 
defensive alliance with Great Britain. 

The five men entrusted to offer these counter proposals to the 
British, the Generals Botha, De Wet, De la Rey, Hertzog, and 
Smuts, were perfectly aware that there was not the slightest 
chance of their half-baked suggestions being accepted. Ac- 
cordingly, Smuts introduced them with the cautious explana- 
tion that they represented no definite new proposals, but only 
a new basis of discussion. 

But even Kitchener, bent on achieving a rapid settlement, 
found the counter proposals impossible. "It would be much bet- 
ter to write down something practical/' he suggested. Milner 
offered to refer the new proposals to his government, but he 
distinctly warned that they were likely to hamper, and not 
facilitate further negotiations. 



Instantly Smuts pointed out part three: the offer to surrender 
parts of the Transvaal. Did that hamper negotiations? Milner 
coolly asked whether this offer meant that one part of the 
Transvaal should be a Crown Colony, the other a protected 
Republic. "Impossible," explained Kitchener. "Impossible on 
military grounds. We would be at war again in a year/' 

After the luncheon interval, the Boer lawyers, Milner re- 
corded, fought for a forlorn hope with infinite ingenuity. Smuts 
fell back on Kitchener's suggestion: "We must have something 
practical to go on." The most practical thing would be his in- 
formal meeting with the English plenipotentiaries. Kitchener 
had frequently spoken with the Boer delegates outside the con- 
ference room, and off the record. Now they held a brief con- 
ference of three. No longer hampered by the presence of the 
bully De Wet and the snakelike assistant legal adviser, Hert- 
zog, Smuts could make his English partners understand that 
the Boers did not expect acceptance of their proposals, but 
merely wished to find out how far the ultimate British conces- 
sions would go. 

Milner and Kitchener drew up their final document. It in- 
volved unconditional surrender, but it included concessions 
partly of a sentimental nature, to soothe the pride of the Boer 
leaders, and partly of a financial character. This document was 
handed over to the Boer generals when they reappeared at four 
o'clock in the afternoon. 

Another heated controversy ensued over the responsibility 
of the Boer signatories if their burghers should decline the 
agreement. De Wet, his face dark red, every unruly hair in his 
patriarch's beard trembling with indignation, his fist banging 
the table, refused to accept any responsibility whatsoever if he 
should not be backed up by his people. Kitchener once more 
proved his diplomacy. He suggested that the "military element" 
should withdraw from further discussion. Thus he excluded 
himself, but he also got De Wet out of the way. The civilians 
continued alone. On the side of the Boers were Smuts, a few 
weeks before still a fiery guerrilla leader, and his assistant Hert- 



zog, who was also a general but had never been regarded as a 
military element. 

Milner noted: "The next two days were spent in hard con- 
flict with the Boer lawyers. They fought stoutly, though they 
won few concessions. At last an acceptable formula was f ound." 

But before this formula was found, Smuts drove a hard bar- 
gain for every penny. Already the abortive Middleburg pro- 
posals, he insisted, had committed Great Britain to pay all 
debts, including war debts, of the two bankrupt Republics. The 
inference was that the amount of these sums to be paid by 
the British taxpayer for the war the Boers had conducted 
against them, should only be limited by the appetite of the 

Both Kitchener, who was back in the conference, and Milner 
demanded to know the limit. 

Smuts was mute. 

"A million pounds?" Milner suggested. 

Smuts sensed a bargain: "That . . . would . . . not . . . meet 
. . . the case." 

Kitchener, smiling: "Will two million meet it?" 

"It is not possible to gauge the amount," De Wet raged. 

Milner showed distinct signs of boredom. The afternoon was 
dragging on. It was getting late, perhaps too late. 

Kitchener, it seemed, visualized another year in South Africa, 
to be spent in mopping-up operations which he disdained. He 
whispered to Smuts: "Come out, come out for a while." 

The two men paced up and down in front of the house 
through the dusk. Finally Kitchener spoke. He had a personal 
opinion to convey to Smuts. In two years, he believed, the Eng- 
lish Liberals would come to power, and they would certainly 
grant South Africa a constitution self-government. 

"That is a very important pronouncement," replied Smuts 
thoughtfully. "If one could be sure. . . ." 

No, Kitchener could give no assurance whatsoever. But he 
did honestly believe that this was in the cards. 

Gladstone, the great Liberal, had retreated, panic-stricken, 
after Majuba. Mr. Campbell-Bannerman, the present Liberal 



leader, had publicly protested against the harsh treatment 
meted out to the Boers during the war. His lieutenant, young 
Mr. Lloyd George, had used still more burning eloquence to 
the same purpose. And there was this newcomer among the 
Liberals, Winston Churchill, who toured all England and the 
United States with a magic lantern illustrating a lecture prais- 
ing in truly magic words the splendid resistance of the Boers, 
and demanding magnanimity in their treatment. 

Kitchener and Smuts returned. Smuts appeared convinced. 
Still, he insisted upon three million and not a penny less, which 
the victor was to pay to the vanquished in order to repair the 
loser's ruined credit. Kitchener, eager to have the last word 
without 'Milner's interference, and still more keen to get away 
from it all, said: "You demand a large sum." But he nodded. 
He concluded that the extra two million could probably be de- 
ducted from the sum allowed for re-establishing farms. "But 
they did not mind this argument at all," he cabled to Mr. 
Broderick, the Secretary for War. "They only wished their re- 
ceipts paid/' 

Finally, Milner, too, understood that the Boers' credit and 
honor depended on their being able to repay the worthless 
scraps of paper they called "receipts." An English statesman 
does not kick a dead dog. The peace of Vereeniging was drawn 

Years later friends congratulated General Smuts on his fore- 
sight. It was great statesmanship to bank on Kitchener's neces- 
sarily irresponsible prediction, which had finally tipped the 

Had it, indeed, tipped the scales? General Smuts smiled. The 
conference had had to reach an agreement, Kitchener or no 

The struggle was over but the battle was just beginning. 
Smuts had a terribly difficult time to make the agreement pal- 
atable to the sixty delegates, who met for the last time in their 
tents at Vereeniging, most of them sulking like Achilles in his 
tent. Their independence was gone. The loss was irretrievable. 



But they would not omit the funeral orations at the grave of 
their Republic. For two days they debated. It was shadow box- 
ing. Even the irreconcilables felt it. Yet De Wet repeated for 
the hundredth time that he was for continuing the war. The 
word peace simply did not fit into his bull head. Hertzog car- 
ried water on both shoulders. For the first time he delivered 
one of those: on the one hand . . . but on the other . . . perora- 
tions on the strength of which, and due to their mystic-sound- 
ing quality of unintelligibility, he subsequently rode to power. 
De la Rey, curt, intense, with subdued passion in his dark eyes, 
hated surrender. But since the end had come, an honorable end 
was better than a dishonorable one, the only alternative. He 
finished on his habitual Christian note: "Lord, Thy will not 
mine be done/' Botha argued soundly and sensibly for accept- 
ing the compromise in order to save the nation. 

Smuts carried the day. He hesitated to speak since he was 
only the legal expert, not a delegate. He would not even sign 
the peace he had extracted from the British. But he had to say 
this much: from the military point of view the war could be 
carried on. "But we represent the blood and tears of the entire 
nation. . . . Comrades, we decided to stand to the bitter end. 
Let us now, like men, admit that the end has come for us. ... 
The result of that struggle we leave in God's hands. It is His 
will to lead the people of South Africa through defeat and 
humiliation and even the valley of the shadow of death to a 
better future and a brighter day." He had already, with all due 
deference to the Deity, made up his mind to help Providence 
in order to shorten the march through the valley of shadow and 

One hour before Milner's ultimatum expired, the peace treaty 
was adopted by fifty-four votes to six. The grey beards wept. 





fortable, broad and bright road through which the Boers had 
ever trekked. The period of reconstruction set in on the very 
day the peace of Vereeniging was signed. Milner, now Viscount 
Milner, High Commissioner of the Cape Colony, Governor of 
the new Crown Colonies, threw himself into the herculean task 
of, as he expressed it at a meeting in Johannesburg, "repairing 
the ravages of war, and restarting the new Colonies on a higher 
plan of civilization." 

He began his work in an atmosphere of almost unbearable 
tension. The Boers could not believe that their war was lost 
and their independence gone. The commandos stubbornly in- 
sisted that they were unconquered in the field. Yet they had to 
listen to their commandants, who, according to agreement, ex- 
plained the situation to the ranks and supervised each man as 
he stepped forward and handed over his rifle to a British 

Botha, the ex-commander in chief, discharged this unpleas- 
ant task with his habitual nonchalance which concealed the 
strong emotions of a highly sensitive man. The bulky, deeply 
tanned six-footer, whom his friends called the Maharajah, did 
not hesitate to shake hands with the British officer in charge. 
He sent Lord Kitchener his compliments. Indeed, he was 
strongly impressed by the hard-hitting, yet peace-minded Eng- 
lish general. There was that inexplicable feeling between them: 

De Wet, the martinet of the Free State, growled the pre- 
scribed address to his men. Then he left abruptly. He could 
not witness the actual gesture of surrender. 

Smuts could not bring himself even to return to his com- 
mando in the Cape Colony. It was impossible to tell the men 
that the free life, the life of a bird of prey, was over. Neither 



Milner nor Kitchener insisted on his complying with the proper 
formalities. Both understood that Smuts was very much a man 
in his own right. 

Besides, the two British leaders had their hands full. Their 
gravest handicap was the complete breakdown of the railway 
system, caused by the war, and particularly by the guerrillas. 
Kitchener demanded military priority to get the troops out of 
the country as quickly as possible. Milner needed the few facili- 
ties left intact to distribute food and medicine among the deso- 
late population. This was their last conflict. It was solved within 
three weeks after Vereeniging. In this surprisingly short time, 
the transport home of the troops was in full swing; the districts 
suffering the worst were relieved, and the surrender of the 
commandos was accomplished. A month before Milner had 
written to his friend Major Hanbury- Williams: "If Kitchener is 
going to make the bed let him lie in it, not me." But on the eve 
of the general's hurried departure, the High Commissioner 
paid Kitchener due tribute for his great achievement: "A great 
task thoroughly completed, a perfect piece of workmanship." 
They parted, however, without tears. 

Some of the Boer leaders smiled. General Smuts smiled bit- 
terly. He had an account to settle with Milner. He could not 
bear to see another working miracles while he, once more, was 
left out in the cold. 

History has long acknowledged the miracle of South Africa's 
coming into being. The case of a victor reviving the loser im- 
mediately after his conquest, lavishing work, money, and care 
on the foe of yesterday, transforming him into an independent 
partner, giving him more freedom than he had ever had under 
his outworn system, and doing all in the face of sullen resent- 
ment, of a constitutional inability on the part of those being 
saved to fall into step with the new times, with modern civiliza- 
tion, economic development, democratic enlightenment, was 
unprecedented in the annals of human progress, and was, on 
the same scale and to the same degree, never again repeated. 
Lord Milner had chosen the toughest job there was toward, 



and after, the turn of the century. As he had predicted with 
visionary foresight: he failed personally. But his cause could 
not fail. He laid the foundations for the house that in the same 
spirit his archenemy, and later his friend, General Smuts, finally 

Repatriation of the exiles, return of the refugees, restitution 
of the prisoners, transfer from military to civilian government, 
renascence of common law, revival of trade and industry, mod- 
ernization of agriculture, reparation of the damages and losses 
of war, these were the foremost tasks with which Milner found 
himself confronted. He directed and supervised them all. In 
his superhuman task he was assisted by a group of young Ox- 
ford men, generally called his kindergarten, each of whom sub- 
sequently made a brilliant career. Among them were his private 
secretary, Geoffrey Dawson, later editor of the London Times 
for decades; John Buchan, the novelist and historian, who died 
as Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada; Philip 
Kerr, who became the Marquess of Lothian, and ultimately 
British wartime ambassador in Washington; Patrick Duncan, 
who was to remain for half a generation in the Union govern- 
ment as Smuts' lieutenant; and F. B. Smith, the Nobel Prize 
winner, and famous professor of Agriculture at Cambridge. 

Opposite them stood the Boers of the war and post-war gen- 
eration. Their fathers had been excellent colonizers. The Boer 
of the old stamp had taken his wife and family and all his be- 
longings into die wilderness. He had established his crude 
domesticity in the midst of savagery, tilled the land, and within 
a decade had become a part of the soil. 

The sons were different. True, they preserved some of their 
inherited traits. They remained the most dogmatic individual- 
ists in the world. Their allegiance to the family, including their 
distant relatives, remained untouched, although it deteriorated 
into narrow clannishness. They maintained their faith in their 
somber version of sixteenth century Protestantism, the Dutch 
Reformed Church. But somehow, as John Buchan observed, 
they seemed to have missed civilization, and hit upon the vul- 
garity of its decline. Many sons of old peasant families left the 



distress. It was, however, not an economic proposition. A Cen- 
tral Judiciary Commission went to work. After five years the 
commission had investigated 63,079 claims, many of diem fan- 
tastic, and had distributed a round sum of 9,500,000, more 
than thrice the amount for which Smuts had haggled at Vereeni- 
ging. British residents were entirely excluded. Only ex-burghers 
of the two republics, whichever side they had fought on, were 
considered. Even claims by rich farmers and burghers, who 
certainly needed no government assistance, were accepted, 
provided they could prove war losses. Ultimately, all ex-burgh- 
ers, again with the exception of the British residents, were 
granted the so-called "rebel-credit" up to 25 each. In addi- 
tion to these free grants, loans totaling nearly 3,000,000 
were made. The War Office handed over to the civil adminis- 
tration 4,500,000 for the settlement of claims against the 
army, based on goods requisitioned for receipts and promises 
to ex-burghers in return for assistance. Finally, an expenditure 
of over 6,500,000 for repatriation was incurred by the colo- 
nial government. Thus, at a total cost of some 16,500,000 the 
stupendous task of reinstating a whole nation was promptly and 
efficiently accomplished. 

The Boers, however, were dissatisfied. They took the un- 
precedented British generosity as their due; indeed, they re- 
garded the sums awarded as insufficient payments. They had, 
of course, never dealt in such fabulous sums. But the republican 
politicians, now out of a job, and a great number of predikants 
fanned the flames of discontent. Since they could not openly 
attack the government, they looked for whipping boys among 
the defenseless. "Bully the National Scouts until they repent!" 
preached the Reverend Bosman. Whereupon Milner, while 
refusing a suggestion that all National Scouts should be armed, 
decreed that arms should be equally distributed. Those friendly 
to the government should not have a smaller number than the 
irreconcilables. He also suppressed the resurging anti-Semitic 
wave. A number of Boers demanded that the Jews should be- 
come second-class citizens, on the pattern of Kruger's uitland- 
ers. Very firmly Milner replied that he would not revive the 



"bigoted mediaeval tradition of the late Transvaal government. 
Whatever the conditions of naturalization," he added, "it is 
quite certain that they will not contain any discrimination 
against Jews/' 

On June 21, 1902, soon after Kitchener's departure and his 
replacement by General Lyttleton, Lord Milner moved in state 
to Pretoria to receive formally the oath of allegiance from all 
chief officials, and to take over the civil administration. He had 
luncheon with Botha and De la Rey. It was a pleasant meet- 
ing. Botha recognized that the best was being done to repair 
the damages of war. He welcomed the revival of legitimate 
business in anticipation of a great economic expansion in the 
new colonies. Indeed, in town and country land values were 
rising rapidly. Land speculations no longer involved much risk. 

General De la Rey, himself a big landowner in the aristo- 
cratic district of Lichtenburg, was above material considera- 
tions. But he also stood ready to throw the great weight of his 
uncontested prestige into the scales of co-operation. He could, 
Milner suggested, render the cause valuable service. Many Boer 
prisoners in Bermuda and India refused to take the oath of 
fealty. The internees in Ceylon were the most stubborn group. 
Gladly, De la Rey agreed to travel all the way to Ceylon to 
soften and soothe his old soldiers. Due to his military fame it 
was he who, by capturing Lord Methuen, had won the last im- 
portant Boer victoryand to his well-known profound religious- 
ness he was particularly well fitted for a mission of reconcilia- 
tion. Its success was greater than was expected. The example 
of their fellow prisoners in Ceylon, whom De la Rey had won 
over, was followed by the group in India and even in the far- 
away West Indies. By March, 1903, all the prisoners were re- 
patriated. Many of them returned with their families who had 
followed them into exile. All were laden with heavy bundles. 
The thrifty Boers took with them even the blankets from the 
prison camps. From Bermuda not a single family returned with- 
out a parrot in a spacious cage all of which added to the ter- 
rible congestion of the scanty means of transportation available. 

Instead of being grateful for their homecoming and for the 



received nothing but the advice to settle their affairs with the 
Empire. The journey was unsuccessful except to General De 
Wet, who managed to sell the copyright of his war memoirs 
for a fabulous sum in London. He retired to Bloemfontein, and 
declared: "I am leaving politics severely alone. I am only occu- 
pied with looking after my business." 
That was exactly what Smuts was unable to do. 

His opportunity to return to the fray came with Joseph 
Chamberlain's arrival in South Africa. The journey caused a 
sensation. Never before had a Colonial Secretary bothered to 
visit such a distant outpost of the Empire, and a newly ac- 
quired one at that. As Chamberlain disembarked on December 
26, 1902, the people of Durban, an English-speaking city, gave 
him a jubilant welcome. He was acclaimed all along the way 
to Pretoria. The Boers, who a year before had still called the 
war "Chamberlain's war/' had in the meantime found ample 
reason for recognizing how gravely they had wronged the man, 
who, though a great Imperialist, had, after the Jameson Raid, 
done his best to put out the fires. 

Smuts regretted that Chamberlain had not come five years 
earlier. The war, he believed, might have been averted if 
Chamberlain had seen for himself. But it was never too late. 
He came out of his self-imposed seclusion, and was, indeed, 
elected the spokesman of a large deputation representing the 
Dutch inhabitants who had obtained a hearing in the assembly 
hall of the old Volksrood. The fact that he was chosen was sig- 
nificant. In the Republic he had been an important official but 
never a political leader. Now he assumed the leadership. The 
way was clear for him. Most of the old Boer leaders had 
emerged from the war as ruined men. Their reputations and 
their fortunes were gone. They were entirely absorbed with 
making a new living. Almost alone Smuts and Botha had not 
fallen by the wayside. Shrewdly, they agreed to work together. 
Botha was cast in the role of charmer for which he was par- 
ticularly well fitted, whereas Smuts adopted the part of the 



In his unbending attitude, fundamentally opposed to his con- 
ciliatory nature, he went so far as to address Mr. Chamberlain 
in Dutch. An interpreter had to translate, and, unfortunately, 
did not acquit himself too successfully. Smuts himself would 
have done the job much better. After handing to Chamberlain 
a petition which listed the Dutch population's wishes, Smuts 
spoke. "It is said," he observed, "that we do not wish to co- 
operate. That is not so. Our interests are so firmly tied to the 
country that we cannot stand aside. We must work together 
for the country's good. It is, however, our desire that this co- 
operation should rest on a proper basis that of confidence and 
respect. Mutual disrespect has been the curse of South Africa." 
Referring to the first point on the list of grievances, the treat- 
ment of the Cape rebels, he said: "We do not wish to minimize 
the crime of these people. But we must admit the crime is 
ours." And he concluded: "A profound characteristic of the 
Boer is his loyalty to authority not the loyalty that pays, but 
the loyalty that is true till death. We now come to our new 
government, and offer them that loyalty, but we ask them to 
think what we have been that we have been a free people, the 
freest people on earth." 

Mr. Chamberlain replied politely, but he pointed out that 
the Treaty of Vereeniging was the charter of the British na- 
tion. "You have every right to call on us to fulfill this in spirit 
and letter. But it is a little too early to try to go further than 
the terms thus concluded." Yet he welcomed Smuts' declara- 
tion, and concluded: "I believe that with consideration on both 
sides, with strict observance of agreements on both sides, with 
a readiness to give as well as to take, before many years are 
over, probably sooner than any of us can now anticipate, we 
shall be one free people under one flag." 

Lord Milner nodded: "A most excellent and impressive 

As the two British statesmen left the Raadzaal, the Boers 
responded to Botha's call for a hearty round of cheers. 

For the rest of Chamberlain's stay in South Africa the Boer 
leaders showed him much attention and politeness. Affably, 



General Botha unbosomed himself to Chamberlain. He had 
returned from his journey to England deeply impressed by the 
greatness and the excellence of British institutions. There was 
no reason to withhold complete co-operation and mutual trust. 
Perhaps . . . well probably not . . . but, however . . . possibly 
Lord Milner might feel otherwise. . . . 

It had worked with Kitchener. It did not work with Joe 
Chamberlain. His confidence in his proconsul was unshakable. 
Yet when he left he advised Milner to treat the Transvaal as 
if the people already had self-government. 

Milner followed his suggestion. Barely a month after the 
Secretary's departure, on the thirteenth of February, he offered 
Generals Botha, Smuts, and De la Rey seats in the Legislative 
Council, which was to advise the administration. 

The offer was promptly refused. In their opinion the time 
had not yet come for popular representation. They preferred 
to wait until the peace of the country was fully assured. The 
refusal was signed by De la Rey, but so obviously drafted by 
Smuts that the then leading newspaper in Johannesburg, the 
Rand Daily Matt, commented: "If they had been honest enough 
to say that they declined the great honor because they had no 
intention of associating their names and persons with British 
institutions, we could have believed them. In the circumstances, 
however, we must decline to do so, and take it that all their 
fair words about loyalty and co-operation are so many barren 
expressions. In view of the characteristic Jesuitry of Mr. Smuts 
we are at an utter loss to conceive why he had been offered the 
honor at all." 

Lord Milner accepted the snub with English imperturbabil- 
ity. He addressed a letter to De la Rey: "You may have seen 
in the papers that an unfavorable interpretation has been put 
upon your refusal to accept a seat in the Legislative Council. 
I only wish to say that, while I regret your decision, I did not 
and do not think that it was due to any wish to embarrass the 
government ... I will only ask you to treat me with the same 
confidence, and not hesitate to let me know if you have any- 
thing which you wish brought to my notice. . . . You can write 



to me in Dutch, if that saves you trouble, as, though I speak 
and write that language with difficulty, I read it with perfect 

After this cordial reply, General Smuts, too, eased up a little. 
He explained that they had had no reasonable period of time 
to consult their people, on whose minds a curious impression 
might have been made, had they accepted the offer precipi- 

He was again in close touch with his people. In double har- 
ness with Botha he built Het Volk, as a central organization of 
those Dutchmen who were willing to co-operate loyally with 
Great Britain, but more or less on their own terms. He felt that 
his race needed guidance. They had lost their way in the valley 
of the shadow of death exactly as he had. But after two years 
of depression, he pulled himself together. The shadows were 
fading; the sky brightened. 

An incident occurred that threw him again into the deepest 
despair. It was the fall from which he emerged to his full stat- 
ure. But he did not foresee that. He could not know that the 
celestials, who suddenly swamped his land, were really heaven- 


Well, the cure is Chinese. . . ." Smuts wrote, in February 1903, 
to Miss Hobhouse. He could not have chosen a more unreliable 
recipient for his confession. Miss Hobhouse, who, during the 
war, had befriended the Boer women and children in Maritz- 
burg, and who after the war had valiantly aided General Smuts 



in taking care of destitute farmers, was a kindhearted, aging 
spinster. Invariably her kind heart went out to the enemies of 
her own country, England. She was the last woman to whom a 
man of Smuts' penetrating judgment and imperturbable reason 
would have unbosomed himself had not his enforced idleness 
during the English administration of his country upset his 
otherwise strongest characteristic: his balance. He was now 
thirty-four, in the prime of life, filled with the urge for activity, 
indispensable, he believed with good reason, to the reconstruc- 
tion of his country, and the bigger task of uniting South Africa, 
and he was frustrated. He vented his bitterness by indulging 
in unmeasured exaggerations. 

Thanks to the generous expenditure of Lord Milner's govern- 
ment, the Transvaal was saved from the bankruptcy in which 
Oom Paul's corrupt oligarchy had left the country. But there 
were almost insurmountable obstacles to contend with. Last 
winter the rains had not come before the end of December, 
the three preceding months of drought had ruined the crops. 
The Boers from the backveld attributed the catastrophe not 
to the Lord, who had tested them equally severely in many a 
previous year, but to the ungodly introduction of scientific agri- 
culture by Mr. Smith, Lord Milner's expert. 

The gold industry, on whose output the Transvaal virtually 
lived, was in bad shape. The cause was the shortage of labor. 
The Kafirs refused to work after the inflationary wages of the 
war and immediate post-war period had been reduced to rea- 
sonable levels. They now received thirty shillings weekly, in- 
stead of the twenty shillings their wages had averaged under 
the Boer regime. But they had expected the millennium from 
the British overlords, and since God's kingdom did not come, 
or had not come to stay, they sat out the period of reconstruc- 
tion. Gone were the short-lived days in which they had driven 
in Cape carts, fattened on the large stores the British Army had 
left behind, and corrupted by equal rights which, in South 
Africa, were not yet applicable to them. They did not really 
care for equal rights, but neither did they care to return to the 
mines. They preferred to live on the poisonous berries and the 



parched grass of the veld. They devoured the rotten carcasses 
of dead animals. Their children were rickety and disease- 
ridden. By the scores of thousands the Kafirs sank into hope- 
less misery. 

Due to the labor shortage, many mines shut down. Others 
had to reduce their output. In this crisis Mr. F. H. Creswell, the 
manager of the Village Main Reef Mine, came forward to ad- 
vocate a world-shaking innovation: the employment of white 
manual labor below the surface. Captain Creswell was a well- 
meaning man of good English descent. Born on the Rock of 
Gibraltar, the son of the British Postmaster General there, edu- 
cated in England as a mining engineer, but imbued with pro- 
gressive ideas acquired during an apprenticeship in American 
silver and lead mines, he dared a proposition which no one had 
expected of a distinguished officer of the Imperial Light Horse, 
a well-decorated veteran of the Boer War. Milner alone en- 
couraged his efforts. Indeed, Mr. Creswell carried out his ex- 
periment with white labor in his own mine. Its success was 
argued about and contested for twenty years. But the mine 
owners protested instantly. They had two good reasons. First, 
white labor was too expensive to make gold mining profitable. 
Second, the mines could not wait until enough white emigrants 
came, and were trained. An immediate solution was vital for 
the further existence of the industry. 

The few Kafirs willing to work were fully employed on rail- 
way and reconstruction projects. Lord Milner sought native 
labor outside South Africa. But his search was of no avail. The 
English colonial administrations in East and Central Africa 
were themselves in need of black hands to open out their ter- 
ritories. Only the Imperial government in India had the neces- 
sary pool of fifty thousand men to draw upon. But the India 
government's consideration for the welfare and prosperity of 
their Indian wards was such that the mining industry in Jo- 
hannesburg could not meet the demands of the British Raj. As 
the situation on the Reef became more acute, indentured Chi- 
nese coolie labor was suggested. Milner was hesitant. 

Before he had had time to make up his mind a storm of in- 



Strangely, this very fact, the safeguarding of the Boer peo- 
ple and the natives, aroused the magnanimity, the compassion, 
indeed the passions of the English. They were not opposed to 
the fact that Chinese coolies were at work in the distant Trans- 
vaal. But they would not stand for what the Liberals success- 
fully presented as "yellow slave labor within the British Em- 

The echo of aroused English righteousness resounded in the 
Transvaal. Smuts kept his ear to the ground. Intuitively he 
felt that his hour was coming. On the strength of the English 
reaction, misguided as it was by Liberal electioneering, the 
Boers, he anticipated, would return to power in their native 
land. He himself would be in power once more, directing, 
guiding, leading, in the center of things. He highly resolved 
that he, for his part, would not abuse the British confidence, 
from which he had good reason to expect self-government for 
the defunct Republics. He was about to win the Boer War. He, 
too, would be a magnanimous victor. His pact with the British, 
the foe of yesterday, the idol of the day before that, was con- 
cluded before he had spoken a word with the men in London. 
For the rest of his life he has abided by this pact. 

While he hammered the Boers into shape, preparing them 
for independence and self-government, he strongly stressed 
that racial distrust was the arch-foe of South Africa. He pleaded 
for unity. In Lichtenburg, where General De la Rey was the 
local patron saint, Smuts advised the "bitter-enders" to be rec- 
onciled with the "hands-uppers." He was by no means unself- 
ish, for his people he demanded "the whole egg, not half an 
egg." But he resented and rejected those who wanted to make 
the country a reservation for "pure Afrikanderdom." "Let us 
take the hand of brotherhood," he addressed an audience at 
Potchefstroom, a violently Dutch-feeling town. And at Klerks- 
dorp, another stronghold of unreconciled Boers, he demanded 
that the "union of Boer and Briton should resemble that of 
England and Scotland not of England and Ireland." Still, his 
innate caution was not quite extinct. "Do not let us either ap- 



prove of or refuse anything until we have seen what it is pro- 
posed to confer upon us," he warned. 

He trespassed upon the enemy's ground. With Botha and 
Beyers, he addressed a meeting at the Johannesburg Wanderer's 
Hall, speaking on behalf of Het Volk, his own party, to his 
opponents in the Progressive (English) Party. He called politi- 
cal parties "something of an evil/' and almost excused the exist- 
ence of Het Volk by pointing out that the Progressives had 
been first in the field. "They make very much of the British 
Flag. . . . The position of Het Volk was perfectly clear. They 
had signed their names to a document at Vereeniging, and as 
long as that document lasted they would keep their word." 

The natural conciliator had found his vocation. 

The sand in Milner's hourglass was running out. Like Cecil 
Rhodes he found that there was so much to do, so little done. 
In fact, he had done as much to revive and rebuild South Africa 
as any human in his position could possibly have achieved. He 
knew that his term would not be extended. He did not ask for 
it. But he entered upon the last year of his administration with- 
out allowing himself the slightest relaxation from his high- 
pressure. Regardless of his vanishing popularity, unmindful of 
his overtaxed strength, he accelerated his drive on men and 

Lord Milner was the spiritual father of some of the great 
reforms and changes that were accomplished under Smuts. 
Their visions were very much alike; their difference was one of 
tempo and temperament. Although Milner personally raced 
ahead, for the time allotted to him was measured, he believed 
in letting development ripen and mature, whereas Smuts, with 
the restlessness of youth, wanted quick results, speedy action, 
immediate achievement. Their beliefs were similar. Perhaps 
their conflict was also caused by the good reason that the one 
was in, the other out. 

Both men were seriously concerned with the defense of the 
country. Milner told Colonel Sir Charles Crewe: "There is a 
very big question that of the local armed forces of South 



Africa. What I want to do is: first, to work towards their ulti- 
mate amalgamation under a federal government, secondly, to 
develop some organic connection between them and the Im- 
perial forces." Smuts did, indeed, found the Defence Force 
under the Federal Government of the Union, and "some organic 
connection" between this splendid force and the Imperial forces 
was truly established in two world wars, ultimately in the heroic 
achievements of the British Eighth Army, in which the South 
African contingent has more than once formed the spearhead. 

Above all, their common creed in the unity and, finally, the 
self-government of South Africa, united the two men. To the 
Bloemfontein Town Council, Lord Milner said: "My work has 
been constantly directed to a great and distant endthe estab- 
lishment in South Africa of a civilized and progressive commu- 
nity, one from Cape Town to the Zambezi, independent in the 
management of its own affairs, but still remaining by its own 
firm desire, a member of the great community of free nations 
gathered together under the British flag. That has been the 
object of all my efforts. It is my object still." It was Holism pure 
and undiluted, expressed twenty years before Smuts incor- 
porated the idea of bringing the whole together into a philo- 
sophic system. 

Milner concluded, in his farewell speech, delivered in Johan- 
nesburg, on March 21, 1905, with the words: "British and Dutch 
can, without loss of integrity, without any sacrifice of their 
individual traditions, united in loyal devotion to an Empire- 
State, in which Great Britain and South Africa would be part- 
ners, work loyally together for the good of South Africa as a 
member of a greater whole. And so, you see, the true Imperialist 
is also the best South African." 

A flood of farewell letters showered Milner as he left. Per- 
haps not the most important, but certainly the most touching 
came from the black King of Barotseland. It read: "Dear Lord, 
I am sorry to hear that you are leaving to England from hear- 
say, but when I hear that I was very, very sorry. When your 
letter reached here which said now you leave the country then 
another man will take your place, I was very sorry with all my 



people. How shall that will suppose is only coming to look 
after the white people not to take care for the black people. 
I enclose my short letter with respectfully salutations. I beg to 
be your little friend Lewanika." 

On April second, Milner's no longer unreconciled antagonist, 
General Smuts, wrote to the departing Governor: 

Will you allow me to wish you bon voyage now that you are 
leaving South Africa forever? I am afraid you have not liked us. But 
I cherish the hope that, as our memories grow mellower, and the 
nobler features of our respective ideas become clearer, we shall 
more and more appreciate the contribution of each to the forma- 
tion of the happier South Africa which is certainly coming, and 
judge more kindly of each other. 

At any rate it is a consolation to think what is noble in our work 
will grow to larger issues than we foresaw, and that even our mis- 
takes will be covered up ultimately, not only in merciful oblivion, 
but also in that unconscious forgiveness which seems to me to be an 
inherent feature of all historic growth. History writes the word 
"reconciliation" over all her quarrels, and will surely write it over 
the unhappy differences which have agitated us in the past. What 
is good in our work is not disposed of in the present, but can safely 
appeal to the ear of the future. Our respective contentions will reach 
a friendly settlement which no one foresees today. 

Here spoke the philosopher Smuts. He was at peace with 
the man who was Great Britain incarnate. The two antagonists 
parted, to meet again as friends. 



man in Bloemfontein put out his head. Now that the imperious 
Governor had gone, Hertzog saw his chance. The "General/* as 
he stubbornly called himself, was already noted for his anti- 



British machinations. Dissatisfied with the magnanimous settle- 
ment of grants for ex-burghers, he had demanded more money 
for his Free Staters, and the assurance of complete self-govern- 
ment at the earliest possible moment. Sir H. Goold-Adams, the 
Lieutenant-Governor of the Orange Free State, had invited 
Hertzog to discuss matters with him. But the little man refused. 
He was possessed by an insurmountable aversion against straight 
talk. He hid behind a resolution that no conversation or co- 
operation between Britisher and Boer was possible until his de- 
mands were satisfied. 

Now he stabbed Botha whom he had eulogized three years 
before at Vereeniging and Smuts in the back. Hertzog founded 
the Oranje Unie, the Free State competitor of Het Volk, with 
the avowed purpose of making things difficult for the two 

Botha and Smuts remained undeterred. They spent the sec- 
ond half of 1905 in crisscrossing the country and campaigning 
for a genuine understanding with England. The team was well 
matched: Botha supplied the popular appeal, Smuts the driv- 
ing force. Smuts was still reserved, and could only unbosom 
himself when he stood on a platform, addressing a multitude. 
His heart went out to all of them, but he was aloof even from 
the few. In public he had the habit of referring to the most 
insignificant local grandee as "my old friend John" or "my 
trusted friend Piet." But this was clearly a way of working off 
his self-seclusion. On the stump throughout the country, he 
kept more than ever to himself. Villagers and townspeople who 
had come to meet the speakers, had to content themselves with 
Botha's company. Smuts stood apart, wrapped in his heavy 
coat with upturned collar, his hat low over his forehead so that 
only his nose showed. Thus he waited for the horse-drawn bus, 
the usual means of conveyance on the platteland. People who 
called upon him found a man with a faraway look in his eyes, 
seeming still to ponder the book or document he had on his 
mind, while he spoke in precise terms straight to the point. 

Louis Botha was the very opposite. He was, indeed, heir to 
the best and most engaging traditions of the old Boers. He was 



at once conservative and progressive. He relished the memory 
of Oom Paul, whom he had often attacked in the Volksraad. 
He had inherited the President's pipe, his habit of drinking 
coffee with all and sundry, he even went Kruger one better by 
patting innumerable shoulders. His hand had the magic touch. 
People felt that they mattered to him, and returned proud and 
satisfied from their interviews, even when the meeting had not 
brought forth any result. On the other hand he was a confirmed 
modernist: he was among the first to replace whist with bridge, 
and he became famous as South Africa's best bridge player 
long before he was South Africa's leading man. He was the 
only Boer to venture into the mining business. But he lost his 
shirt when he tried his hand with a speculation in Premier 
Diamond mining grounds. Undaunted, he immediately built a 
beautiful house in Sunnyside, Pretoria's fashionable suburb, 
near Smuts' cottage. He had borrowed the money from Abe 
(later Sir Abe) Bailey, the most spectacular character in South 
Africa, a country teeming with queer types. 

Before Sir Abe was thirty years old all South Africa already 
called him Old Bailey, probably on account of his intimate 
acquaintance with police stations, where his unbroken chain of 
fisticuffs and brawls made him a frequent guest. The son of a 
Yorkshireman from the West Riding, who had made good in 
South Africa and even entered the Cape Legislative Assembly, 
young Bailey grew up as an all-round sportsman of distinction. 
He was amateur heavyweight boxing champion of South Africa, 
and a famous lion hunter. At the age of twenty-three he made 
and lost a fortune in the gold rush, whereupon, with ten pounds 
borrowed from a friend, he took out a broker's license. In front 
of the Stock Exchange of Barberton he accosted a rich Dutch- 
man by the name of Van Reenen, a big holder of Republic 
shares, in the Dutch language. This was a quite unusual method 
of procedure since English was the accepted language in busi- 
ness. But this deviation from the prescribed way pleased the 
Dutch moneybag so much that Abe's future as a stockbroker 
was assured. From then on, although a fiery Imperialist at 
heart, he preferred speaking Dutch in South Africa. 



Only the African World gave him a fair deal. This weekly re- 
printed Lord Selborne's flattering characterization of Smuts, 
which, it hoped, would "serve to silence ill-bred sneers." Smuts 
was indifferent as ever to attacks. When he finally spoke for 
publication, he expressed to the Reuters man his "warm appre- 
ciation of the cordial reception extended to him in London/' 

He made a sentimental trip to Cambridge, a journey into 
youth, and then he visited methodically the Liberal leaders: 
Morley, Lord Elgin, Lloyd George, Campbell-Bannerman, and 
Winston Churchill, who held his first office of profit under the 
Crown as Under-Secretary for the Colonies. He had known 
none but Churchill personally, and it is questionable whether 
the acquaintance of the one-time State Attorney and his pris- 
oner, based on nothing more than a letter that had arrived too 
late, could pass for a social relation. 

Churchill asked Smuts if he had ever known of a conquered 
people governing themselves so soon after defeat. No, Smuts 
admitted frankly. But he insisted that they would not, and, 
indeed, could not govern themselves without England's assist- 
ance. This Winston Churchill understood. 

Lord Morley, although pro-Boer during the war, proved re- 
luctant toward Smuts' demands. Finally, Campbell-Bannerman 
listened to his argument with sympathy. He was the first to be 
convinced of the righteousness of the Boer cause. 

On the next day in a Cabinet meeting, the new Prime Min- 
ister moved to grant the Boers responsible self-government. 
After a short discussion all his colleagues agreed. Their main 
reason, it was said, was their wish to rid themselves of the 
whole Transvaal business. They were well aware that the battle 
cry: "No Chinese slave labor in the Empire!" had done good 
service in the campaign, but that it had misled the people. 
They knew perfectly well the merits of the matter. Young 
Winston Churchill took the lead in disassociating himself from 
his party's slogan. Slave labor in the Empire, he admitted, had 
been a "terminological inexactitude." 

Smuts left a memorandum in Downing Street, assuring that 



the Boers no longer wished to raise the question of the annexa- 
tion and of the British flag. Then he returned home. 

Within a few weeks a Royal Commission arrived in Pretoria 
to work out the framework for responsible government. All that 
was left to do was to form governments in the two ex-republican, 
now self-governing colonies. In the Free State Mr. Abraham 
Fischer formed a cabinet, with Hertzog as Minister of Educa- 
tion, and De Wet as Minister for Agriculture. It was a strongly 
anti-British administration. In the Transvaal everyone expected 
that the Premiership would go to Smuts. But he refused. The 
honor should be Botha's. At first the Pretoria Club was aston- 
ished. Then, shrugging, they agreed to the latest inexplicable 
whim of the inexplicable General Smuts. Botha became Prime 
Minister, and proved an excellent choice. Smuts took the offices 
of Colonial Secretary (Minister of the Interior), and Minister 
of Education. 

At the first banquet in Pretoria, given in honor of the first 
responsible government under the British flag, in March, 1907, 
the whole audience shouted "Smuts! Smuts!" when the minis- 
ters made their entry. 

Smuts smiled: "Myn tdkhareF (My die-hardsl) 

Now he was in his element. Although painfully aware that 
he had no parliamentary experience nor, for that matter, had 
Botha or any other member of the government served any 
parliamentary apprenticeship he wielded power as to the 
manner born. From the first day he was the undisputed master 
in the House that most Boers called Praatfontein: the talk shop. 

Smuts did most of the talking. He led a substantial majority. 
Thirty-seven out of a total of sixty-nine seats were occupied by 
his followers from Het Volk, whereas the opposition only num- 
bered twenty-nine Progressives English , and a handful of 
Laborites and Independents. The Het Volk members were in 
fact the commanders of the Boer War, feeling a little uncom- 
fortable in their new civilian dignity, and grateful for guid- 
ance. The speaker was Christiaan Beyers, a minor Boer general, 



who had not played any particular role in the war, but was 
destined to come into the forefront a few years later. 

Botha rarely attended the sessions. Although the great major- 
ity of the members were Boers, most of the discussion was in 
the English language. Botha, however, hard as he tried, could 
not hammer the complicated English language into his head. 
On the other hand he spoke excellent High Dutch and a racy 
Tool. He was a much admired speaker, and did not care to 
expose his linguistic deficiency. Moreover, his practical mind 
was set upon more important things than the babble in the 
talk shop. He was obsessed with the idea of setting up a land 
bank to further agricultural development, and largely to pro- 
mote this scheme he went to London, after one month of his 
premiership. He attended the Imperial Conference, the meet- 
ing of Dominion premiers and the prime ministers of self- 
governing Colonies, and was again received with that English 
courtesy and hospitality that transforms converted foes into 
devoted friends. 

Now Smuts had the run of the government bench. His first 
measure was an act of reconciliation. While in opposition, he 
had violently argued the case of the Christian National Educa- 
tion Movement which tried to exclude the English language 
from schools for Dutch children. Now a Minister of the Crown, 
Smuts set his face against an "education to separatism/' He 
declared that the C.N.E.M. would receive no subsidies from 
the government, and demanded an end of the movement, while 
promising to take the Dutch private schools under State control. 

The members of the movement, among them many predicants 
of the Dutch Reformed Church, were stunned. In a secret con- 
clave they resolved not to yield to Smuts' decision. In fact, they 
still wrested a little money from sympathizers. But before many 
months had passed the schools were, indeed, taken over by the 
government, and the movement faded gradually. 

Smuts declared the English language, the language of prog- 
ress and business, obligatory in the schools, while Dutch was 
optional. He dealt the Dutch Reformed Church another blow 
by banning in the schools denominational religious education. 



Bible classes taught Christian ethics; that was enough. The 
private schools and the churches could look after the rest. An 
outcry arose throughout the bigoted platteland. Smuts was de- 
nounced as a heathen. To dispel this hate-propaganda he some- 
times opened his meetings with a prayer. But he stubbornly 
kept the predikants from his own educational system. 

He did not care how many enemies he made. Many Trans- 
vaal Boers believed that self-government meant the revival of 
Oom Paul's golden days of nepotism and offices of profit with- 
out work. Although remaining throughout his life a faithful 
admirer of President Kruger, whom he called the greatest man 
the Boer race had ever produced, Smuts made it perfectly clear 
that job-hunters were pursuing a "blind alley." He was fully 
aware of, and frequently deplored, the Boers' ingrained lazi- 
ness. Himself a "tiger for work," to use Milner's phrase, he saw, 
once more in never admitted harmony with Milner, that agri- 
culture was his country's future. 

At a meeting in the country an old man complained that 
something was wrong with the ground in the Transvaal: it was 
too low, one had to bend one's back to work. "Baatje uittrekr 
take off your coat! Smuts replied. His phrase became a slogan. 

Another word he popularized in South Africa, and perhaps 
in general use, was: steam roller. It referred to his strong major- 
ity in Parliament which, at his signal, rolled over the prostrate 
and flattened out opposition. 

He was at that time constitutionally unable to bear resist- 
ance. He celebrated his thirty-seventh birthday by calling out 
two Imperial regiments, the Camerons and the Queen's Bays, 
to patrol the Reef against a short-lived miners' strike. Many of 
the miners shouted that they had served in the commandos 
against the same troops that were now pitted against them. But 
Smuts did not listen to this argument. He had learned, at long 
last, that, at least for his generation, the country lived on the 
output of the mines. 

Gradually his relations with the English mine owners im- 
proved. Although the English party in the House of Assembly 
formed the opposition, which Sir George Farrar valiantly led, 



the industry understood that Smuts was the "necessary man/' 
Sir Lionel Phillips, the President of the Chamber of Mines, 
took the first step to ease the tension between big business and 
the government. Sir Abe Bailey threw all his dynamic power 
into the scales. Some magnates looked askance at the effort. 
Messieurs Farrar, Chaplin, Fitzpatrick shook their heads. Sir 
Lionel, their good friend, was indeed incorrigible. He honestly 
believed that one could make Boers parlor-broke. He would not 
learn from his own experience. Remember that evening with 

Some years before the outbreak of the war, Christian Joubert, 
Minister of Mines of the South African Republic, had accepted 
Sir Lionel Phillips' invitation to the theater. It was a courageous 
gesture on both sides at a time when social intercourse between 
Oom Paul's oligarchy and the industry was taboo. Sir Lionel, 
however, was always an innovator, and the white-bearded 
Joubert, for his part, was rather curious to see a theater from 
inside. He had never been to a play. The dinner, preceding the 
show, went off swimmingly. His Excellency drank maraschino 
by the tumblerful, and was in high good spirits. Later, in the 
box, he refused to take off his huge "smasher" silk hat since 
this would have been undignified. 

The experiment was not repeated for thirteen years. In 1907, 
Sir Lionel, in the face of widespread scepticism, gave another 
party for members of a Boer cabinet. Botha put in an appear- 
ance; he could not do otherwise. His bronzed face, illuminated 
by the most engaging smile, contrasted effectively with his im- 
maculate, white stiff shirt. Smuts, in his habitual easy conversa- 
tional tone, quoted liberally from Aristotle and Kant. 

Smuts ventured rarely enough into polite society. He was 
entirely absorbed by his work. Work was his second nature. 
Since all his cabinet colleagues, with the exception of Botha, 
were mediocrities, he was soon recognized not only as an im- 
portant member of the cabinet, but as the cabinet itself. In a 
series of articles entitled Things They Say in Their Sleep, the 
Johannesburg Sunday Times published a cartoon of Smuts, 
uttering the words: "To all intents and purposes, I am the 



Ministry, 'the whole team and the little yaller dog under the 
wagon/ as I believe they say in the States." And the Johannes- 
burg Star concluded a survey of the first session with the words: 
"Practically the whole of the Government business has fallen 
on Mr. Smuts, who dominates and overshadows his party. He 
obviously shares the complete control of the Cabinet with the 
Prime Minister, whose comparative effacement in Parliament is 
partly linguistic/' 

The inevitable cartoonist, Mr. A. W. Lloyd, later of Punch 
fame, drew a cabinet meeting of the six ministers, all bearing 
Smuts' face. 

Chapter 14 GANDHI 


and flatten, but never crush: a frail, emaciated, dwarfish gentle- 
man by the name of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Smuts' 
trouble with him started in the month of August, 1907. At that 
time Mr. Gandhi already had an almost fifteen years' old repu- 
tation as South Africa's nuisance number one. 

Early in 1893 Gandhi, then Indian barrister, had arrived at 
the port of Durban, representing a big business house in Por- 
bander with a branch in Pretoria, to conduct an important law- 
suit in which many Indians in the Transvaal were involved. 
Mr. Gandhi came fresh from London. He had spent five years 
there reading law and learning, on the side, dancing, elocution, 
and the violin three accomplishments, he believed, which were 
essential to the stock in trade of a gentleman. According to his 
own confession he had no ear for western music, yet, with an 
early display of perseverance, he continued to fiddle until, it 
was said, his neighbors in the Hotel Victoria complained. 



In spite of his persistence, Mr. Gandhi was even at that date 
rather touchy by nature. Since the white world of the Hotel 
Victoria obviously wanted nothing of him, he retired to a very 
simple room in a cheap suburb, bought a stove, his only invest- 
ment, he confessed, partly to protect himself against the Lon- 
don climate, partly for cooking his own porridge for breakfast 
and supper. He dined for sixpence in a vegetarian restaurant, 
and felt highly extravagant when, once in a blue moon, he had 
a shilling to pay for his bill. It was all by way of sheer virtue. 
His uncle, a wealthy merchant in India, footed his bills. Mr. 
Gandhi passed his examinations without winning any particu- 
lar distinction. In due course he was called to the bar. This act 
of generosity, it seems, reconciled him with England. Much 
later he admitted that, next to India, he would rather live in 
London than any other place in the world. 

Fate, that Jester, however, singled him out to spend his early 
life in the one country in which colored people were by no 
means treated with English tolerance, but with a heartfelt and 
unconcealed dislike. The people of South Africa made no fine 
difference between black, brown and yellow skins. To them 
Kafirs were the sons of Satan and Asiatics simply coolies. True, 
the English courts in the Crown Colony of Natal avoided any- 
thing like the color bar. When barrister Gandhi, on the second 
day of his arrival, appeared in court at Durban, he was received 
with the customary courtesy. The judge only discreetly sug- 
gested that the gentleman from India should remove his tur- 
ban, as it was the custom in English courts to take off one's 
headgear. Deeply insulted, Mr. Gandhi left Durban, and betook 
himself by the night express to Pretoria. He had taken a first- 
class ticket, but in this fashion he only got as far as Pieter- 
maritzburg. There a fellow traveler objected to the presence of 
a coolie and called a guard, who ordered Mr. Gandhi into the 
van. Gandhi preferred to get out. He shivered all night in the 
waiting room, but he was, as usual, undeterred. At dawn he 
took the coach to Johannesburg, but already in Paardeberg fate 
in the person of a conductor, a heavy-set Boer, approached him 
with the friendly invitation to vacate his corner seat. The con- 



ductor wished it for himself, in order to smoke his pipe in com- 
fort. "Sammy," he said cordially, "you sit on this." Helpfully, he 
spread out a piece of cloth. Mr. Gandhi did not care to be 
called Sammy. He did not yet know the custom of the country, 
whereby Sammy was a friendly way of addressing an Indian or 
a Jew. It really only meant pal. "No!" he said. The bulky Boer 
immediately boxed his ears, whereupon Gandhi realized that 
he was in the independent Transvaal. At the next stop, Stand- 
erton, he changed into another coach, and had an uneventful 
journey as far as Johannesburg. 

The Grand National Hotel, however, had no room free. Mr. 
Gandhi disappeared into a washroom, changed into frock coat 
and top hat, not to mention a white tie, to look impressive as 
he ventured forth, called upon the stationmaster, insisting on a 
first-class ticket to Pretoria, as befitted an Anglo-Indian gentle- 
man. He arrived in Pretoria after hours nine o'clock was cur- 
few for all colored people without a pass and since the police- 
man caught him strolling in front of President Kruger's house, 
he was kicked off the pavement, and arrested. 

This reception did not endear the Transvaal to Mr. Gandhi. 
He spent a few months in Pretoria, attending to the law case 
with which he had been entrusted, and toward the end of the 
year returned to Durban on his way home. A large number of 
fellow Indians gave him a farewell party, which lasted until 
the morning. The morning paper was already on the streets. 
Mr. Gandhi read in the Natal Mercury that the government of 
the Colony was about to introduce a bill to disfranchise the 
Indians. It was a sheer measure of self -protection, a necessity if 
Natal wanted to remain predominantly white. The Colony was 
already swamped with Indians. More than forty years before 
they had come to work on the sugar plantations. Soon they be- 
came gardeners, indeed, they transformed Natal into a garden- 
colony. Then they spread out into trade and the professions. 
They undercharged and undersold the white middle class. Due 
to their fertility they were about to transform the British Crown 
Colony into an African dependency of India. A head tax of 
three pounds, imposed on them, did not disturb them. Prime 



Minister Sir John Robinson's new government saw clearly that 
Natal would be submerged by the wave of Indians. Hence the 
disfranchisement bill. 

After reading the paper, Mr. Gandhi immediately drew up a 
petition against the bill, insisted that his friends at the farewell 
party sign it, and entered upon his lifelong struggle. Despite his 
protest the bill was passed. But Sir John Robinson attached a 
few helpful amendments, and the English press in Natal showed 
sympathy for the "persecuted" Indians. Gandhi shrewdly gauged 
that his chances were good. He became what he has remained 
throughout his lifetime: Propa-Gandhi. He campaigned to 
instill into the hitherto apathetic, if rapidly spreading, Indian 
community a new self-consciousness. Soon, he formed a new 
power in colonial life. 

He remained three years in Natal. Within this time he organ- 
ized the Natal Indian Congress, the forerunner of the present 
Congress Party in India, and the Natal Indian Education Asso- 
ciation. He was admitted to practice at the Supreme Court in 
Natal. While the administration of the Crown, faithful to the 
idea that all subjects of the British Empire had the same rights 
in every part of the Empire, allowed him to do as he pleased, 
the common people, even the English-speaking, saw their very 
livelihood threatened by the sudden Indian upsurge. The 
Boers, all over South Africa, expressed their indignation with 
their habitual violence. The decision never to accept English 
tutelage, with its system that shielded the colored people to the 
detriment of the whites, was immeasurably stiffened in the Re- 
publics. In fact, the leniency of the British towards Mr. Gandhi 
was a very real factor in inciting the great Dutch upheaval that 
exploded in Kruger's ultimatum and the subsequent war. 

For his part Mr. Gandhi knew how to use the English instru- 
ment with great s\d\\ and c\evemess. In India, to which lie re- 
turned in 1895 to collect his wife and children and bring them 
to South Africa, the land of his adoption, he conducted a veri- 
table atrocity campaign, abusing the credulity of Reuters 
agency, the official British mouthpiece. In repeated interviews 
he told Reuter's that the Indians in Natal were robbed and 



who were by nature not eager to work either, how to make a 
living by trouble-making. The Kafirs formed their own illegal 
unions. They struck in all the factories and mines as soon as 
they had their organizations, mostly under white bosses. First 
minor disturbances flared up. Soon over seventy thousand na- 
tives were on strike. Bloodshed ensued. 

The government remained passive. Had Smuts taken protec- 
tive measures for the mines, the cry that he had sold out to the 
jingoes and the capitalists would have been vindicated on the 
surface. Chaos prevailed. The Nationalists rubbed their hands. 
"General Smuts has brought South Africa to the verge of ruin," 
Hertzog said. His lieutenant Tielman Roos expressed himself 
more distinctly: "Smuts must break his own neck before he has 
the chance to break ours." 

"I am like St. Paul," Smuts confessed. "I die daily." This sigh 
of resignation was his signal to attack. Early in 1921 he called 
the people to a new election. His ear to the ground, he heard 
the tide of fanaticism receding. From Russia came atrocity 
stories about the Bolshevist regime that frightened many Hert- 
zogites away from their leader's unnatural coddling of the 
Reds. The threatening words the trade-union bosses used 
brought about a healthy reaction, indeed resistance, among the 
politically indifferent masses. The nearer Hertzog's threat of 
secession seemed to come, the more the calculating Dutchmen 
realized that they would cut off their noses to spite their faces. 
They would lose their best customer, which, after all, was Eng- 
land. Besides, secession from the Empire could not be accom- 
plished without revolution, and revolution would entirely wreck 
both business and the country. 

Smuts conducted a whirlwind campaign, to whose speed 
Hertzog, a man of slow brains, was not equal. Instinctively, 
however, Hertzog felt that the call for secession would not suf- 
ficiently appeal to the country. He made another volte-face. 
"Secession," he declared, "is not an issue at this point. It will 
come in time. But the time is not yet herel" Instead, he in- 
vented a nonexistent Great Empire Banking Trust, whose mys- 
terious henchmen squeezed South Africa's economy. He as- 



try was destitute, the Boers mined, the very existence of the 
mines menaced, the cattle gone, and the crops annihilated by 
the ravages of war. Milner and his staff had their hands full 
with the great task of reconstruction. To soothe the feelings of 
the Boer population was the first task. Conceivably, they would 
not tolerate an influx of the Indians who had already swamped 
Natal. How would the English care to be submerged in their 
own country by a nation of hundreds of millions which could 
export not hundreds of thousands, but millions of its people 
without, indeed, feeling the loss in numbers? It was a pertinent 
question; Lord Milner understood it. His Peace Preservation 
Proclamation closed the borders against any Asiatic immigrant 
without an individual permit. This measure alone precluded a 
new sanguinary revolt on the part of the Boers. 

Gandhi was not a welcome visitor in Pretoria. The officials 
were unapproachable. The Assistant Colonial Secretary asked 
him to go back to Natal. He did so, but only to lead a deputa- 
tion to waylay Joseph Chamberlain when the latter arrived in 
Durban. Then his Indian followers, intoxicated by the first taste 
of success, insisted that Gandhi should return to the Transvaal, 
their next field of expansion. 

Upon his return to the capital of the Transvaal, he was gen- 
erally considered a pest. Lord Milner, although admitting that 
civilized colored people ought to be able to obtain all rights, 
irrespective of their color, declared: "But in this case the 
Asiatics are strangers forcing themselves upon a community 
reluctant to receive them." Reluctant was an understatement. 

The Indians were not to be got rid of. Although most of them 
who were prewar settlers in the Transvaal had left the country 
at the beginning of the war, other Indians, defying the Peace 
Preservation Proclamation, filtered in continuously. 

Finally, Milner tried a compromise. He was willing to re- 
admit prewar Indian residents, providing they would register 
in order to establish their right to admission. As a means of 
identification they had to have their right thumbs fingerprinted. 

Mr. Gandhi was the first to be thumb-printed. Three months 
after Pretoria had cold-shouldered him, he enrolled as a duly 



qualified attorney at the Supreme Court in the Transvaal. This 
was not a happy ending, but only a new beginning. Many 
Indians had large financial interests in the Transvaal. To look 
after their business, to win absolute equality for them, relief 
from segregation, full citizenship, became Gandhi's next aim. 

He could rely on the British Government, which had already 
protested on behalf of its Asiatic subjects against the restric- 
tions imposed upon them by President Kruger. Now, however, 
the government in London was confronted not only by the 
opposition of an irreconcilable Boer system, but by a united 
colonial feeling. Joseph Chamberlain had rejected all restric- 
tions imposed on "Asiatics" including the three pound tax; to 
him such measures were practically a continuance of the sys- 
tem of the South African Republic. Measures of restriction, he 
insisted, could only be justified on sanitary grounds. 

In the first months of 1904 torrential rains drenched Johannes- 
burg. The Downpour lasted unabated for seventeen days. The 
Indian population could not stand it. In March, bubonic plague 
broke out among them. As it happened so frequently, the sav- 
age climate of South Africa decided a political issue. Chamber- 
lain's "sanitary grounds" were fully met. Although British doc- 
tors and nurses brought the plague quickly under control, the 
plea for the restriction of the Indians was now irresistible. 

Advocate Gandhi himself retired from the hot soil of Pre- 
toria. He founded an Indian rural colony, named it "Phoenix," 
and started a community life after Tolstoy's pattern. In Phoenix 
he started, and edited, the Indian Opinion, a weekly that was 
later to become the mouthpiece of his passive resistance move- 

Only two years later, in June 1906, he found a new opportu- 
nity to display his usefulness. A minor Zulu war was in prog- 
ress. Gandhi volunteered once more. He collected a platoon of 
twenty stretcher-bearers, entrusted the military command to a 
German sergeant-major, and himself toiled hard, as he declared 
later, for more than a month. This time his men did not like 
the toil. They were disgusted at having to carry the wounded 
Zulus as well. They resented being, in Gandhi's words, volun- 



tary nurses to men not yet emerged from the most degraded 
state. Gandhi was disappointed at British humanity. 

Yet he embarked upon a mission to London. He was most 
courteously received, but informed that the Transvaal would 
soon be self-governing. New Asiatic measures, such as Gandhi 
asked for, would have to be delayed until the independent con- 
stitutional government of the Transvaal could decide them. 

Infuriated, Gandhi organized his first movement of passive 
resistance. It took practical form in July 1907, when he was 
joined by one thousand Chinese under the leadership of Leong 
Quinn. Hundreds of Gandhi's followers went to prison. Their 
leader emerged as "our true Karma Yogi." 

It was here that General Smuts stepped in. 

The Colonial Secretary was busy repatriating the Chinese 
coolies, who had brought him into power. He went slowly and 
cautiously to work, since he no longer wanted to damage the 
mines by a suddenly enforced removal of their most valuable 
labor. He was all the more impatient with the Indian law- 
breakers, constituting a racial danger for white South Africa, 
much graver than the indentured labor of the modest celestials. 

In August, 1907, Smuts wrote Advocate Gandhi an unmistak- 
able letter, announcing that he would carry out the law, "and 
if the Indians resisted, they would only have themselves and 
their leaders to blame for the consequences." 

Gandhi smiled enigmatically. But his smile concealed a ter- 
rible fear. He was rightly afraid that his resistance would arouse 
the Boer population before exhausting Smuts' already prover- 
bial patience. In that case a change of government might come 
to pass, and Gandhi understood perfectly well that he would 
never again find as fair-minded opponents as the team of Botha- 
Smuts. "The East is not wanting to flood South Africa with 
Indians," he solemnly declared. "The resident Indians do not 
wish an influx of their brethren." He fought, he said, for only 
two points: for the repeal of the Asiatic Law Amendment, and 
for recognition of the status of educated Indians, of whom six, 
only six a year, should be allowed to enter. 



Smuts replied with a counter offer: he would grant tem- 
porary permits. But this concession Advocate Gandhi refused 
"for reasons of self-respect." Passive resistance continued. To sit 
dhurma, he explained, was a right inherent in Indian philosophy. 

He had caught Smuts where he was vulnerable. Smuts could 
not be out-philosophized by another man. Moreover, he re- 
spected Gandhi. To him this was a man who acted in a way 
he thought right in defiance of a whole nation's opposition. Yet 
Advocate Smuts made a fine difference between respecting and 
giving in. Gandhi considered his own people, and Smuts, too, 
had to consider his own. He introduced a severe Immigration 
Act in the first session of the new Transvaal Parliament, which 
passed without debate. 

One of the stipulations of the new Act was that every regis- 
trant must have his fingerprints taken. In India this custom had 
long been established. It was used to guarantee the identity of 
the receivers of pensions and grants of every sort. Moreover, 
Mr. Gandhi himself, as well as a hundred thousand Indians in 
Natal and sixty thousand Chinese coolies, had been finger- 
printed without recrimination, when Milner had demanded it. 

Not /ingerprints but f/mmfc-prints, Advocate Gandhi insisted, 
and at that, only the print of the right thumb. In India crim- 
inals were dishonored by having their left thumb printed. Be- 
sides, religion about which Mr. Gandhi was otherwise vague 
forbade the taking of all ten fingerprints. It was some sort of 
Indian religion, one of the eight hundred-odd denominations. 

Everyone, including Advocate Gandhi, knew that one could 
buy fraudulent certificates, not to be verified by a simple thumb- 
print, in any Indian bazaar between Johannesburg and Cal- 
cutta. Yet, when November 30 came, the deadline for registra- 
tion, he once more refused registration on behalf of his people, 
whose numbers in the Transvaal increased by all manners of 
means, while the controversy about a mere point d'honneur 
as Gandhi slyly put it went on. 

The Indian Association picketed the government offices to 
prevent unfaithful co-nationals from complying with the regis- 
tration order. But five hundred Indians slipped through the 



picket lines. Immediately the Association denounced those 
fellow Indians as men who had no right of residence. The others 
cheered their leader and were prepared to go to jail for him, 
to lose their trading licenses, and, if he so decreed, their homes 
and their very existence. 

Gandhi marched ahead of his crowd right into the Pretoria 
jail. The martyr's crown sat firmly on his head. After his sen- 
tence to a one-year term he stated that he was delighted to 
have a full year's time for uninterrupted study and contem- 

His contemplations, it is true, were frequently interrupted by 
more or less harmless incidents. In January, the hot South 
African winter month, a great many Indian prisoners fainted, 
which was perfectly within the limits of passive resistance. On 
another occasion they refused to eat their rice or corn prepared 
with animal fat, the habitual diet of the native prisoners. Their 
religion, this time a different one, was strictly vegetarian, for- 
bidding the taking of animal fat. In complacent, English-run 
Johannesburg jails, the rice and the mealies were consequently 
cooked in butter. In stern, Calvinistic Pretoria, rice disappeared 
entirely from the prison menu. The Indians had to eat their 
corn without any fat whatsoever. Some of them actually fell ill. 
Gandhi alone thrived on mortification. 

From his cell, he suggested an interview with Smuts. The 
prisoner was perfectly willing to give the Colonial Secretary a 
hearing. It might, he promised, remove some misunderstandings. 

Smuts was not aware of any misunderstanding. He sent word 
that no useful purpose would be served by an interview. 

Gandhi continued to plead. Even at the peril of losing some 
of his treasured self-respect, he wanted to meet the man in 
authority for a palaver. 

Palaver means indaba in Tool. The Boer has not yet been 
born who would miss an indaba. Moreover, revengefulness is a 
word unknown in Smuts' vocabulary. He agreed to the meet- 
ing. Advocate Gandhi had used his meditations to draw up a 
scheme, carefully elaborated and ornamented with a few face- 
saving loopholes. The Indians would voluntarily register in a 



body within three months from their release from prison, if, 
on the other hand, the act would not be carried out during the 
time he needed to persuade his followers. The leaders, how- 
ever, would be allowed to sign in writing; no more humiliating 
fingerprints for Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. 

Smuts pointed out that it was not possible to repeal the 
Asiatic Act, a legislative measure, while Parliament was not in 
session, but he promised he would introduce "the whole mat- 
ter" to the House, and would guarantee that until then no 
Indian would be prosecuted under the act. He had another 
reason in addition to his permanent inclination for compro- 
mise. Botha was then in London, angling for a five-million- 
pound loan. The chances were good. But the English Govern- 
ment was visibly irritated over the harshness of the treatment 
meted out in the Transvaal to His Majesty's loyal Indians under 
faithful Mr. Gandhi. 

Smuts admitted publicly that he had "climbed down/' insist- 
ing that only narrow characters would not do so. The Indians 
registered "voluntarily." Even Gandhi's famous soul-force 
allowed him to give his fingerprints, despite the considerable 
loss of face. 

At the next session, Smuts passed a law in the House, at once 
repealing the Asiatic Act and amending the Immigration Act. 
The certificates of all registrants were declared valid, but no 
further Asiatics would be permitted to enter the Transvaal. 

Gandhi declared this to be a breach of Smuts' promise. Smuts 
denied the accusation. Gandhi spoke of a personal promise. 
Smuts, not unlike his behavior toward Sir Conyngham Greene 
immediately before the outbreak of the war, knew nothing of 
personal promises. Parliament was the authority, not he. 

The Indian registrants, Gandhi at their head, burned their 
certificates. The trouble then made did not abate throughout 
the years. Gandhi came forward with a new demand: repeal 
of the three pound tax imposed on the permanent Indian set- 
tlers in Natal. By this time the Union of South Africa was 
already achieved. Smuts, now wielding country-wide authority, 
refused to be blackmailed. Provocatively, 3,000 Indians from 



Natal under Gandhi's leadership crossed the provincial border 
of the Transvaal. They were promptly arrested, and once more 

Smuts was worn out. Gandhi, too, seemed slightly fatigued 
by his exertions. Unhesitatingly, he added Brahmarcharyaihe 
vow of chastity to his already practiced santygraha, soul force. 
He was detained in the Bloemfontein prison. Now the Indians 
in India rose in his support. The English wanted no trouble in 
the Empire, as dark clouds were overshadowing the political 
horizon. They interfered discreetly with the Union government. 
Gandhi's sojourn in jail suddenly ended. 

At a triumphal farewell banquet Gandhi and his wife drank 
one another's health in two glasses of water. Brahmarcharya, it 
appeared, was a rather rigid prescription. Then the couple 
slipped out of South Africa two days before World War I 
started. Gandhi returned via London to India, where he prac- 
ticed what he had learned in South Africa. Ever since he has 
paid his debt of gratitude to England in his own inimitable 

Smuts was reconciled with the Indians when he watched the 
splendid performance of their troops during the First World 
War. But Indians, like other peoples, are not a nation of splen- 
did soldiers alone. Some of them who remained in South Africa, 
a fat and increasingly rich lot, right now do their best, or their 
worst, to impede the Union's magnificent war-effort. 

Chapter 15 UNION 


consequential incident during the three years of the Botha- 
Smuts regime in the Transvaal was the story of the Cuttinan. 



On January 26, 1905, a tremendous diamond was found in the 
half-State-owned Premier mine. More than 50 per cent of its 
value belonged to the State. But no one could tell how much 
that would amount to in money. In fact, the giant gem, weigh- 
ing 3,025 carats, was beyond estimate, since there was no mar- 
ket for a precious stone of this magnitude. It was insured for 
.250,000, but this sum represented only a fraction of its real, 
if immobile, worth. 

The government of the Crown Colony was rather embar- 
rassed by the find. What should be done with the Ctdlinan? 
In London, patriots suggested an Empire-wide collection to 
buy the miraculous stone as an offering to the King-Emperor. 
But before this collection materialized, Smuts had a brain wave. 
Why not present on behalf of the Transvaal the unique jewel, 
too precious to be worth anything, to King Edward VII? Smuts 
had good reasons to believe that the King was not a particular 
friend of the Boers. Edward VII still stressed his admiration 
for Cecil Rhodes, he treated with great distinction Viscount 
Milner, whom the Liberals had sent into the political wilder- 
ness, and he only thinly disguised his disapproval of Campbell- 
Bannerman's post-war policy in South Africa. 

A truly majestic present seemed to General Smuts the best 
method of reconciling the King with his new colonies. Perhaps 
he also felt, in the exuberance of newly acquired power, a little 
flattered by the vision that he, Jan Christian Smuts, would pre- 
sent the world's greatest diamond to the King-Emperor, the 
world's greatest monarch. Smuts rarely indulged in even the 
most innocent vanity. This case may have been an exception. 

Botha, both a little sentimental and very practical-minded, 
concurred wholeheartedly. He was very ready to oblige his 
king in the most grand-seignorial manner. Moreover, he still 
had the Transvaal Land Bank on his mind, for the establish- 
ment of which he needed a formidable English loan, perhaps 
five million pounds. 

On August 16, 1907, the government suggested to the House 
to offer the Cidlinan to His Majesty. An acrimonious debate 
began immediately, and lasted for two days. Strangely, the 



conservative Boers took no part in the discussion. They dis- 
trusted the Anglophilia of their ruling team. The couple Botha- 
Smuts, they found, had grown a little too big, too broadminded, 
and too magnanimous in their generosity toward England. But 
suspicious Boers are silent Boers. 

The ProgressiveEnglish Party was not silent. Their spokes- 
men, Sir George Farrar and Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, opposed the 
proposed gift as "inexpedient/* In fact, they saw through the 
trick: they knew perfectly well that the Land Bank, breaking 
the English banking monopoly, was lurking around the corner, 
and they had no reason to wish the King to undergo a change 
of heart toward the Boers. The King's attitude, if constitution- 
ally of no consequence, was yet the last rampart in the Trans- 
vaal, defending the English from being entirely brushed aside 
by a wholly Dutch government. 

But the Progressive Party was split from top to bottom over 
the merits of the matter. Some of them could not swallow 
Smuts' biting sarcasm in the debate: "When I see the Knight 
Commanders and the D.S.O/s rise and unblushingly oppose the 
motion, it shows me that although there may be great financial 
power behind them, there is little political insight." Sir Abe 
Bailey, a mere dilettante in politics, but a multimillionaire of 
his own making, could not tolerate such an insult. He was for 
the motion. Mr. Henry Lindsay backed him up. He saw in the 
motion for the disposal of the Cullinan diamond the materiali- 
zation of the great event for which he had been waiting all his 
lifetime: an act that symbolized the junction of two races in 
their common allegiance. "The seed of a wider national senti- 
ment, sown by Advocate Smuts at Kimberley in 1895, has ger- 
minated," he ended his contribution to the debate. His words 
were well chosen.What Smuts had considered the gravest 
political blunder of his life was vindicated. The wound was 
healed. He concluded the discussion by informing the House 
that word from London had just come through: By 199 to 62 
votes the House of Commons had approved the guarantee of 
a loan of five million pounds to the Transvaal, a large slice of 
which was earmarked as capital for the Land Bank. Immedi- 



ately the Transvaal House of Assembly agreed upon the gift 
by 42 to 19 votes. The unanimity of the resolution, Smuts 
pointed out, was only thwarted by the professional guardians 
of British prestige in South Africa. 

The Cullinan as a whole could not be polished. The "cleav- 
ing" was undertaken on February 10, 1908. The process suc- 
ceeded splendidly. The largest fragment weighed nearly 2,000 
carats, the next over 1,000 carats. The remainder consisted of 
many small pieces. In November the parcel was delivered in 
London, to be dealt with by His Majesty's jewelers. Ultimately, 
Cullinan I weighed 516 carats, Cullinan II 309, the next heav- 
iest, the Nizam, 277. 

Early in January, 1909, Botha and Smuts went to London. 
They were summoned to Court to see the gem, and were not 
a little surprised to meet, on this occasion, Sir George Farrar 
and Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, the leaders of the opposition. There 
was a last little difficulty to overcome. The cleaving, polishing, 
and setting of the stones had cost 35,000. Since one could 
not well let the King pay for a present, the Transvaal Parlia- 
ment voted the sum under the heading "unforeseen expendi- 
ture/' This time the vote was unanimous. Smuts had made sure 
that no questions would be asked. The English opponents 
rubbed their hands. They were, after all, very pleased with the 
outcome. The unreconciled Boers jammed the counters of the 
newly opened Land Bank to grab their share of the credits. 

The Cullinan affair had a twofold political consequence. The 
Progressive Party remained split, and its influence dwindled. 
A great many English voters, now convinced by the proved 
loyalty of Botha and Smuts, switched to Het Volk. On the other 
hand, Het Volk lost many of its old adherents to the danger- 
ously surging Boer nationalist movement which found the do- 
nation an act of megalomania on the part of the two leaders, 
now clearly on the highroad to England, and which thrived on 
the appeal to the traditional Boer thriftiness. It can be assumed 
without exaggeration that the renewed and never-since-abated 



nationalist Afrikander movement originated in the Cullinan 

Smuts was gambling for high stakes. The Cullinan had re- 
moved the last English suspicion. The time had come for the 
fulfillment of his supreme idea: the Union of South Africa. 
True, the people still needed a little prodding. His approach 
had to be careful. South Africans were not high-flying idealists 
of his own mould. They must be brought to understand the 
problems that, varied as they were, all made Union necessity. 

Once more Smuts toured the country. Now he had no ene- 
mies, or at least he did not recognize them as such. His inner- 
most urge of human brotherhood overcame all barriers. To his 
own constituents in Pretoria he explained the advantages of 
his Education Act. It was bound to bring people together. In 
another ten or fifteen years there would no longer be any racial 
differences. A good kick had brought down the wall that had 
separated them thus far. After this appeal to the irreconcilable 
Boers he welcomed Sir Lionel Phillips on his return from Eng- 
land. It was no longer private parlor conversation. It was a 
frank, public welcome, unmindful of the fact that the English- 
language newspapers of the House of Eckstein, which Sir Lio- 
nel represented in Johannesburg, had incessantly attacked Het 
Volk. At the Johannesburg Debating Society Smuts mentioned 
Paul Kruger and Cecil Rhodes, in the same breath, both as 
great personalities. 

To the farmers he spoke in their own language. To a Western 
Transvaal audience he gave practical advice on mealie corn 
growing, potato blight, the production of negro-head tobacco, 
the darkest and the richest, on sheepshearing, on the best meth- 
ods of marketing. 

He was now a prosperous farmer himself. Union was coming, 
he felt it in every drop of his blood, and he would have to stay 
for many months out of the year in Cape Town. So he bought 
the estate Dornkloof (Mimosa Gorge) near Irene, ten miles 
south of Pretoria, to give his family a permanent home. Dorn- 
kloof has remained General Smuts' favorite private residence, 
the abode of his famous library, and South Africa's model farm. 



The Transvaal fanners listened patiently to all the good ad- 
vice they had received from their exalted fellow husbandman. 
But what they wanted was more than advice. They clamored 
for protective tariffs to secure the home market against the 
competition of the incomparably more fertile Cape Colony. 
Internal tariffs, even the low ones then in existence, were the 
worst obstacle to Union. Smuts said he would not erect a fence 
around the Transvaal to exclude fellow South Africans. Isola- 
tionism, protectionism, separatism were the targets of his hard- 
hitting speeches. He interspersed them with just the proper 
dose of nationalism. Many of the Cape farmers had helped the 
Transvaal in the war. Were the Transvaalers now going to bite 
the hand that had drawn the sword in their defense? At a meet- 
ing at Christiania, where Smuts once more conjured up the 
memories of the Boer War, a listener shouted: "General de la 
Rey has promised all those fighting under him a good living 
afterwards!" "Nonsense!" replied Smuts, "what he promised 
you was certain death!" 

He demanded intensified work on the veld to make good the 
destruction wrought by the war. "What do we need in addition 
to land and irrigation?" a heckler asked. "Seed!" said Smuts. 
"And then?" continued the stubborn Boer. "A plow!" "And 
then?" "A harrow!" "But most of all?" The feUow meant, of 
course, protection. Smuts replied: "Sweat!" 

His dwelling on the Boer War did not prevent him from 
doing justice to the English. He wanted all and sundry in his 
fold. In Johannesburg he paid glowing tribute to Colonel 
Briggs, who had hounded his own commando through the 
Cape Colony. When the Imperial Light Horse, the English 
crack regiment, one of his most formidable foes in the war, was 
threatened with absorption in the Defence Force, then in the 
making, Smuts pushed through a cabinet resolution to retain 
the identity of the historic formation, and its name. 

Again in Johannesburg he coined a word that became the 
battle cry of South African politics, and remained so ever since. 
Smuts pointed to Canada as a warning example. There English 
and French did not blend. They did not become one people* 



They remained almost like two streams, flowing side by side. 
He wanted the flow and growth of a South African nation in 
one stream. 

Unwittingly, he had given his foes their cue. Hertzog picked 
it up, and his successors repeated it incessantly to this very day. 
They call their policy of racial division and hatred: two-stream- 

Hertzog, thus far generally regarded as a troublesome and 
ungrateful Boer agitator of no particular importance, was now 
a Minister in the Orange Free State. Lacking any sort of parlia- 
mentary or governmental experience, he sought to attract atten- 
tion as a violent anti-British racialist. He succeeded particularly 
well with the Boer women who exercised strong influence in 
the family and in social life. Although he himself spoke English 
with hischildren, he warned the mothers to confine their house- 
hold speech strictly to Taal. They must never forget their suf- 
ferings in the camps during the war, and teach their children 
what he called "the truth of the matter." Pretending that he 
was only seeking Dutch equality, and that there should be 
nothing to suggest one race's superiority to the other, he em- 
barked upon the doctrine and practice of violent anti-British 
prejudice. In fact, it was not his bias against Britain, but his 
insane jealousy of Smuts and Botha that shaped his course. 

In the Transvaal the two races were approaching one another 
step by step. On the English side Sir Lionel Phillips, the min- 
ing magnate, was the protagonist of this rapprochement. His 
social relations with Botha and Smuts developed into confi- 
dential political intercourse. Sir Lionel made it his business to 
keep abreast of government proposals and often to point out in 
the most friendly manner defections or possible unforeseen 
consequences of impending legislation. Mostly he reached an 
agreement, and had dangerous bills amended and modified. 
When Smuts introduced his bilingual Education Act with the 
support of the English opposition in Parliament, Hertzog could 
not bear it any longer. He publicly accused Botha and Smuts 
of "weakening under the blandishments of the Empire build- 
ers," and was bent on proving that the Boers in the Orange 



River Colony, as the Free State was then called, were better 
Boers. In his capacity as Minister of Education he introduced 
a pointedly anti-Smuts Education Bill of his own, a crude sys- 
tem that tended to exclude the English language from the 
schools in his colony. Under the pretext that they had not 
passed their examination in Dutch, he excluded several hundred 
teachers newly imported from England. Furthermore he dis- 
missed the three English school inspectors. The Director of 
Education in Hertzog's own Free State resigned in protest. The 
three inspectors sued for wrongful dismissal, and obtained dam- 
ages from the Court. But the Oranje Unie, Hertzog's hench- 
men, collected enough money to refund all expenses. 

While the Boer chauvinists under ex-President Steyn's nomi- 
nal leadership and Hertzog's actual guidance did their best to 
poison the relations between the Orange River Colony and the 
Transvaal, the English South Africans were foremost in sup- 
porting Smuts' idea of a Union of the whole country. In fact it 
was Cecil Rhodes' and Lord Milner's legacy, which General 
Smuts, mustering all his forceful idealism, was now carrying 
out. Dr. Jameson, of all men, the same Dr. Jim who eleven 
years before had organized the blundering raid, was now Prime 
Minister of the Cape Colony. His "misdeed" was forgotten and 
forgiven, particularly by Botha and Smuts. Dr. Jameson now 
addressed Lord Selborne, urging the Governor to pay attention 
to a series of articles in Ons Land, Smuts' own mouthpiece in 
Cape Town, which pointed out that the time had come for 
South African unification. Lord Selborne, himself deeply con- 
vinced of the necessity of Union, entrusted Messieurs Lionel 
Curtis and Philip Kerr (later the Marquess. of Lothian), two 
members of Milner's Kindergarten, with a blueprint. This pa- 
per, to become famous as the Selborne memorandum, was pub- 
lished in January, 1907. The cornerstone of a united South 
Africa was laid. 

Unceasingly, Smuts drove matters on. He had to overcome 
grave obstacles. The Transvaal Boers loved their old comrades 
in arms, the Boers from the Orange River Colony, but they 
were not willing to pay for the perennial deficiency in the Free 



State's budget. Pretoria was the center of the protection move- 
ment, the natural antagonist of Union. Racial bias was fanned 
in the Free State. Mr. Merriman, by now the patriarch of South 
Africa, while eulogizing General Smuts as a great asset in the 
coming united South Africa, declared himself as a pas-op, a 
cautious, conservative man, unwilling to accelerate the speed 
of a natural but necessarily slow development. 

Smuts replied to all criticism that he fully understood the 
temporary difficulties, but that he was building for the cen- 
turies, not for the moment. He was even unwilling to grant 
a general election on the subject. The Parliaments in the four 
States, he declared, had full powers to act. In June, 1907, the 
four Parliaments indeed passed resolutions favoring national 
union. Eleven months later an inter-colonial conference in 
Pretoria resolved that the permanent prosperity of South Africa 
could only be secured by an early Union, under the Crown of 
Great Britain, of the four self-governing Colonies. Smuts pre- 
pared a constitution, which, he foretold, would be more than a 
mere instrument of government. "It ought to be a grand pact 
of peace between the white people of South Africa," he de- 
manded. "Do not let us have a Union of top-dog and under-dog. 
Let us have a union of brothers/' 

From the Free State came Hertzog's reply: 'The Afrikander 
must be baas of all South Africa." 

But Smuts was too busy to listen to criticism. He was entirely 
absorbed by the study of existing federal constitutions. The 
American Constitution occupied him above all. But he found 
its principles of States' rights and rather loose federation not 
applicable to young South Africa, where an iron hand was 
wanted to bring the divergent interests together. He later said 
that the Constitution was not a man's work, but "bore the im- 
press of a Higher Hand." Undoubtedly, he had lent the Higher 
Hand his own right hand. 

On the twelfth of October, 1908, exactly nine years after the 
beginning of the Boer War, a National Convention opened its 
session in Durban, to proceed later to Cape Town and finally 
to Bloemfontein. The debate was conducted with great deco- 



rum and in an atmosphere of good will. Not a single word was 
uttered about racialism. Fire and water were happily wedded. 
The Rand mine owner and the Natal sugar planter, the Cape 
wine farmer and the Free State ex-commander discussed mat- 
ters as if they never had been at one another's throats. Gen- 
eral Botha, the patriarch Merriman, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, Presi- 
dent Steyn and many other arch-foes spoke and acted like a 
band of brothers. They were all in General Smuts' grip. 

Smuts was accompanied by a staff of nineteen advisers and 
experts, a larger staff than the delegations of all the three other 
colonies together had brought along. He himself had made an 
intensive study of the problem in all its details; there was no 
question which he had not explored with all his customary 
thoroughness. He surpassed himself both as a thinker and 
speaker. He appealed to the convention not to pay too much 
attention to material interests. The problems of the day were 
not the problems of the future, for which alone they were work- 
ing. He reconciled diverging interests and opposing views. He 
settled the haggling between Pretoria and Cape Town about 
which should be the Union capital by suggesting that Pretoria 
should be the seat of the Executive, and Cape Town the seat of 
the Legislative. He insisted on one supreme Parliament and 
one Government. Yet he believed that the insoluble native 
question the problem about which the liberal Cape Colony on 
one hand and the intolerant Transvaal and Free State on the 
other could never agree should remain a matter of the indi- 
vidual States. He promised the interior of the country its due 
share of the development to avoid the example of Australia, 
where almost the whole population was concentrated at the 
coast, and he drew a glowing picture of the prosperity that 
would accrue to the ports and the coastal regions by handling 
the business of the Rand which would no longer be impaired 
by internal customs. The clause concerning unification of the 
railway system another piece of Lord Milner's heritage he 
called "the Magna Charta of the Interior." But the leitmotiv 
was, time and again, the blending of all free people in a com- 
mon nation. 



Alexander Hamilton was reborn. 

Throughout the months of discussion everyone paid tribute 
to Smuts' wide and ambitious vision. The logic of his cut and 
dried plans, his arguments worked out to the minutest particu- 
lar swayed the convention. Only one backbencher dissented. 
He did not speak a single word about the great idea of Union. 
Instead he harped incessantly on his two hobbies: the predomi- 
nant right of the Dutch language, and the native franchise 
which should not be extended. The Natal delegation grew rest- 
less as Hertzog constantly assailed the use of English, and the 
representatives of the Cape were aroused by his attacks on 
their traditional liberalism toward the color question. Hertzog 
did not mind appearing as a strange and disturbing element. 
While the benches emptied rapidly, he produced a long and 
involved resolution, which was finally voted down. His insist- 
ence had made him the most unpopular member of the conven- 
tion. Yet many of the delegates recognized that he was the one 
man who felt most strongly on his obsessions and that, in view 
of his following among the Dutch, some day they would have 
to heed his voice. 

Smuts' draft constitution was accepted in Cape Town on 
February 9, 1909, and a few months later slightly amended in 
Bloemfontein. A large group of South African politicians car- 
ried the amended act to England, where it was embodied in an 
Imperial Bill, and subsequently ratified by the Parliaments of 
Westminster and South Africa. 

On the fifteenth of April, 1909, a banquet was held in Johan- 
nesburg in honor of Lord Selborne, then on the eve of his 
departure from South Africa, since his term had expired. Smuts, 
still the Colonial Secretary, substituting for Prime Minister 
Botha, eulogized Lord Selborne as the "father of Union, who 
had first ventured into the open/' But he left no doubt that the 
Union was now very much his own business. However, he had 
not the slightest ambition for the formal leadership. He did not 
wish to enter the scramble. 

May 31, 1910 was the appointed day when the Union of 
South Africa should come into existence. It was the eighth 



birthday of Vereeniging. On this day a government had to be 
ready, strong enough to carry the elections which were to fol- 
low in September. There was not much time left to build a 
cabinet. Moreover, the battle of the spoils was marked by the 
most complicated intrigues. It was, indeed, difficult to find 
proper representation for the two white races and the four ex- 
colonies. Dr. Jameson suggested a best-men-ministry including 
the leaders of all parties and both races. But aged John X. Mer- 
riman, widely considered as the great impartial, sided with the 
irreconcilables from the Free State, with President Steyn and 
his chief adviser Hertzog, in rejecting the plan. B6tha himself 
refused to head such a government. He would, he feared, lose 
all his influence with his people, if he wished to preside over 
an administration which included the English. The English 
leaders understood that the plan was premature. They formed a 
loyal opposition, but ultimately their exclusion, and the divi- 
sion along national lines, revived racialism. 

The natural choice for the Premiership seemed to be Mr. 
Merriman, who cautiously announced his candidature, and was 
supported by Hertzog. However, after fifty years of work in 
Parliament and public he was denied the highest honor. Lord 
Selborne, shortly before his departure, had expressed his dis- 
pleasure with the old man, who, for his part, had prevented the 
Governor-General from presiding over the National Conven- 
tion. Besides, it was known that King Edward strongly dis- 
liked the English-born Boer leader. Ex-President Steyn's health 
failed so rapidly that he, too, was out of the race. Smuts pro- 
duced Botha. The kingmakers agreed, but on one condition: 
Hertzog would have to be included in the Cabinet. Everyone, 
with the exception of his own Free Staters, despised him. But 
this delegation had seventeen men in the elected chamber, and 
to the last man they insisted on their spiritual leader. The bulk 
of the English voters was infuriated. Natal threatened to ab- 
stain from co-operation, if Hertzog in the Ministry was the 
price they would have to pay. 

Once more Botha and Smuts had to calm the troubled waters. 
Botha, himself Natal-born, sent emissaries to the troublesome 



Free State. Smuts suggested that Hertzog should come along 
to welcome the new Governor-General, Lord Gladstone, the 
son of the Grand Old Man, to whom the Boers owed their tri- 
umph after Majuba. Smuts' idea was to reconcile Hertzog with 
the British. But it failed completely. 

In a new conciliatory effort General Smuts visited Hertzog 
on May 10, 1910, in the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town. 
Stubbornly Hertzog insisted that all the trouble around him 
was due to political agitation from the Rand. Smuts suggested 
that Hertzog should go to the Court of Appeal. Hertzog indig- 
nantly replied that he could not do so without playing false to 
his people. Was he an inconvenience? he asked, smiling. 

Pigheaded, he refused all further advances. Even the threat 
that Dr. Jameson would be sent for, if Botha should not succeed 
in forming a ministry, did not deter him. He preferred a hated 
Englishman in office than a Boer government without himself. 
In his diary he entered: "Botha's weakness and lack of prin- 
ciple was known to me and my friends before Union. So was 
his half-heartedness about the language question. The days 
before and during the National Convention gave me and my 
friends a fair foretaste of what we had to expect from him as 
our future leader. But this convinced me all the more that it is 
my necessary duty to take my place beside him in the interest 
of our people and country. Three things are now clear to me: 
How sensitive 'people' [meaning Botha and Smuts] are to op- 
position. How eager 'people' are to satisfy criticism, but how 
willing also to offer me up on the altar of another opposition." 

Botha was finally convinced that he must accept Hertzog, 
behind whom stood the whole Free State and all the irrecon- 
cilables throughout South Africa. He chose the lesser evil. Only 
one week before the Union Cabinet had to be announced he 
asked Hertzog, whom he had thus far personally avoided, to 
see him in the Mount Nelson Hotel. Hertzog appeared, but in- 
stead of Botha, Smuts received him and notified Hertzog that 
he would become Minister of Justice. Then both men went to 
Botha's room. The Prime Minister-in-the-making did not utter 
a single word in connection with the appointment. Hertzog 



entered in his diary: 'There was no mistaking with how much 
reluctance he accepted me as a colleague/' But he had wormed 
his way into the Cabinet, and was perfectly satisfied. 

On account of Hertzog's inclusion, the first Union Cabinet 
got a very bad press. The Johannesburg Star, then the most 
powerful organ in South Africa, complained that Botha's party 
had capitulated to the Orange Free State racialists. 

There shone but one ray of hope. Smuts was in the govern- 
ment. He was very much in it. He held three portfolios simul- 
taneously; the Interior, the Mines, and the Defense. In this lat- 
ter capacity, as Minister of Defense, he was to enter history. 



of the first Union Government, Smuts strongly stressed the fact 
that he regarded the Defense Office as the predominant one 
among his portfolios. The year was 1910. "In England," Smuts 
declared to a Natal audience, "people live in a false sense of 
security, and it is difficult to get them to take an interest in 
defense. But we in South Africa have known war, and while 
the feeling of responsibility is still warm within us, we shall 
create a national defense system." While he dwelt on the sub- 
ject, he warned against South Africa's building a "tin-can fleet" 
of her own. It would be better to increase their contribution to 
the Royal Navy guarding the South African shores. 

His audience was deeply impressed. But immediately his 
cabinet colleague Hertzog raised his ugly head. Any money 
that was to be spent on the defense of the country's shores, he 
insisted, was to go toward the building of an independent 



South African Navy. He entirely opposed an increased naval 
contribution to the Imperial Exchequer, about which General 
Botha was, in fact, already negotiating with London. The Cabi- 
net was split, even before it had won approval from the elec- 

Smuts knew what he was speaking about. Among Cecil 
Rhodes' "thoughts" that he had inherited was the colossus' dis- 
trust of German penetration of Africa. Although he himself at 
that time was still a strong believer in the color bar, Smuts was 
aroused by the barbaric cruelty with which the German colo- 
nizers, neighbors, at that, treated the natives. When Germany 
took South West Africa in 1892 the Hereros owned one hun- 
dred and fifty thousand head of cattle, incidentally their only 
possession. By the end of 1905 they had not a single head left. 
Two years later a German law formally forbade them to own 
cattle. The Hereros themselves were annihilated like their 
cattle. Shortly after the building of the Union of South Africa 
the natives rose in rebellion against their systematic persecu- 
tion by the German overlords. In 1877, according to the findings 
of a British commission, the Hereros had numbered eighty-five 
thousand. A few months after their revolt the Germans took a 
census of the population, and announced triumphantly that 
only 15,130 "savages" were left, 

A few years before the outbreak of the First World War 
German colonial aspirations ran riot. Central Africa was con- 
sidered an essential part of the Vaterland's living space. One 
argument was that at least a million black soldiers could be 
trained there. The other was that the country would supply 
inestimable raw materials. And last, but not least, German 
naval bases, coaling stations, munition dumps, and strongholds 
would interrupt, and, if the opportunity arose, sever Great 
Britain's vital lines of communication with India, the Pacific, 
and the Far East. The race for naval superiority, into which 
Wilhelm II plunged, had its immediate bearing on South Africa, 
the country situated at the confluence of the Atlantic and the 
Indian oceans. 

Smuts was far away from the ever-darkening European 



scene. But this very distance gave him a broad, world-wide 
outlook. He did not see the trees, he saw the woods. His first 
promise in the electoral campaign was that he would fortify 
the shores of South Africa. This pledge won him the confidence 
of many English-speaking voters. 

On the other hand, Hertzog was just about to develop his 
creed, which, under the name of Hertzogism, was to permeate 
and poison South Africa. As it was evolved in 1910, Hertzogism 
was not so much anti-English as anti-British. He wished to 
leave the English-speaking South Africans in peace, if in an 
inferior position. His hatred was concentrated on the Empire. 
Viewing world problems from a narrow standpoint, acquired 
in the Orange Free State, an almost exclusively Dutch province 
in a parochial state of mind, he hated large units, the very goal 
of Smuts' life. The Britain-hatred that subsequently marked 
him began as bigoted, limited provincialism. 

Hertzogism, vocally expounded, antagonized the English 
part of the electorate. Botha himself lost his seat in Pretoria 
to Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, on account of the Prime Minister's 
coalition with Hertzog. As a matter of precaution, the Prime 
Minister had also contested the Dutch agrarian constituency of 
Losberg which gave him an overwhelming majority. But Botha's 
pride was hurt, and he realized perfectly well that he owed his 
defeat to his colleague more than to his opponent. 

Pretoria- West returned Smuts after a three-cornered con- 
test. His rivals were Major Creswell, the leader of the newly 
founded Labor Party, once the whip of the British section of 
Het Volk, and the man who had introduced white labor under 
the surface, and the Unionist, Major Hopley, later to become 
Smuts* friend and follower. Smuts won his victory largely by 
disassociating himself from Hertzogism. The Unionists, succes- 
sors to the Progressives, made much of this curse that found its 
particular expression in the educational system prevailing in 
the Free State. Smuts admitted that this system was non-ger- 
mane to Union. However, he cautiously insisted that the abro- 
gation of the educational laws of the Free State would be im- 
possible without a revolution. 

On the whole. Het Volk did well at the election. The Boer 


Party won sixty-seven seats, the Unionists, led by Dr. Jameson, 
now Sir Starr Jameson, mustered thirty-nine, and the new 
Laborites four. 

The Duke of Connaught went to South Africa formally to 
open the First Union Parliament. In a glowing address his 
Royal Highness dwelt on the fact that five self-governing na- 
tions were now willing to co-operate in Imperial affairs. Every- 
one applauded. Hertzog alone was visibly out of sympathy. He 
did not join in the three cheers led by Botha. He eyed the 
cheerleader with ill-concealed suspicion. 

Botha, indeed, committed sin after sin. Particularly in educa- 
tional matters he did not display the "right spirit." Two mining 
millionaires, Julius Wernler and Alfred Beit, had bequeathed 
half a million pounds to the University of Cape Town. The 
Unionist spokesmen, Sir Lionel Phillips and Sir Starr Jameson, 
pleaded for a worthy use of this sum. But almost unanimously 
the Boer members wanted to use the legacy for fostering the 
study of archaic, primitive Taal, not for purposes of educational 
excellence. Botha did not side strongly enough with them, they 
complained. Smuts' attitude seemed indiscernible, yet his heart 
was in Pretoria, not in Cape Town. At the founding of the Pre- 
toria University, an Afrikaans language institute, he expressed 
the hope that this seat of learning would become the Oxford 
of South Africa. In educational matters, however, he stuck to 
his principle of compulsory English with Dutch optional, in 
the schools. 

On November 24, 1910, a fiery debate over the Free State 
Education Act incensed the House of Assembly. The Unionists 
asserted that this act conflicted with the principles of freedom 
and equality. Hertzog riposted with a fighting speech. Botha 
finally decided that a select committee should inquire into the 
matter. The mere fact that an inquiry in his own domain was 
to be held increased Hertzog's hostility against Botha. The re- 
port of the Select Committee dealt Hertzog's school system a 
crushing blow. Now Botha was forced to act. He could not 
disappoint the Unionists too strongly. After all, it was still their 



industry that carried, almost alone, the burden of taxation, 
whereas the Boer farmers were practically tax-exempt. The 
English did not complain about this condition. They knew that 
any government that tried to impose even most modest levies 
upon agriculture would be swept away by irate backveld fann- 
ers. They had to put up with many things. The platteland con- 
stituencies were violently opposed to regulations for combating 
pests and diseases or for the scientific treatment of the many 
scourges of plant life and the eradication of poisonous varieties. 
All this would be against God's will. Many bearded repre- 
sentatives of the backveld in the House were just as intransi- 
gent on the color question. Smuts' new Constitution had made 
this problem a state affair, not a Federal one. Thus the men 
from the backwoods could still stick to the old Transvaal grand- 
wet classifying the population as mannen (men), vrouwen 
(women), and schepsels (creatures). Only about the educa- 
tional question, on the solution of which the future of their 
own children depended, the Unionists were unyielding. At 
their insistence, and based upon the findings of the Select Com- 
mittee, General Botha asked the provinces to conform to cer- 
tain principles in the management of their schools, in order to 
attain equality without compulsion. Although he had addressed 
his demand to all the four States, the Orange Free State alone 
was meant. The Free State complied. Its schools were purged 
of Hertzogism. The revolution that Smuts had foreseen did not 
break out immediately. But when it eventually came, the 
aroused parents of the Free States formed the most violent 
mob in the fray. 

In April, 1911, Botha visited London once more, again to 
attend a conference of colonial prime ministers. This time the 
conference was called Imperial Conference, to soothe the sensi- 
tive feelings of the peoples in the Dominions. Hertzog, how- 
ever, scented the Imperial devil. His suspicions were vindicated 
by a number of events in London. Botha was lionized. He was 
promoted honorary general in the British Army, an honor 
otherwise reserved for royalty. He became a Privy Councillor. 
At the King's levee he appeared in the prescribed knee breeches 



and silk stockings. His picture was taken in this attire. Smuts 
took good care that it should not be published or otherwise 
circulated at home. Yet the news that Botha wore silk stockings 
spread like wildfire throughout the platteland. Losberg, his 
own constituency, was perturbed. Some called him Engelsman 
Englishman a calculated insult. 

The worst came to the worst. On the anniversary of Union 
Day Botha addressed a London audience, ending with the 
words: "No more loyal and wholehearted part of the Empire 
exists than the land where Dutch and English brethren live 
together in amity the Union of South Africa." 

At home, Hertzog replied with poisonous speeches. He com- 
plained that too much was said about the Empire and too little 
about South Africa. His hostility against his chief was now 
completely undisguised. 

On May 7, the first census of united South Africa disclosed 
that the country, four times as big as Great Britain and Ireland 
together, had only 1,255,545 white inhabitants, against a col- 
ored majority of 4,621,531. The Unionists used this figure, 
which frightened the whole country, and most of all the con- 
servative Boers, into demanding the encouragement of white 
immigration. Smuts agreed, and campaigned for the idea, with 
the proviso, however, that only the right type should be invited 
to come; no city loafers, no poor whites. Characteristically, he 
extended his welcome even to the persecuted Russian Jews, 
"the Maimonideses and Spinozas of the future South Africa." 
Botha, for his part, told the Eighty Club in London that his 
country was wide open to new English settlers. 

Once more Hertzog bristled. The Empire-builders and Im- 
perialists were influencing the papbroek weaklings. He did 
not need to add that he meant Botha and Smuts. He poured 
contempt on the very idea of a new wave of immigration. At 
the height of his combative spirit he even ventured into Johan- 
nesburg. It was his first visit after thirteen months in office. 
Like Oom Paul before him, he loathed the foreign town. Johan- 
nesburg was heavily policed when the Minister of Justice ar- 
rived. Surrounded by a cavalcade of mounted police, Hertzog 



drove right into the Dutch suburb of Turffontein. There he let 
off steam. Referring to Botha's prolonged stay in England, he 
declared: "In the ambitions of Europe we da not participate. 
In its intrigues we do not share. With its quarrels we have no 
concern. State-aided immigration would be a national crime." 
Smuts found it high time for Botha to return home. The 
Premier complied. Upon his arrival in Cape Town, he moved 
into the Prime Minister's official residence, the Groote Schuur, 
bequeathed by Cecil Rhodes. His first act was to unveil a memo- 
rial to the colossus. He eulogized the instigator of the Jameson 
Raid. With Sir Starr Jameson, once the raider, now the leader 
of the opposition in Parliament, Hertzog was on amiable terms. 
It was characteristic for this man that he retained his courteous 
manners and his bonhomie toward everyone, and particularly 
toward English acquaintances. But when Botha uttered a few 
appreciative words about Rhodes, Hertzog was outraged. 

Smuts kept aloof in so far as he could from the domestic 
quarrel. He had more important things on his mind, a variety 
of things. As Minister of Mines he introduced a bill on an ex- 
tremely difficult subject miner's phthisis; his speech displayed 
accurate medical knowledge. But the miners objected to his 
proposals. Smuts insisted on the principle of contributions by 
the miners themselves, in order to make them more careful 
while at work. The miners were no longer old Cornishmen, but 
mostly young Boers from the platteland, to whom a miner's 
wage meant an almost incredible fortune. Yet they declined to 
have contributions to a medical fund deducted. They found 
strong support among the Boer politicians. Smuts was accused 
of listening too carefully to Sir Lionel Phillips, who was now, 
indeed, among his advisers. For the first time Smuts was called 

He made a few remarks which seemed to justify this label. 
At Barkley-West, the diamond center of a Kimberley already 
past its prime, the diggers asked for a Royal Commission to 
inquire into their living conditions. Smuts answered that there 
was a less expensive and more expeditious way of arriving at a 



solution. They could safely leave matters in his hands. He 
meant every word. But the diggers only heard the refusal of 
their claims. Around the corner, in Kimberley itself, he was 
waylaid by Dutch inhabitants who complained about the pov- 
erty in the dying town. Perhaps things would be better if one 
ousted the English townspeople? "It appears to me that the 
rich are getting too rich, and the poor are getting too poor," 
Smuts replied. "But I do not wish to speak, because the older 
I get, the more I am convinced that speeches do greater harm 
than good." However, he refused the suggestion to oust the 
English. Only one policy, he asserted, had a chance of success 
the policy of co-operation. 

As Minister of Defence he introduced in the House, on 
March 1, 1911, his great scheme for building the Defence 
Force. Immediately General Beyers rose in opposition. He had 
been Speaker in the old Transvaal House of Legislation, but 
had lost this dignity in the Union Assembly. He bore Smuts and 
Botha a grudge, and displayed it by attacking the Defense Bill. 
Smuts did not answer. He had another plan. It was always his 
preferred method to reconcile his opponents. Now he offered 
the ex-commandant, who had played only an insignificant role 
in the Boer War, the post of Commander in Chief of the 
Union's Defence Force. Beyers snatched at it with both hands. 
Hertzog shook his head, and remained strangely silent. But 
Die Week, a young Pretoria newspaper, attacked the Defence 
Plan tooth and nail. It was "based on a foreign system," wrote 
the editor, Mr. Oost, who was mildly famous as the villain in 
many dramas staged by amateur theatrical societies. Only a 
few weeks later the fact filtered out that Die Week was owned 
by a group of capitalists who had entrusted Hertzog with its 

Hertzog had good reason for once to keep out of the strug- 
gle. A cabinet reshuffle was under way, and the change might 
have involved his enforced retirement. He himself had already 
frequently threatened to leave the government. But such a 
menace was nothing but blackmail. He craved power, conceal- 
ing this desire behind the reiterated statement that he owed it 



to the Boer people to remain. He must control the inner work- 
ings of the Cabinet. 

Now more power came to him. He emerged from the shuffle 
as Minister of Native Affairs in addition to his post as Minister 
of Justice. The appointment was only made in order to have 
the troublesome Free Stater aligned as an associate, rather than 
allowing him to run riot as a foe. Smuts dropped his two minor 
jobs, and in exchange added the Ministry of Finance to the 

Hertzog was not placated. The tension in the House grew 
when Sir Starr Jameson, who had acquired something of his 
friend Cecil Rhodes' desire to co-operate with the Dutch, re- 
tired from the leadership of the Unionist Party, to be replaced % 
by Sir Thomas Smartt, a more energetic and combative man. 
Under Sir Thomas' leadership the Unionists demanded that 
South Africa's contribution to the Royal Navy should be in 
proportion to the sea-borne trade of the Union, which was 
entirely dependent on the British fleet. Sir Thomas pointed out 
Canada, which contributed seven million pounds annually to 
the Empire's naval defences, and the example of the tiny Straits 
Settlements, which had just donated a Dreadnought to Eng- 
land. Much to Botha's and Smuts' regret the opposition motion 
was defeated. 

Hertzog was in his element. On October 5, 1912, in a speech 
at Nylstroem, he burst out. He mixed rude personal attacks 
against Sir Thomas Smartt and against Colonel Byron, a distin- 
guished soldier and member of die Orange Free State Legisla- 
tive Council, calling them "foreign adventurers," with a furious 
statement that South Africa was sick of being governed by 

The speech exploded like a bombshell. The Cabinet was 
deeply perturbed. Yet Smuts still made excuses for Hertzog. 
He tried to explain some unsavory expressions used by his col- 
league such as "bastard sheep," and "caked dung adhering to 
a kraal wall" as similes in the language used on the veld. Per- 
haps Hertzog would apologize for his forceful expressions. But 
Hertzog replied: "I make no apologies I have never done so!" 



This was what made the essential difference between him and 

Social relations between Hertzog and the opposition mem- 
bers were instantly interrupted. The English members cold- 
shouldered him. Easily hurt, as Hertzog was, despite his own 
rudeness, this treatment drove him to a frenzy. On December 7 
he produced another burst of eloquence. He addressed the 
villagers of De Wildt in the Transvaal district of Rustenburg: 
"South Africa should be governed by pure Afrikanders. . . . 
Had we chosen to heed certain voices, we would by now have 
presented Great Britain with twenty to thirty Dreadnoughts. 
. . . Imperialism interests me only as far as it benefits South 
'Africa. . . . The main object is to keep the Dutch and the Eng- 
lish separated." He was ready, he concluded, to stake his whole 
future on this thesis. And so he did. 

For at least one of his cabinet colleagues, this was too much. 
Colonel Sir George Leuchars, a Minister from Natal, resigned 
immediately. He did not wish to serve with a man who wanted 
to squeeze the Empire and then throw it away like a sucked 

The Cabinet sustained a further blow. While Hertzog reveled 
in his mischief -making, in a faraway dorp, Botha appealed for 
conciliation in English-speaking Grahamstown, the center of 
the Eastern Province. But Hertzog's challenge disgusted the 
English voters. The candidate of the Unionist opposition was 
elected by an overwhelming majority. The Cape Colonials did 
not care for a government that spoke with two voices. Smuts' 
whole conception of racial reconciliation was shattered. 

Hertzog rejoiced in Colonel Leuchars' resignation. "One of 
my colleagues was too weak to digest that fare," he grinned. 

Botha sent him word that the entire Cabinet would appre- 
ciate it if Hertzog, too, would resign. Hertzog replied in a 
message to the whole Cabinet: "I have merely said what every 
good Afrikander is entitled to say." Tenaciously he clung to his 

Even Abraham Fischer, his ex-premier and colleague from 
the Free State Cabinet, could not persuade him to sign a letter 



regretting his utterances at De Wildt and to promise no longer 
to speak about controversial matters without his prime minis- 
ter's consent. Hertzog read the letter. "Smuts has drafted it/' 
he said suspiciously. His suspicion was well founded. "Tell him 
to go into a lunatic asylum," was Hertzog's reply. 

Saturday, December 14, 1912, at midday, Botha's private 
secretary informed ex-Minister Hertzog that the Prime Minister 
had resigned on behalf of the whole Cabinet. Silently, Hertzog 
closed his desk, and walked home. 

A week later Botha announced his new cabinet. Both Leu- 
chars and Hertzog were dropped. 

In his fall Hertzog had risen to become the hero of the 
plotteland. But the bulk of the Boers, shrewd politicians, re- 
fused to follow him into the wilderness. If they turned against 
the government they would lose pork and patronage. Some of 
them were guided by higher motives. Lord de Villiers, South 
Africa's most eminent jurist, himself a proud Afrikander, ex- 
pressed a low opinion of Hertzog's statesmanlike qualities. 
Even Grandfather Abraham Fischer, throughout the past Hert- 
zog's nominal leader, disassociated himself from the prodigal 
son. "He has made impossible personal demands," the old man 
explained to his constituents in Bethlehem. "He lost the sup- 
port of the Free State members largely through his want of tact. 
He has the faults of his youth. There are members in the gov- 
ernment who have done for the country ten times as much as 
he did. They don't deserve to be called traitors and men with- 
out principles." 

The fanners of Bethlehem listened attentively. Then they 
resolved by 261 to 152 votes a motion of non-confidence of 
non-confidence in their lifelong leader Fischer, who was leav- 
ing Hertzog in the lurch. Brokenhearted, the veteran Boer 
leader dropped out of politics. A few months later he died. 

In the Park of Pretoria a poorly attended meeting was held, 
protesting against Hertzog's dismissal. Advocate Tielman Jo- 
hannes de Villiers Roos, a promising young barrister, presided. 



Around him five members of Parliament five out of a hundred 
and twenty-onewere gathered. A few disgruntled professional 
politicians joined them. The population of the capital was con- 
spicuously absent. The meeting appeared to be a flop. Yet it 
marked the beginning of the Afrikander crusade that eventu- 
ally burst out in civil war, and repeatedly came close to it. The 
unholy crusade split South Africa from top to bottom. To this 
very day the split has not yet healed. 



Hertzog turned his guns against Smuts. This was the man 
whom he held responsible for his own abject dismissal. For 
once, Hertzog was right. Botha might perhaps have tried to 
patch together a new compromise. But Smuts, although himself 
a compromiser by natural inclination, knew where to draw a 
definite line. His inflexible determination had, indeed, been the 
principal factor in the Cabinet's decision of December, 1912, to 
resign collectively. 

Few people knew the inside story. Parliament was not un- 
duly disturbed. Hertzog himself remained in the government 
camp, then called the South African Party. But their uncanny 
instinct for politics their strongest instinct, and, by the same 
token, their most comfortable means of livelihood told the 
Boers that something was going wrong behind the scenes. They 
did not like the development. In their political perversion they 
found fault not with the hysteric troublemaker, but with the 
man of right, justice and order, the protagonist of co-operation. 

Hertzog had just begun his crusade when Smuts found the 



going difficult. A few days after the Cabinet reorganization he 
addressed the voters in Paardekraal. Making a virtue of neces- 
sity, he thanked Providence for having saved South Africa from 
the fate of many a country whose inhabitants led monotonous, 
drab lives. Ex Africa semper diquid novi was at that time his 
favorite quotation. But it is doubtful whether the bearded 
backvelders from Paardekraal were strongly impressed by 
Pliny's unintelligible phrase. Smuts' sense of humor was never 
infectious. It certainly did not sweep Paardekraal. Hastily he 
fell back on his leitmotiv: the banishing of bitterness and re- 
crimination, and the necessary unity between Briton and Boer, 
lest South African people should become the tools of other na- 
tions. He did not mention the increasing German peril, but an 
allusion to the Defense Act which would involve sacrifices, was 
unmistakable. He felt sure, he concluded, that the Transvaal, 
at least, would act as it had always acted, sensibly and cir- 

Here Smuts' lofty patriotism erred. The Transvaal had rarely 
acted sensibly and circumspectly. Paardekraal, the typical 
Transvaal Dutch dorp, was in an indifferent mood, when Smuts 
left. Two weeks later he addressed a meeting at Rustenburg, 
the center of the most nationalistic district in the Transvaal, 
where he met with open hostility. Before he could begin his 
speech, the local predikant, the Reverend Mr. Vorster, jumped 
up, and barked at the Minister to refrain from discussing the 
crisis; such a discussion would give offense. Shrewdly, Smuts 
decided to speak as the veteran Boer general and the famous 
guerrilla fighter rather than as the Union Minister. He spoke in 
ringing, nationalistic tones, yet he staunchly defended his and 
Botha's policy of conciliation, and concluded with a strong as- 
sertion that he, at any rate, would stand by it, firm as a rock. 
He burned his boats behind him. But he did not convince his 
audience, most of whom had listened to Hertzog's venomous 
outpourings in neighboring De Wildt, and were completely un- 
der the spell of the Fuehrer-in-the-making. 

Smuts soon had another proof of what a profound impres- 
sion Hertzog's expulsion from the Cabinet had made on the 



nation. In May, 1913, the voters of Pretoria West, his own con- 
stituents, adopted, in their member's absence, a motion censur- 
ing General Smuts for his attitude in the Hertzog dispute. 

This motion of censure, an unparalleled act of ingratitude 
after all Smuts had done for Pretoria, was the direct result of 
the "gospel of Hertzogism," as an open letter, six newspaper 
columns long, which Hertzog had published in March, was 
called. In his habitual involved and cumbersome style Hertzog 
poured out atrocious accusations against Botha and Smuts, re- 
viewing his running feud with them, which now entered the 
third year. He concluded with an appeal to the Boers, to ap- 
prove his "creed." 

The entire English-language press called the manifesto the 
confessions of a dangerous fanatic. The ruling South African 
Party Organization condemned him. In Parliament he still had 
only five adherents. Opposition, however, makes strange bed- 
fellows. The Parliamentary session during the first half of 1913 
witnessed an unmistakable rapprochement between the Britain- 
baiter Hertzog and Major Creswell, the leader of the handful 
of Labor members, a distinguished English gentleman with a 
social Messiah complex, looking and acting very much like a 
forerunner of Sir Stafford Cripps. 

No couple was, both in spiritual make-up and in physical ap- 
pearance, worse matched than the sudden team-mates Creswell 
and Hertzog. Major Frederick Hugh Page Creswell was a tall, 
tight-lipped, immaculately attired Englishman, imbued with a 
silent but profound patriotism, a peace-minded man, although 
his bushy eyebrows and his prominent nose indicated that he 
could also be a sturdy fighter. But his every movement, as well 
as his strong emotions, were rigidly controlled. He was a gen- 
tleman, and so he sided with the underdog. 

Hertzog, on the other hand, was at that time a spare figure, 
with a narrow chest and elevated shoulders, his deep-set black 
eyes almost hidden behind his spectacles, gesticulating hysteri- 
cally and histrionically, constantly losing the thread of his ram- 
bling, hair-splitting, repetitious speeches, a weakling consumed 
by die desire to be top dog. German by descent, he was a for- 



eigner to the people. He had to out-Boer the Boers. His mind 
was confined to the narrow range of subjects understood by the 
platteland. His every thought was bitter, his every word acid. 
He thrived on the imaginary wrongs he and "his" people suf- 
fered. They had never lost the Boer War; they had been be- 
trayed by the criminals of Vereeniging, the pact Hertzog 
himself had signed. Now they were a people scattered and op- 
pressed, a nation trodden under foot. He could not speak less 
than three hours at a time. He was frequently laughed at, par- 
ticularly by the Englishmen in the towns. They could not 
believe that a single man could succeed in upsetting the demo- 
cratic system of the new Union. But Hertzog kindled the slow- 
burning veld fire. The flames spread, and in their glowing light 
his dark shadow lay heavily across the land. 

Creswell disliked Smuts because he suspected him of a lack 
of social conscience. This suspicion was so strong that it led him 
to find associates wherever he could, to attack the government. 
He must have been appalled by Hertzog's parliamentary man- 
ners and language. He certainly saw through the hollowness 
and emptiness of Hertzog's harping on his old obsession, anti- 
Imperialism, and of his loudly proclaimed loyalty to never- 
defined principles. Creswell once interrupted a wild Hertzog 
oration with the question: "What are these principles?" "The 
party exists for its principles, and not the principles for the 
party!" was the answer. To Creswell it was the peak of plati- 
tude. But the Boer people preferred the thunder to the sub- 
stance, and since they were in the majority, Creswell believed, 
he could use and direct them in line with his lofty social aims. 
From January 24 till June 16, 1913, Creswell and Hertzog were 
working together, unostentatiously, careful, united only in op- 
position to Smuts. 

Hertzog was still a member of the South African Party. He 
never gave up a position before being forcibly driven out. He 
resolved to undermine the Botha-Smuts regime from the in- 
side. He formed his cells; the "Vigilance Committee." 

The gang was quickly assembled. Hertzog's right- and left- 



hand men were both British citizens by birth, sons of the Cape 
Colony. Neither of them had, like Smuts, given up his British 
citizenship. They were not honest foes, but insidious traitors 
during the Boer War. At the beginning it appeared that Advo- 
cate Roos of Pretoria would become Hertzog's number two 
man, and, indeed, he held this position for some time. Born in 
Cape Town, Roos had followed the nationalistic trek to Preto- 
ria, where he emerged into the open as chairman at the protest 
meeting against Hertzog's dismissal. Political circles had known 
him already as the leader of the "Young Turks," the radical 
youngsters, always ready to egg on Botha and Smuts. At the 
age of thirty-four, when he came to the forefront, he was al- 
ready pale, bald, and bloated; unhealthy to the marrow, but 
excelling by his biting tongue and his roaring voice. He became 
known as die 'lion of the Transvaal," although his main quali- 
ties were more those of the hyena. He regarded politics as a 
game, he frankly confessed in Parliament, yet he played the 
game seriously, indefatigably traveling up and down the coun- 
try to wrest the Transvaal from Botha and Smuts. On the side 
he was in charge of his movement's relations with the labor 
wing of the British population. The youth of South Africa, even 
some English-born, found him great fun. A most useful body of 
youthful admirers followed him everywhere. Among them was 
Advocate Hans Van Rensburg, already in his budding days re- 
garded as South Africa's infant prodigy, who became Advocate 
Roos' private secretary as the first step to a remarkable career. 
Tielman Roos and his opposite and rival, Dr. Daniel Frangois 
Malan, had only one similarity. Each had, already in his early 
years, a sagging double chin. Since this was, like the paunch, a 
sign of affluence, it did not really matter. Otherwise they were 
complete antagonists. To noisy, boisterous, swaggering Roos, 
life was a riot. To pious, stern, never-smiling Malan it was a 
burden, to be borne with humility and respectability. True, un- 
der the cover of humbleness a consuming flame of envy burned. 
Its object was Smuts. Both had come from the same village, 
Riebeek West. Jannie was only four years older, but he was ad- 
vancing in rapid strides, much beloved, much maligned, ever 



in the center of talk and things, while Malan had to struggle as 
an underpaid schoolteacher until he was ordained a predikant 
in the Dutch Reformed Church. His first parish was the village 
of Montagu in the Western Province. He did not endear him- 
self to his happy-go-lucky parishioners, all prosperous wine 
growers, in preaching temperance and even abstinence. He was 
shifted to Graaff-Reinet, the original home of the Afrikander 
Bond and the stronghold of Afrikanderdom in the Cape. Here 
his somber sermons were listened to by bigoted Calvinists. 
Only when he mingled carefully couched, but vitriolic anti- 
English remarks with his monotonous litany, faint smiles lighted 
the morose, sullen faces of the congregation. 

Jannie was a Rhodes-man at that time. Young but unyouth- 
ful Dr. Malan felt sure he would catch up with him, and smash 
him. He devoted himself to serious social work, with an early 
premonition of vote-getting. But the Synod of the Dutch Re- 
formed Church did not tolerate social work, suspecting leftish 
tendencies. Unmistakably Dr. Malan was told that he could not 
obtain the professorship in Stellenbosch he coveted. 

Predikant Dr. Malan abandoned holy orders, but he could 
never rid himself of the attitude and mask of the divine. His 
small, restless eyes hid behind unrimmed glasses. His voice 
sounded unctuous, and his every phrase allowed of three dif- 
ferent interpretations. 

Among the other henchmen of the gang was Beyers, whom 
Botha had helped into politics in the old days and who had 
subsequently become Speaker of the House and finally Com- 
mander in Chief of the Union Defence Force. He was an im- 
placable racialist, yet intensely religious in a somber Calvinistic 
way, superstitious like many Boer "generals," inordinately vain 
of his personal appearance, a true megalomaniac. A similar 
"general" was Jan Christoffel Greyling Kemp, the son of a 
wealthy farmer, an illiterate until his eighteenth year, who had 
during the Boer War become the right-hand man of the most 
Christian General De La Rey, "Oom Koos" to the entire coun- 
try. A born fighter, a true velds man, he deserted his chief at 
Vereeniging, threw in his lot with the "bitter-enders," and 



vowed to wrestle with Smuts for the rest of his life. He is still 
true to his vow. 

Last, but not least, General Christiaan de Wet was one of 
the crowd. An irascible, uncouth-looking giant, reactionary to 
the core, his wrinkled face hidden behind a jungle of a beard 
& la Kruger, an irate foe of those British, who regarded the 
Kafirs as human, whereas everyone in the Free State knew that 
the natives were less than animals, he had a domineering per- 
sonality. Strangely, he was slavishly devoted to one man, thirty 
years his junior, a weakling, entirely lacking in all military 
virtues. But when friends heckled de Wet about his clamorous 
allegiance to Hertzog, he used to answer: "The general is not 
a soldier. He is a lawyer." To the illiterate General de Wet, 
whose best-selling memoirs of the Boer War had been written 
by a staff of ghosts, a lawyer, even a shyster lawyer in the small 
town of Bloemfontein, was a higher being. The strong-featured 
man with protruding nose and thick eyebrows, always clad in 
a conservative, if amply stained frock coat with silk revers, had 
been the head of the Hertzog Demonstration Committee at 
Pretoria. He proved his allegiance again at the "Dungheap 
Demonstration," so-called for the aroma of the speeches, on 
December 28, 1912, when he noisily protested against Hertzog's 
expulsion. Deceitful even in his angry outburst, he reminded 
his audience that a few years after the Boer War he had been 
dragged by the hair into the Free State Cabinetas Minister 
for Agriculture but soon had left it, recognizing that there 
were more educated men who could profitably replace him. 
After Hertzog's fall he resigned also from the Defence Council 
presided over by Smuts. The martinet became a mere rabble- 

The gang was assembled, and ready for action, when the at- 
tention of the country was diverted by an explosion in a dif- 
ferent quarter. 

Once again the miners in Johannesburg got out of hand. The 
lawabiding citizens were not astonished. They were accustomed 
to minor strikes that paralyzed their town for a few hours, or 



for a day or two. They took their habitual precautions. They 
filled their bathtubs to the brim, since the water supply would 
probably be cut. They had ample stores of candles; there would 
be no electric light. All meetings and appointments were sus- 
pended. It was not even necessary to call them off. No one 
ventured out of his house without a compelling reason. 

This strike, they were sure, would be just another nuisance. 
The management of the Kleinfontein mine, a lesser one on the 
Rand, had extended the working hours for mechanics under- 
ground until half -past four in the afternoon, on Saturdays until 
one or one-thirty, to fit in with the mining shift. The order con- 
cerned only five men. But the Unions, banking on the general 
political unrest in the country, and having accumulated large 
unused funds, were spoiling for a fight. They called out their 
men. Bands of strikers marched through the streets. This hap- 
pened on May 26. 

Two leaders of the industry, Sir Lionel Phillips and Mr. 
Chaplin, asked for government protection. But neither Botha 
nor Smuts cared to side with big business against the youth of 
the platteland that now formed the large majority of white labor 
in the mines. Throughout the month of June the situation de^ 
teriorated. The strikers, emboldened by the government's atti- 
tude of wait and see, dragged out the men who wanted to 
remain at work. They felt in a safe strategic position. Only seven 
thousand men of the Imperial troops had remained in the coun- 
try. The old commando force was disarmed, and Smuts' De- 
fence Force was still in a formative stage. 

Shivering, Johannesburg recognized that this was not a 
flare-up of the usual minor variety. The jobless and the poor 
whites, a large group in the town Smuts had frequently called 
the Mecca of hooliganism, could not miss their golden oppor- 
tunity. The houses of "scabs" were stormed and burned down. 
Innocent bystanders, among them women and children, were 
killed. On Thursday, July 3, things took a dangerous turn. The 
huge Market Square was the scene of a large and unruly strik- 
ers' meeting, in which the whole mob of Johannesburg joined 
with a vengeance. Only at this moment, after keeping aloof for 



almost six uneasy weeks, Smuts, in his capacity as Minister of 
Defence, asked the Governor General Lord Gladstone for the 
intervention of Imperial troops. 

London cabled in reply to Lord Gladstone's inquiry that the 
local Defence Forces should be used in preference to Imperial 
troops. The Empire had no reason to become involved in a 
purely domestic trouble of the self-governing Union. Imperial 
troops had only the task of watching the borders of South 
Africa against an enemy attack. In the summer of 1913 it was 
expected that the Germans might strike at any moment. 

The local Police Force proved entirely inadequate. On Fri- 
day, the Fourth of July, an open revolt flared up in the center 
of Johannesburg. The offices of the Star, the leading English- 
language newspaper, were set on fire. The houses of the mine 
owners were surrounded by threatening crowds. The three 
thousand policemen as well as the entire detective corps were 
helpless. In this moment of emergency four thousand British 
regulars occupied the Market Square. They were under orders 
to use arms only in self-defense. So they confined themselves 
to pushing the mob here and there, but made no attempt to 
clear the square and establish the full authority of the law. 

The law was a sham. The Union government had forbidden 
incendiary strike meetings. But no one paid any attention. Con- 
tinuous squabbles between the police and the rabble flared up. 
General O'Brien, the Imperial officer in command, a fighting 
Irishman, wanted to get the situation under control. The High 
Commissioner, however, who had personally come to Johannes- 
burg, still forbade the use of arms. 

Large groups of strikers and sympathizers flooded Commis- 
sioner Street, lined with the huge office buildings of the mining 
companies. All offices were closed. The good people were hur- 
rying home. The mob started upsetting their cars and cabs. At 
nightfall the Park Railway Station and the building of the 
Argus Printing and Publishing Company were burned down. 
Before midnight, the mob attacked Corner House, the seat of 
one of the largest corporations. At this moment the police 
opened fire. The mob was dispersed. 



On the next morning, Saturday, the government became 
alarmed. Throughout the forenoon citizens were enrolled as 
special constables, and armed. In the meantime the crowd at- 
tempted to storm the Rand Club, the gathering place of the 
mine owners. A ferocious battle between Imperial troops, the 
police, and the rabble ensued. Again blood was spilled. Twenty- 
one people were killed, and almost fifty wounded. 

But the worst was still to come. The natives in the mines, 
two hundred fifty thousand in all, adopted a threatening atti- 
tude. They were in no way connected with the strike, purely a 
matter between management and white labor. But a later in- 
vestigation proved that Russian "syndicalists," as the pre-war 
Communists were called, had enticed the Kafirs to take a hand 
in the game. 

Botha's and Smuts' arrival on Saturday morning prevented 
the worst. They drove through the riotous streets right to the 
Carlton Hotel, where they received four delegates from the 
Trade Unions led by a man called Bain. The Ministers were un- 
escorted. They had literally taken their lives in their hands. 
They knew they must act. Another night of uproar would not 
have been a repetition of carnage and arson alone. The gold 
mines were no longer safe. So much dynamite had passed un- 
checked into the possession of the miners that they would 
easily have been able to blow up the mines. 

Botha and Smuts were unarmed as well. The four delegates 
had heavy revolvers at their belts. While they presented their 
insolent demands, hell broke loose in front of the hotel. Thou- 
sands of hooligans were assembled, barely kept under control 
by Imperial troops. "The very moment the General commands 
fire, I will shoot him/' said one man of the delegation, leaning 
out of the window. The other negotiators were satisfied that 
they had the two unarmed Ministers "covered." Neither Botha 
nor Smuts was aware that their lives were imperiled. But they 
knew of a graver peril: unless they were able to restore order, 
the mines would be ruined for good, the town would be robbed 
and plundered, and the Kafirs let loose on the wives and the 
children. Under the impact of this threat, the two generals sur- 



rendered unconditionally. They signed an agreement, granting 
all the strikers' demands. 

In the evening, they visited the Orange Grove Hotel, three 
miles outside the city. On their way they were waylaid by an 
irate mob, threatening to shoot. "We are unarmed," Botha 
cried. "Shoot! But we are here to make peace for you, and if 
you kill us, all that is finished." 

Smuts did not utter a word. 

In this same hotel the Ministers were met by Sir Lionel 
Phillips and Sir George Farrar, the leaders of the mine owners. 
Botha explained the situation: "The military advisers told us 
that they were able to restore order in town, but that they 
could not guarantee the protection of the mines and the vil- 
lages along the Reef. Besides," he added with a sharp touch, 
"I am not prepared to face a large expenditure of blood nei- 
ther of the rioters themselves nor of innocent spectators." 

Smuts remained silent. Obviously, his complete capitulation 
had shaken him to the depths. All South Africa resounded with 
criticism. The "Bain Treaty" seemed a proof that the govern- 
ment had abdicated to let the gangsters run the country. 

Work was resumed on the following Monday. But it was no 
longer regular work. The strike leaders were drunk with tri- 
umph. Discipline was gone. Many miners, particularly among 
the young Boers, were flagrantly indolent. The nationalistic 
wave among the Boers was coalescing with their social self- 
assertion. The atmosphere was electric. Victory had whetted 
fresh appetites. Sinister threats against directors were uttered 
at Union meetings. The tension lasted for half a year. 

One day in December, as Sir Lionel Phillips was approaching 
the Rand Club for luncheon, he was assaulted. A man emerged 
from a shop, drew a double-barreled revolver, fired, and missed. 
Sir Lionel jumped at his assailant, advancing about eight paces, 
when a second bullet got him in the lung. Yet the undaunted 
elderly Englishman still applied a well-aimed left to his assail- 
ant's chin. The criminal fired three more shots. But in the strug- 
gle, he missed. Sir Lionel collapsed on the pavement, but pulled 



himself together again and renewed the fight. The fourth shot 
entered his neck. 

At first the terrified bystanders bolted. Then they steadily 
crept up behind the criminal. Just as he fired for the fifth time 
they grabbed his gun. The last bullet missed wildly, hit a win- 
dow, and landed in a room in the Corner House. 

The assailant was later identified as a crank peddler by the 
name of Misnum, who had been thrown off the grounds of Sir 
Lionel's company. He seriously believed that since the strike 
there was open season on mining magnates. He bought a sec- 
ond-hand revolver, practiced the whole morning by shooting 
at trees, and cheerfully went to wait for his prey. He was sen- 
tenced to a term of fifteen years, which he spent in the asylum 
for criminal lunatics. 

Toward the end of December General Smuts came to visit 
the convalescing patient in the hospital. He was glad to see 
that Sir Lionel, his old friend, was rapidly recovering. Casually 
he remarked that another strike, this time on a somewhat larger 
scale, was about to break out. He expected it on New Year's 
Day. But this time his government was prepared. 

A grave depression throughout the country was the conse- 
quence of the miners' strike in Johannesburg and of the six 
ensuing months of incertitude on the Rand. Unemployment 
increased. Radical agitation set in. Hertzog sensed the decay 
on which he thrived. He wooed labor, not only, as before, the 
British section, but now primarily the Boer youth working in 
factories and mines. Maintaining close relations with some 
Dutch financiers and occasionally soliciting contributions for 
his cause, it is true, never for himself, he became, by the same 
token, the apologist of the poor whites. His dupes were the half- 
educated white-collar class who hated the exclusively English- 
run world of business; railway employees, petty civil servants, 
small shopkeepers who saw their livelihood endangered by the 
up-and-coming department stores. Hertzog never appealed to 
primitive greed for money. He simply promised the millennium 



when the Afrikander, the pure race incidentally a mixture of 
Dutch, Huguenot, much German, and some Portuguese blood 
would be the baas all over the country. His anti-Imperialism 
was tinged with a good admixture of lucrative promises. 

The Empire Parliamentary Association came to visit Cape 
Town. Smuts received the gentlemen with a superb speech on 
the problems of South Africa, not concealing the difficulties of 
a young country, but proudly stressing the immense progress 
that had been made in the eleven years since the war. Lord 
Emmot, in reply, bore eloquent testimony to the "brilliant 
speech of General Smuts/' and Lord Sheffield lauded it as "the 
most remarkable speech we have heard on our tour/' 

Two British lordships praising Smuts was too much for the 
suspiciously watching Hertzog. He was resolved to break away 
completely. The final split came on November 13 at a Party 
meeting. The South African Party was divided between ad- 
herents to the government, and followers of Hertzogism. Gen- 
eral de Wet, in his highest combative spirit, launched the first 
attack. He proposed to elect ex-President Steyn leader of the 
party outside the Parliament with the power to nominate a 
Prime Minister. 

A leader outside Parliament lording over a puppet-govern- 
ment was, in 1913, an innovation. It was clearly a ruse to do 
away with Botha and Smuts. All eyes were centered on Hert- 
zog. "On personal grounds I would give Botha my hand!" he 
said amidst general cheers. "But on political grounds," he con- 
tradicted himself as usual, "I would be obliged to withdraw the 
hand at oncel" 

Botha won the division, but only by 131 to 90 votes. Hertzog 
and his followers rose silently, and left the hall. Only de Wet 
could not keep his mouth shut. "Adieu!" he shouted to those 
remaining behind. It was an open declaration of war. Immedi- 
ately Hertzog started to organize his Nationalist Party. The 
union of brothers was definitely wrecked. 

Another appeal for Botha's dismissal hurt Smuts much more 
deeply. Again his own constituents of Pretoria West attacked 



the government. They asked Smuts to interfere on behalf of 
Botha's resignation. Pretoria West was a quarter largely settled 
by railway employees. Rumors of impending cuts in their sal- 
aries, and mass dismissals had aroused their ire. 

In fact, the general manager of the railways announced that 
he would have to discharge some hundreds of his men. The 
powerful Society of Railway and Harbor Servants took up the 
gantlet. Mr. Sauer, then Minister for Railways, tried to bring 
about a peaceful solution of the conflict. But the leader of the 
railway men refused his offer. This man, by the name of H. J- 
Poutsma, was the prototype of the power-drunk labor boss, 
who for five or six ensuing years tyrannized the Rand. He was 
an adventurous character. He had started upon his career with 
anarchistic "propaganda of the deed" in his native Holland, 
served a term of a few years, emigrated to South Africa, became 
a leader of the Free State contingent in the South African war, 
fled after the defeat, founded a short-lived Negro republic in 
Basutoland, returned to South Africa after self-government was 
introduced, became a Union agitator, and soon the recognized 
boss of Afrikaans labor, and ended, after having spent half his 
life in "syndicalism" and under the red flag, as a violent ultra- 
nationalist Hertzog man. At the time he decreed the railway 
strike he was sure that he could establish a proletarian dictator- 
ship in the Union simply by choking all traffic in a country of 
such tremendous distances. 

Precisely as Smuts had foreseen it, the strike began on New 
Year's Day 1914, exactly five minutes after Botha had returned 
on the last train to Pretoria. The railway men themselves were 
divided as to the wisdom of their Union's action. But Poutsma 
tolerated no opposition. "Scabs" were violently pulled from 
engines, and generally banned from railway premises. The life 
line of South African traffic, the route between Johannesburg 
and Pretoria, was paralyzed. 

At this propitious moment the Rand Federation of Trades 
decided to declare a general strike in sympathy with their com- 
rades from the railways. Again Johannesburg suffered two days 
of mob violence and terror. The Germiston Station at the East 



Rand, the center of the railway system and the most important 
junction in South Africa, was attacked by strikers and the asso- 
ciated hoodlums. The General Strike Committee issued an order 
to the Trade Unions to transform their membership into com- 
mandos, to strengthen the "forces" behind the strike. 

While the whole country was, for the second time within half 
a year, in convulsion, idyllic Bloemfontein, the capital of the 
Free State, alone maintained its dignified quiet. The danger 
was not far away. The natives employed in the diamond mines 
near the neighboring small town of Jagersfontein were running 
amuck. But the first Congress of the newly founded Nationalistic 
Party, in session at Bloemfontein, kept completely aloof from 
the disaster that had befallen the country. Hertzog indulged 
in vitriolic speeches against the government, and none of his 
henchmen uttered a single word about the social revolution, 
into which the general strike was rapidly degenerating. 

True to the style of Oom Paul, whose memory the faithful 
disciple could never forget, General Smuts had waited until the 
tortoise had stuck out her head. But now he acted with energy 
and precision. He declared martial law along the Reef, and 
called out his burgher forces. He had, he later disclosed, got 
in touch with London. The Imperial government had uttered 
the gravest objections to another show of force. But London 
recognized that the Union government was at liberty to make 
its own decision. 

The country, although torn by the strife engendered by 
Hertzog, responded on the whole favorably to the call to arms. 
Even in the restive Free State the people rallied round the 
government. The Wolmaranstad commando, in its full force 
of one thousand men, assembled twenty-four hours after Smuts' 
call had reached its commander. This occurred in a large and 
thinly populated district, which was generally regarded as 
Hertzog territory. 

But as the burgher force was moving ahead, it proved that 
they were, above all, eager to show the English town of Johan- 
nesburg what a Boer commando could do. They were by no 
means marching to support Smuts and Botha. On the contrary, 



a majority of the men found this emergency an excellent oppor- 
tunity to unseat the government, and to proclaim the Republic. 
True to their old traditions, the commandos interrupted their 
advance as they pleased, held meetings, and became intoxi- 
cated on mutinous speeches. In the meantime the rumor spread 
in Johannesburg that Hertzog with 2,500 Free Staters was com- 
ing to the aid of the strikers. It is possible that this rumor was 
deliberately spread; it was in line with Hertzog's wooing of 
labor. But it did not sound at all like him. General Hertzog, one 
of the first heroes to drop out of the Boer War, kept well away 
from any firing line for the rest of his life. 

The Free State contingent that actually marched towards 
Johannesburg was led by Deneys Reitz. A few miles outside 
Johannesburg, General Beyers, Commander in Chief of the 
Defence Force, joined the commando. He appeared in full- 
dress uniform, and delivered a sanguinary speech, attacking 
Botha and Smuts. But he refrained from giving the final order 
to revolt. He only invited the Free Staters to follow him for a 
promenade through the streets of Johannesburg. The burghers' 
appetites were whetted. Cheerfully, with high hopes, they 
marched on. 

Beyers had just returned from Germany. He had been Wil- 
helm II's personal guest at the Imperial manoeuvres, and had 
watched a frontal attack of massed German infantry against 
strong fortifications. Obviously, he was deeply impressed, al- 
though upon his return he gave an account of his experience 
according to which he had got the better of the Emperor. "You 
have seen a lot of campaigning, General/' the Emperor alleg- 
edly said, "now tell me what you think of this." "In real war- 
fare," Beyers prided himself to have said, "even against our 
small Boer rifles, Your Majesty would be sending those men to 
certain destruction." The Kaiser's repartee, as reported by Bey- 
ers, sounded genuine. "'Not all of them,' His Majesty said 
laughing. 'Some would get through. And we only expect to use 
each soldier once/ " 

The palaver between Wilhelm II and Beyers was also con- 



veyed by other sources. German agents in South Africa were 
busy spreading the rumor that the Emperor had made a tre- 
mendous impression on the Union's commander in chief. The 
German noose was tightening around the braggart's neck. 

General Smuts, who had come to Johannesburg with Botha, 
ostensibly to visit the headquarters of the semi-military com- 
mittee in charge of the Witwatersrand administration, was 
fully informed about the real mood of his commandos and their 
commander in chief. But he was coolness personified. A jour- 
nalist asked him about the conditions of the men and horses he 
had conjured up from the veld. "Eerste Idas; spekvetl" (First- 
class; sleek and fat), he answered with perfect unconcern. But 
instantly he ordered the officer commanding the Rand Light 
Infantry to exercise the greatest severity. "Don't hesitate to 
shoot on provocation!" Simultaneously General de la Rey, 
about whose allegiance to the government of his close friends 
Botha and Smuts there was no doubt, trained his guns on the 
Trades Hall. He sent an ultimatum. Staring into the muzzles 
of the howitzers, the strike leaders surrendered. 

All nine of them among whom there was not a single South 
African-bornwere immediately sent to jail. They were only 
kept in their cells for a few hours. At midnight they were trans- 
ported to Durban, and immediately dispatched aboard the S. S. 
Umgeni, to be deported to England. On the next day the case 
of the nine strike leaders came to the Supreme Court. But 
Judge Wessels could only utter a subdued protest from the 
bench. The nine culprits had been spirited away by General 
Smuts. They were already on the high seas, and the S. S. Umgeni 
was under orders not to interrupt her voyage before reaching 
the port of London. 

The kidnapping of the strike leaders was undoubtedly a high- 
handed and unconstitutional act. Smuts had to defend it during 
three weeks of debate in Parliament. Accusations were poured 
on him from all sides. Mr. Creswell and his Labor Party were 
now definitely through with him. Hertzog used his first speech 
as leader of the Nationalist opposition to express his tender 



concern for the Imperial government that would be embar- 
rassed by having to take over the strike leaders. Smuts defended 
himself in three masterful speeches. His main argument was 
that the strike leaders had, by all manner and means, com- 
mitted high treason in their effort to choke the economic life 
of the country in time of grave international crisis. But the law, 
dating back to the Middle Ages, recognized as high treason 
only crimes against the army. Crimes against the national 
economy, he insisted, were just as treasonable and dangerous. 
Since there was no paragraph to deal with them in a manner 
that would guarantee the safety of the country, he had, at least, 
to purge the country of the pest. 

Parliament agreed. By a majority of 95 to 11 votes the House 
expressed its full confidence in Smuts. But the country dis- 
agreed. Innumerable agitators, nationalists, socialists, the dis- 
satisfied from every camp, called him "the inventor of platskiet 
politick" the policy of shooting down people ruthlessly. At the 
provincial elections in the Transvaal Labor, for the first time, 
gained an absolute majority in the Provincial Council. Fickle 
Johannesburg had unanimously voted Labor, perhaps because 
the solid citizens wanted to insure themselves against the red 
flag waving everywhere, and against the mass choirs singing 
the Internationale. But that even conservative, traditionalist 
Pretoria had voted red was a terrific blow to Smuts. He knew 
that he had gravely impaired, perhaps ruined for good, his 
political career. But he was no longer a politician. His only 
program was enshrined in a word that gradually became un- 
fashionable and began to sound archaic; duty. He would again 
do his duty by the country, he insisted. 

He was as good as his word. A few weeks after the House 
had adjourned, war was declared. In South Africa they at first 
called it: the European War. General Smuts said: World War. 





Great War broke out. It was a grave affliction. Soon it became 
the German plague. The country was swamped with German 
agents. Hundreds of them congregated in Pretoria. "In Cape 
Town the personnel and activities of the German Consulate 
General are out of proportion to those of other German Con- 
sulates, or to Germany's actual interest in the Union," Lord 
Buxton, the Governor-General during the war, reported to Lon- 
don. 'There can be little doubt now that the Germans had, 
before the war, been carrying on an assiduous anti-British 
propaganda in the Union; and had been engaged in acquiring 
political and military information." 

Smuts spoke in the same vein. "All this German talk, all this 
rumor of German sympathies, has been spread by German 
commercial agents and German dealers," he said. "I hope the 
people will realize that these Germans are placing a dagger into 
the heart of South Africa which they are eager to press home." 

His hope betrayed him. The openly pro-German elements 
among the Boers probably did not form a majority, but they 
were certainly the most vocal part of the nation, which, as a 
whole, was not keen to support England, France, or Russia. In 
vain Smuts pointed out the fact that German South West Africa 
was being used as a base for intrigue against "this part of the 
Empire/' In vain he stressed how dangerous it was to have 
next door a neighbor such as the German Empire. The con- 
stant accumulation of military power in the German African 
territories was essentially unwelcome to most of the Boers. But 
their overwhelming desire was to keep out of the war. German 
money was inundating the platteland. It was received grate- 
fully like fertilizing rain. The farmers, accustomed to making 
money with politics, smiled, which was rare with them. The 
untamable soil of the veld, ageless and immutable, sad, gray, 



and barren, not, like the jungle, the natural enemy of man, but 
not his slave either, rather a quiet spectator of human effort 
this soil of South Africa needed one thing above all: irrigation. 
Now the German irrigation flowed in a golden stream, whis- 
pering that the verdomde damned British had obtained com- 
plete control of the government. They were going to tax the 
land, or to take the farms away. 

Hertzog fanned the smoldering embers into flames. Now it 
proved that his dismissal from the government two years before 
had in fact turned him into a revolutionary. His political down- 
fall had ruined him financially as well. He possessed no money 
of his own. After losing his comfortable salary as Minister of 
the Crown 2,500 pounds a year he was broke. He became an 
undisguised rabble-rouser. His anti-British attitude was no 
longer hidden behind equivocal phrases. He dropped his mask. 

The very moment the news of the German invasion of Bel- 
gium reached Botha, he sent a message to London assuring 
that the Union recognized her Imperial obligation, and, in the 
event of an attack, was prepared to defend her territory by her 
own strength. The seven thousand British soldiers guarding the 
South African border could be released for the European the- 
ater of war. Six thousand departed instantly from Potchelstroom 
via Cape Town to England. 

The British Government, accepting Botha's offer, asked him 
to take a further step. He would render a great and urgent 
service to the Empire by occupying the two ports of Lue- 
deritz Bay and Swakopmund in German South West Africa, 
and the wireless station at Windhoek, which was in constant 
communication with Berlin, and imperilled the movements of 
the British fleet. 

Botha replied by pointing out the critical situation in his 
country. His people were unwilling to commit an act of aggres- 
sion. "The wireless station at Windhoek is a menace that must 
be exterminated," London answered. 

Three weeks had passed with these negotiations behind 
closed doors. All the other Dominions and Colonial Dependen- 
cies had already sent their messages of allegiance and their 



promises fully to participate in the war effort. Everywhere in 
the Empire domestic quarrels had stopped. South Africa alone 
was torn asunder. The Union Government, it appeared, had 
lost its voice. 

The Nationalist Party met in Bloemfontein, and adopted a 
violent anti-war resolution. Only one of Hertzog's closest fol- 
lowers dissented. He was all out for war, but for a war against 
Great Britain. Now was the Boers' golden opportunity. Every- 
one understood that the leader had spoken, as was his habit in 
critical moments, through a mouthpiece. 

Johannesburg, still shaken by its social upheaval, was panic- 
stricken. The De Beers, Premier and other mines closed down. 
The Labor Party, since the last provincial elections the ruling 
power, was split from top to bottom. Its great majority now 
consisted of fanatically anti-British young Boers. But Mr. Cres- 
well, still the leader, declared stubbornly that he, for one, would 
support the war effort to the hilt. He signed up immediately, 
and subsequently won distinction in both African campaigns, 
from which he returned a Colonel, but still as a radical Leftist 
and a violent foe of Smuts. Foreign "syndicalists" did their best 
to incite the masses of the townspeople. The Imperial Military 
Stores at Roberts Heights, insufficiently guarded after the hur- 
ried departure of the British troops, as well as the magazines of 
Smuts* Defence Force at Potchefstroom, were stormed by 
Dutch crowds, and burned down. 

Pretoria, the capital, remained the center of events. The 
press, mostly English, did not conceal its dissatisfaction with 
the hardly comprehensible hesitation of the Union government. 
The solid citizens were aroused at the aspect of the German 
agents, who, although well known, were neither arrested nor 
even deported, but could still, grinning, go about their busi- 
ness. They mingled with the bearded Boer farmers now filling 
the town. A coffeehouse in Church Street was soon known as 
the headquarters of the German conspiracy. Beyers, commander 
in chief, who a short time before had returned from a trip to 
Germany, was a habitual visitor to this coffeehouse. Middle- 
sized, rather on the paunchy side, his short, trimmed beard 



scented with perfume, swaggering in military fashion, his right 
hand gripping a dagger of honor, a present from Wilhelm II, 
he stood his boon companions innumerable rounds of coffee 
and liquor. He disposed of a million Mark with which the Ger- 
man treasury had entrusted him to manufacture the revolu- 
tion. Besides, a premium of fifty thousand pounds was waiting 
for him in the sealed vaults of the now abandoned German 
Consulate General in Cape Town. He had simply to conquer 
the town. 

Yet, during the critical days, General Beyers still went care- 
fully about his business. He inspected the Civil Militia in 
Johannesburg. During the general strike the men had been 
equipped by the government with brand-new rifles. Under the 
pretext that the Defense Force wanted them, Beyers collected 
all rifles in the possession of English citizens. The burghers 
were permitted to retain theirs. The confiscated rifles were sub- 
sequently added to the large stores of German Mausers and 
machine-guns already distributed throughout the platteland. 
From Johannesburg Beyers returned to Pretoria. There he gave 
a bibulous farewell party for Lieutenant-Colonel Maritz, Smuts' 
lieutenant during the guerrilla raid in the Cape, later an officer 
on the Defence Force of Beyers' making. Maritz, a compound 
of enormous strength, inordinately vain, and entirely unedu- 
cated, was adorned with a gigantic Es ist erreichtit is achieved 
mustache after the pattern of the Kaiser's trademark. When 
he was drunk, he freely admitted that he was going to start a 
revolution for what he could get out of it. One could, after all, 
not live on an officer's meager pay if one had a beloved wife 
and two children to support, and was, at that, a frequent visitor 
in the shebeens. Already in 1913 he had received 100,000 Mark 
some 20,000 from an unknown admirer. Now he was about 
to march to the border of South West Africa with a Defence 
Force of six hundred men and to cross it under the white flag, 
to join the Germans. 

The Loyalist population of Pretoria was aroused by the shame- 
less behavior of the traitors. They staged a huge mass meeting 
on Church Square. Their speakers, Mayor Andrew Johnston 



and Dean Gordon of the Anglican High Church, voiced their 
feelings in determined words. The meeting went off without 
the slightest disturbance. The traitors hid in their rat holes. But 
as the days passed, and the government still kept silent al- 
though Smuts and Botha were feverishly active behind the 
scenesan uneasy feeling overcame the Loyalists. Again the 
German agents and their Boer associates raised their heads. 
Commandant F. G. A. Wolmarans of the district of Lichten- 
burg, west of Pretoria, galloped from farm to farm, preaching 
sedition to the burghers: "You will soon hoist the Vierkleur 
the old Transvaal Republican Flag and march to the German 
border to get ammunition!" 

General de la Rey was the great old man of the Lichten- 
burg district. He had been the last successful Boer general in 
the war, and yet had sided at Vereeniging, after some grave 
inner conflict, with the peace party under Botha and Smuts. 
Smuts, who is sparing with his personal feelings, loved him like 
a father. De la Rey was one of the three or four men in his life 
of whom Smuts spoke with veneration and emotion. After the 
peace, General de la Rey held office continuously. At the out- 
break of the Great War he was probably the most highly re- 
spected member of the Senate. But he could never reconcile 
himself with the loss of the Boer War. Deeply imbued with 
religion, he sought comfort in anti-Semitism, mysticism and 
superstition. His father confessor was a man named Nicholaas 
Van Rensburg, a soothsayer, worshiped in every Boer house. 
As General de la Rey's adviser in the Boer War, he had won 
fame by his visions. He had dreamed exactly where small or 
scattered groups of British soldiers could be surprised and an- 
nihilated. In fact, he had organized an excellent Kafir spy or- 

"Oom Niklaas' " dreams made South African history. His hold 
over the credulous burghers, including their generals, was tre- 
mendously enhanced when he dreamed the exact date of the 
end of the Boer War and of the peace. He had added to his 
Kafir spy system a no less remarkable white intelligence serv- 
ice. In 1914 he was already an aging gentleman, suffering from 



cerebral disturbances which, however, sharpened his faculty of 
seeing visions. In the spring of this year he published a book 
containing hundreds of his dreams. Since the Boers were not 
great book buyers, the tome went almost unnoticed. But on the 
second day after Great Britain had declared war on Germany, 
Van Rensburg's volume of prophetic dreams was in everybody's 

So far Oom Niklaas' most popular dream had been the vision 
of a furious fight between seven bulls. The red, blue, black, 
gray, brown, white and orange-colored bulls represented the 
different European nations. The gray animal stood for Ger- 
many, the red for Britain, the blue for France. After terrific gor- 
ing first the black bull, then the red, and finally all save the 
gray bull went down. The interpretation was obvious: Germany 
was to conquer Britain, France, and the whole world. 

Now the visionary dreamed as if on the assembly line. He 
fitted two dreams to his patron De la Rey's personal measure. 
He dreamed that the Union government was finished. The Eng- 
lish were leaving the Transvaal, and trekking to Natal. When 
they had gone far away, a vulture left them, and returned to 
the Transvaal. The vulture stood for Botha. Smuts, an ugly 
sparrow, would fly all the way to England, and never return to 
South Africa. In his place, a man "representing the Godhead" 
a God-fearing man would appear as a leader. He would not 
shed blood, but arrange all peacefully and bring everything 
into good order. The prophecy would come to pass when the 
Transvaal would see the "sifting" of British on one side and 
Dutch on the other. The dream ended in an apotheosis: Gen- 
eral de la Rey pulling down the Union Jack and hoisting the 
Vierkleur, General de la Rey as God's instrument, delivering 
the people from the British, Botha and Smuts. 

The outbreak of the war had already crazed the God-fearing 
general. His son-in-law ceased to regard him as accountable 
for his acts in those disturbed days, and considered it necessary 
to have him watched day and night. The young man could, 
however, not protect him against Van Rensburg. The prophet 
had another dream. He saw the number 15 on a dark cloud 



from which blood dripped. In the second version of the dream 
De la Rey returned from nowhere with his hat. He was fol- 

lowed by a carriage, covered with flowers. Van Rensburg him- 
seJf could not interpret his reverie. He could only conclude that 
something very splendid for De la Rey was written in the stars. 
All the fanners of the Lichtenburg and Rustenburg districts 
knew instantly that this number 15 stood for the fifteenth of Au- 
gust. Those who were too ignorant to draw their own conclu- 
sions were enlightened by the numerous German agents in the 
Western Transvaal, stirring up the burghers with fabulous 
promises and flagrant lies. De la Rey observed all the commo- 
tion with a benign, senile smile. 

A Sunday meeting was arranged in Lichtenburg for August 
15. The burghers were instructed to upsoddle with rifles, blan- 
kets, all the ammunition they possessed, and food for at least a 
fortnight. They were told that after the meeting they would 
move to Johannesburg, where resistance was expected. But De 
la Rey would lead them, and cdlsol reg kom all would be 
right. Others would proceed directly to Potchefstroom, the cen- 
tral camp of the Imperial troops of South Africa, now held only 
by the remaining one thousand men. The commandos of that 
district would join the men from the Western Transvaal. The 
last British soldiers would be killed. The Republic would be 

Botha and Smuts got wind of the conspiracy. No secret could 
be kept in the country riddled with spies, and counter-spies. 
They sent an urgent message to De la Rey to meet them in 
Pretoria. Smuts was too gravely shocked to speak. He must 
have realized that his beloved paternal friend had lost his 
senses. Botha attacked his old follower where he was most vul- 
nerable: Did the Lord's word teach falsehood and treason? he 
asked. It was a God-sent opportunity, De la Rey replied. But 
he had no longer the strength to withstand Botha's persuasion. 
Faint-hearted and dejected, he left the indaba. The day was 
the fourteenth of August. On the next morning, the morning of 
the appointed day, De la Rey appeared at the meeting. He was 



accompanied by Sammie Marks, of all people, the richest and 
toughest Jewish speculator in South Africa. Eight hundred 
burghers were gathered to heed the General's call to action. In- 
stead, De la Key admonished them to go home and be good. If 
the government wanted them in connection with the war in 
Europe, they would be called out in the regular way. The 
burghers listened in stony silence. Impassively they voted for 
De la Key s resolution of confidence in the government. Slowly 
they trotted home. Some lashed their horses unmercifully. 
Others got drunk. All cursed. They had been fooled. The revo- 
lution was off. 

On the same day the government issued the first official state- 
ment about the war. It was vague and inconclusive. Yet its 
meaning was somewhat clarified by a simultaneous call for vol- 
unteers to join the Defense Force for active service inside 
South Africa. Parliament was convoked. The government as- 
sured the country that all measures would be taken to insure, 
as far as possible, normal conditions within the Union for the 
duration. Subsequently the Second (Pretoria) Regiment was 
mobilized, whereas the regiments from Johannesburg and the 
Witwatersrand entered the huge new camp at Booysens. In the 
cities the "town units" were called out to get infantry training. 
The burgher commandos, now grouped into regiments, made a 
splendid cavalry. 

The country awoke. The English section, to one man, rel- 
ished the prospect of having a go at the Germans in South West 
Africa. A large portion of the Boers fell in line. They were 
aroused by three incidents. The Kaiser had sent a replica of his 
Kruger telegram, promising his recognition of the Boer Repub- 
lics if the revolution would start immediately. The Germans 
had crossed the Union border at Nakob, and had entrenched 
themselves on South African territory. Furthermore at the 
Schuit Drift on the Orange River, they had attacked a party of 
Boer farmers, and forced them to seek refuge on one of the 
tiny, unnamed islands in the river. 

After this affront even the hotbeds of Boer nationalism, like 



Bloemf ontein and Potchef stroom, pretended loyalty and waved 
the Union Jack. Yet, secretly, most of their people strongly dis- 
approved of the forthcoming attack on the "peaceful" German 
neighbor. Johannesburg, despite its cosmopolitan character, 
proved to be an intensely English town. The mines could re- 
open, and resume production. Nevertheless, gang rule, one of 
the most distinct features on the Rand, continued practically 

Pretoria was the hottest spot. The English inhabitants were 
jubilant. But again streets and coffeehouses were jammed by 
bearded men from the veld, who predicted openly that they 
would refuse to serve if an attack should be made upon the 
Germans beyond the frontier. Indeed, many backvelders muti- 
nied when they were called up. They rode off into the veld, 
where they strayed without the slightest notion what to do 

They got their clue from Hertzog. He chose the days of 
gravest unrest to hold a Nationalist congress right in embattled 
Pretoria. Significantly, on the door to Town Hall, where the 
congress met, a daub was painted representing the burning of 
a Boer farmhouse by British soldiers. The police arrested the 
painter, and charged him with incitement to disaffection. He 
got away with a small fine. Smuts did not want to create 

Hertzog blamed Botha and Smuts for the division in the 
country. The chairman, a Senator by the name of Wolmarans, 
declared: "We will not take part in any invasion for robbery." 
General De la Rey, who had come as an onlooker, pleaded for 
unity in time of crisis. 

A Pretoria English paper attacked the congress for spreading 
seditious rumors and talking a lot of pestilential nonsense. "The 
Dutchmen are not as a whole responding to the call to join the 
colors," the paper stated. "There is in this town an unpleasant 
feeling of hostility against the British cause, and an open de- 
light expressed at anything that savors of a check or reverse 
sustained by British arms. The place is seething with sedi- 
tion." The government censor took the newspaper to account. 



He did not contest the truth of its statements, but he described 
the article as "impolitic." Botha and Smuts still held their pro- 
tecting hands over their lost brethren. 

In the meantime, the Defence Office under Smuts worked in- 
defatigably at getting the burgher force into military shape. 
Even General Beyers felt the necessity to prove his loyalty. On 
August 29, he appeared at Camp Booysens, which he had thus 
far demonstratively shunned, and addressed the troops: 'When- 
ever our country is threatened, Boer and British will stand to- 
gether, and fight to the last man. Every man, I am convinced, 
will do his utmost, perhaps under very trying circumstances. 
But let him all the more be patient, loyal and persevering to 
the very end. Three cheers for His Majesty, the King!" 

Smuts was astonished. He deeply distrusted his commander 
in chief. He went himself to Booysens, but Beyers had already 
left. Now Smuts spoke: "There are many people in this coun- 
try who do not appreciate the tremendous gravity of the crisis 
in which South Africa, together with the whole Empire, is 
placed today. Although apparently we stand outside, and at 
some distance from the actual scene of conflict, yet at any mo- 
ment we may be drawn into the vortex." 

The soldiers cheered themselves hoarse. But the politicians 
were unimpressed. Feelings were running high. Private and so- 
cial life was disrupted. Many families were torn apart. Under 
such conditions Parliament met on September 4 in a special 
session to consider the war situation. 

Hertzog leapt up to speak in defense of Germany. It was 
simply not true that the Reich had committed an act of aggres- 
sion. Moreover, it was quite wrong to provoke a nation as pow- 
erful as Germany. If the Emperor lost, South West Africa 
would anyway become a part of the Union. If Germany should 
win the war, and the Union was in it, South Africa was doomed. 

In his reply Smuts called Hertzog a "German advocate." He 
insisted that South Africa was threatened by a military autoc- 
racy in the worst form. He counseled the Germans not to bank 
too heavily on rumors that South Africa was unarmed. The 
House understood the allusion. Smuts had, indeed, not distrib- 



uted nearly as many rifles as the burghers in the border districts 
of the Cape and the Free State had clamored for. He kept them 
for his own troops. Subsequently, his foresight was entirely vin- 
dicated. Those border districts became the very center of the 

The parliamentary debate had continued for three days when 
rumors sprang up that the Twelfth Regiment had left the 
Booysens camp for an unknown destination. A new storm broke 
loose. The poor boys were being sent to the slaughterhouse, the 
Nationalists shouted. As a matter of fact, the boys, English and 
Afrikaans alike, marched merrily along, and were eager for a 
scrap with the Germans. But even the government's own South 
African Party was appalled at the presence of war. Botha and 
Smuts assembled their party in caucus. They had to exercise all 
their persuasion, and even to threaten resignation, to induce 
their own members to support Botha's resolution expressing the 
wholehearted determination of the House to co-operate with 
His Majesty's Imperial government in order to maintain the 
security and integrity of the Empire. After a week of discussion 
the resolution was adopted by an almost unanimous House. 
Only Hertzog's followers dissented. 

In the meantime Maritz was already in Upington, some 
thirty miles from the border of German South West Africa. He 
sent an old friend, a man by the name of P. J. Joubert, a Boer 
who was a large estate owner in the South West, back to Pre- 
toria to inform Commander in Chief Beyers that the negotia- 
tions with the Germans were proceeding excellently. Governor 
Seitz of German South West Africa was expecting Beyers on 
September 15. 

On this very day a strong contingent of the Union's Defence 
Force was leaving for Luederitz Bay, as the Imperial Govern- 
ment had requested. Beyers was not with them. Two days ear- 
lier he had published an open letter announcing his resignation, 
and protesting against the decision to attack South West Africa 
"without provocation/' The letter contained an atrocious attack 
against the British Empire, which had, in view of the "barbari- 
ties" committed during the Boer War, no right to protest 



against alleged German atrocities. At the same time Beyers sent 
a letter of encouragement, and of comradely greetings, to the 
traitor Maritz. 

Smuts, in his capacity as Minister of Defence, replied by re- 
buking the insolent vilification of Great Britain, and concluded: 
"It may be that our peculiar internal circumstances and our 
backward condition will place a limit on what we can do; but 
nevertheless I am convinced that the people will support the 
government, and fulfill their destiny to South Africa and to the 
Empire, and maintain their dearly won honor unblemished for 
the future. . . . Your resignation is hereby accepted." 

Smuts himself became the Commander in Chief of the De- 
fence Force. He moved to headquarters, put on a uniform, and 
did not take it off for the next five years. 

Governor Seitz of German South West Africa waited in vain 
for the visit of Beyers. Instead of keeping the appointment, the 
renegade went to Pretoria, to win over General de la Rey to 
the cause of the revolution. The two had an all-day palaver, the 
contents of which remained a secret. It appears that old De la 
Rey was vacillating; certainly he was no longer capable of a 
balanced judgment. In the evening he consented to accompany 
Beyers to Johannesburg. Beyers' car raced along the roads. 
Every corner was heavily policed. The Foster gang was at 
large, one of the worst bands that had ever ravaged Johannes- 
burg. On the morning of this very fifteenth of September three 
gangsters had shot a detective, and escaped in a car. The po- 
lice were under orders to inspect every car, particularly those 
with three passengers, on the main roads to and from Johannes- 
burg. But Beyers had ordered his chauffeur to disregard sig- 
nals. He was in a hurry. At four o'clock in the morning he was 
expected in a training camp near Johannesburg, where, at his 
and De la Rey's appearance, a large group of recruits would 
rise in rebellion. They were to march to Pretoria, proclaim the 
Republic, and elect, by acclamation, Beyers President and De 
la Rey Commander-in-Chief . Whether De la Rey was in on this 
plan, or whether Beyers wanted to confront him with a fait 



accompli was never established. At any rate, conscious or not, 
the saintly, aged General was on a treasonable mission, while 
his country was at warwhen it happened. 

A constable jumped into the middle of the road, when he saw 
Beyers' huge motorcar approach. The car was similar to the one 
the Foster gang had stolen. Three men sat inside: the two gen- 
erals and Beyers' driver. Moreover, the car did not stop. At full 
speed it raced right to the place where the constable stood. 
Beyers, not eager to be investigated by the police at that par- 
ticular moment, ordered his driver not to stop, and De la Rey, 
in his senile sullenness, nodded consent. 

The constable leaped aside, aimed at the tire, fired, missed, 
hit the road. The bullet ricocheted and entered De la Rey's 
head. He was killed instantly. 

De la Rey's funeral at Lichtenburg led to a tremendous dem- 
onstration. Botha, Smuts, and Beyers stood together at the 
grave. It was another proof of that overwhelming feeling of 
racial oneness that unites the Boers, even the arch-foes among 
them. But the masses jeered at their ministers. Everyone was 
persuaded that Smuts and Botha had had De la Rey murdered. 
They did not heed any pathetic protestation to the contrary. 
They only understood that Van Rensburg, the seer, had been 
right. After all, the tragic day was the fifteenth. Behind De la 
Rey, who was returning from nowhere, a large carriage laden 
with flowers rolled along. Many onlookers even saw red blood 
dripping from the dark clouds. 

Beyers stole the show. He swore on the dead man's memory 
that he himself was not a traitor. On the same evening he met 
his fellow conspirators. 

Smuts returned to headquarters. He sat at his desk, as if 
glued to it. Immediate action was imperative. He fully under- 
stood the significance of what had happened. 





wire to come to Pretoria. Insolently, Maritz in his answer re- 
ferred to a speech he had delivered a few days before, pouring 
abuse and contempt on his minister. Smuts, for his part, feigned 
astonishment. He made inquiries "whether there was any rea- 
son to fear an act of treason in connection with Maritz' move- 
ments." It was a ruse to gain time. Colonel Brits had already 
been appointed to the command of the Union forces around 
Upington, where Maritz lay in wait. The Colonel was under in- 
structions to arrest the rebel if he refused to resign and submit 

Maritz learned from his Kafir spies that a big Union force 
was moving in his direction. Immediately he broke up his camp 
in Upington to proceed to an undisclosed destination. One of 
his officers smelled a rat. Major Enslin inquired where the 
whole force with all its ammunition was supposed to be going. 
"I am carrying out secret instructions!" he was told. Thereupon 
the Major excused himself, and disappeared. He had no desire 
to accompany Maritz into open rebellion. 

After a two days' march Maritz' troops, six hundred young- 
sters, most of them in their teens, arrived at Van Rooisvlei, 
near the German border. After another two days a mysterious 
motorcar appeared, and drove Maritz into German territory. 
When he returned to his troops on October 7, the secret was 
solved. Not the Germans, but the English were the enemy. 

Only a few of the men had advance knowledge of the 
planned coup. To most of the soldiers it came as a surprise. 
Maritz assembled them at a full parade which was so shrewdly 
arranged that the gun section, whose loyalty was notorious, was 
completely surrounded. At a prearranged signal the plotters at- 
tacked the gunners. Maritz himself helped by stabbing a few 



of his victims in the back. The Loyalists were made prisoners 
of war. 

Now the traitor, standing on a soapbox, delivered a grandilo- 
quent harangue. Botha and Smuts were in the service of capi- 
talistic oppressors. The country was ruled by Englishmen. Now 
was the time for the Boers to regain South Africa. It was quite 
unnecessary to be killed in German South West Africa, England 
had already lost the war. The German wireless reported it every 
day. This was the moment to hoist the old republican flag on 
Table Mountain. Those who disagreed should step forward. 

Lieutenant Bossouw and fifty men stepped out. They were 
disarmed, and marched into a German camp in South West 
Africa. Finally a sergeant by the name of Engelbrecht, a Ger- 
man-born Boer, moved the election of Maritz as commander. 
The traitor was elected in the best old commando fashion. 

But Colonel Brits was already hard on his heels. Instructed 
by Smuts to use persuasion rather than force, he sent Major 
Bower with the flag of truce to Maritz' camp. Clad in a pomp- 
ous German general's uniform, the traitor received the major, 
showed him German howitzers, and a number of German sol- 
diers who had joined him. He boasted his abundance of Ger- 
man arms, ammunition and money. He even displayed a treaty 
he had concluded with the German Imperial Government, and 
demanded finally safe conduct for Hertzog, De Wet, Beyers 
and "General" Kemp, to come to him to discuss the situation. 
Otherwise, he threatened, he would instantly attack. 

Smuts, hearing of this ultimatum, issued a brief statement, 
accusing Lieutenant-Colonel Solomon Gerhardus Maritz of 
having shamefully and traitorously gone over to the enemy, and 
declaring: "In view of this state of affairs the government is 
taking the most vigorous steps to stamp out the rebellion and 
inflict just punishment on all rebels and traitors/' 

Colonel Brits advanced. Twice, at Keimoes and at Schuit 
Drift, he beat Maritz' soldiery, and took a number of prisoners, 
among them German officers. The inglorious rebel retired into 
South West African territory. He used a light wound on the 
knee, received at Keimoes, as a pretext to drop out of action. 



Elsewhere, in the Free State and in the Western Transvaal, 
action was just beginning. Nationalistic intellectuals, lawyers 
and a great number of predikants, were preaching open sedi- 
tion. The country was perturbed. Even the Synod of the Dutch 
Reformed Church, an arch-reactionary body which had no love 
for Smuts, addressed an open letter to its divines warning them 
against an attempt to cause a bloody civil war. At the same 
time the Synod adopted a resolution, expressing its profound 
indignation at the treacherous conduct of Maritz. It called upon 
all the members of the Church to support the government in 
every way possible to maintain law and order. 

A few reverend gentlemen were deaf in both ears. On Octo- 
ber 13 the Reverend Mr. Ferreira opened the dining room of 
his parsonage at Keppers to a secret meeting. A group of his 
fellow clergymen, under the leadership of the Reverend Van 
Broekhuisen, De Wet with a delegation of Free Staters, the 
Boer General Liebenberg, Piet Grobler, Kruger's kinsman, and 
Pienaar, both lieutenants of Hertzog, were present. 

After the host had invoked God's blessing, General De Wet 
started the row. He exploded in one of his violent fits that had, 
even among friends, earned him the nickname Bobiaan (ba- 
boon ) . He had a terrible story to tell. He had been fined five 
shillings by a tyrannical magistrate, one of those "pestilential 
English," for having assaulted a native servant. (In fact this 
tyrannical magistrate was a brother-in-law of ex-President 
Steyn, and had received his seat on the bench when Hertzog 
was Attorney-General in the Free State.) This insult, De Wet 
insisted, was enough to justify immediate revolution. There was 
not a moment to be lost. Maritz had already started. He had 
plenty of money and arms. "We start here/' De Wet concluded, 
"and join him later." 

Opposition came from the most unexpected quarter. General 
Liebenberg, who had led the campaign of protest against a 
march into German South West Africa, was firmly set against 
revolution. Hertzog was not with the conspirators, he pointed 

"The general is a lawyer!" purple-faced De Wet cried. "I saw 



him yesterday. He is a man you can trust in the dark. He fights 
for us in the political sphere. There he is in his proper place. 
Don't ask where he is. He told me he would not attend our 
meeting, since he has already been made the scapegoat. How- 
ever, he is to be found when he is wanted." 

Stubbornly, General Liebenberg insisted: "Where is Beyers?" 

Pienaar, the Hertzog man, found an excuse for Beyers' ab- 
sence. While his car was parked in front of the Opera House 
the tires had been slashed. He could not drive to the meeting. 

The fact was true. But General Liebenberg found it an un- 
satisfactory explanation for the commander in chief's absence. 
He declined to go into rebellion, and proposed to send a dele- 
gation to the government. 

De Wet and Kemp, the fire-eaters, shouted against this pro- 
posal. It was, however, accepted as the only way of dealing 
with Liebenberg. On the same afternoon a deputation, includ- 
ing De Wet, left for Pretoria. The delegates met at the Rever- 
end Van Broekhuisen's house, who promised them to bring 
them in touch with Beyers the next day. On the following day, 
however, he had to admit pusillanimously that he could not 
keep his word. Beyers was in hiding. Nor could the reverend 
gentleman himself accompany the deputies to Botha. 

Beyers hiding? It boded ill. The deputation lost heart. But 
De Wet drove them on. They called upon the Prime Minister, 
and were immediately received. Botha welcomed the rebels 
with his accustomed affability. They talked for four hours and 
a quarter. In fact, the delegates were playing for time to con- 
vince General Liebenberg that they had done their best. They 
spoke so evasively that Botha, after their departure, asked: 
"What do these people really want?" 

De Wet had left the conference while his colleagues were 
still hoodwinking Botha with their pretended grievances. He 
returned to the Reverend Van Broekhuisen's house, where he 
met Beyers. The two chief conspirators made their plans. 

On the next day Botha's question was answered. De Wet 
wired him from his home in the Free State: "Resign imme- 



Smuts entrenched himself at headquarters. Nothing in his 
face, no loud word, no nervous movement betrayed his high 
tension. He was not only calm and collected, but he displayed 
indefatigable patience. His manner had greatly changed since 
the days of his struggle for power. Harshness and stern auster- 
ity had faded. Instead he showed solicitude for each of his in- 
numerable callers, and that wonderful unembarrassing cour- 
tesy that was to mark him for the rest of his time. Some visitors 
observed a repeated gesture: "As if he were washing his hands 
with invisible soap in imperceptible water." But that was the 
only way of working off his emotions that he permitted him- 

He was in the throes of a tragic dilemma. He was about to 
take stern action against his own brothers in arms. Perhaps he 
would have to impose the death penalty upon the same Maritz, 
who, some years before, had lain with him under the same 
blanket to share what little bodily warmth was left in the ex- 
hausted guerrillas. (Incidentally, throughout the decade fol- 
lowing the Boer War, self-styled old comrades called upon 
Smuts by the hundreds and thousands, reminding him that he 
had shared their blanket in those happy days, and asking for a 
job for a son-in-law. Smuts could never believe that the entire 
South African textile industry could have produced as many 
blankets as that.) The tragic death of De la Rey must have 
weighed still more heavily on his mind. Mrs. Smuts was just ex- 
pecting another baby. The boy would be christened De la Rey. 
It was a girl. Nevertheless, she was baptized De la Rey. 

Undoubtedly, Smuts himself had once been a rebel against 
the British. What difference, he was asked, was there between 
his revolt during the Boer War, and De Wet's or Beyers' insur- 
rection today? A world of difference, he explained. The English 
had attacked the Boers. (At least he saw it this way.) But after 
the war the English had acted more magnanimously than any 
victor in history. They had returned to the Boers their com- 
plete independence; indeed, the nation enjoyed in many ways 
more liberty than ever before. Moreover, the English were 
trusting the Boers. Trust was a sacred word to Smuts. 



Payment was not on a strictly cash basis. The commandos com- 
pensated the storekeepers for their purchases with bills, re- 
deemable by the nonexistent South African Republic, and fre- 
quently written by the customer while he watched his goods 
being loaded upon the cart. 

Smuts waited until he saw Pretoria threatened on three 
sides by rebel commandos. Only then the innermost conflict 
between his roots and his garment was definitely decided. The 
Minister for Defence ordered the second battalion of the Trans- 
vaal Scottish and Irish Regiment from Johannesburg to Pre- 
toria. Strong patrols occupied the encircling hills and guarded 
the approaches to the capital. Inside Pretoria, the town police, 
carrying rifles and full bandoleers of cartridges, paraded the 
streets. At night the whole police force was on the alert, as- 
sisted by a thoroughly efficient citizen civilian guard. 

Still the regular troops were under orders to avoid, if pos- 
sible, bloodshed. They were told only to hustle the commandos, 
and to take prisoners. Colonel van De Venter, who was later to 
become Smuts' chief of staff in the South West campaign, cap- 
tured Captain Joubert, Beyers' go-between. Two days later 
Colonel-Commander Celliers took prisoner the disloyal Major 
Ben Cotzee, a general staff officer of the Defence Force. The 
rebel prisoners were disheartened. They cursed Van Rensburg, 
the fake seer, who was guilty of all the trouble. Some prisoners 
did not even know for whom or against whom they had been 
fighting. Their commandant had just said: "Upsaddle!" and 
with cattlelike docility they had obeyed. 

Not before the beginning of November did the fight start 
in earnest. Colonel Alberts, operating in the Lichtenburg dis- 
trict, where the whole affair had begun, arrived in Treurfontein. 
He surprised, and beat, a strong party of rebels under the self- 
styled General Kemp. Loyalist Commander de Villiers met a 
strong rebel force under Commander Classens, a German Boer. 
The rebels immediately hoisted white flags on their rifles. Ex- 
pecting their surrender, de Villiers approached them, where- 
upon the rebels attacked and captured de Villiers with one 



hundred ten men. The triumph of treachery, however, was 
short-lived. On the next day Colonel Alberts picked up the 
whole rebel group, and liberated de Villiers and his men. 

Beyers fled to the Free State, where he hoped for sanctuary. 
Colonel Lemmer was hot after him. His Lieutenant De la Rey 
Swartz attacked the traitor from the rear as he passed near 
Bloemhof . Beyers did not stop to fight. He escaped across the 
Vaal River. 

In the meantime Japie Fourie, the sinister hero of the revolu- 
tion, was making trouble. Fourie was a friend of Beyers, and 
of the same mind. Personally he used to be a very pleasant 
man. But since a bullet in the Boer War had wounded him in 
the knee and hampered him by a limp, he had had to give up 
his famous athletic activities, and became diseased by Britain- 
hatred. Beyers had procured him a commission as Major in the 
Defence Force. Fourie followed his friend and leader into the 
revolution. Beyers was already on his ignominious escape when 
Jopie Fourie collected the broken and scattered remnants of 
the rebel forces in the Rustenburg district. Many of them were 
weary of their hopeless enterprise. But the Reverend Van 
Broekhuisen lifted die cross, and thundered that deserters went 
straight to hell. Japie Fourie supported him. The rebels re- 
turned to the thick of the fight. They blew up railway lines to 
hamper the movement of the government forces, and fought 
to the end with the cruelty of cornered beasts. 

Only one leader of the revolution got away: Kemp. He had 
inherited De la Rey's mantle he had been the general's lieu- 
tenant in the Boer Warand with the mantle the prophet Van 
Rensburg. Thus protected by Providence, he gathered anew 
eight hundred recruits, among them many predikants. On 
November 3 he occupied the small town of Schweizer Reneke, 
hoisted the Vierkleur, soiled the Union Jack in an unspeakable 
manner, and commandeered forage and supplies from the store- 
keepers, government-owned wagons and mules, all the horses 
of the civilians. He summoned the inhabitants in front of the 
courthouse, informed them that the two republics had been 



proclaimed, and that he intefeded to form flying columns of men 
with good horses. "When I get Jannie Smuts," he concluded, "I 
will make mincemeat of him!" 

After this oration he went to the pub, invited all the young 
men in the town to have a round of beer on him, paid with 
good money, not with requisition scraps, and let the cat out of 
the bag: strictly confidentially he announced to all and sundry 
that forty thousand German soldiers with three hundred guns 
would arrive in the Transvaal within three weeks. 

The drunken crowd haggled, in the best Boer fashion, 
whether Oom Jannie should be put in front of the muzzle of 
a Krupp gun, or executed with the help of an old-fashioned 
sjambok. A free-for-all ensued over this difference of opinion. 
The next morning, before most of them had slept themselves 
sober, eleven hundred excellently mounted men, some with 
two or three spare horses, cleared out of the town. Day and 
night they rode, six hundred of the best horsemen forming the 
main advance body, men so much one with their beasts that 
they never fell from their saddles although they were con- 
stantly drunk. They left a bloody trail behind them. They pil- 
laged every farm and store they passed, plundering horses, 
food, and forage. 

At Kheis Drift the Natal Light Horse under Colonel Royston 
as well as a loyal commando were waiting to intercept them. 
At 2:30 P.M. the Colonel, expecting reinforcements, saw a large 
body carrying white flags and white armbands, the emblem of 
the Defence Force, approaching him. Colonel Royston was 
overjoyed. His men trotted to the appointed meeting. When 
they arrived within safe firing distance, Kemp's disguised ad- 
vance guard dismounted, and fired a murderous barrage into 
the trapped ranks of the Natal Light Horse. He tried to rush 
their camp. But here he was beaten back. Sniping continued 
all night. Kemp, however, was already galloping to the German 
South West African border. 

God was with him, he afterwards boasted. The Kalahari 
Desert he had to cross was miraculously drenched by torren- 
tial rains, which happened only once or so in a century. He 



gulped down the rain. It tasted even better than the best beer. 
His horses did not starve either. The tropical vegetation of the 
desert provided ample forage. The Loyalists traced him in the 
sands. They found along the way remnants of his meals, quan- 
tities of half-emptied bottles of beer, evidently placed there 
earlier by his German accomplices, methodical people who did 
not trust in God alone. At the Sand Dune the troops caught up 
with him. Kemp made a last stand. He had seventy drunken 
followers left. He threw them against the troops. He himself 
turned his horse, fled, and slipped across the German border. 

The trouble in the Transvaal was subdued. Beyers was on 
the run, Kemp in safety with his German friends. But the Free 
Staters were now on the point of rising. In order to avoid fur- 
ther bloodshed Botha and Smuts asked Hertzog to use his for- 
midable influence with his fellow citizens. Hertzog did not 
reply. Maritz and the other rebel leaders asked for safe conduct 
to receive instructions from Hertzog. Permission was denied. 
Hertzog remained mute. Now everyone, friend and foe, be- 
lieved that he was privy to the revolt. 

Above all, De Wet believed it. One night, crazed by his su- 
perstitious obsession and blinded by his red-hot Britain-hatred, 
De Wet called his entire family from their beds. They gathered 
outside Memel, De Wet's farmhouse. The bearded old man in 
a disreputable nightshirt pointed to the dark sky. "See our 
Lord Jesus Christ!" he exclaimed. "Hear him calling us to save 
his people! Now is the time!" 

The next day gang rule broke out in the district. Volunteers 
were attacked, trains seized, Loyalist meetings broken up. Mr. 
J. A. Joubert, the aged State Attorney, and Mr. Steenkamp 
betook themselves to the farm Memel. They pleaded for an 
end of the uproar. The irate old martinet challenged them to 
go outside and to repeat their counsel of moderation to the 
burghers. Both refused. They had come solely to talk to De 
Wet. Yet they were dragged on to the stoep, where they meekly 
faced an infuriated crowd, and uttered a few words of advice. 
Everyone looked at De Wet. He burst out: "Hold them as pris- 



oners, and treat them as spies. If they try to escape, shoot them 

Joubert and Steenkamp wrote letters in English to their 
wives. They were using the language of the hellhounds! De 
Wet barked. By way of punishment the two aged men were 
forced to accompany his commando on its first sallies, and to 
perform Kafir service. He also took them along to a secret meet- 
ing with Hertzog, where he learned that Smuts and Botha had 
appealed for the lawyer's intervention. De Wet laughed up- 
roariously. "A strong government does not deal with traitors!" 
he exclaimed. Evidently Botha's and Smuts' was a weak gov- 

The news came that De Wet's youngest son had been killed 
in an encounter. The insane old man went into another par- 
oxysm of laughter. "The apple of my eye!" he repeated time and 
again. Then he set up headquarters in the town of Reitz, which 
remained for six weeks in his possession six weeks of organ- 
ized thieving and terrorism. The same martyrdom was imposed 
on Kroonstad, Bethlehem, Heilbron and a dozen other purely 
Dutch towns in the Free State. 

Finally, De Wet with one hundred fifty mounted men en- 
tered Vrede. A post-office clerk, watching on the outskirts of 
the town to estimate the strength of the onrushing commando, 
bicycled to the post office, and managed to shout through 
the open window: "One hundred fifty. . . . One hundred 
armed. . . ." By a hairbreadth Postmaster Evans could wire 
the message to the government in Pretoria. Then the com- 
mando caught up with him. He was knocked senseless. The 
post office was devastated. All precision instruments which 
the rebels could not handle were smashed. One group gal- 
loped through the streets, ordering every passer-by to come to 
the monument in front of the Dutch Reformed Church, unless 
he wanted to be driven there by sjambok. 

De Wet, leaning majestically against the monument, called 
for the Magistrate. With true English sang-froid Mr. Colin 
Fraser refused to shake grinning De Wet's outstretched hand. 
He was not going to attend a rebel meeting. Six bodyguards 



assailed the Magistrate, and dragged and kicked him in front 
of their boss. Bruised, wounded, and bleeding, Mr. Fraser still 
defiantly faced the mad baboon. 

De Wet poured out a collection of obscenities which Taal 
alone among all languages expresses. He delivered a crazed 
speech. "Magistrate, get a shorthand writer to take down every 
word I am going to say because whatever I may do in the 
future, I can never commit a greater act of rebellion than I 
have already committed." Then he babbled incoherent words 
about the Vierkleur and German arms and his misfortune in 
front of the British Magistrate who had fined him five shillings. 
Obviously the King of England had demanded this sinister act 
of oppression and so the peace of Vereeniging was void. Botha 
and Smuts were serving the "dead dog" England, and he would 
choke them with his bare hands. God willed it. Suddenly he 
switched into logic and precise language: "I am now going 
through the town to take the following six articles: horses, sad- 
dles, bridles, halters, arms and ammunition. If anyone should 
refuse to hand over these articles, 111 personally give him a 
thrashing with the sjambok. I herewith order the storekeepers 
to open their shops, and I will select men to go round and to 
take whatever I require, apart from the articles I mentioned. 
I will open closed shops in my own way. I have got my eight 
sons and sons-in-law here," he ended, with the strongest affir- 
mation of Boer pride. 

Vrede was pillaged. Then the pretty little town of Parys was 
systematically looted by the rebels now deteriorating to the 
level of common thieves. In Kroonstad, the Town Guard held 
out for fourteen anxious days behind a fortification line of sand- 
bags, until Colonel Manie Botha came to relieve them. The 
bywonersthe poor whites living rent-free on farms joined 
with the rebels. But the rest of the Free State was takharen 
ashamed of themselves. They even rebuked Botha who had let 
Beyers get away at their first encounter at Rustenberg in order 
to avoid spilling blood for his exaggerated tolerance. Beyers 
was quick to spread the rumor that the government was secretly 



directing the Defence Force to inflict no harm upon the rebels. 
In view of Botha's and Smuts' evident disgust of the fratricidal 
strife, this rumor found wide credence. Smuts, indeed, sent an 
agent by the name of Cecil Meintjes to negotiate with Beyers, 
who pretended that he was ready to call off the revolt if the 
government agreed to carry out the action against South West 
Africa only with volunteers. But Mr. Meintjes was prevented 
from delivering this message in time. He was arrested, and 
kept under guard, until Beyers with the rest of his commando 
was at a safe distance. Instantly Beyers attacked, and sabo- 
taged, the Northern Transvaal railroad line. 

Appeasement was entirely discredited with the Loyalists. 
They chafed under the inactivity of the government. No one 
understood Smuts' deepest, almost enigmatic trait: his com- 
plete indifference toward hostility. Once more he tried to recon- 
cile the traitor. He dispatched the Magistrate of Wolmarans- 
stad, unescorted and unarmed, to follow up Beyers. The aged 
gentleman took his life in his hands, trailed Beyers, whose 
route was easily discernible by a line of burned farmhouses, 
blown-up railroad lines, and broken telegraph poles. One night, 
in a small town in the Free State, he caught up with the man 
he was after. Beyers drew his gun, but the old English Magis- 
trate disarmed him with a smile. "You were too, how shall I 
say, too impatient, I believe, to wait for the Minister of De- 
fence's answer to the message you most kindly sent him by Mr. 
Meintjes. Well, here I am with General Smuts' reply." The 
reply reaffirmed all previous promises on behalf of the govern- 
ment, and added two new enticements: a safe conduct for 
Beyers to meet De Wet, and a promise of amnesty for all crimes 
committed during the rebellion. Beyers demanded time to com- 
municate with De Wet before he would give a definite answer. 

De Wet, however, was dead set against compromising. He 
dodged President Steyn and his son, who wanted to meet him 
as mediators. He insisted that Hertzog was the only authority 
he would deal with. In the House of Assembly Hertzog spoke 
for the revolutionary cause. He mourned "the poor, down- 
trodden burghers who had been murdered, robbed, and 



wronged!" But he stubbornly refused to exercise his influence 
with De Wet in order to bring him to the conference table. This 
double dealing caused General Tobias Smuts, a distant relative 
of the Minister, to make the observation: "Hertzog always 
keeps silent when he ought to speak, and speaks when he 
ought to keep silent." 

De Wet finally announced that he did not wish to see ex- 
President Steyn or any other go-between. He had every inten- 
tion of going to Maritz across the German border, and return- 
ing with him and his German allies to Pretoria, where "if God, 
in whom we all trust, so wills" independence would be pro- 
claimed. Simultaneously, his gang continued looting, burning 
and pillaging with a vengeance. 

On November 11, on the last day before the promise of am- 
nesty was to expire, Botha placed himself at the head of a large 
force in the Free State, attacked De Wet's gang, which by then 
had been increased to 3,500 men, routed them, and drove them 
toward Koraanberg, where General Lukin was to trap them. 
But due to what was later explained as "faulty transmission" 
probably an act of insidious sabotage General Lukin got his 
orders a few hours too late. Once more De Wet slipped away. 
He fled toward the German border. 

But his losses were irretrievable. His whole laager was gone, 
he had lost two hundred fifty prisoners, the casualties among 
his followers were heavy. This was against Botha's intention. 
He owed his victory primarily to two machine-guns, new weap- 
ons against which the rebels, only familiar with old-fashioned 
rifles, were entirely helpless. When Botha observed the enemy's 
heavy losses, he immediately silenced his machine-guns. His 
was a humanitarian warfare, no mass slaughter. Only a stray 
casualty here and there was permitted. Indeed, on Botha's or- 
der, the commanding officers had given the machine-gunners 
misleading ranges. But the gunners, not to be fooled, aimed 
correctly. After victory, which was chiefly due to them, they 
were severely taken to task by Botha. 

A second encounter, the famous battle at Mushroom Valley, 
completely annihilated De Wet's gang. He had only twenty- 



five exhausted followers and dead-tired horses left when he at- 
tempted to cross the Vaal River. Nineteen of his men were 
beaten back at this attempt. De Wet with six others managed 
to negotiate the river late at night. 

A new enemy arose: the motorcar. Commandant S. P. Du 
Toit with his motor patrol swept the country near the point 
where De Wet supposedly had crossed the river. At Karree- 
boskuiel he received the information that seven horsemen in 
full gallop had been seen racing westward. He soon came upon 
the group. But the cars could not follow the horsemen into the 
dense pathless jungle. Du Toit's patrol fired a volley at the flee- 
ing men. They killed two horses. One horseman, De Wet's son- 
in-law, was taken prisoner. The other, H. Oost, until a short 
time before the editor of Hertzog's weekly in Pretoria, escaped. 

Six men were left out of three thousand five hundred: De 
Wet, Brand Wessels, Koos van Coller, Wessels Potgieter, Gert 
Muller, and H. Oost. They hid in the woods. De Wet sent 
Brand Wessels to Bloemfontein to ex-President Steyn. Now he 
was prepared to confer with him about chances of peace. 

Steyn urged Smuts strongly to accept. But when Smuts, after 
long and painful hesitation, makes up his mind, he sticks to his 
decision. In a letter dated Pretoria, November 17, he accused 
Steyn and Hertzog of allowing De Wet to claim them as allies. 
"We feel," he continued, "that the position has entirely changed 
since General Botha's first appeal to you to use your influence 
with De Wet and Beyers to avert bloodshed. Now the military 
situation is different. Even now we do not know whether this 
is not again an attempt to gain time." The letter ended de- 
manding the unconditional surrender of the rebels. 

Smuts had his "eyes and ears," his informers, throughout the 
length and breadth of the country. He knew every move of 
the fugitives. He was well aware that De Wet had got across 
to the Schweizer Reneke district in the Free State, where the 
last flames of the rebellion were still smouldering. In fact, De Wet 
had collected a few hundred more Free Staters. He took them 
westward, with the object of escaping across the desert to Ger- 



man South West Africa. He had made many forced marches in 
his adventurous life, but never one against such heavy odds. 
He trekked through a waterless, sandy country, ever changing 
his direction, hard pressed to escape his pursuers, and harder 
still to find a water hole now and then. 

Colonel Brits pursued him with a fleet of motorcars. The 
cars, mostly American-made, proceeded in the desert sand with 
great difficulty. But Colonel Brits kept tracing the spoor of De 
Wet's horsemen. Besides, the few water holes in the desert 
were patrolled by Loyalists. At Marokwen Colonel Brits halted. 
From here, General Smuts had instructed him that there was 
not a single water hole until the farm of Waterbury, right at 
the German frontier. De Wet would have to stop either in 
Marokwen, or at the farm. 

On Sunday the sentries at Marokwen saw a cavalcade of 
horsemen slowly passing at a distance. They offered a wretched 
sight. Men and horses looked like skeletons. Some decrepit 
horses were carrying two men. De Wet and his men had killed 
a few of their horses to quench their unbearable thirst by drink- 
ing the animals' blood. It would have been easy to annihilate 
the forlorn handful of men in a single attack. But that was ex- 
actly what Smuts would never have forgiven. He wanted 
Colonel Brits to bring De Wet home alive. 

The cavalcade crept on. Colonel Brits guessed that they 
would take all Sunday as well as the following day to reach the 
farm Waterbury. So the night between Monday and Tuesday 
would bring the kill. On Monday Colonel Jordaan arrived to 
reinforce Brits. Acting as their own scouts, the two colonels ap- 
proached the farm. The house was teeming with newcomers. 
De Wet, haggard, terribly aged, his beard snow white, grinned 
happily. He could not tear himself away from the fountain. He 
drank and drank. 

On Monday night Colonel Jordaan picked out seventy men. 
He spoke to each of them separately, explaining exactly what 
each was to do. Before dawn the men crept through the bush, 
encircled the farmhouse, attacked De Wet's stable guards. The 



bandits were not able to utter a word before they felt the cold 
steel of the rifles at their temples. Then Colonel Jordaan called 
in ringing tones: "Surrender!" 

De Wet and the faithful Oost were the first to come out of 
the house. They attempted a run for the stables, but they found 
themselves encircled. There was a moment of deadly silence. 
Then De Wet threw up his arms. "The race is run!" he grinned. 

He and his men were disarmed, brought to Vryburg by mo- 
torcar, and then by train to Johannesburg. Throughout the 
whole journey De Wet tried to maintain his poise. But his looks 
betrayed him. His clothes were rags, his broad-brimmed felt 
hat was riddled with bullet holes, his face was deeply lined and 
crumpled. Nevertheless, his eyes had kept their shrewd glance, 
and the broad gold chain across the shrunken belly recalled 
that he had once been a prosperous burgher. He was still brag- 
ging. "I will hang higher than any of you!" he told his fellow 
prisoners. To the military police he said: "Your motorcars beat 
me. I never believed they would get through the sand." 

Beyers, too, was a beaten man. He had lost his old equanim- 
ity. His moves were marked by a complete lack of resolution. 
Here and there he made minor raids with his commando, 
shrunk to twenty-five men. On his last day he was seen near the 
farm Greyling's Request on the Transvaal side of the Vaal. A 
little boy who had waded through the river brought this news 
to the farmer Jacobs, who, in turn, informed the Loyalists. 
Troops moved up from all sides. Beyers was cornered. But he 
told his field-cornet, the Reverend Boshoff : "As long as there is 
life in me, I will make a fight for it." These were his last coher- 
ent words. 

He removed his garters, spurs, revolver, and threw off his 
mackintosh. He mounted a stolen horsehis own had been 
killedand plunged into the river. His guide, a man by the 
name of Jan Pietersee, also mounted, pushed ahead of them 
into the swiftly running, swollen stream. 

In the meantime the Loyalist forces had occupied both banks 
of the river. Captain Uys' men, on the Transvaal side, opened 



fire at about fifty or sixty yards. Beyers' horse, frightened, 
swung around, and struggled in the water. It refused to go into 
the hail of bullets. 

Beyers could no longer even manage a horse. He slipped out 
of the saddle, and started to swim back to the Free State side, 
which was much nearer. Whether his mind was still able to 
grasp that he was swimming straight toward capture and the 
firing squad, was no longer discernible. Pietersee made good 
progress. Spurred by the fanatic loyalty of a typical Boer fol- 
lower, however, he turned back to assist Beyers when he saw 
his leader in difficulties. A bullet struck the faithful man. The 
water around him was red with blood. Still Pietersee struggled 
desperately toward Beyers. Suddenly he disappeared. 

Beyers, swimming on his back, was heard shouting: "Efc 
kaunie meer nie!" (I can't do any more!) The soldiers on the 
Transvaal side thrust a big branch from a tree in his direction. 
Beyers could not grasp it. One of Captain Uys' men nearest to 
him shouted to ask whether he was wounded. Beyers cried 
back: *7fc kan nie swem nie; die jas is tussen my loeneT (I can- 
not swim, the coat got between my legs! ) Suddenly he threw 
up his hands, and dropped like a stone beneath the muddy 
waters. It was panic-suicide by drowning. 

When Captain Uys saw Beyers going down, he asked for a 
volunteer to jump after him into the swollen river. Private 
Reneke obliged. But while he was undressing, Beyers' last men, 
who had, entirely unmoved, watched their leader's death strug- 
gle, opened fire. Reneke was forced to seek cover. The hand- 
ful of remaining rebels, under the Reverend Boshoff, were cap- 
tured and disarmed. 

For an hour and a half the troops tarried along both banks. 
The flood receded some eight or ten feet. Many dead fish were 
left on the banks. The body of Beyers was only recovered after 
three days of torrential rains. He was coatless. He had stripped 
off his coat before leaping into the water. It appeared that his 
shoelaces had become entangled, and thus his feet had been 
tied together. At his last outcry he had mistaken his shoelaces 
for his jacket. 



Smuts was deeply shocked when the story of Beyers' death 
was reported to him. "I must write to his widow/' he said. "She 
must hear it from a friend/' He sat down at his desk, his head 
leaning on his left arm, his open left hand supporting his fore- 
head and protecting his face from onlookers. He wrote with 
flying speed. 

Japie Fourie was the last man to surrender. In Smuts' words, 
his band "was the only one to remain contumacious." Defying 
all rules of warfare, the treacherous Defence Force Officer dis- 
carded his rebel uniform and fought on in mufti. He let his 
wild, black beard grow so that his cheeks, his chin, and his 
mouth were almost hidden behind his whiskers. Yet everyone 
recognized him by the piercing look in his eyes, by his long, 
irregular brows, and by the enormous flower he wore in his 
buttonhole, as was his custom. He assailed and ambushed 
straggling officers and soldiers, and killed them with calcu- 
lated cruelty. However, he remained faithful to the hallowed 
Boer tradition. On Dingaan's Day South Africa's Fourth of 
July he refused to fight. 

It was on this very Dingaan's Day that Colonel Pretorius, 
the grandson of the founder of the Transvaal, and Fourie's 
own cousin, trapped the outlaw at Nooitgedacht. He asked 
Fourie to surrender. Instead, the bandit and his men opened 
fire at a range of twelve yards. Twelve of Colonel Pretorius' 
men were killed before Fourie was captured. He was immedi- 
ately brought to Pretoria. A court-martial was arranged, strictly 
according to military law. One of its members asked General 
Smuts to be excused from the jury, since he was an old friend 
of Fourie's. So much the more he should sit on the bench, 
Smuts replied. 

The trial took place on Saturday. Japie Fourie made a defi- 
ant speech. He asked for mercy to be shown to his brother, 
who had only followed his own lead. He did not try to conceal 
his crimes. He boasted of them. He concluded with a curse 
against England. The verdict, condemning him to death, was 



Friends of Fourie tried to interfere on his behalf with Botha. 
They could not reach the Prime Minister, who spent the criti- 
cal week end in strict seclusion at his son-in-law's farm. 

On Sunday morning a volley in the Pretoria prison yard put 
Japie Fourie to death. The echo of the shots resounded for 
many years throughout South Africa. The irreconcilable Boers 
had their martyr. 

In Parliament, Smuts defended the decision of the court, 
pointing out that the case was not a question of "Khaki versus 
Boer," but "the pith of a nation against a marauding band/' 

Even Hertzog declaimed in the House of Assembly: "The 
government has done its duty in suppressing disorder and vio- 
lence in the country. I have never accused the government of 
having done anything wrong in so doing/' This miserable op- 
portunist and fence-sitter wisely passed over in silence the 
potent fact that a single word of his at the right moment would 
have prevented the whole revolution. 

A commission of inquiry was appointed, and a Bluebook on 
the rebellion laid on the table of the House. The nationalists 
attacked both the commission and the Bluebook, edited by an 
outstanding university professor, in unmeasured terms. Hertzog 
was again back where he belonged. He led the choir of vituper- 
ation. He asserted that Maritz had used his name without his 
authority. "Why did Hertzog not repudiate him?" a heckler 
asked. "I would have lost all my influence over the people!" 
came the frank reply. "If I would have spoken openly, I would 
have been placed where others were already in jail. If I had 
reproached the rebels, I would have prostituted myself. I was 
never much a man of hollow protests, nor was I inclined to go 
to jail to please the Minister of Defence/' 

The Honorable J. W. Quinn, Unionist member from the 
Rand, expressed the unanimous feeling of the majority: "I 
would have shot the honorable member from Smithfield. But 
his is not the kind that gets shot. He is safe. He walks in the 
dark, and you can't shoot men in the dark/' 

The surviving traitors were dealt with extremely leniently. 
Although De Wet was captured as he was about to go over to 



the Germans, Smuts testified on his behalf that there was 
not the slightest evidence of his having had any connection 
with the enemy. The martinet was condemned to a term of six 
years, but released after less than a year and a half. 

General Kemp and his prophet Van Rensburg, who had es- 
caped to South West Africa, surrendered as Botha invaded the 
German colony, while Maritz fled to Germany. They were per- 
mitted to return. No punishment was inflicted upon them. Gen- 
eral Kemp is still today a Member of the House of Assembly, 
and one of the most ferocious opponents of Smuts. 

The five shilling revolution ended ignominiously. None of its 
objects was achieved. Only military operations in German 
South West Africa were delayed for three months, greatly to 
the advantage of the not-quite-prepared South African Defence 

When Smuts was duly indemnified in Parliament, he joined 
Botha, who was already at the front, in driving the Germans 
out of the South West. 

Chapter 20 TWO-FRONT WAR 


man South West Africa, to take command of the southern forces, 
while General Botha was operating in the North. There was 
little doubt about the outcome. Forty-four thousand men of 
the Defence Force were pitted against nine thousand Germans. 
It was, however, the baptism of fire for the South Africans, the 
first military action in the short history of the Union, whereas 
the Germans were seasoned colonial veterans. Moreover, the 
equipment of the Defence Force was rather sketchy, its organi- 



zation was still in its infancy, and there was no trained general 

While Botha operated from Swakopmund, Smuts' force 
pushed in from Luederitz Bay, which an English f ortnation had 
taken months before, and went on, struggling against sand- 
storms, torrid heat, and venomous insects. The Germans had 
abandoned the flats along the coast. But before retreating they 
had littered the soil with land mines, and poisoned every water 
hole. The Union soldiers had to rely on distilled sea water, 
hauled over the desert sands for hundreds of miles. Not before 
they reached Garub did they find fresh natural water. Garub 
lies on the edge of the desert, only a few miles before the high- 
lands begin. Here the Germans had entrenched themselves in 
strong positions. The only pass leading through the pathless 
hills was the neck of Aus, which was fortified with trenches cut 
in the solid rock. 

Smuts applied the lessons the Boer War had taught him. The 
commandos had rarely ventured upon frontal attacks. They 
preferred to swing around the flanks, and by-pass the enemy. 
True to his old pattern, as guerrilla raider, Smuts outflanked 
the obstacle. The Germans were threatened in the rear. They 
fled. The dreaded neck of Aus passed into the hands of the 
Union forces. 

Throughout the time this operation took, Smuts had secretly 
dispersed four powerful columns. The first column executed a 
brilliant march across the Kalahari Desert, trekking a distance 
of over seven hundred miles of desolate country with practi- 
cally no grazing for the horses, and very little water for the 
men. A few canisters were transported by motorcar. The horses 
could chew the thorn bushes. Most of the animals had to be 
left behind, but the column made a beeline for the German 
railway center at Keetmanshoop. At the same time the three 
other columns pushed on from the southeast and the south. 
Finding themselves menaced on all sides, the Germans precipi- 
tately retreated to Windhoek, the capital, and the seat of the 
wireless station which was the first and most important goal of 
the campaign. Botha anticipated the enemy's move, and hur- 



ried in forced marches to arrive before the Germans. At this 
stage Herr Seitz, the German Governor General, made his first 
suggestion for an armistice. He pointed out that, despite the 
retreat in his own territory, the Germans were winning every- 
where in Europe, and that this factor would decide the war. 
South Africa would have incurred the wrath of a world-domi- 
nating German Empire. Why not avoid this fate? Why not call 
it a campaign? Each side should remain in the possession of 
the territory held at this particular moment. Fighting should 

After consultation with Smuts, Botha insisted on the surren- 
der of all South West Africa. Seitz refused, left the conference, 
but reappeared on the next day to announce his unconditional 

Some of his followers carried on their struggle for a short 
time. But when they felt the first bombs from British airplanes, 
they ran. However, they did not forget to strew mines behind 
them. Six thousand were removed by the South African engi- 
neers, for a loss of only six lives. Now the last German com- 
mander resisting, Colonel Franck, approached Botha with the 
insolent words: "I come to give up, Mr. . . . hm, Mr. . . . Shall 
I call you Mr. Botha, or how else? Of course I cannot recog- 
nize you as a general. Generals are made in Germany." 

Botha replied that his rank did not matter, as long as his 
terms were accepted: unconditional surrender. The German 
bully threw up his hands. 

Peace was concluded a few days later. The Union of South 
Africa had conquered a territory larger than France. But Smuts 
insisted immediately that the vanquished should get a fair deal. 
He issued an order of the day: "All ranks of the Union forces 
are reminded that self-restraint, courtesy, and consideration of 
the feelings of others on the part of the troops, whose good for- 
tune it is to be the victors, are essential." 

The conquest of South West Africa, executed with clockwork 
precision, was the first Allied success in the First World War. 
Due to Smuts' constitutional leniency, the Germans in the ter- 
ritory, however, never learned that they were beaten. Mono- 



cled, horsewhip in hand, their disarmed officers strutted along 
the streets of Windhoek. Every night German national songs 
were chanted. German South West Africa, although later at 
Versailles made a mandate of the Union of South Africa, re- 
mained the hotbed of Pangermanism, and became the strong- 
hold of incipient Nazism in Africa. 

Flag-waving, and covered with garlands, Pretoria received 
the victors, Botha and Smuts, toward the middle of July. But 
this demonstration of loyalty was deceptive. The capital was 
flooded by witnesses to the inquiry into the five-shilling revo- 
lution. Although the nationalists boycotted the inquiry, without 
being punished for their defiance of the law, the tension was, 
once again, almost unbearable. It was increased by the after- 
math of the Lusitania demonstrations. After the Germans had 
committed the crime of sinking the Lusitania a. crime that 
materially affected feelings in the then still neutral United 
States, and undoubtedly contributed to America's entry into 
the war the Loyalists in most important towns in the Union 
lost their patience with the government's complacency toward 
the Germans in South Africa. It was particularly Smuts who 
had warned the people against "persecuting" the Germans in 
the country. "Myself," he had stated in Parliament, amidst peals 
of laughter, "I am frequently taken for a German." When the 
news of the Lusitania came through, however, Johannesburg 
patriots got out of hand. They had already held a number of 
protest meetings against the lenient way in which the Defence 
Department dealt with the internment of Germans, and against 
continued trading with the enemy meetings against which 
Smuts had protested in a telegram to the mayor. Now aroused 
masses occupied the premises of firms which continued busi- 
ness as usual with Germany via the Portuguese colonies. Offices, 
shops, warehouses and even private residences of subversive 
elements were wrecked. Similar scenes were repeated at Kru- 
gersdorp and elsewhere in the mining area. They also occurred, 
though on a smaller scale, in Pretoria and Natal. 

The government was compelled to step up the internment 



of Germans. In a way this measure backfired. It kindled the 
flames of hatred among the rapidly increasing number of na- 
tionalist Boers. Suddenly half of them claimed their own Ger- 
man descent. The victorious campaign in South West Africa 
was not popular with them. Smuts tried to minimize the new 
wave of agitation. Dismissing the recruits from South West 
Africa, he warned them ironically that they would hear terrible 
atrocity stories about their conduct during the campaign, as 
soon as they returned to their farms and dorps. In fact, such 
stories mushroomed. On the other hand, complaints about al- 
leged cruelties were intermingled with derision of Botha and 
Smuts for not having taken more prisoners. Hertzog, who stood 
behind the new upheaval, carefully, as ever, in shadow, played 
both ends against the middle. 

Johannesburg repeated the triumphant welcome Pretoria 
had given Botha and Smuts. In the hope of bringing the Eng- 
lish population and the sensible and decent part of the Boer 
people together, the government decided to hold general elec- 
tions. The House was five years old. It no longer represented 
the opinion of the nation. 

Smuts and Botha found the going worse than rough. Even 
Johannesburg was in a miserable state. The Rand industry was 
faced with almost insurmountable obstacles. Yet it had to carry 
on. Its output of gold was of vital importance for the Empire 
at war. Other difficulties were due to war conditions. Military 
priorities as well as the dangers of the U-boat made impossible 
replacements from England of obsolete machines, whereas 
South Africa, at that time, had no steel industry of its own. The 
labor situation was even more of a menace. All able-bodied 
Englishmen, to the last man, had joined the forces, both the 
Defence Force and the Imperial troops overseas. Among them 
was Mr. Creswell, the Labor leader. His place in the Labor 
Party was taken by power-drunk, illiterate Boer union bosses 
who instigated a rule of terror. The miners, now mostly Dutch 
peasant boys, exacted conditions which all but ruined the in- 
dustry. They extorted unlimited and exorbitant concessions in 
wages, working hours, paid holidays. Discipline was entirely 



gone. Directors, managers, and even foremen lived in constant 
fear for their lives. In the end, working costs per ton far ex- 
ceeded the value of the gold won at standard prices. These ab- 
surd circumstances prevailed throughout the war. 

The Nationalists under Hertzog, although arch-reactionaries, 
encouraged "syndicalism," as the forerunner of Communism 
was called, in the mines, in order to cause trouble to the gov- 
ernment and to impede the war effort. Hertzog declared at 
Edenburg: "South Africa has done enough for the Empire. 
Personally, I object to any more money being expended on the 
cause of the Empire." 

Smuts retorted that South Africa was fighting for her own 
cause. It was impossible to tolerate Germany as a neighbor. 
Besides, the whole expenditure of the South West African cam- 
paign had been less than fifteen millions, an amount worth the 
conquest of a country almost as big as the Union itself, and 
opening the gates to further expansion. 

This very argument incensed the Nationalists still more. They 
hated Smuts' budding conception of Pan-Africa. They did not 
want to be mixed up with countries settled by non-Boers. They 
feared the idea of losing their scant majority among the white 

Smuts carried on the fight for his vision of the future, Afri- 
can brotherhood, which was later to develop into the ideal of 
human brotherhood. "Our northern boundaries will not be 
where they are now, and we shall leave to our children a huge 
country, in which to develop a type for themselves, and to form 
a people which will be a true civilizing agent in this dark con- 
tinent. That is the large viewl" 

The large view? "Rhodes reborn!" shouted the Nationalist 
press. "Civilizing agents!" To hell with this nauseating civiliza- 
tion! The children should become God-fearing Calvinistic plan- 
tation owners, as their forefathers were. Among the three sects 
of the Dutch Church, only one, the United, gave the govern- 
ment a modicum of support. The other two, the Hervormde 
and the Gereformeerde, sent their somber predikants right into 
the fray, to attack and curse the government. 



The paper that had called Smuts "Rhodes reborn/' was a 
newcomer to the South African press. Its first issue appeared in 
Cape Town the very day Botha returned from the South- 
western campaign. Its editor was Dr. Daniel Frangois Malan, 
Hertzog's henchman. The unfrocked clergyman was entering 
the newspaper world, he insisted, to raise the level of political 
debate, and to reinstate the old dignity of controversy. Die 
Burger was soon involved in more slander, libel, and blackmail 
cases than the rest of the whole South African press together. 
Today it still leads the choir of the pro-Nazis. Keerom Street, 
where Die Burger's premises stand, sounds as Cliveden sounded 
once in England. 

At the same time another debutant bowed his way into the 
public. Hen Oswald Pirow, then the Hertzogite candidate on 
the Rand, declared ominously: "The ill-advised policy of our 
opponents will ruin South Africa, and thereby, for all practical 
purposes, rob the British Empire of the fairest of its colonies/' 
His Dutch audience had difficulty in understanding the words 
the round-cheeked, pale-faced young man with the piercing, 
small, black eyes behind rimless spectacles, was sputtering. 
Herr Pirow had difficulties with the Dutch language, which he 
has not yet quite overcome. 

De Wet was released from prison, where he had been treated 
like a patient in a sanitarium. He pledged himself not to get 
involved in politics. Immediately, however, he stumped die 
country, predicting "great changes in the constitutional posi- 
tion of South Africa" and confiding to his adherents that he 
still regarded himself as the George Washington below the 

Perturbed by the competition, Hertzog summoned his men 
to a congress of the Nationalists in Pretoria. Advocate Tielman 
Roos, the chairman of the Transvaal branch of the party, and 
Hertzog's right-hand man, opened the attack by calling Botha 
and Smuts "no better than hysterical old Kafir hags." The joke 
was received with uproarious laughter. Ever witty Advocate 
Roos' future in the Nationalist movement was assured. A dele- 



gate by the name of Roux told the Congress that he had been 
walking some time "with dynamite in his pocket for Botha and 

Hertzog remained conspicuously silent. The frail little man, 
much too carefully attired for his surrounding, simply nodded 
when the congress rose to cheer him at the end of the session. 

Smuts was the principal speaker on the other side, both on 
behalf of the government and for the cause of the war effort. 
He conducted his campaign on the pattern of a khaki election. 
He expressed his pride in the success of the first campaign 
which should not be the last. In the face of furious resentment 
he continued to call for volunteers, even for the Imperial forces 
on the European battlefields. Vigorously he defended Botha 
against the Nationalist slander that the Prime Minister had 
"become an Englishman/' He appealed to the English voters 
for support, asking them the very English question: "Have we 
not played the game?" 

"You have!" roared the Boers in reply. The hatred of the 
irreconcilables became pathological. In all his meetings Smuts 
was confronted with pictures of the dead men, De la Rey, 
Beyers, and Japie Fourie. The latter's widow complained that 
the corpse of her late husband had been desecrated. When 
Smuts refuted this crazy insinuation, she insisted on seeing the 
body. But the government had buried Japie Fourie in an un- 
disclosed place, lest his grave should become the scene of riot- 
ing and demonstration. After the elections it would be, and 
indeed it was, opened to Mrs. Fourie, and she was satisfied 
that her husband was resting in peace. 

Mrs. De la Rey published an open letter laying the respon- 
sibility for her husband's death squarely at Smuts' door. The 
letter kindled the flames of the Boer racialists into white heat. 
There was general talk of a new revolution. The talk did not 
even stop when the fact was revealed that the infuriating letter 
had been written while Mrs. De la Rey was staying as Mrs. 
Smuts' guest at Doornkloof, and that it was a fake. 

Like the furies the nationalist Boer women plunged into the 



upheaval. Thousands of families were torn asunder. The father's 
hand was raised against his son; neighbors became deadly 

On September 23, the pandemonium climaxed in the in- 
famous outrage at Newlands, the Dutch suburb of Johannes- 
burg. Smuts was warned against speaking in this center of 
hooliganism. He braved the danger. A terrific din arose as soon 
as he entered the hall. His "dynamic" friend Roux, whom Smuts 
later described as an "unkempt, desperate-looking man," was 
among the audience, as was Mary Fitzgerald, in spite of her 
English name one of the fiercest Boer furies. She had taken an 
innocent tot along which, she pretended, was the orphan of 
one of the "murdered" revolutionists of 1914, a man by the 
name of Labuschagne. Jostled by the mob, the child cried, and 
thus beyond doubt established its identity. 

The rowdy meeting that ensued was well organized. First 
rotten eggs were thrown at the speaker, then brickbats, and 
beer bottles. When Smuts tried to speak, the crowd howled 
him down with the words "Zuid Afrika Eerste" ( South Africa 
First!), the battle cry of the racialists. 

Smuts remained immovable. His friends urged and beseeched 
him to leave. He did not listen. The first heavy stones were 
thrown. Then only he decided that it was time to close the 
meeting. Some innocent by-standers would be killed, he feared. 
Personally fearless as ever, he battled his way right through 
the densest crowd, who belabored his followers with sticks, 
pick handles and sjamboks. Some even hit the Minister. He 
returned blow for blow. 

In front of the hall Smuts* faithful chauffeur, Hodgson, was 
twice pulled out of the driver's seat before he could start. When 
the car left, a few shots were exchanged. One was fired by a 
detective, into the air, to frighten the hoodlums. A few shots 
were undoubtedly aimed at Smuts, who did not bat an eyelash. 
He was always sure that his was a charmed life. 

A social gathering should have followed the political meet- 
ing. Smuts' only comment was: "Verily, a sociall" But a few 
days later he acknowledged: "I am the best hated man in South 



Africa." Yet he refused a worried friend's well-meant advice to 
relax or better to resign, in order to save his life. He was no 
quitter. Fate had burdened him with a great task. He rejoiced 
in carrying his load. 

The elections left the South African Party the governmental 
party with fifty-four seats, as the strongest in the House. But 
the absolute majority was gone. The Unionists, the English, 
under Sir Thomas Smarrt won thirty-nine seats. Hertzog's fol- 
lowing leaped from five to twenty-seven. The Labor Party re- 
turned in the old strength of four men. There were six inde- 

A complete volte-face had taken place in the Free State. The 
South African Party, which had carried all but one seat in 1910, 
lost every constituency. In turn Hertzog, who had won his own 
constituency in Smithfield with the overwhelming majority of 
1,315 against 272, gained all the seats in the Free State but one 
in Bloemfontein which went to the Unionists. More than 30 
per cent of the voters were revealed as Nationalists, among 
them a majority of the rural electorate. 

In the first session of the new Parliament the government 
passed important consolidating measures, attempting seriously 
to deal with the industrial and social troubles. Parliament col- 
laborated loyally. But restiveness was ever increasing on the 
platteland. Incessantly Hertzog reiterated his battle cry: South 
Africa First! When the government introduced a most modest 
bill to curtail trade with the enemy and, in order to stave off 
more radical demands by the Unionists, declared that South 
Africa proposed to follow the United Kingdom's policy on that 
matter, but not to go a step further, Hertzog jumped up from 
his seat. "The government says that South Africa's interests 
need not be considered, but that only the Imperial interests 
count. The Ministry is intimating that what is good enough for 
the United Kingdom is good enough for the Union. I warn the 
government. That is a fatal policy." 

Throughout the First World War South Africa remained an 
unhappy and torn-asunder country. Anti-British feelings were 



widespread. Even the Dutch press supporting Botha and Smuts 
could not refrain from gloating over English reverses, and from 
mildly advocating the new creed of Hertzogism. Yet the posi- 
tion of the government was assured. The Unionists, His Maj- 
esty's loyal opposition, lent their political foes all their strength. 
Colonel Creswell, the Labor leader, declared: "The Nationalist 
speeches betray a wish that we may lose the war." He swung 
his party into an all-out effort to see the war through. Hertzog 
remained the leader of defeatism. Both on African soil and on 
the blood-soaked European battlefields the South African sol- 
diers, Dutch and English alike, put up an excellent show. Once 
more they proved that South African troops, affectionately 
called Springboks, in the right hands, are great and gallant 

On the fifth of January, 1916, Smuts, at Potchefstroom, re- 
viewed a body of volunteers for East Africa. He emphasized 
the hardships they must expect. German East Africa was the 
haunt of the tsetse fly, the deadly enemy of man and beast. His 
"beloved sons" would not find the sandy flats of South West 
Africa. They would have to march through a country covered 
with thick, in some parts almost impenetrable, bush. He re- 
gretted that for compelling reasonsthe foremost of which, it 
went without saying, was Hertzog he could not accompany 
them. But they would have a gallant leader: the British General 
Smith-Dorrien, the hero of Mons. Moreover, General Crewe 
of the Defence Force, an English officer during the Boer War, 
would look after the Springboks. 

General Smith-Dorrien arrived at Cape Town. Immediately 
he fell gravely ill. His illness, however, could not delay the 
departure of the South African contingent. The rainy season 
was drawing dangerously close, and the move had to be made 

London sounded out Smuts whether he would accept the 
command. Smuts seized the opportunity with both hands. It 
was an escape into the most advanced, most perilous fighting 



line. But it was an escape from a hated fratricidal strife at home 
into a good fight against a real enemy in a hostile land. 

On die tenth of February he was officially appointed Lieu- 
tenant-General in the Imperial Army, and Commander in Chief 
of the campaign in the German South East. Both the London 
newspapers and the South African English-language press 
showered him with praise. Die Burger, Dr. Malan's venomous 
sheet, congratulated him, too now he would draw double pay. 
It was a miserable lie. Smuts served the British Empire without 
pay. He only drew his salary as a South African Minister. 

On Friday, the eleventh of February, in the late evening, he 
left Pretoria, where he had spent the last hours with routine 
desk work. His family and a few friends gathered at the rail- 
road station. One of them asked why he was leaving the coun- 
try at such a critical period to venture into the land of the 
anopheles, malaria, the tsetse fly, and the jigger flea. With a 
quiet glance of his steel-blue eyes Smuts answered: "Do you 
know that there are seventeen thousand of our men there?" 

He kissed his grandchild, little Klein-Jannie, good-bye. The 
train thundered away. A handkerchief waved from the window 
of the reserved car. A few minutes after midnight, on February 
12, the General had joined up again. 

He was now an Imperial general, not only a Boer com- 
mander. Yet he remained Springbok number one. He shared 
the almost unbearable hardships of his men. Once he saw a 
soldier in the ranks collapsing with an attack of malaria. The 
Commander in Chief jumped from his horse, lifted the poor 
devil on to his own saddle, led the horse, walking at the bridle, 
and talking to the delirious patient, to impart to him something 
of his own strength and confidence. 

In due course Smuts himself was stricken with malaria. He 
refused to yield to the disease. He lived on quinine pills, and 
carried on. His very appearance was a tonic to the troops. His 
big Vauxhall, in which, according to Frangois Brett-Young, 
then an officer in the campaign, "Smuts daily risked his life" 
was cheered wherever it was seen. 



There was nothing of the showman in him. On the contrary. 
Once more he seemed inaccessible, not in his private conduct, 
but in his conduct of the expedition. Probably he had already 
learned that there was somewhere an invisible, but unbridge- 
able gap between him and lesser human beings. Even his most 
intimate collaborators, ranking among whom were General 
van der Venter, his faithful companion during the Cape raid, 
and the Boer General Joubert, were only let into his plans as 
far as they were immediately concerned. 

The men in the ranks knew nothing of this self-seclusion. 
They chanted to the tune of John Peel: 

D'ye ken Jan Smuts when he's after the Hun? 
D'ye ken Jan Smuts when he's got them on the run? 
D'ye ken Jan Smuts when he's out with his gun? 
And his horse, and his men in the morning? 

Yes, I ken Jan Smuts, and Jourdain too, 
Van der Venter and the sportsman Selous, 
Springbok, and Sikh, for they're all true-blue 
When they're strafing the Hun in the morning. 

Unfortunately it was not as easy as that to strafe the Hun in 
the morning. Germany had entrusted her most brilliant World 
War number one general, von Lettow-Vorbeck, with the de- 
fense of South East Africa. He was under Wilhelm II's special 
order to hold the "gem of the German Colonial Empire" at all 

When Smuts arrived, a reconnaissance force, on its first march 
to M*buyuni, where the railway ended, had scouted the enemy 
entrenched in great strength upon the eastern slopes of the 
very difficult Kili terrain., The German "pom-poms" and moun- 
tain guns were admirably placed, and difficult to locate. Smuts 
reconnoitered the situation for himself. Again he permitted 
himself one of his rare smiles. T'Chaka, the Lion of the Zulus, 
had known a method of handling exactly this strategic position. 
The great black swordsman had based his idea on die horns of 
a bull, enveloping the enemy by an outflanking movement. On 
this principle Smuts sent his mounted brigade, based on the 



Kill, to sweep along the western foothills. His Springboks, born 
on horseback, were just the right men to do that. The main 
force was concentrated for a thrust at Moshi, the terminus of 
the Tanganyika-Kili railway. Stubbornly contesting every foot 
of the ground, the Germans fell back. Emperor Wilhelm's As- 
karis, shining black sons of the bush, grinned at the white 
troops assailing them on this difficult territory that only a native 
could really negotiate. To show them how wrong they were the 
South Africans went at them in a most workmanlike and effec- 
tive manner, with butt and bayonet. 

The second position of the Germans was protected by seven 
miles of dense bush, behind the River Lumi. In an arduous 
night march the South Africans passed the Lumi. Their mounted 
men occupied Chala Hill and other slopes. On March 11 Smuts' 
infantry brigades attacked precipitously the bush-clad hills of 
Reater and Latema. They worked their way through thick, 
thorny scrub, which, however, offered little protection against 
the guns of the sunken German cruiser Koenigsberg, now de- 
fending the hills. It was a slow and costly advance. Its main 
objective was a green kopje, surmounted by a fort, that alter- 
nately flaunted the German and, in honor of the Askari garri- 
son, the prophet's green flag. The Springboks rushed the first 
and second lines of the trenches. By night, from the third line 
of defense, the Askaris made a counterattack. They fought like 
demons. The explanation of their reckless ferocity was revealed 
in the morning. Water bottles filled with raw spirits were found 
on the bodies of their dead. At dawn the Germans were driven 
out. For the first time they practiced what from then on was 
to become their habit: to leave behind their wounded, sick and 
dead, for their foes to care for. 

Smuts' own troops were plagued with diseases. He under- 
stood that only colored troops were really able to withstand, 
both constitutionally and morally, the conditions prevailing in 
East Africa. He reported to London that it was impossible to 
keep white troops for any length of time in this particular bat- 
tle area, that produced not only bodily unfitness, but mental 
depression. Moreover, native troops were immune to the scourge 



of malaria. Raw recruits from Nigeria and the Congo were dis- 
patched to him, and he trained them, while he had already 
made up his mind to send home most of his South African boys. 
But as long as they were on duty, he tolerated no fatigue. 
"Fear? Hunger? Thirst?" he asked, when his generals warned 
him against overstraining his men. "No time for that!" He him- 
self took no time out "for that." He looked pale, thin, emaci- 
ated. But he drove the Germans from what General von Let- 
tow- Vorbeck believed to be a practically impregnable position 
around Kilimanjaro. Smuts captured this highest peak in Africa, 
though at a cost in human lives that surpassed all the losses of 
the South West Africa campaign together. Now he was in the 
undisputed possession of the richest part of East Africa, the 
Moschi-Aruscha region. 

After the seizure of Moschi, the railroad of the Tanganyika 
line, and with van der Venter threatening the central line from 
Dar-es-Salaam to Tanganyika, Smuts' men made steady prog- 
ress through dense bushes, under a blazing sun and torrential 
rains, encircling elaborately prepared positions, fighting fiercely 
and winning an endless series of minor engagements. The first 
task was to clear the railway. Smuts proceeded methodically. 
With three mobile columns he swept the country from the fron- 
tier to Pagani. It was an adventurous enterprise. For the first 
time human beings in concerted action worked their way 
through the virgin bush along the foothills of the Pare Moun- 
tains. The tire tracks of armored cars mingled with the spoor 
of the ostrich. Airplanes, protecting the advancing columns, 
frightened away the startled game by the thousands. Man 
appeared in the jungle. 

On June 13 Smuts* troops occupied the important center of 
Wilhelmstal. In the meantime van der Venter, assaulting Kon- 
doa-Irangi, attracted as many soldiers as Lettow- Vorbeck could 
spare. For four days this German stronghold was besieged by 
starving South Africans. But when the news spread that Smuts 
in person was coming, the mounted Springboks with empty 
bellies charged, drove out the German defenders, and chased 
Lettow- Vorbeck's dwindling forces in the direction of Handeni. 



There Smuts himself went after them, but found the nest 
empty. Again the native spies had warned the Germans. Colo- 
nel Byron, with some British platoons, followed them through 
the thick bush, correctly in the prescribed English battle for- 
mation. He engaged the more numerous enemy, and, after three 
hours of bitter fighting, when dusk fell was forced to retreat. 
German machine-guns fired into their rear. This was too much 
provocation. Colonel Byron commanded: turn about! The Ger- 
man machine-guns revealed themselves by their spurts of flame. 
In a night-long fight, Englishman against machine-gun, the 
machine-gun lost. They were silenced. Once more the Germans 

On June 23 Smuts issued secret orders for a night march 
with "unwheeled" transport. The guns had to be carried on 
mule back. Late in the afternoon long lines of infantry in 
"Indian file" vanished in the dark recesses of the jungle. No 
light was shown. Smoking was strictly forbidden. On the next 
day the enemy was located as he waited behind the heavily 
fortified Lukigwra River. General Sheppard advanced to make 
a frontal attack. His raw men raised a terrific din. The Germans 
immediately fell into the trap. They attacked while Sheppard's 
men retreated in perfect order, but rather in a hurry. General 
Hosken made a wide encircling movement. At noon his British 
Fusiliers and Kashmiris took the hills protecting the flank, 
but Sheppard, reinforced and this time in earnest, repulsed the 
German attempt to break out of a trap by crossing the river. 

Simultaneously Brigadier-General Crewe, the "co-operating 
officer from the artillery," sent a mounted platoon forward, as 
a reconnoitering patrol. Returning, the horseman could suggest 
the distance and the direction of the targets, imparting a knowl- 
edge particularly useful for "indirect" fire from guns firing from 
a covered position at an unseen target. British artillery was thus 
converted to an offensive weapon. Its accurate, deadly fire ex- 
terminated the German contingent. Smuts showed himself 
rather pleased. He had not made a frontal attack, which he 
hated for its cost in human lives, but again one of his precious 
flank attacks, so heavy with memories of the Boer War. 



Naval landing parties arrived. With their co-operation Smuts 
could, at his leisure, occupy smaller ports. Now supplies 
streamed in by sea. Smuts redoubled the energy of his drive. 
On September 6 he entered Dar-es-Salaam, ironically called 
Haven of Peace. The Union Jack was hoisted over the colonial 
capital. The German administration fled to the native kraal of 
Moro-Moro. But there they were driven out by Belgians from 
the Congo after ten days of desperate fighting. Smuts con- 
trolled practically all of South East Africa. 

But the indomitable General von Lettow-Vorbeck now 
played Smuts' own guerrilla game in reverse. Although his last 
men had no more military importance, but only a certain nui- 
sance value, they were still roaming East Africa on the day the 
peace of Versailles was signed. 

Soon after his departure from East Africa, Smuts received a 
letter containing the perfect indictment of the German colonial 
power which he had smashed. This letter, incidentally, was, on 
October 24, 1918, presented to the American Senate by Mr. 
Lodge, and embodied in the Senate Document of the Sixty- 
Fifth Congress as Document 296. 

The letter is dated Magila Mission, Mukeza, Tanganyika, 
November 7, 1917, addressed to Lieutenant-General Jan Chris- 
tian Smuts, "relative to German rule in East Africa," and writ- 
ten by Frank Weston, D.D., Bishop of Zanzibar, Head of the 
Universities' Mission in the Eastern Districts of German East 
Africa, who had served as a porter, commanding African car- 
riers in the coastal column of the East African Force. It reads: 

Many thousands of porters and carriers who served the forces of 
Great Britain would be executed by the authorities if the German 
administration should return. If we let the Kaiser have East Africa 
again, we would be guilty of a monstrous betrayal of thousands who 
gladly trusted us and followed us into the war. 

I have won my own personal experience in my twenty years of 
residence in East Africa. I have many friends among Moham- 
medans and heathen Africans. Swahili became "my language." So 
I can say that the Germans rule entirely by fear. Their failure is due 
to their inbred cruelty which they encourage their African under- 



lings to copy. Cruel punishments are their means of spreading 
terror throughout the land. 

Flogging is the German's pleasure. Twenty-five lashes are given 
as commonly as in London on a big day the police cry "Move onl" 
Fifty lashes are very frequently given in two installments. Now 
there are floggings and floggings. The African does not easily cry 
out. But those who have had to pass government buildings at flog- 
ging times will bear me out that it was no ordinary flogging that 
produced the shrieks to which we had to listen. The German 
sjambok, or rhinoceros or hippopotamus hide, is cut to damage, not 
merely to hurt. The colored soldiers who lay it on are past masters 
in the art, and the German himself presides at the ceremony to see 
that no mercy is given. To make it still more cruel there is a notori- 
ous law of floggings. It is this: the condemned man is not tied up 
as he ought to be. He lies on the earth, his face in the dust or on 
a hard floor. After the first two or three strokes, he usually has to 
be seized, and forced to keep still. If he continues to wriggle and 
scream, he is liable to receive the same number of strokes again, 
there and then. Again, when the punishment is over, if in his pain 
and excitement he forgets to come to attention and salute the Ger- 
man, he receives the whole punishment for the third time. Cruelty 
is a mild term to describe it. 

Torture is another recognized method of dealing with the black 
man. The Germans always accept the word of their African under- 
lings against a native. Torture is employed to produce confession 
or evidence. I will give two cases of my own knowledge, both of 
them concerning friends of mine: My first friend was sent by his 
German officer into the woods. Policemen accompanied him, and 
beat him with sjamboks for a whole week, until his body was a 
mass of wounds and sores. My second friend was put into the "iron 
hat." A band of iron was passed around his head, and tightened by 
means of a vicelike screw, so as to press more especially his temples. 
The agony is unspeakable. Another dodge is to tie a string to the 
middle finger, pass it back under and round the forearm, and 
tighten it steadily, till the man confesses whatever the German 
wants to hear. With a system such as this the police can supply a 
criminal to meet any exigency, and can also wipe out all private 
grudges they may have against their fellow subjects. In fact, the 
colored underlings are as bad as their German masters, and no one 
dares complain. Revenge is, in my experience, always taken on those 
who venture to appeal to the German. 

Again, the punishment of the chain gang is a most serious cruelty. 
Eight men, or thereabouts, are chained by the neck to one very 



heavy chain. They are not unchained at all, till their sentence is 
finished. Day and night, at all times and under all circumstances, 
the eight men live and move as one, while they are entirely at the 
mercy of the jailers, who freely use on them sjambok, heavy-nailed 
boots, or the butt ends of their rifles. I have seen women in chains 

Many of my friends have been through this; some have died 
under it. My teachers, who were caught during the war and locked 
up, only because they taught an Englishman, have also told me their 
experience of chains. A flogging, they say, is preferable. They 
should know, because they have had a taste of both. 

Deaths in jail are a common event. Of the brutality and ill treat- 
ment causing them, there can be no question; there are too many 
who have suffered it. The Germans encourage their colored police 
in cruelty. Even in court, before his conviction, the native is knocked 
about by the police. The German quite approves. If the accused, 
or a witness, does not stand strictly at attention, if he moves his 
hands while making his statement, if he calls the German bwana 
masterinstead of bwana unkubwa great master if he shows hesi- 
tation in answering, or if he does not understand the German's 
broken Swahili, or if, as it so often happened, he blunders in the 
effort to express his own vernacular in Swahili, the policeman boxes 
his ears, or hits him with his fists. This is the custom. This exalts 
German dignity. 

The colored schoolteachers, appointed by the Germans, were 
brought up in the same way. They were themselves so often flogged, 
that they turned into great floggers. They find a sjambok, freely 
used, necessary to educate small boys between seven and thirteen. 
It is a disease, this flogging. It makes, the German feared every- 
where. But it poisons the German's mind as well as the mind of his 
African underling. 

The vicarious punishment the German loves to mete out makes 
parents and wives suffer for their sons and husbands. Another pe- 
culiarly German habit is the persecution of native chiefs. Metaka, 
one of the highest Yao chiefs, a sultan to his own people, died in 
German chains. His offense was that he had written a letter to his 
brother in Portuguese Nyasaland, warning him lest he move into 
German territory. German spies intercepted that letter. 

As a final example of German terrorism let me add that Germans 
on inspection tours require to be supplied with a young girl at each 
sleeping place. These are but a few typical examples of how the 
German colonial system works. It is cruel, relentless, inhuman. And 
the reason for all is that it is German. 





to take Botha's place at the meeting of the Imperial War Cabi- 
net. The Prime Minister could not leave South Africa. The 
country was in the throes of the gravest crisis since the Boer 
War. Unrest was worse even than in the summer of 1914, when 
some ten thousand rebels had taken up arms. This time there 
was no bloodshed. But more than half the Boer people clam- 
ored furiously for republican independence. 

Hertzog was carrying his crusade one step further. Thus far 
he had only demanded the Boers' supremacy in a South Africa 
loosely connected with the Empire. Now, while Great Britain 
was entirely absorbed in her tremendous war effort, Hertzog 
found the moment propitious to demand complete severance of 
even the formal ties between the motherland and the Domin- 
ion. He published a "manifesto" he issued such highfalutin 
manifestoes throughout his ensuing career stating the three 
points of Hertzogism: ( 1 ) All people have a right to choose for 
themselves the sovereignty under which they wish to live. (2) 
The small states have the same right to their sovereignty and 
territorial integrity as the big states. (3) The world has a right 
to be free from any disturbance of its peace that has its origin 
in aggression and disregard of peoples and nations. 

It sounded very well. It almost tallied with a diplomatic note 
that the British Government was then addressing to the neu- 
trals: "No peace is possible until reparations have been made 
for violated rights and liberties, nor until the principles of 
nationalities, and the independent existence of small states is 

The difference was only that London was pleading for the 
invaded, devastated, and white-bled countries of Belgium, Ser- 
bia and others, whereas the Union of South Africa was, of its 



own free will, an independent, self-governing partner in the 

Hertzog and his gang, however, distorted the British note as 
a complete justification of their own policy. Always a jump 
ahead, Tielman Roos, the lion of the Transvaal, proclaimed, on 
his own authority, the restoration of the Republics of the Trans- 
vaal and the Orange Free State. He sent this declaration to 
Lord Buxton, the Governor General, for transmission to the 
British Government, and received a formal acknowledgment. 
After long months of silence, he got in answer to his question 
the reply from London: "Your earlier communication was en- 
titled: 'A statement as to the attitude of the Nationalist Party' 
toward a certain question. His Majesty's Government naturally 
assumed that they were not being asked for, and were not ex- 
pected to offer, an expression of opinion in regard to a state- 
ment issued by a particular political party in a self-governing 

This cool correctness on the part of the English, who at that 
time had more weighty matters on their mind than the moods 
of Messieurs Hertzog and Roos, only intensified the repeal 
agitation which, under Hertzog's incessant urging, now swept 
the platteland like veld fire. To an accusation by his own gov- 
ernment that he was going back on his pledge and signature at 
Vereeniging, he answered with his typical ambiguity: "Per- 
sonally I have always been true to Vereeniging, and always will 
be. But, nevertheless, a republican system would be better for 
South Africa. Every nation has received its liberty in due 
course. And, whether it lasts a hundred or a thousand years, 
South Africa, too, will win back her freedom." 

The lion of the Transvaal had no intention of waiting for the 
millennium. "Now, right now, we must be a republic in prac- 
tice as well as in theory. The idea of a sister state, as set forth 
by General Smuts, is ridiculous!" 

Minister D. F. Malan accused Hertzog of dishonesty, once 
more pointing out the latter's endorsement of Vereeniging. The 
crafty advocate found another ruse. "Vereeniging," he insisted, 
"has merely stated that the burghers recognized Edward VII 



as their lawful king it did not make them agree to become a 
part of the Empire." 

When rumors of an impending new revolution became so 
thick that one could cut the air with a knife, Botha decided on 
a showdown. He moved a resolution in Parliament, to pray that 
the Almighty might grant complete victory to the armies of 
Great Britain and her allies. The House adopted the resolution 
by sixty-three to twenty-one votes. Mr. Kenwood, M.P. for 
Durban, cheered: "The King!" The Cabinet, the members, the 
public galleries, rose and sang: God Save the King! Hertzog 
and his followers remained seated. 

It was against this background that Smuts came to represent 
South Africa in the Imperial War Cabinet, which held its first 
session on March 20. Lloyd George, the new Prime Minister, 
opened the meeting with a declaration of British war aims. The 
Central Powers must be punished and pay reparations, he said. 
It was a bold demand, considering the almost desperate situa- 
tion. Russia was clearly on her way out of the war. America was 
not yet in, and no one could foretell her ultimate decision. 
Moreover, the "unlimited" U-boat war had just been unloosed 
by Germany. 

Within a few days Smuts had made his mark, not only on the 
Imperial Conference, but on the members of the British Cabi- 
net. It proved no handicap that he was a Boer. He did not dis- 
guise it, either. Proudly he stressed his being "just a Boer from 
the veld" while his people were in a state of open uproar. The 
very fact that he was a Boer, and yet, as everyone could see, a 
passionate adherent to the Empire's cause, gave him a lofty 
standing. In one of his first speeches in England, he eulogized 
the Empire. "It is not founded on might or force," he said, "but 
on moral principles on freedom, equality and equity. Our 
opponent, the German Empire, still believes that might is right, 
that a military machine is sufficient to govern the world. She 
has not yet realized that ultimately all victories are moral. . . ." 

Barely two weeks after the first meeting of the Imperial War 
Conference, Smuts, almost a stranger, speaking with a distinctly 



foreign accent, was entrusted with a mission to the King of 
Belgium and to Paul Painleve, the President of France. Pain- 
Iev6 insisted that it was time for the Allies to prepare their 
minimum demands in case Germany should make peace over- 
tures. What, then, was the situation in Africa? Smuts left no 
doubt that the Union would not consent to handing back the 
German colonies, which he himself had conquered. Moreover, 
a German-African Empire would endanger British sea power, 
and her communications with both South America and India. 
Albert, King of Belgium, was despondent. He had nothing on 
his mind but his own country. President Wilson's first peace 
feelers, he grumbled, had not been readily enough taken up by 
the Allied statesmen. He even declared Alsace-Lorraine a mat- 
ter of secondary concern. All that counted was the restitution 
of Belgium. 

Disappointed, Smuts returned to London. He felt that France 
was too strongly influencing the development in Europe, and 
he continued to think so for many years. Nor did heroic little 
Belgium seem the hub of the world to him. Smuts* world has 
no hub. Smuts' world is universal, with perhaps a slight priority 
for South Africa. 

He translated his universalism into global strategy. He agreed 
with Lloyd George that all fronts were one battlefield. He 
argued for the opening of many fronts. Perhaps one should first 
attack the Turks, the weakest link in the chain of the Central 
Powers. Churchill's Gallipoli expedition had been excellently 
planned, Smuts insisted. It had been wrecked only through 
inept direction from London. 

In his survey of the general war situation, written toward 
the end of April, Smuts expressed his regret that the British 
forces had become entirely absorbed by the Western Front. 
The British and French, the two most important Allied armies, 
were stalemated in a theater of war of the enemy's choosing. It 
was a war of attrition, gradually wearing down the enemy, but 
immensely trying for the Allies themselves. "In that kind of 
warfare victory is the costliest possible." He hated bloodshed. 



Relentlessly his mind centered on the question of how to make 
victory cheaper in expenditure of human lives. 

Again his thoughts reverted to Turkey. One could attack 
them from Palestine, knock out the already tottering Ottoman 
Empire, and push forward to the "soft underbelly" of the 
Central Powers from the East. 

Lloyd George was quickly persuaded. He offered Smuts 
the Palestine command. But the War Office was against the 
idea. Lord Robertson, chief of the Imperial staff, as he had 
been in the Boer War, opened his heart to his newly won 
friend. The Allied strategists did not think much of the "East- 
ern conception." Smuts listened, and kept silent. He did not 
agree with Lord Roberts. But, always a realist, and mostly 
prepared to compromise on matters of tactics, he feared the 
influence the strategists and the War Office would have on 
Lloyd George. He himself would be far away, and perhaps 
stuck with an unfinishable busmess unfinishable for lack of 
support in the center until the end of the war. So he declined 
Lloyd George's offer. A year later Lord Allenby carried out 
what Smuts had planned, and won a historic triumph. 

Lloyd George understood the reasons for Smuts' hesitation. 
He gave Smuts, in exchange for the Palestine command, a seat 
in the British War Cabinet. Now the "Boer from the veld? was 
indeed in the center of things. The British War Cabinet, as dis- 
tinct from the larger council, the Imperial War Cabinet, in fact 
conducted the war. It was a body of six colleagues, Smuts, co- 
opted as number seven, being the only "colonial" among them. 
In the best English tradition his position in this supreme coun- 
cil was never clearly defined. Sometimes he was called "Minis- 
ter without Portfolio." But he never alluded to this ministerial 
rank. He was Defence Minister of the Union of South Africa. 
That was enough. Finally he joined the Cabinet Committee, 
the innermost chapter, where he sat next to the Prime Minister, 
Viscount Curzon, and Viscount Milner, the man whom in his 
youth he had so bitterly pursued. Sir Maurice (later Lord) 
Hankey acted as secretary. The committee was to supervise 



the entire political, military, and naval situation. Smuts sat on 
the roof of the world. He called himself the Empire's handy 

By the end of May, ten weeks after his arrival, Smuts was 
recognized as unparalleled among Dominion leaders, and un- 
surpassed even by English statesmen. In the House of Lords a 
banquet was held in his honor, which all the British leaders 
attended. Smuts, eulogized by Lord French, whose troops had 
harassed him throughout the Cape Colony, delivered a speech 
that entered history. It was on this occasion that he coined the 
phrase: "The British Commonwealth of Nations/' 

"Do not forget in these times the British Commonwealth of 
Nations," he exclaimed. "Do not forget that larger world that 
is made up of all the nations that belong to the British Empire. 
Bear in mind that, after all, Europe is not so large, and will not 
always continue to loom so largely as at present. . . . Your 
Empire is spread all over the world. This great commonwealth 
to which we belong is peculiarly situated. It is not a compact 
territory; it is dependent for its very existence on its world- 
wide communications which must be maintained, or this Em- 
pire goes to pieces. . . . The British Empire is much more than 
a state. I think the very expression 'Empire* is misleading. We 
are a system of nations, a community of states and of nations, 
far greater than any Empire that has ever existed. . . . We are 
not one nation, or state, or empire, but we are a whole world 
by ourselves, consisting of many nations and states, and all 
sorts of communications under one flag. We are a system of 
states not only a static system, but a dynamic system, growing, 
evolving, all the time toward new destinies. . . ." 

By the autumn of 1917 all the Allies were weary of war, 
France most of all. America, it is true, had come in, but the 
United States was not yet in a position to render decisive aid. 
Great Britain alone had to carry the brunt of the burden. But 
England was imperiled by the U-boat war. Robertson and 
Haig as the army leaders, and Jellicoe for the navy, evolved 



their plan for a great offensive to free the coast of Belgium, 
deprive Germany of her most menacing U-boat bases, and 
finally to annihilate the German fleet. Lloyd George was cau- 
tious. The measure of French assistance obtainable, he was well 
aware, was doubtful. The French had already lost two million 
men. Milner and Bonar-Law sided with the Premier. But the 
knock-out blow at Caporetto, under which Italy crumbled, 
proved that there was only the choice between strong counter- 
action or collapse. This was Smuts' opinion, and, according to 
Lloyd George, it determined the decision. And so to Passchen- 
daele. . . . 

The British gained a few miles, and lost four hundred thou- 
sand men. But Smuts never regretted that he had assumed the 
responsibility for a disastrous loss. Passchendaele, he still in- 
sists, staved off the German attack at the moment of gravest 
crisis, gained time, and in its consequences led to victory. 

Apart from his strategic activities, Smuts was concerned with 
innumerable problems of a military, diplomatic, social, and 
economic nature. He was again the man who once had held 
four cabinet posts simultaneously. He was a member of the 
Middle East Committee that helped and supervised Allenby's 
glorious campaign. At the same time he was a member of the 
Northern Neutral Committee, and third, of an unnamed, secret 
committee to watch over the Netherlands, which could at any 
moment be invaded by Germany. All this did not consume his 
restless urge for activity. With his restlessness he combined, 
then as always, a strong desire for tidiness. He made it his busi- 
ness to tidy up the difficult and involved relations, the internal 
struggles and rivalries, between the service departments. He 
devised a War Priorities Committee, and was elected its chair- 
man. Once more he excelled as a mediator. Peace was declared 
between the Admiralty, the War Department, the Ministry of 
National Service, and the Secretary of State for War. Even 
England's fightingest man joined in the general appeasement. 
The Minister for Munitions co-operated without the slightest 
friction. His name was Winston Churchill. 

Among Churchill's predominant interests was aviation, then 



a comparatively new arm. The rapid development of British 
aircraft during the first three years of the war had been pri- 
marily due to his insistence. But the enemy, too, had made 
progress in mighty strides. London was no longer threatened 
by helpless and slightly ridiculous cigar-shaped Zeppelins alone. 
Scattered full-scale raids gave the first taste of things to come. 

Smuts could not neglect a problem of such great importance. 
Already he had demanded "an increase of aircraft not only for 
the sake of defense, but to assist in an offensive bombing policy 
against the industrial and munitions centers of Germany." Seen 
from today's point of vantage, he certainly shared Winston's 
visionary belief in air power. 

Smuts organized a committee to deal with the air defenses 
of London. Then it fell to him to unify the entire air service, 
which had thus far been divided between the two service de- 
partments. He urged the establishment of an Air Ministry, and 
demanded that, until such a Ministry could function, an Air 
Organization Committee should discharge its duties. He pre- 
sided over this committee, which came into being in August. 
In October all regulations in their minutest details had been 
worked out. The R.A.F. was born. Undoubtedly Winston 
Churchill was the father. But Smuts played a not unimportant 
part at this birth. He was the midwife. Instantly the R.A.F. 
proved its mettle. The air raids over London ceased. 

After an unbroken chain of speeches which had moved and 
shaken England, after having been showered with honors and 
distinctions, after having validly and efficiently helped to tide 
Great Britain over the perilous crisis, Smuts sensed the ap- 
proach of peace, while the Allied staffs were still preparing a 
great offensive for 1919. 

Immediately the war lord turned pacifist. His last oration in 
England, delivered on May 18, 1918, asked for clemency for 
the Germans. T am persuaded," he said, "that this war will end 
in decisive victory, and not merely in a stalemate. But when 
you talk about victory victory is a vague term you must know 
what you mean. There are people who mean by an Allied vic- 
tory that we must completely smash Germany, that we must 



march to Berlin, occupy the capital of the enemy, and dictate 
terms there. I am not of this opinion. 

"I do not think out-and-out victory is possible any more for 
any group of nations, because it will mean an interminable 
war. It will mean that decimated nations will be called upon 
to wage war for many years to come, and what would the 
result be? 

'The result may be that the civilization we are out to save 
may be jeopardized itself. It may then be that in the end you 
will have the universal bankruptcy of government, and you will 
let loose the forces of revolution which may engulf what we 
have so far built up. Civilization is not an indestructible entity. 
As it has been built up, so it can be broken down, and you re- 
vert to barbarism." 



revolution were subsequently unloosed, but the greater part 
of mankind did not revert to barbarism. On the contrary. In 
their fight against barbarism many people in many countries 
outgrew themselves. They rose to a stature unprecedented in 
their history. Great Britain, in particular, to whose common- 
wealth Smuts had addressed his warning, turned the years of 
her gravest peril into her "finest hour." Toward the end of the 
first war Mr. Smuts, the "simple Boer from the veld' 9 yet twice 
British, by birth as well as by choice, had, in pleading for Ger- 
many, out-Englished the English. The match was nearly over. 
The captains of the opposing teams were supposed to shake 
hands. Or so it appeared. 



General Smuts' dilemma, which beset him as the war drew 
to a close and plagued him for many years to come, was rooted 
in his innermost nature. An irrepressible urge in his otherwise 
so well controlled system had burst forth when President Wil- 
son, in January, 1918, published his first conception of a League 
of Nations. Smuts was already a confirmed Wilson man, al- 
though the two had thus far never met. However, the great 
President's defense of the Hay-Paunceforte Treaty, which 
opened the gates of the Panama Canal to the world, although 
most Americans wanted the canal exclusively for themselves, 
had deeply impressed Smuts. His sympathy had always gone 
out to men who stuck to a great cause, in the teeth of a whole 
nation's opposition. He was himself of this ilk. Woodrow Wil- 
son was another. Moreover, the American President thought in 
world-embracing terms, as did the prophet of "Holism." 

Smuts had valiantly participated in the British war-leader- 
ship until the last hour. But for many months, already, his 
thoughts had been rotating around Wilson's great project. 
While the last bullets whistled, he took time off to blueprint his 
own League of Nations plan. On December 15, about a month 
after the surrender of the Central Powers, when Smuts' job in 
England was done, he resigned from the War Cabinet, and, on 
the same day, came out with his League of Nations plan. It 
was, by coincidence, the day Botha arrived in London. 

Much of Smuts' blueprint was subsequently incorporated in 
the Covenant of the League of Nations. Its central idea was 
this: Three Empires were dismembered, the Austro-Hungarian 
Monarchy, Tsarist Russia, and the Caliphate. New states were 
arising, some of them, Smuts admitted, "deficient in the qual- 
ity of statehood." Their supervision and guidance should fall to 
the League, not to the white-bled and embittered conquerors. 
As he saw it, Europe was completely broken. Of all the little 
leagues which had made up the former empires, only the Brit- 
ish Commonwealth remained, "the embryo league of nations," 
based on the true principles of national freedom and decen- 
tralized political federation. As to the continent, he found "the 
map of Europe dotted with small nations, embryo states, dere- 


lict territories, reduced to its original atoms." "Europe/' Smuts 
said in his most pregnant phrase, "is being liquidated, and the 
League of Nations must be heir to this great estate." 

This phrase enthused Wilson in turn, who for his part had 
kindled Smuts' ice-cold flames. The American President, Secre- 
tary of State Lansing reported, repeated Smuts' words again 
and again. 

Was Smuts right? His phrase, "the liquidation of Europe," 
and the League's obligation to administer a forlorn heirloom, 
was, history has borne out, simply a catch phrase. Europe 
remained the heart of the world. A fantastic development, 
originating in the geographic center of Europe, in Germany, 
appealing to the frustrated, the unbalanced, the misfits every- 
where, set the world for the second time aflame. But as this is 
written, a new Europe is about to emerge from the purgatory, 
a Europe to which no lesser man than Winston Churchill 
proudly announced his allegiance. 

General Smuts was rather hasty in writing off Europe. And 
he was wrong, entirely and definitely wrong, in taking Ger- 
many to his heart. He believed in that fallacious difference be- 
tween Prussian militarism and the German people that for 
twenty years confused the minds of world democracy, and he 
was foremost in creating that perverted guilt-complex, pre- 
vailing, above all, among English-speaking peoples, that made 
the victors of Versailles throw away their bitterly won suprem- 
acy, and allowed a charlatan to plunge the world into the 
gravest catastrophe of all time. If Versailles erred, it erred on 
the side of leniency. If Versailles blundered, it blundered in not 
partitioning Germany, in Balkanizing, instead of federating, 
Austria-Hungary, and thus removing what might have become 
a powerful stumbling block against German expansionism and 
ravenous "hunger for living space." 

This development Smuts did not foresee. Can one blame 
him? Interdum dormitat Homerus. Smuts' visionary foresight is 
mingled with a good deal of hindsight. A builder of a new 
world, he remains the Boer from the veld. He is proud of it, and 
his roots in the veld, are the very element from which he draws 



his indomitable strength. At Versailles he recalled Vereeniging. 
Then he had been a loser himself. Since that time sympathy 
with the underdog was in his blood. Vereeniging was a gentle- 
men's agreement that had worked miracles. Why should one 
not conclude a similar agreement with the German gentlemen? 
The German gentlemen. . . . The vital difference between his 
own little nation and the Germans did not occur to him. The 
Boers, barely more than a million people, struggled, frequently 
with an animal's ferocity, for their privileged place in the sun, 
where they best liked to do nothing at all. The Germans lusted 
for world domination. They wielded the tremendous, dark 
power of robots, technically streamlined and mentally schizo- 
phrenic, equipped with every device of modern science, apply- 
ing them mainly to perennial preparation for war, sixty-five 
millions in serried ranks, clamoring for the liberation of an- 
other thirty-five millions of alleged brethren (who, for them- 
selves, wanted nothing of the Germans but to be left severely 
alone) and expressing their innermost desire in the anthem: 
"Und wittst du nicht mein Bruder sein, so schlag ich dir den 
Schaedel ein!" (If you don't want to be my brother, 111 crush 
your skull). 

Essentially, these Germans did not fit into Smuts' "holistic" 
conception. But the whole conception depended on not admit- 
ting this fact, not even to oneself. To concede the element of 
human, national, or racial inequality which does not deny that 
we are all God's children, but which allows for the fact that 
God, like most of his images, has children of all sorts and kinds 
would shatter the whole building of Smuts' lofty thoughts. 
He allowed that sometimes the Germans were prodigal sons, 
and he was the first to help punish them when they erred. But 
to Smuts, in whose visions the millennium loomed, the passing 
events of a day, or of a mere century, did not matter. Even if 
the Germans were sometimes wrong, one could not wrong them 

Other personal experience, all acquired in his own South 
Africa, increased his tendency to acquit the Germans. First 
came his own complete indifference to hostility. He did not 



take it amiss that "General" Kemp had sworn he would make 
mincemeat of Smuts. He bore no grudge against Hertzog, 
whose every breath expressed insane hatred against him. More 
than once Smuts insisted that, under the skin, Hertzog loved 
him. His own hide had grown thick. The change from the shy, 
easily hurt youngster was complete. He had learned to take it, 
for otherwise he could not dish out his heart to human brother- 

Finally, he deprecated both France and Russia. During the 
war he had repeatedly declared that France's influence was out 
of proportion to her actual achievement. The real reason for his 
distrust of France, however, lay deeper, and further back. It 
was the color question, South Africa's fatal question. France 
was giving a bad example on the dark continent. France ac- 
cepted the natives as equals. Theoretically England did so, too. 
Nevertheless, England relied essentially on her own strength 
to maintain her power in Africa. France, on the other hand, 
trained hundreds of thousands of black troops. The Senegalese 
and the Moors from Morocco were the French elite troops. 
What would happen if and when all the natives of Africa 
would demand arms? The Boers had had their experience with 
the great Zulu fighters. Smuts did not hate the natives. He had 
grown up among them. His children played with their children, 
and natives accompanied him and served him on all his cam- 
paigns. During his raid in the Cape Colony he had watched 
with pain while one of his two faithful colored men was killed 
and the other had both legs shot away. He was permeated with 
the humanitarian English attitude. He regarded the natives as 
his wards. Yet he was a Boer. And the Boers in South Africa 
were outnumbered one to eight by the blacks. A tremendous 
emergency would have to materialize before he would arm 
them. The French had done so in the most tranquil days of 

As for Russia, it was now Bolshevist. Smuts was a realistic 
statesman. He was among the first to understand that the West 
had to come to terms, or at least in contact, with Lenin. But 
had the Bolshevists not caused all the trouble on the Rand? 



Had their agents not poisoned Labor, particularly his own Boer 
young men from the platteland, who now, by the thousands, 
were streaming into the mines, into the towns, singing the 
Internationale, and becoming easy prey for the arch-reactionary 
Hertzogites, with whom a hatred in common against the exist- 
ing order united them? 

Germany was the natural counterpoise to France and Russia. 
Smuts, and, in a more subdued way, Botha, were among the 
very few delegates at Versailles who sympathized with the 

Smuts, inaccessible as ever, kept his personal problems, pre- 
dilections, and aversions to himself. But his strong, forthright, 
wise, and yet somehow innocent personality made its mark 
upon Versailles. He was immediately recognized as an intellec- 
tual and moral leader in a great Empire. His influence far ex- 
ceeded even the importance of his exalted rank. He was elected 
a member of the Commission of the League of Nations, the 
body under the chairmanship of President Wilson himself, that 
finally formulated the Covenant. The Commission included 
Lord Robert Cecil, the other delegate from the British Empire, 
Lon Bourgeois for France, Roman Dmowski for Poland, and 
the sharp-witted and blade-tongued Patriarch Venizelos for 
Greece. Its work, done in daily sessions in the Hotel Crillon, 
certainly achieved more fruitful results than the labor of any 
other instrument of the Peace Conference. 

Before he went to Europe, President Wilson had prepared a 
draft for the Covenant. Smuts, for his part, produced a paper 
out of his breast pocket which he termed "some practical sug- 
gestions/' It was a draft he had worked out in London ironi- 
cally with the help of the Round Table Group, the brilliant 
young men who had emerged from Milner's Kindergarten. 
Smuts' "practical suggestions" impressed President Wilson so 
deeply that he prepared, and had printed at Paris, a new paper 
of his own, embodying many of Smuts' ideas. (This paper was 
subsequently published at the hearings before the Senate Com- 
mittee on Foreign Relations.) No other delegation had pre- 
pared any sort of a proposal. 



On January 19 the question came up how to reach an agree- 
ment between the British and the American ideas. Toward the 
end of the month the delegates of the two English-speaking 
countries decided to get together in a separate meeting. Presi- 
dent Wilson was accompanied by Colonel House. Smuts left 
most of the talking to Lord Robert Cecil. Both men, inciden- 
tally, were strikingly similar. Cecil, too, possessed that austere 
simplicity combined with the most charming manners. His ar- 
guments were supported by his almost unbelievable frankness 
and shining sincerity. Like Smuts, Robert Cecil was a combina- 
tion of the conservative, the realistic, and the idealistic. With 
Wilson's and Smuts' ardor, he espoused the cause of a League 
of Nations, and became its leading protagonist in Great Britain. 
Several important decisions emerged from the separate meet- 
ing, among them the plan for a Permanent Court of Interna- 
tional Justice. 

During the period between February 3 and February 13, the 
Commission held three-hour meetings every day. Orlando of 
Italy, the Czech leader Dr. Kramarsch, and M. Hymans from 
Belgium, were loquacious. The Chinese Minister Wellington 
Koo spoke rarely. The Japanese delegate was almost entirely 
silent. But Smuts out-silenced even the Jap. He left to Lord 
Robert Cecil the task of explaining the proposal dealing with 
the thorny problem of the protection of minorities, which was 
an important part of Smuts' paper, published in London on 
December 15. The American delegation agreed with the pro- 
posal. Smuts' brain child was incorporated with the Covenant 
as Article 22. 

There was a single difference of opinion between President 
Wilson and General Smuts. Strangely, on this occasion Smuts 
found himself on the side of those who wanted to burden Ger- 
many with another retribution. President Wilson had most 
vigorously declared that reparations should be limited to what 
might actually be called material damage. Upon his strong in- 
sistence the other chiefs of states withdrew their further- 
reaching claims, and agreed to the great principle. 

Only Smuts begged to disagree. "What was spent by the 



Allied governments on their soldiers, or on mechanical instru- 
ments of war, might perhaps not be recoverable from the Ger- 
man Government under the reservation that these expenses do 
not in a plain and direct sense result from damages to the 
civilian population. But what was spent, or is being spent, on 
the citizen before he becomes a soldier, or after he has ceased 
to be a soldier, or on his family at any time, does represent 
compensation for damage done to civilians, and must be made 
good by the German Government." 

Wilson was convinced. When the lawyers attached to the 
American delegation advised him that all logic was against the 
resolution, the President exclaimed: "Logic! Logic! I don't give 
a damn for logic! I am going to include the pensions!" 

Smuts' innate Boer thriftiness had scored a double triumph: 
over his warm clemency for the Germans, and over the cold 
rules of logic. And a warm shower of pensions would compen- 
sate the Springboks for hardships, gallantly borne. 

Originally Smuts had dealt with the Germans according to 
advice the unforgettable Oom Paul had given him in his youth: 
"Smack him hard on one cheek, and rub him gently on the 
other!" But now, as everyone was smacking him hard on one 
cheek, and the German stubbornly refused to offer the other, 
Smuts' pity came to his help. The weakness of a strong man is a 
formidable weapon, particularly when this strong man is rec- 
ognized as the highest moral authority. Again the patriotic 
Boer, Smuts declared the return of the German colonies impos- 
sible, but in almost every other matter he protested against 
those who wanted to punish the guilty Reich. By March he had 
already earned the reputation of being not only a moralist but 
a gadfly into the bargain. His best friends shook their heads. 
The delegates from the many countries which furor teutonicus 
had devastated agreed that the man from comfortably located 
South Africa did not know what war really was. Even Lloyd 
George became nervous. Could one not find an adequate job 
for the incurable peacemakers? A job on the side lines? 

Indeed, one could. The line led straight to Vienna and Buda- 



pest. Vienna was to be only the halfway house. Budapest was 
the terminus. A sort of comic-opera government, though of the 
most sanguinary red color, was set up in Hungary. Bela Kun, 
a Jewish trustee of Lenin, was the midget dictator. He was 
famishing for world-wide recognition of his awkward, but en- 
tirely unrepressed, terror system. Here was an excellent job for 
an appeaser, made to measure for General Smuts. 

Smuts decided to go and see. On April 1 at seven-fifteen in 
the evening, he left the Gare de 1'Est, accompanied by Allen 
Leeper, Colonel Heywood of the Military Institute, Cyril But- 
ler of the Food Control Commission, Colonel Lane, Smuts' per- 
sonal aide-de-camp, an Italian and a French officer, a small 
clerical staff, some orderlies, and last but not least Harold 
Nicolson, whom Smuts described as "a brilliant chap," and 
whom he had personally invited to come along. Mr. Nicolson 
afterwards gave a delightful account of the tragicomedy of this 

The ostensible purpose of the mission was to delineate a line 
of demarkation behind which Hungarian and Rumanian troops, 
locked in their unending struggle, should retire. In fact, Smuts 
wanted to find out whether Bela Kun was the man whom he 
could use as a go-between for getting in touch with Moscow. 
With his habitual reserve he let no one into what he believed 
was his secret. During the journey he primed Allen Leeper 
thoroughly. Austere and super-correct General Smuts could not 
well soil his hands with a Bela Kun. The young British diplo- 
mat should assume the responsibility for possible negotiations. 
Mr. Leeper obliged, and serenely played the fool to the chief 
of the mission. 

The mission arrived in Vienna on the next forenoon. For the 
first time the gentlemen got an inkling of how life looked on 
the wrong side of the blockade. The appalling misery of starv- 
ing and grippe-ridden Vienna, immediately after defeat im- 
pressed the visitors. Mr. Nicolson was polite enough to un- 
derstate the terrible aspect as, "a town with an unkempt 
appearance/' It is doubtful whether General Smuts relished the 
word "unkempt": it was the trade-mark of his Boers. 



The Viennese had never had their hearts in the fight for Ger- 
many's greater glory. Toward the end of the First World War 
they were completely subjugated and as miserably under the 
Prussian jackboot as Germany's "allies" are in this war. The 
first sight of Allied uniforms, of those blessed uniforms that 
had, while ruining them, yet freed them from the unbearable 
field-gray rags, came as a tonic to the Viennese people. A re- 
spectful crowd, eager to demonstrate their sympathy, but too 
badly beaten to venture to open their lips, gazed at the re- 
splendent regimentals. That inexplicable sympathy that he al- 
ways evoked sparkled around Smuts in khaki, walking the 
streets of Vienna, silent, dignified, visibly reserved. The men 
about town in Vienna, who, too, had gathered to have a first 
happy look at the harbingers of peace, admired with unspoken 
envy Messieurs Heywood, Lane, and Nicolson in their spotless 
civilian attire. The Viennese gentlemen were wearing their 
four-year-old Sunday best for this occasion. One could not hear 
them sighing. But it was a long way to Savile Row. 

At the British Embassy Sir Thomas Cunningham, head of the 
inter-Allied military mission, and Mr. Philpotts of the British 
Consular Service met Smuts and his entourage. From the first 
moment, Mr. Nicolson observed, Smuts preferred the unassum- 
ing Philpotts to Sir Thomas. The party went off to Sacher's, the 
legendary restaurant, again followed by a respectfully staring 
crowd. The luncheon vindicated Sachers fame as one of the 
best eating places in a world gone down. The bill was 1,200 
Kronen. It would be paid, Smuts was told upon inquiry, with 
reparation funds. His eyes froze as he looked at Sir Thomas. 
"This was a gross error in taste!" he said in front of everyone. 
"From now on the mission will live entirely on our army ra- 
tions. We will not take the least bit from a starving country." 
Slowly he calmed down, while he listened to an explanation of 
frontiers and armistice lines. He took dinner in a patrician Jew- 
ish house, whose owner acted as right-hand man to the Inter- 
Allied Food Commission. During all his months in Paris, inci- 
dentally, Smuts had never accepted invitations to private 



houses. At ten o'clock in the evening the mission traveled on to 

Bela Kun awaited the train at the station: a fat, little man in 
his thirties, with an unhealthy, bloated face, an almost bald 
head on which only a few short red hairs remained, he had the 
restlessly shifting eyes of a professional killer who incessantly 
fears the police on his tracks. Immediately he explained that, 
personally, he wanted to make peace. But his government had 
come in on a wave of nationalism. His Red Guard was under 
the command of officers of the Royal Hungarian regime. They 
didn't give a damn, Bela Kun admitted cynically, whether his 
system was Communistic as long as the fight was for Hungary. 
He was afraid of these mad dogs. He dared not let them down. 
Yet he would proceed to a conference of the quarreling succes- 
sion states either in Prague or in Vienna, if His Excellency 
could guarantee him safe conduct. And now, he asked His Ex- 
cellency to luncheon. The Hotel Hungaria was reserved for the 
mission. Budapest's leading hotel had hoisted the Union Jack 
and the Tricolor to give the population the impression that an 
Allied delegation had arrived to beg dictator Kun for peace. 

Smuts refused to leave the train. None of his entourage was 
allowed to get out. The mission lunched off beans and cheese: 
the army ration. At three o'clock Bela Kun returned from a 
"Cabinet meeting." He had, in fact, telephoned to Moscow to 
get his orders. Reluctantly, he entered Smuts' wagon-lit, look- 
ing carefully around, as though he lived in eternal claustro- 

Smuts asked for the release of the British prisoners of war in 
Hungary. Personally, Kun was inclined to release them. But he 
could give no assurance without the consent of his "cabinet col- 
leagues." He seemed relieved when he escaped from the sleep- 
ing car, unkidnapped and alive. Again he telephoned to Mos- 
cow. He returned in the evening, and was ready to sign the 
release of all British prisoners of war. Smuts treated the rat, 
Nicolson observed, "as if he was talking to the Duke of Aber- 
corn: friendly, courteous, but without a trace of surrendering 
his own tremendous dignity." 



Neutral visitors called upon Smuts in his rolling residence. 
Everyone, including the Swiss and the Spanish Consuls, was 
agreed that Bela Kun was a bloodthirsty jailbird. His Red 
Guard looted the streets, the prisons were crowded, there was 
general fear of a night of long-knives. Smuts had satisfied his 
curiosity, when Bela Kun returned on the fifth of April. Smuts 
handed him the draft of an agreement providing for the occu- 
pation of a 'neutral zone between Hungary and Rumania by 
Allied troops. If the Prime Minister agreed, the blockade would 
instantly be lifted. 

The Prime Minister scratched himself behind his ear, his 
tongue licking his swollen, pale lips. His breath came quickly, 
but heavily, from his drooping belly. He was visibly excited. 
The document in his hands meant nothing less than interna- 
tional recognition of his gangster rule. But the dictator of Hun- 
gary was still a puppet, dancing on the Moscow wire. He would 
convey his decision the day-after-tomorrow. "On the seventh of 
April," which was the day after the next, "we are to leave at 
seven fifteen," said Smuts. 

Precisely a quarter of an hour before this deadline Bela Kun 
reappeared with three equally uncouth accomplices, Ministers 
of the Hungarian Government, this time escorted by a com- 
pany of honor of the Red Guard. He was clearly staging a 
grand affair of state. Yet, in the dining car of Smuts' special 
train, the lights dimmed, the whole scene set for departure, he 
was again the harassed, suspicious, uneasy fugitive. He gave 
Smuts a note. Smuts read it twice, and handed it to Mr. Nicol- 
son. "No, gentlemen," he addressed the gangster government. 
"I cannot accept any reservations." The note had agreed to 
Smuts' demands, but added that the Rumanian troops must 
withdraw behind the Maros River. In his final word Smuts em- 
phasized that the conference he was representing would not go 
a single step further than his proposal had indicated. It was in 
the Hungarian Government's own interests to accept. 

The gangsters looked at one another. Fear was written in the 
faces of gunmen who suddenly found themselves without or- 
ders. What if they accepted and Moscow refused? What? One 



of the gangsters, a brute by the name of Kunfi, made a signifi- 
cant gesture toward his comrades. He lifted his hand toward 
his neck, describing a semi-circle. It meant hangingliquida- 
tion, in Lenin's Russian language. 

Only Kun did not lose his poise. He had been in much 
tougher spots. As the danger increased that he would miss the 
bus recognition of his rule and certainly be taken to task in 
Moscow for his failure, he straightened his misshapen body, 
tried to grin, and proposed what Smuts would have called a 
Kafir bargain. "One could perhaps find a third line of compro- 
mise . . ." he suggested. 

Smuts looked at his wristwatch. It was seven fifteen. He rose. 
"Well, gentlemen, I must bid you good-bye." Staggered, the 
gentlemen retreated, step by step, much too polite to show 
their backs to His Excellency, tumbling over one another's flat 

With exquisite courtesy Smuts accompanied them to the 
platform. He shook hands with every member of the Hungarian 
Government. He nodded to his aide-de-camp, while standing 
already on the step of his car. The train moved off. Four gang- 
sters, baffled, looked after the engine. Then, in the same breath, 
they muttered something in Hungarian which means, trans- 
lated in its mildest form: "Double-crossed 1" It was a new expe- 
rience: they were on the receiving end. 

Smuts went to Prague, where he met Masaryk. For hours the 
two men remained closeted in the President's study. It was 
never disclosed what they had spoken of. 

Back to Vienna. The people, no longer frightened, gave 
Smuts a jubilant welcome. If nothing else came of his visit, his 
presence meant at least that he would protect them from the 
Bolshevism ravaging the land across the border, less than an 
hour by railway. Perhaps his visit meant also food. Small groups 
followed him respectfully. But as Smuts and his group entered 
a cheap restaurant the military rations had given out no one 
wished to disturb him. Even the few guests in the place left, 
the ladies curtseying, the men bowing. The headwaiter took the 
liberty of explaining "Die Herrschaften (the gentry) certainly 



wish to be alone among themselves/' Then he served, with 
great ceremony, heaps of 6pinards, 1918- Viennese for boiled 
grass. There was, however, still a pre-war bottle of sweet and 
golden 1911 Tokay. 

As the train rolled back to Paris, Smuts spoke of those really 
indescribable nights on the veld. Mentafiy, he made three 
notes: relief for Austria instantly necessary. The destruction of 
the Austro-Hungarian State must be repaired, best by a union 
of the succession states. Austria-Hungary is as much an indi- 
visible entity as the Union of South Africa. Thirdly, Bela Kun 
is not a desirable negotiator with Moscow. The newspapers 
called it "fiasco of a mission/' To Smuts it was not a fiasco. He 
is insatiably curious, and always satisfied when he has learned 
what he wanted to find out. 

Upon his return to Paris, he plunged again into his fight 
against the Treaty, and for what he called a fair deal for Ger- 
many. The line he stubbornly followed was to draw a sinister 
picture of the terrible retaliation Germany would take at some 
future date, visualizing most of the horrors that actually came 
to pass. But he explained, nay he excused, this horror by the 
unjust treatment the Germans were receiving at Versailles. 
Subsequently even the advent of Hitler to power, and his first 
crimes in power did not change Smuts' opinion about the 
causes that had produced Nazism. To him it was the wrongs 
the victors of 1919 had inflicted upon Germany. 

Incessantly, he harped on the evils of the peace treaty which 
was gradually taking final shape. In the middle of May he 
wrote identical letters to Wilson and Lloyd George, asking for 
"drastic revisions at the eleventh hour." He demanded the re- 
vision of the occupation, reparation, and punishment-for-the- 
war-guilt clauses. He rejected changes along the German East- 
ern frontier, the occupation of the Saar Valley, military and air 
clauses preventing German rearmament. All these minimum in- 
surances against Germany's taking to arms immediately and 
unloosing the next war within a couple of years were "pin 



pricks" to Smuts, "such as I had to suffer at Vereeniging." 
(Where he had emerged top dog.) 

Wilson answered: "I feel the terrible responsibility of the 
whole business, but inevitably my thought goes back to the 
very great offense against civilization which the German State 
committed and to the necessity for making it evident once 
and for all that such things can lead only to the most severe 

Smuts beseeched the British Empire delegation to use their 
influence for modification of the border regulations at the 
German-Polish frontier ("Poland is a historic failure, and will 
always be a failure"), for limiting the German reparations to a 
fair sum, possibly five billion Reichsmark (in fact Germany 
paid ten billion and borrowed thirty, so that American and 
English creditors had the privilege of paying for much of the 
German rearmament), and for Germany's immediate inclusion 
into the League of Nations. 

In another letter to Lloyd George Smuts stated bluntly: "As 
far as I am concerned I wish to make it quite clear that I can- 
not agree to anything less than to the recasting of the Peace 
Treaty and to its transformation. ... I very much fear that we 
are endeavoring to make a peace of the twentieth century 
which might have had its place in the seventeenth or eight- 

Lloyd George became irritated. He replied with a few ques- 
tions: "Am I to understand that it is your proposal to depart 
from the principle of nationality, and leave great numbers of 
downtrodden Poles under Prussian rule? Are you prepared to 
forego your own claims for pensions? Are you prepared to al- 
low German West Africa and South East Africa to return to 

Lloyd George hit where it hurt. Of course Smuts could not 
return to his people with empty hands. No delegate could. 

But he still stuck to his dismantled guns, again prophesying 
the right thing, but offering the very worst solution: leniency, 
which the Germans had always interpreted as weakness. "This 



Treaty breathes a poisonous spirit of revenge" (which it did 
not, by any means ) "that may yet scorch the fair face not of a 
corner of Europe, but of Europe'* (which happened). 

On June 23 old General Foch threatened to reopen war and 
cross the Rhine although the British Empire delegates had 
unanimously refused to authorize the British Army and Navy 
to renew hostilities in order to enforce acceptance of the terms 
of peace if the Germans resisted further the laboriously 
patched-up peace treaty compromise. Foch was the only man 
who knew how to deal with the Germans. They surrendered. 
On June 28, 1919, on the fifth anniversary of Sarajevo, the 
peace treaty was signed. 

The last struggle was no longer between the conquerors and 
the vanquished, but between General Smuts and his friends. 
Botha made it perfectly clear that, for his part, he must sign, 
since this was die first international document which the Do- 
minions were adhering to under their own responsibility. With- 
out the signature of the Prime Minister of South Africa the 
Union would clearly not demonstrate its independence within 
the framework of the Empire. 

The question was discussed whether Botha should sign and 
Smuts protest. Resigned, Botha agreed with the proposal. 
There was no more fight in him. He was a dying man, stricken 
with a liver disease, hereditary in his family, and plainly 
doomed. He hated to part company with Smuts, at least on the 
surface, now that their lifelong teamwork, the very symbol of 
the Union of South Africa, was coming to its crowning ful- 

For once Smuts was forlorn. Lloyd George found the solu- 
tion. Why not, he suggested, sign under protest? General Smuts 
could publish his protest at the very moment he put his signa- 
ture to the Treaty. 

Smuts did so. His signature, one among a great many, went 
all but unnoticed. His ringing protest, however, resounded 
around the globe. Indeed, his very blunder catapulted him to 
world fame. The great moralist, the purest of the pure was for 
the Germans! For years his hard-hitting phrases of condemna- 



tion of Versailles were quoted by the Germans, whose chief 
witness he was to remain for many years. For years the ap- 
peasers and the defeatists claimed Smuts as their man, although 
he was, despite his one grave error, the very opposite of the 
yellow crowd. For years the sentimental as well as the mer- 
curial-minded friends of the new Germany silenced their oppo- 
nents with the single syllable: "Smuts!" 

Throughout the ensuing ups and downs of his political for- 
tunes, Smuts' moral authority grew. His shadow loomed large 
over the globe, which his vision embraced as a whole. The tes- 
timony of such a man was worth more to Germany than the 
secretly built Luftwaffe. 

Paris had broken Smuts' heart. He repeated it over and over 
again. He had seen through the hollowness, the emptiness of 
human civilization. When he returned home, after four years in 
uniform, he was but forty-nine. Yet his hair was white. Oom 
Jannie was the Oubaas the Old Master. He developed more 
and more into a character of Greek tragedy. At Versailles he 
had burdened himself with his innocent, his tragic guilt. 


Part Three 

Chapter 23 UPS AND DOWNS 


aware that he was sacrificing world fame for personal misery. 
England wanted to keep him. It was suggested that he should 
stand for a constituency, and, as a duly elected member of the 
House, join the Cabinet. He was offered the Vice-Royalty of 
India, and also the Governorship of Palestine. The budding 
League of Nations needed his supervision, his support, his in- 
spiration. World opinion held him in high esteem. His aberra- 
tion on the treatment of Germany did not impair his prestige. 
His critics bowed to the patent sincerity in his pigheadedness. 
His following increased by leaps and bounds. His arguments 
persuaded millions. English-speaking people are not endowed 
with the capacity for hatred. They are not revengeful. More- 
over, the inevitable reaction to the war rapidly materialized. 
The United States of America was disgusted with the whole 
business, and retired into its shell. Europe was exhausted. A 
wave of cynicism and indifference engulfed the world. Smuts 
stood out, in bold relief, the great impartial, the umpire, the 
man with the clean hands, the reconciliator. Everyone loved 
him. There was only one country in which he was loathed with 
an insane hatred: South Africa. 

Smuts did not waver. Botha was dying, and the leader's man- 
tle would fall on him. His family could only live in South 
Africa. His children must grow up as South Africans, there was 



no doubt about that. After years of absence, he hardly knew 
how family life felt. But he knew where his duty lay. Before 
leaving for England in 1917, when he had been attacked as an 
Imperialist for attending the Imperial Conference, he had 
given his solemn pledge that, as long as there was breath in 
him, wherever he worked, whether on the battlefields or in the 
Imperial Councils, he was working for South Africa. Now was 
the moment to redeem his word. He shouldered his cross. 

He did not come with empty hands. In South Africa the war 
boom did not end as abruptly as in most parts of the world. 
England was still buying the most important products of the 
country, particularly wool, at those exaggerated prices on which 
the Dutch farmers had insisted during the war. The deprecia- 
tion of the British currency in America, in July, 1919, came as a 
relief to the already tottering gold industry. Now Johannesburg 
sold gold for good dollars and translated them into devaluated 
pounds. The margins thus obtained enabled the industry to 
carry on without the losses of the war years. It was, however, 
only a transitory amelioration. The currency value of gold 
reached its peak in February, 1920, but already the costs of 
mining had caught up with it. By then wages were inflated. 
Union leaders made not only the reduction of wages, but even 
the slightest relaxation of their cramping regulations impos- 
sible. By the middle of 1920 half the industry was again work- 
ing without profit, and some mines actually at a loss. The Na- 
tionalists did not care whether the mines went to pieces. Mostly 
farmers, they did care for the wool prices, but they would have 
never acknowledged that the boom in wool, as well as the ex- 
pansion of the country's trade and industry, was due to the 
war. The gain of German South West Africa did not impress 
the Boers. It was a large, neglected country full of agrarian 
possibilities. They wanted it. But not from Botha and Smuts. 

Botha's heart was broken. By innermost desire he needed the 
same sympathy he offered. He received it from many adher- 
ents. But the majority of Boers slandered and cursed him. 
Gravely affected by his physical disease, he died in the early 
morning of August 27, 1919, the time he had, a year before, 



predicted his death, and three weeks after Smuts* return to 
South Africa. 

Smuts and Mrs. Smuts were in Heidelberg when they heard 
the news. They hurried to the house of mourning. There Louis 
lay, his body shrunken, his eyes closed. It appeared to an eye- 
witness that Smuts envied his dead friend. 

The passing of Louis Botha was more than a terrible be- 
reavement to Smuts. With him fell the last bridge between the 
old-fashioned Boers and the government. Many Afrikanders 
who had felt affection for Botha's ways and manners could not 
understand the new Prime Minister. Even his friends agreed 
that there had never been a South African like Smuts. In this 
they were right. Smuts had to muster all his strength to explain 
to the country, seething with contempt for his personal success 
abroad, that he, in fact, had advanced the cause of South 
Africa's independence, and he had won full international recog- 
nition for the country. For the first time the Union had signed 
an international treaty as a full-fledged free nation in her own 
right. He challenged the believers in what he called "the eter- 
nal yesteryear" to remember the conference at the Hague, at a 
time when the Transvaal was an independent republic. Then 
the nations of the world would have nothing of the Boers. A 
motion to invite the South African Republic to join the Confer- 
ence had been defeated. How, on the other hand, had all the 
delegates, the British, the Americans, even the French, this 
time, at Versailles, clamored for the signature of South Africa's 
second delegate! What a change in the Union's position! 

Smuts' explanation was in vain. Hertzog heckled the new 
Prime Minister. He wanted to know whether South Africa had 
the right to secede from the Empire; whether the Dominion 
could renounce the king or whether it could petition the king 
to renounce South Africa. Three times Smuts answered: De- 
cisively, no. 

The elections were fought exclusively over secession. For the 
first time Hertzog emerged as the leader of the strongest party. 
He received over one hundred thousand votes, his party got 
forty-four seats. Smuts was second victor. He trailed the Na- 



tionalists by ten thousand votes and three seats. Colonel Cres- 
well, with twenty-one Labor members, staged a triumphal come 
back. The Unionists English Party received twenty-five seats. 
Three were Independents, sympathizers with Smuts. 

To the outside world the elections in South Africa, where a 
mere handful of votes decided things, was a storm in a teacup. 
To Smuts South Africa was the microcosm. 

After the inconclusive outcome of the polls, certain peace- 
makers talked of a coalition between the two main parties. 
Smuts immediately took up the suggestion. But Hertzog stub- 
bornly refused. He was biding his time. Smuts had to fall back 
on the help of the English Party; it was his only means of get- 
ting a parliamentary majority. But open coalition with the 
Unionists would have meant open revolt in the platteland. 
Hertzog was just waiting for this chance. 

This was one more of the many occasions on which detached 
observers could not understand why Smuts, the statesman of 
world stature, the helpmate whom Great Britain repeatedly 
claimed, the friend who was the solace of Woodrow Wilson in 
his sudden political isolation, the thinker who belonged to hu- 
manitywhy this damned fool Smuts did not give South Africa 
a kick that would resound around the equator, and return to 
the center of men and things. 

Duty, said Smuts. His stubbornness disheartened his best 
friends, his greatest admirers. 

Smuts demanded from others the same sense of duty, the 
same self-sacrifice, he imposed upon himself. He summoned 
the leader of the Dominion Party, the official opposition, to an 
indaba. In the most critical hour he found the savior, a man 
who, in his tough, yet casual manner, would have laughed up- 
roariously had someone called him "the savior," a man whom 
history has all but forgotten. His name was Sir Thomas Smarrt 
He was twenty-odd years Smuts' senior, a fighting Irishman by 
birth and disposition, a medical man by profession, and had 
come in Smuts' birthyear to the Cape Colony as District Medi- 
cal Officer at Britztown. In many ways he was Smuts' perfect 



counterpart. Sir Thomas, too, had the secret of eternal youth. 
He, too, had gone through an anti-British period. He, too, was 
helplessly in love with the veld. Like Smuts, he became a model 
farmer, like Smuts, he served his political apprenticeship in the 
Afrikander Bond, and finally, like Smuts, he was a discovery of 
Cecil Rhodes. 

He was attracted to the Dutch cause, he confessed, not only 
by his Irish blood, but above all by the doggerel: 

We want no British government 
No cumbrous code of laws, 
No grand, expensive officers 
With plunder-seeking jaws. 

As a follower of Cecil Rhodes he entered the Cape Legisla- 
tive Assembly, where his pungent Irish wit immediately at- 
tracted attention, and caused much hilarity. Like many of his 
ilk, he had the time of his life in the old Cape era, which came 
to an end with the raid of his friend Dr. Jameson. 

Thomas Smarrt belonged to the few Bondsmen who fol- 
lowed Rhodes and Jameson into the political wilderness. His 
sympathy with the Dutch had always been more fun than con- 
viction. He really did not know what sort of convictions he 
had, he admitted. He was only sure that he always had a tre- 
mendous thirst. The Boer War taught him conviction. The 
fighting Irishman jumped headlong into the English camp. He 
fought well, and returned to the Cape Assembly, a convinced 
Imperialist. He was inseparable from Jameson during the lat- 
ter's Premiership. After Union, the crowning conclusion of "Dr. 
Jim's" adventurous political life, Smarrt succeeded him in the 
leadership of the English Party. He changed the name of the 
party from Progressives to Unionists. For his merit in helping 
to bring about Union he was knighted in 1911, at a time when 
London showered tides and distinctions upon their new part- 
ners in South Africa. He had reached the pinnacle, but some- 
how the man of the gay Seventies in the good, old Cape felt, in 
spite of his insatiable zest for living, that he was surviving him- 
self. He became the darling of the Union Parliament, his jokes 



still amused the House, but he was also smiled at when he 
spoke in gravity and pretended earnest. 

It was this old war horse, still going strong, to whom Smuts 
appealed in the emergency. He told Sir Thomas that he needed 
the Unionists' voices, but that he could not enter into an open 
coalition with them. All he demanded of his good friend was 
complete self-effacement. The founder of the Unionists should 
dissolve his own party, and merge with the South-African Party, 
Smuts' Dutch group. 

Sir Thomas thought that Oom Jannie was in one of his rare 
jocular moods. He chuckled: "Shall we dissolve and merge 

There was a Unionist meeting on that very evening. It was 
decided to give up the identity of the English Party, in order 
to reinforce Smuts' battalions. This supreme self-sacrifice was 
made to stave off the threat of Hertzogism. For three years this 
policy succeeded, until, in 1924, Hertzog's landslide swept away 
the English. In spite of forming almost 45 per cent of the white 
population, they have, since then, played no political role of 
any great importance. But they do not complain as long as 
Smuts watches. 

"Smuts' party is swallowed by the Rand capitalists and by 
the jingoes!" yelled Hertzog. "He can never more be regarded 
a true Afrikander!" This time he overreached himself. The con- 
servative Dutch were ready to swallow a lot of nonsense, but 
that Oom Jannie, whatever his faults, should not be an Afri- 
kander would not go into their stubborn heads. The platteland 
remained quiet, although the embers of dissatisfaction smol- 
dered on. 

But there was never a dull moment in South Africa. On the 
Rand, labor that since the prewar strikes had not settled down 
once more became rebellious. Thousands of poor whites, once 
bywoners on the farms, streamed into the big town. These men, 
who had never worked, were entirely unfit for any sort of pro- 
ductive occupation. Moreover, unabashed, they transgressed 
the South African taboo, the color bar. They taught the natives, 



who were by nature not eager to work either, how to make a 
living by trouble-making. The Kafirs formed their own illegal 
unions. They struck in all the factories and mines as soon as 
they had their organizations, mostly under white bosses. First 
minor disturbances flared up. Soon over seventy thousand na- 
tives were on strike. Bloodshed ensued. 

The government remained passive. Had Smuts taken protec- 
tive measures for the mines, the cry that he had sold out to the 
jingoes and the capitalists would have been vindicated on the 
surface. Chaos prevailed. The Nationalists rubbed their hands. 
"General Smuts has brought South Africa to the verge of ruin," 
Hertzog said. His lieutenant Tielman Roos expressed himself 
more distinctly: "Smuts must break his own neck before he has 
the chance to break ours." 

"I am like St. Paul," Smuts confessed. "I die daily." This sigh 
of resignation was his signal to attack. Early in 1921 he called 
the people to a new election. His ear to the ground, he heard 
the tide of fanaticism receding. From Russia came atrocity 
stories about the Bolshevist regime that frightened many Hert- 
zogites away from their leader's unnatural coddling of the 
Reds. The threatening words the trade-union bosses used 
brought about a healthy reaction, indeed resistance, among the 
politically indifferent masses. The nearer Hertzog's threat of 
secession seemed to come, the more the calculating Dutchmen 
realized that they would cut off their noses to spite their faces. 
They would lose their best customer, which, after all, was Eng- 
land. Besides, secession from the Empire could not be accom- 
plished without revolution, and revolution would entirely wreck 
both business and the country. 

Smuts conducted a whirlwind campaign, to whose speed 
Hertzog, a man of slow brains, was not equal. Instinctively, 
however, Hertzog felt that the call for secession would not suf- 
ficiently appeal to the country. He made another volte-face. 
"Secession," he declared, "is not an issue at this point. It will 
come in time. But the time is not yet herel" Instead, he in- 
vented a nonexistent Great Empire Banking Trust, whose mys- 
terious henchmen squeezed South Africa's economy. He as- 



serted that the British shipping companies were robbing the 
South African trade. Why, he asked, did Smuts promise our 
whole production to England? Why does he exclude the free 
world market? The reason was that England, for political rea- 
sons, paid higher prices for some South African products. But 
Hertzog only saw, and cried out in the market place, that Eng- 
land was getting the better of South Africa, and that Smuts 
was aiding and abetting the Imperialists in enriching them- 

Not to be outdone, his henchman Dr. Malan had discovered 
a plan according to which England and Japan would force the 
participation of South Africa in a war against the United States. 
Tielman Roos wisecracked: "I do not speak of deporting Smuts 
to Europe, but a free ticket to Europe will be at his disposal 
as soon as we come to power!" 

There was much excited talk about deportation. Prices were 
skyrocketing. Both wings of the opposition, Nationalists as well 
as Labor, demanded that the government should deport the 
hoarders and profiteers. 

Smuts could not speak in a meeting without being inter- 
rupted by shouts: "Hang the profiteers! . . . Why don't you 
deport them, at least? Once you knew how to do that!" 

"I am no longer as ruthless as I once was," Smuts admitted 
with a faint smile. "We all mellow/' 

Behind him were the English, who owned all the big news- 
papers in the country. Incessantly the press reminded Hertzog 
of his old secession babble. The dangers of a Hertzog victory 
were painted in dark colors. A "Conference of International 
Socialists and Communists" came, most involuntarily, to Smuts' 
aid. This conference resolved to vote for the Nationalists, since 
a Hertzog victory was more likely to plunge the country into 
turmoil and civil war than any other event. 

In March, 1921, the country voted. Smuts' South African Party 
won seventy-nine seats, Hertzog forty-five. Labor lost more 
than half its representation. Its members were reduced from 
twenty-one to nine. Even Colonel Creswell went down. Smuts 



had a safe majority of twenty-four members in the House of 

After victory he no longer had to conceal his English allies. 
He reconstructed his ministry, and took in three Unionists. Sir 
Thomas Smarrt, the lover of the veld, made an excellent Min- 
ister of Agriculture. Mr. J. W. Jagger, nicknamed the "merchant 
prince/' applied sound business methods to the railways, and 
cleaned up their permanent deficit. He is still remembered as 
the best Minister of Railways a job otherwise noted as a grave- 
yard of political reputations the Union ever had. Patrick Dun- 
can, once Milner's principal private secretary, became Minister 
of the Interior. He was later knighted and is now Governor 
General of the Union. 

All decent people sighed with relief. For the next five years 
at least, for the normal duration of the new House, one could 
lock the skeleton of a new civil war in the closet. 

Chapter 24 DOWNFALL 


ate Japan. ... I am anxious that we should avoid this, because 
Japan is the danger of the future: there is no doubt about that." 
The Imperial Conference, gathered in London in June of 1921, 
listened attentively. Here in two sentences was their friend 
Smuts in a nutshell: prophet and appeaser. He said a few more 
visionary things: "The only path of safety for the British Em- 
pire is a path which she can walk together with America. In a 
certain number of years we shall be in a great crisis in Europe, 
and not all the time in a position of independence, but involved 
with France and all the odium which her policy may bring 



upon us, and not really strong and independent to act accord- 
ing to our own interests. That is why I am looking more and 
more in the other direction that is, to America." 

But for his permanent inclination to burden France with 
most of the evils for which Germany was responsible, the fu- 
ture, "in a certain number of years" bore out his prediction. 
Once again he was in top form. Smuts belongs to the few peo- 
ple who like the London climate, and with the great many who 
are happy in the London atmosphere. He likes English sur- 
soundings best, his friends assert. His heart? His heart, of 
course, he leaves behind in South Africa. 

Back in South Africa things were deceivingly quiet. For 
once, the Union was not the noisiest spot in the world. The 
noisiest spot was Ireland. Inevitably, Smuts had to rush off to 
the Emerald Isle. 

These were the days of the Black and Tans. King George V 
was about to go in person to Belfast, to open the Ulster Parlia- 
ment. The rebels in the South regarded this as a provocation. 
It all depended on what sort of address from the Throne His 
Majesty would deliver. Smuts was received in audience. He 
remained overnight at Windsor and drafted a speech which, 
after some minor alterations, the King delivered on the next 
day at Belfast. It was an appeal to appeasement. 

Now de Valera sent a secret emissary to Smuts. The rebel 
leader was in hiding, somewhere near Dublin. Perhaps Smuts 
would kindly visit him to talk things over. Lloyd George, to 
whom Smuts faithfully reported the overture of the conspira- 
tors, was perfectly willing to let his friend go. Smuts was the 
right choice for peace negotiations. Lloyd George, and with 
him England, wished for nothing better than to arrive at a 
peaceful settlement with the Irish rebels. Smuts sent word to 
Dublin that he would come. A few days later Mr. Smith betook 
himself to the appointment. 

The Irish rebels did not expect an unassuming Mr. Smith. 
They were looking for a gold-braided general. There was a 
slight comedy of errors. Finally Mr. Smith Smuts' nom de paix 
when he is on peace missions and de Valera met. They met 



for the first time, but to Smuts, de Valera's every word sounded 
familiar. He was Hertzog all over again. Hertzog spoke of "sev- 
ering the British connection," de Valera called it "cutting the 
painter." That was the only difference. 

Once more Smuts had to repeat the exhortation with which 
for years, desperately and entirely without success, he had 
tried to convince the Hertzogites. A republic, he said, does not 
necessarily mean freedom. South Africa, for instance, had much 
more freedom as a self -governing member of the British Gov- 
ernment than the Transvaal ever had had as an independent 
republic. He knew what he was talking about. He had been 
a leading administrator of, and had given his blood for, this 
republic. A midget republic had no position, no dignity in the 
world. It was, due to its very narrowness, torn by parochial 
strife and dissension. A Dominion within the Commonwealth 
is happy. There are only happy Dominions. Why shouldn't Ire- 
land ask for self-government, which, Smuts was sure, would be 
granted, and become a Dominion? Because of Ulster? For the 
time being, he advised, leave Ulster in peace. Natural devel- 
opment will bring both parts of John Bull's other island to- 
gether. Members of the same Commonwealth . . . islands grow- 
ing together . . . natural fusion . . . Smuts was in his element. 
De Valera was evasive. He never used the upright pronoun. 
He always said: "They . . ." to indicate that he was only the 
servant of his people, and that "they" would have to be per- 

Yet he accepted an invitation from Lloyd George, which 
Smuts had suggested upon his return to London. Smuts was 
already long back in South Africa when that painful truce be- 
tween Great Britain and Ireland was negotiated, which, during 
long years, was again and again amended to Eire's greater ad- 
vantage. Undoubtedly, Smuts had negotiated the first steps. 
He was quite pleased. He remained a friend of the Irish. In the 
present war, he points out, two of the fightingest regiments of 
Springboks are the Irish Transvaal and the Cape Colony Irish. 
One hundred and fifty thousand Irishmen are volunteering in 
the British Army. About Mr. Eamon de Valera, whose hospi- 



tality has made Dublin the world center of wartime Nazi es- 
pionage, there is not a single word by Smuts on the record. He 
does not speak about unspeakables. He sticks to this habit. 

On his return to Cape Town, aboard the S. S. Saxon, Smuts 
was accompanied by Sir Thomas Smarrt, his cabinet colleague, 
and Sir Lionel PhiLlipps, the mining king, patron of art, and 
philanthropist, who, by this time, had become the elder states- 
man of the English Party in South Africa. Both men used the 
long voyage to discuss cold facts with their premier. "You must 
save the government from plunging over the economic preci- 
pice for which you are blindly headed," Sir Lionel put it. Smuts, 
his head still full of the Irish trouble, admitted candidly that 
he was really little familiar with the state of affairs. "State of 
affairs? . . . The imminence of catastrophe!" Sir Lionel cor- 
rected him. 

The S. S. Saxon arrived belatedly in port. A fire had broken 
out aboard the ship. It took more than a day to bring it under 
control. Perhaps it was a foreboding. 

Soon after his homecoming Smuts, with a staff of technical 
advisers, went up to the Rand. Although not an expert in finan- 
cial questions, he surprised the shrewdest members of the 
Chamber of Mines with his rapid understanding of the situa- 
tion. He gauged the damages. He saw which of the shut-down 
mines could not be reopened. He understood that millions of 
tons of gold could no longer be recovered. But the shutdown of 
half the mines still functioning (under almost unbearable con- 
ditions), could be averted if the right, and, alas, unpopular, 
measures were taken. 

Smuts was fully aware of the consequences of a complete 
shutdown of the mines; wholesale unemployment, general de- 
pression, a crippled treasury, finally the collapse of his own 
government. He began to share Sir Lionel's anxiety. He got in 
touch with Colonel Creswell, the Labor leader, and wrested 
from him his consent to the employment of more natives, and 
to a modification of the union conditions hampering efficiency. 
Unfortunately, Colonel Creswell, although still leader in name, 



and again spokesman of the parliamentary Labor group, no 
longer represented the real feelings of the unions under the 
new boss system. To them striking was a game, played without 
rules. Every minor disciplinary measure provoked a new strike 
wave. Such scattered strikes mostly backfired. The strikers had 
to return to work, after losing a good deal in wages, without 
gaining anything. Even public opinion, usually not sympathetic 
to big business, was angered over the irresponsible strikes. 

Smuts tackled the situation determinedly. Due to the para- 
lyzing crisis on the Rand, the Union's revenues showed a defi- 
ciency of 6,435,000, an appalling amount for a large, but lit- 
tle developed country, as South Africa was at that time. The 
situation of the railroads, next to the gold mines the country's 
only big industry, was precarious. Mr. Jagger saved them by a 
slight increase in the fares, and by cutting down inflated wages. 
The society of Railroad Employees threatened to strike. But 
they had not yet quite forgotten their own sad experience with 
Smuts, and so they chose for a while the better part of valor: 
caution. Taxation was increased, causing an uproar in a coun- 
try that had thus far only paid infinitesimally small direct taxes, 
and those grudgingly or not at all. Heavy retrenchment was 
imposed upon the civil service. Smuts himself set the example 
by cutting his own salary in half. He also cut the allowances of 
officials and employees, from the cabinet minister to the local 

The Boers could not take it. Since time immemorial they 
were used to living on nepotism and patronage. Now every man 
in the street had to pull in his belt. Retrenchment and economy 
saved the nation, but hit everyone. 

Hertzogism was in clover. On the platteland the leader still 
attacked Smuts as a "lackey" of England, and presented him- 
self as the god-sent, one-hundred-per-cent, dyed-in-the-wool 
Afrikander. But in the towns his anti-Imperialism yielded to a 
poisonous exploitation of social and economic grumblings. In 
this way he killed two birds with one stone. He hurt Smuts, 
and gradually approached the Labor Party which, under 
Creswell, had always resented his anti-Imperialism. Hertzog 



brooded over captivating Labor. Some day this small group in 
the House might tip the scales. Tielman Roos and Dr. Malan 
encouraged him. Dr. Malan recalled that the Dutch Reformed 
Church had dismissed him for his "social" inclinations. Tielman 
Roos peeled off his coat, and stumped the veld in his shirt 
sleeves. His popularity mounted by leaps and bounds. 

Smuts felt painfully that his own popularity was waning. His 
triumphs in Europe had only aroused the suspicions of the 
Boers at home. Tielman Roos scored in accusing the Prime Min- 
ister of having brought the "khaki pest" into the country. The 
peasants, whose cattle were already cursed with Rinderpest, 
were frightened. By-election after by-election went against the 

Beneath the surface, economic grievances, racial hatred, and 
the dislocation following the war were merging. Returning sol- 
diers found their jobs already taken. They were unemployed. 
And if they did get their jobs back, their displaced substitutes 
sank another step lower on the social ladder: they augmented 
the hundreds of thousands of poor whites. During the years of 
regimentation, both at the front and on the home-front, people 
had forgotten how to decide for themselves. Now they could 
neither think nor act on their own. They formed groups, mobs, 
masses. The worst were the bands of young backvelders, who 
had serenely sat out the war and occupied the posts of the 
fighting Englishmen. Both great industrial enterprises in the 
Union, mines as well as railways, were teeming with a new 
Boer youth: constitutionally lazy, inbred rebels, swaggerers, 
and blackguards. Most of them followed Hertzog's slogan that 
the Afrikander should be baas everywhere. This they claimed 
as their reason for keeping out the English. Some of the new 
unions accepted no English members. While the South African 
Trade-Unions had been traditionally affiliated with the Labor 
Party, they were now an annex of the Nationalists. The Labor 
Party, in turn, had to outbid the Hertzogites, to recover some 
of the lost ground. In both camps radicalism flourished tropi- 
cally. It was strengthened by the repercussions of the general 



social unrest in the world, above all by the exciting tales flow- 
ing in from Bolshevist Russia. Illiterate young Boers sang the 
Red Banner and the Internationale. 

Yet each of these Boer Communists had a master-complex. 
In a country in which practically all heavy manual labor was 
done by Kafirs, there was a premium on white skins. Most of 
the English disregarded it. But the lower the Boer, uprooted 
from the veld, forlorn in the towns, and forming the first white 
proletariat in South Africa, the stronger his claim to be baas. 
Racialism and Communism blended. Hitler was still an un- 
known beer-cellar agitator in the suburbs of Munich when the 
National Socialist combination burst forth on the Rand. The 
ensuing trouble was not as much directed against the govern- 
ment, as against the genuine working class in South Africa: the 

The similarity between the Rand rebels of 1921 and 1922 and 
budding Nazism is striking. A "Committee of Action" replaced 
the Council of the Trade-Unions. It formed commandos every- 
where. Boer commandos, some Irish commandos, and even 
women commandos, who subsequently behaved like the furies 
themselves. The men drilled and got practice with the rifle. 
Calisthenics and athletics, their leaders called it. Imported 
Bolshevist agitators worked hand in glove with Hertzogite 
estate owners, who promised the rebels food from their farms, 
if and when. . . . 

The embodiment of this unholy union between arch-reaction 
and undiluted Communism was Advocate Tielman Roos. Witty 
as ever, but already gravely ill, and thus spurred on to direct 
action for he had not much time to lose he summoned a con- 
ference of Nationalist and Labor leaders in Pretoria. This 
"Roos's Parliament/' as it later came to be called, issued a reso- 
lution, passed by six thousand crazed followers: "The time has 
arrived when the domination of the Chamber of Mines and 
other financiers should cease. To that end we ask the Members 
of Parliament assembled in Pretoria to proclaim a South African 
Republic and to form a provisionary government for this coun- 
try." Since the rabble leaders, however, could not agree who 



should lead this provisional government (differences as to 
whether Lenin or Hertzog should be asked to decide could not 
be solved), the South African Republic, latest edition, came to 

The white miners, dominating the unions, were the only 
well-organized class in a country, four-fifths black, with only a 
very thin upper crust and with farmers and burghers still living 
in yesteryear's seclusion. The miners terrorized the Rand, and 
the whole country. "The miners" were the bugaboo, particu- 
larly for the poor shopgirls, cobblers, or little storekeepers, 
whom they could, at will, "pull out" of their places of employ- 
ment when strikes were proclaimed, and reinstate, if they 
pleased, when the strike was called off. They were the holy 
terror to the natives. If General De Wet had lashed his Kafirs 
with the sjambok, the Boer miners had worked out an elabo- 
rate system of pin pricks, anything from a kick in the pants to 
a slight case of manslaughter, to make work difficult for their 
black mates, who were guilty of the crime of sweating for a 
tenth of the white man's wages. 

When the depreciation of sterling was fully compensated by 
inflation, the mines had one problem: cut down expenses or 
shut down. The reduction of expenses affected inflated wages 
first. A Boer miner, mostly raw and always undisciplined, could 
earn over twenty pounds a week. An unskilled coal miner, it is 
true, earned only thirty shillings a week. 

On January 1, 1922, the anniversary of the outbreak of the 
great strike eight years before, the workers in several Transvaal 
coal mines walked out. They refused a reduction in wages to 
twenty-five shillings. The owners of the coal mines, already 
working at a loss, insisted on their demands. The whole country 
was scared. For three uneasy weeks the haggling went on. Then 
the employers dismissed the miners. Smuts' heart did not beat 
on the left. Himself a farmer and a farmer's son, at home on 
the veld, and a lover of the platteland, although it rejected him 
spitefully, he compared the miners' lot, even the worst paid 
of them, with the farmers'. There was not a farmer who made 
twenty-five shillings a week all year round. 



But he did not interfere. He stayed his hand. Dictatorial in- 
clinations, if, indeed, he had felt them in his youth, were gone 
with the years. He understood that in a democracy public opin- 
ion was the supreme judge, and in spite of his terrible experi- 
ences with South Africa's public opinion he was, now aging, a 
confirmed democrat. He did not yet know how painfully and 
slowly democracy works in a miners' strike. He confined him- 
self to pleading with the gold miners: they should not follow 
the bad example in the coal mines. Never strike before all pos- 
sibility of negotiation was exhausted, he advised them. In their 
low economic condition the gold mines would not survive a 
strike. Half of them would close for good, and the miners them- 
selves would no longer be strikers, but unemployed. 

Uproarious hilarity on the Rand answered Oom Jannie's 
pleading. Man by man, shoulder to shoulder, singing obscene 
songs, beating up the foremen and officials, killing a few Kafir 
bystanders, the gold miners of the Rand walked out. For the 
first time all mines were closed. 

The strikers were in high spirits. The Hertzogites would come 
to their aid. They had the promise, not from the leader himself, 
but from scores of his underlings. 

They fought the employers, the public, the natives, but the 
real target of their hatred was Smuts. They only rarely used his 
name. Everyone knew who was meant when "the agent of the 
Chamber of Mines" was cursed. 

Smuts divided his time between Pretoria, the seat of the 
executive, and Cape Town, the seat of the legislature, receiving 
deputations, appealing to the strikers, dealing with the em- 
ployers, trying to calm the country, and yet to make it aware 
of its peril. All his attempts failed. Milner's shadow loomed 
over him, black and menacing. "Everyone who has a bad hand 
at bridge damns Milner!" 

In the middle of February the Council of Action urged the 
strikers to hold out. Many, particularly among the oldsters, 
were disgusted. They did not relish the outrages of their young 
mates. They wanted their work and pay. But woe to him who 
whispered it! The sjambok dealt with the "scab." The sjambok 



was not the only weapon. Provocatively, the commandos of 
strikers paraded the streets with rifles and guns; once they pro- 
duced a machine-gun. The commandants were mostly Hert- 
zogites. None of the new Union bosses had ever worked in a 

In the House of Assembly, Smuts put the onus where it be- 
longed: at the door of the Hertzogites. They were inciting labor 
with their infamous slander of the government. Personally, he 
did not care. But the country should care. The government, he 
insisted with a stubbornness that was unanimously criticized, 
would keep out of the struggle. "We shall draw a ring round 
the disputants, and allow them to fight it out/' were his words. 
They were long remembered throughout South Africa, and 
never forgiven. Public opinion refused to think and act for it- 
self. -As late as on March 1, Smuts insisted: "I think we shall 
allow things to develop." "I think I shall not get married to- 
day," was not nearly as often quoted. 

The Chamber of Mines, in its despair, grew stubborn, too. 
They refused a conference with the strike leaders. They were 
fed up with eating humble pie. Upon their refusal a general 
strike throughout the country was proclaimed. And now, as the 
popular saying in Johannesburg had it, "the balloon went up." 

The general staff of the strikers, who were open revolution- 
aries, established headquarters in Fordsburg, one of the mining 
towns around Johannesburg. The sixty miles of the Rand were 
under their terror. Strangely, they left a few business streets 
and the railroad station alone. One of their strongest citadels 
was in a school building on, paradoxically, Jan Smuts Avenue. 

Smuts called up the burgher commandos. A few days before 
the Hertzogites had tried to do the same. But in a grave emer- 
gency the solid burghers hearkened to the call of the law. In 
their own right they established martial law in and around 
Johannesburg. Smuts was still saying in Parliament that this 
was not a government order. He still wished to avoid blood- 

On March 10 the burgher commandos sailed forth in a fron- 



tal attack. Now the Prime Minister sanctioned their attack by 
legalizing martial law. Fighting was going on almost all over 
the Rand. Where and as long as the revolutionaries were still 
top dog, they stormed private houses, assaulted the people, 
insulted the wives, terrified the children. Another terror spread 
over the Rand. The Kafirs were in an uproar. Some of the revo- 
lutionaries killed them on sight. But they could not kill 260,000, 
the entire black population of the town. The natives staged a 
fantastic uprising, half blood-crazed, and half desperate. Smuts 
had addressed them when the trouble began. He had asked his 
colored people to stay in their houses, and to be confident that 
the government would give them protection. 

Protection? . . . Government? . . . Where were they? 

They were on their way. Smuts had left Parliament without 
disclosing his whereabouts. He took the train to Johannesburg. 
Only the Revolutionary Committee of Action knew that he was 
coming. And only Smuts knew that the committee knew. Eighty 
miles before reaching Johannesburg he transferred from the 
train to an automobile. Some twenty miles nearer the embattled 
town the train was held up, while Smuts, in his motorcar, drove 
through a hail of bullets. One of the tires was blown out. But 
nothing happened to him. Again a charmed life. 

He arrived in Johannesburg on March 12, before dark. He 
directed the end of the fight. He watched his airplanes drop- 
ping not bombs but pamphlets which urged all loyal citizens to 
leave the town. They went. A great many of them were disloyal 
fugitives from their own revolution. Perhaps Smuts had had 
this aim in mind. He did not care to have people shot, when 
all was over. Only four of the revolutionaries were subsequently 
sentenced to death. They had been caught as snipers. 

Toward noon the white flag was hoisted over the revolution- 
ary headquarters in Fordsburg. Almost three hundred police- 
men and burghers, one hundred and sixty revolutionaries, some 
one hundred bystanders, and an undisclosed number of natives 
were killed or wounded. 

In Parliament an acrimonious debate ensued. Tielman Roos 
asked the House for mercy for the revolutionaries. The word 



mercy from the bloated lips of the most vitriolic speaker in 
South Africa sounded strange. There was no reply. Hertzog 
criticized the government's attitude in the strike for which he 
himself was largely responsible, but in which, as usual, he had 
taken no active part. The reactionary of reactionaries accused 
Smuts of an attempt to crush organized labor by force. 

A judicial commission inquired into the "chief causes of the 
revolutionary movement," and found three explanations: "First, 
the belief held by a large part of the strikers that they would 
receive armed assistance from the Nationalists in the Orange 
Free State and in the Western Transvaal. The strikers expected 
that the burghers would accept the suggestions of Tielman 
Roos and decline the government's call for assistance. Sec- 
ondly, the actions of certain members of the Nationalist Party 
in endeavoring to make political capital out of the industrial 
upheaval. Thirdly, the desire of the Nationalist element among 
the strikers to take advantage of the industrial dispute to obtain 
a republican form of government for South Africa/' 

Each one of these carefully chosen words lashed Hertzog. 
The House rejected his motion of non-confidence in the gov- 
ernment. Smuts' majority was fourteen. He was fully vindi- 

He was doomed. He knew it. 

His coalition government had started with a majority of 
twenty-four. After the Rand revolution fourteen were left. 
Patriarch Merriman, Smuts' political godfather from the Cape 
and now his most important supporter, was bedridden. For all 
practical purposes he had to be counted out. That left thirteen. 
A few other veterans were similarly, if not quite as completely, 
incapacitated. The South African Party was definitely over- 
aged. Smuts had a habit of recompensing old friendship with 
seats in the House. It was his only form of nepotism, or rather 
avunculism. Not all his veteran comrades were still going strong 
in their advancing fifties. Like the little nigger boys, soon there 
were seven, six, five. . . . The fate of important divisions in the 
House sometimes depended on three or four votes, and on an 



equal number of attacks of gout, influenza, and gastric calami- 
ties which kept legislative patriarchs at home. Smuts himself 
persistently refused to acknowledge his recurrent afflictions of 
malaria, acquired in German East Africa. When they came, he 
looked tired and pale. But he never missed a single session, 
except when he went abroad. 

He visited Rhodesia at the time when Cecil Rhodes' contract 
with the British Government, handing over the colony to the 
Chartered Company, had run its course, and when the Rhode- 
sians were free to choose their own future destiny. Smuts had 
come, he asserted amid general hilarity, only as a simple tourist. 
But he could not refrain from talking of Pan-Africa, the Do- 
minion of the Federated States of Africa, self-governing under 
the Union Jack. A merger of Rhodesia and the Union would be 
a decisive first step on this long way. 

The cartoonists at home depicted Smuts vrying in the best 
old Boer manner, a candle in one hand, and a moneybag in the 
other. He appeared as a senile curmudgeon, whereas "Miss 
Rhodesia" was prim and demure. The Boers wanted no in- 
crease in the British element. Least of all did they want to be 
burdened by the colony's permanent deficit. 

The white population of Rhodesia, all English, was strongly 
attracted by Smuts. Even in his decline his enigmatic personal 
magic was as strong as ever. But the Rhodesians wanted noth- 
ing of the Afrikander baas, no strikes as in Johannesburg, no 
Kafir-baiting. They felt safer, and very much more cozy, under 
British protection. A plebiscite rejected union with the Union. 
Smuts fully understood. The Union of brothers, his daydream, 
was not established even in South Africa. He was ahead of his 

In 1923 he attended again the Imperial Conference in Lon- 
don. The French had just marched into the Ruhr basin to en- 
force the delivery of coal which Germany offered to transfer 
by way of reparations. But the Ruhr mining magnates with- 
held the coal under flimsy pretences. Yet Smuts thundered 
against the Ruhr "invasion." He impressed England strongly, 



mercy from the bloated lips of the most vitriolic speaker in 
South Africa sounded strange. There was no reply. Hertzog 
criticized the government's attitude in the strike for which he 
himself was largely responsible, but in which, as usual, he had 
taken no active part. The reactionary of reactionaries accused 
Smuts of an attempt to crush organized labor by force. 

A judicial commission inquired into the "chief causes of the 
revolutionary movement," and found three explanations: "First, 
the belief held by a large part of the strikers that they would 
receive armed assistance from the Nationalists in the Orange 
Free State and in the Western Transvaal. The strikers expected 
that the burghers would accept the suggestions of Tielman 
Roos and decline the government's call for assistance. Sec- 
ondly, the actions of certain members of the Nationalist Party 
in endeavoring to make political capital out of the industrial 
upheaval. Thirdly, the desire of the Nationalist element among 
the strikers to take advantage of the industrial dispute to obtain 
a republican form of government for South Africa." 

Each one of these carefully chosen words lashed Hertzog. 
The House rejected his motion of non-confidence in the gov- 
ernment. Smuts* majority was fourteen. He was fully vindi- 

He was doomed. He knew it. 

His coalition government had started with a majority of 
twenty-four. After the Rand revolution fourteen were left. 
Patriarch Merriman, Smuts' political godfather from the Cape 
and now his most important supporter, was bedridden. For all 
practical purposes he had to be counted out. That left thirteen. 
A few other veterans were similarly, if not quite as completely, 
incapacitated. The South African Party was definitely over- 
aged. Smuts had a habit of recompensing old friendship with 
seats in the House. It was his only form of nepotism, or rather 
avunculism. Not all his veteran comrades were still going strong 
in their advancing fifties. Like the little nigger boys, soon there 
were seven, six, five. . . . The fate of important divisions in the 
House sometimes depended on three or four votes, and on an 



equal number of attacks of gout, influenza, and gastric calami- 
ties which kept legislative patriarchs at home. Smuts himself 
persistently refused to acknowledge his recurrent afflictions of 
malaria, acquired in German East Africa. When they came, he 
looked tired and pale. But he never missed a single session, 
except when he went abroad. 

He visited Rhodesia at the time when Cecil Rhodes' contract 
with the British Government, handing over the colony to the 
Chartered Company, had run its course, and when the Rhode- 
sians were free to choose their own future destiny. Smuts had 
come, he asserted amid general hilarity, only as a simple tourist. 
But he could not refrain from talking of Pan-Africa, the Do- 
minion of the Federated States of Africa, self-governing under 
the Union Jack. A merger of Rhodesia and the Union would be 
a decisive first step on this long way. 

The cartoonists at home depicted Smuts vrying in the best 
old Boer manner, a candle in one hand, and a moneybag in the 
other. He appeared as a senile curmudgeon, whereas "Miss 
Rhodesia" was prim and demure. The Boers wanted no in- 
crease in the British element. Least of all did they want to be 
burdened by the colony's permanent deficit. 

The white population of Rhodesia, all English, was strongly 
attracted by Smuts. Even in his decline his enigmatic personal 
magic was as strong as ever. But the Rhodesians wanted noth- 
ing of the Afrikander baas, no strikes as in Johannesburg, no 
Kafir-baiting. They felt safer, and very much more cozy, under 
British protection. A plebiscite rejected union with the Union. 
Smuts fully understood. The Union of brothers, his daydream, 
was not established even in South Africa. He was ahead of his 

In 1923 he attended again the Imperial Conference in Lon- 
don. The French had just marched into the Ruhr basin to en- 
force the delivery of coal which Germany offered to transfer 
by way of reparations. But the Ruhr mining magnates with- 
held the coal under flimsy pretences. Yet Smuts thundered 
against the Ruhr "invasion." He impressed England strongly, 



and finally succeeded in driving the first wedge between the 
English and the French. In Berlin, Dr. Stresemann listened. He 
had always been a long-distance admirer of Smuts. Both men 
dreamed the same dream of international co-operation and 
brotherhood. Both were, each in his own country, apostles of 
the League of Nations. And both were equally hated by their 
own people. Stresemann died of a kidney disease, which was, 
as in Botha's case, in truth a broken heart. 

When Smuts returned home, Hertzog and Colonel Creswell 
were engaged in a series of hands-across-the-table talks in the 
koffeehuis of the House of Assembly. Their meetings were so 
plainly in the open that even Smuts scented no evil. Hertzog, it 
appeared, wanted to display his beautiful English. Creswell 
wanted to cure his conversation partner of his anti-British ob- 
session. Both men wanted to oust Smuts. 

Personally, Hertzog was prepared to continue preaching his 
gospel of Britain-baiting until he had converted a majority, and 
could establish an independent government, to sever the British 
connection. But there was no majority obtainable against the 
English voters plus Smuts' followers, the progressive Boers. 
Most of Hertzog's followers were becoming weary of wander- 
ing in the political wilderness. True Afrikanders, they famished 
for the fruits of office. Tielman Roos, ever a good mixer, had 
brought Hertzog and Creswell together. 

Both forgot their previous vicious attacks on one another. 
The last campaign lay three years back, an eternity for South 
African politicians. Hertzog could no longer resist his hench- 
men's hunger for pork and patronage. He was the leader; he 
had to follow. Creswell, for his part, saw his influence on the 
Rand vanishing. The beaten mob wanted action. On April 23, 
1923, Smuts was stabbed in the back. The unnatural coalition 
of Nationalists and Labor united in voting against the govern- 

Immediately Smuts dissolved Parliament, and appealed to 
the electorate. On June 17, 1924, after a bitter campaign, he 
went down in defeat. Hertzog had won sixty-three seats against 



Smuts' fifty-three, and Labor, now Hertzog's vassal, had gained 
eighteen seats into the bargain. 

Oom Jannie resigned before the new House met. Hertzog 
was sent for. He swore his oath of allegiance to the Crown. 
After twelve years of political exile he was back in office, this 
time at the helm of the state. 

Smuts had been in office throughout all his mature life, ex- 
cept during the time of Milner's proconsulate. He remained un- 
ruffled. Gladly he relinquished his official residence in the 
Groote Schuur, which had always been a bit too grand for his 
tastes. He would farm again, and read a little more. Worries? 
Certainly, the family would have to retrench. Smuts' law prac- 
tice was long gone. He had never been in business. The Smuts 
tribe would have to subsist on the meager salary of an M. P. 
All of them, father, mother, and the children, looked most hope- 
fully into the bleak future. Smuts did not worry that his bank 
account was overdrawn. He did not even know it. 

Chapter 25 THE LEAN YEARS 


deeper than the accumulated social, economic, and racial trou- 
bles which, on the surface, brought about his undoing. In spite 
of its turbulence, South Africa was bogged down in bread-and- 
butter politics. Smuts' vision became broader, wider, cosmic, 
as the years went on. His feet still firmly planted on the veld, 
he had grown too big for his narrow frame. 

It was entirely characteristic of him that he did not seek 
revenge for his defeat. Although he played his part as the 



leader of the opposition, he gave little thought to politics. He 
spent most of his time on his farm, brooding over the central 
problem of his intellectual life, and writing his chef-d'oeuvre, 
Holism. As a mere achievement of industry and energy it was 
a remarkable piece of workmanship. The bulky volume, explor- 
ing and analyzing the most subtle philosophical and psycho- 
logical problems, surveying the thought of all the great phi- 
losophers and founders of religion, of artists and scientists, was 
written within six months, without assistance, without even, it 
was said, the help of a secretary. The book makes difficult read- 
ing, although it contains some almost poetic passages, yet it is 
unforgettable as a perfect blend of cool science, deeply felt 
religion, and a philosophy, deriving from Aristotle, developed 
by Spinoza and Leibnitz, and siding rather with St. Thomas 
Aquinas than with Darwin, to whose theory of material selec- 
tion Smuts opposes his own law of the human personality, ris- 
ing from its physiological origins to a fusion of body and mind, 
and becoming a part of the whole holos in Greek which is 
greater than all its parts. 

A book of this kind could never become popular, but Smuts' 
endeavor "to attain a Holistic universe" in which there would, 
of course, be no war won him recognition throughout the sci- 
entific world. The highest tribute paid to him was an invitation 
to preside over the Centenary Meeting of the British Associa- 
tion for the Advancement of Science, which was to meet in 
London, in the autumn of 1931. He accepted the invitation 
with hardly concealed emotion. "I can only tell you that noth- 
ing in my chequered life has made me prouder," he answered. 
It appeared that Smuts had done with politics, and was about 
to devote himself to the vast realm of the spirit. At home things 
were going from bad to worse. In the elections of 1929 he had 
taken another bad beating. 

The ruling government of reaction and revolution, of fire and 
water, was a combination of amateurs. Hertzog himself, who 
took the Ministry of Native Affairs in addition to the Premier- 
ship in order to carry out his long advocated native policy, was 



the only member who had previously held office. His colleagues 
were mostly job-hunters. Labor had to confine itself to two 
members in the Cabinet. Colonel Creswell took the posts of 
Labor and Defence, his comrade Boydell got the portfolios 
of Post and Telegraph, as well as Public Works. The stalwarts of 
the Nationalists reaped a rich harvest. Advocate Tielman Roos 
became Minister of Justice, Dr. Malan grabbed three offices 
at once Education, Public Health, and the Interior Charlie 
Malan and Willie Beyers, both furious rabble rousers, shared 
between them the Railways and the Mines. Two rebels of the 
1914 uprising came into power. General Kemp, of "Smuts into 
mincemeat" fame, became Minister for Agriculture, and Piet 
Grobler, Oom Paul's kinsman, received the Lands, the juiciest 
post, since he could not allot farms to meritorious party 

This combination of intriguers and know-nothings was fa- 
vored by incredible luck. Hertzog had barely come into office 
when the shadows of world depression began to recede. Tor- 
rential rains, such as the country had not experienced for fifty 
years, made for a record corn harvest that brought the fanners 
six million pounds from overseas. This superstitious lot was 
now convinced that the Lord approved of Hertzogism. When 
platinum was found on many farms, the last doubts about 
Hertzog's divine mission were dispelled. Smuts had reorganized 
the mining industry. His successors thrived on the outcome of 
the measures they had so violently opposed. With industry 
again profitable, the government had large revenues to spend. 
"Klaasie" Havenga, Hertzog's man Friday, and Minister of Fi- 
nancethe only member of the government, incidentally, who 
had lasting success spent the money wisely. More white labor 
could be employed, the wages of the railway workers rose, the 
poor whites, Hertzogites to the last man, were settled on the 
land, and tax-exempt. Yet Klaasie Havenga could show a mod- 
est surplus in the Treasury from year to year. 

The biggest boom was the arrival of the Prince of Wales. The 
Prince had been expected a year earlier. But when Smuts dis- 
solved Parliament, the state visit was postponed. Now His 



Royal Highness came, saw, and scored. Trade boomed. The 
Boer belles, most of them venomous Britain-baiters, bought silk 
stockings and white gloves, ostrich-trimmed hats, silver shoes, 
and even lipsticks. They hoped for a dance with the Prince, or 
at least to help to prepare tea for him. The Rough Riders from 
the Boer War joined with the English ex-soldiers at mounted 
parades in honor of "Ons Prins" Hertzog, the weathercock, 
crowed in Parliament: "I say positively that I have not the 
slightest intention of recommending secession from the Empire. 
I say here again that I am strongly in favor of the British con- 
nection being maintained." 

But as soon as the Prince had left and retail trade was again 
reduced to normal proportions, the old racial quarrel was re- 
opened. Hertzog proceeded step by step, and, as usual, under 
cover of front-men. To the general astonishment of the House 
of Assembly, the Laborite Arthur Barlow, himself an English- 
man, proposed an address to the King, praying that he "here- 
after may be graciously pleased to refrain from conferring any 
titles upon your subjects domiciled or living in the Union of 
South Africa or the mandated territories of South West Africa." 
Thus the visit of the Prince of Wales was not followed by the 
shower of titles which the leaders of society, predominantly 
English, would otherwise have had conferred upon them. 
Hertzog himself came into the open. He attacked titles as a 
danger to democratic ideals, and called them "a pestiferous 
institution that even Europe would like to be free from if it 
could." Moreover, titles were conferred upon those who pleased 
the British Government. Hertzog was no longer prepared to 
tolerate such tampering with South Africa's independence. 
"Don't let us be the lackeys of anybody!" he concluded. He 
had dug out one of his oldest stock-in-trade phrases. 

Preferential tariffs for British goods were abolished. Large 
government orders for railways were, for the first time, placed 
in Germany. A ferociously conducted battle of flags ensued 
which tore the country for two whole years. Hertzog wanted 
a "purified" flag, without the Union Jack. The British section 
insisted on the Union Jack, but conceded that the two flags of 



the defunct republics could be included. Both Houses of Par- 
liament, all political parties, even the courts were involved. In 
the end the Earl of Athlone, the Governor General, brought 
about a compromise settlement. 

The time had come for Hertzog to attend an Imperial Con- 
ference in London. Before leaving he shouted that he intended 
to ask for a clear definition of the free and independent state 
of the Union. It was not sufficient, he said with his shyster law- 
yer's insistence, that Great Britain and the Dominions were 
agreed on the matter. The world should be notified of the ex- 
isting full equality within the Commonwealth. 

This was one of the rare occasions that brought Smuts to his 
feet. At a mass meeting in Johannesburg he said: "A declara- 
tion such as General Hertzog has proposed would mean the 
breakup of the British Empire." 

Hertzog, however, succeeded in London in obtaining one 
more statement on the problem of equality, which no one had 
contested. It was, essentially, a reassertion of the existing status. 
But for home consumption Hertzog turned it into a personal 
triumph: "The Old British Empire exists no longer," he told his 
listeners at the Paarl: "As a result of what the Imperial Confer- 
ence has done, nothing remains of the old Empire." In Parlia- 
ment he claimed that, after the decision of London, every Do- 
minion had the right to neutrality if Great Britain were to be 
involved in war! Smuts rose, and said quietly: "I doubt whether 
such an interpretation would be finally and definitely accept- 
able." It was only a short exchange of thrusts. But years later 
these two sentences were to make history. 

The first five years of Hertzogism-in-office were character- 
ized by a muddle of thinly veiled anti-British legislation. Every 
South African Trade Commissioner abroad was elevated to the 
rank of Minister Plenipotentiary. A Press Act endangered the 
personal security of opposition journalists. All political articles 
had to carry the full name and address of the writer. Hertzog's 
hooligans were waiting around the corner. Afrikaans was made 
the second official language. A new trade agreement with Ger- 



many, Hertzog boasted, "breached the Imperial Preference 
System/' Finally a Department of External Affairs was set up. 
Hertzog himself took it over. Almost all the budding South 
African diplomats were Afrikanders. 

This sort of selection embittered the English part of the 
population. Their protests were unavailing. But a good many 
Boers joined them in attacking the shameless favoritism now 
practiced. More than one ministeras the old saying goes- 
while providing for his relatives, did not forget his in-laws, 
either. These "jobs for pals" became a bone of contention even 
within the ranks of the Hertzogites. The government declared 
that it would favor the appointment of those men who were 
most eager to apply its ideas. 

At the same time the coalition began to crack. The first split 
occurred within the Labor Party, the English wing of the anti- 
English government, a queer mixture of gentlemen and rabble 
rousers. There were now two Labor parties: the Creswellites 
and the National Councilites. The leader of this leftish wing, 
Mr. Madeley, had to be co-opted into the government, in ex- 
change for a right-wing Labor man who was kicked out. Mr. 
Madeley became Minister for Post and Telegraph. Immedi- 
ately, he trebled the wages of the Kafir employees. This was 
too much for his Nationalist partners. Hertzog asked Madeley 
to resign. The latter, copying Hertzog's stubbornness in 1912, 
refused. Hertzog aped Botha, resigning on behalf of the whole 
Cabinet. He was sent for again, and built a new government, 
excluding Madeley. The whole maneuver took him three hours, 
while Botha had taken six days. Hertzog boasted that he was 
a better man than his dead, but still hated, antagonist. 

The little incident of the Kafir pay was the snowball that 
became the avalanche. The general elections of 1929 were ap- 
proaching. Hertzog decided to make the native question the 
chief issue. Smuts, although not very active in politics, was still 
the principal enemy. He must get at Smuts. 

It so happened that Smuts delivered a speech at Ermelo, 
dealing with his favorite topic. In his best Cecil Rhodes man- 
ner he pointed out the rapid development of the vast British 



territory in Central and South East Africa, and suggested the 
Union's co-operation to form a great African Dominion extend- 
ing all over the continent. 

This was the cue for which Hertzog had been waiting. To- 
gether with his henchmen Dr. Malan and Tielman Roos, he 
issued a violent manifesto, unsurpassed in its falsifications and 
slander. Smuts was called "a man who puts himself forward as 
the apostle of a black Kafir State, of which South Africa is to 
form so subordinate a constituent part that she will know her 
own name no more. Smuts preaches political equality for all- 
Kafir and white man, everywhere on an equal footing. This 
means the downfall of the white man and his civilization in 
South Africa. Shall the people of this country stand passively 
by and watch how South Africa is being wiped off the map, as 
General Smuts desires, in order to be dissolved into an English- 
Kafir State?" 

It was the most vituperative attack, even for the rowdy poli- 
tics of South Africa. But it hit the people on their sore point. 
It pointed out the approach of the menace under which the 
Boers had lived ever since they had conquered the land by 
slaughtering the blacks. Throughout dorp and veld the mani- 
festo was distributed. "Smuts for votes to the Kafir!" was inces- 
santly repeated, and the question was asked: "Do you want to 
save your children from the blacks? Vote Nationalist!" Finally, 
the condensed form of racial appeal emerged, and swept the 
land: "Dutch vote Dutch! Dutch means Hertzog!" 

The townspeople kept their heads. But the platteland was 
swept by a nationalistic landslide when the elections came. 
Hertzog got seventy-eight seats, Smuts sixty-one. The Cabinet 
was reorganized. Tielman Roos retired, and left for Germany, 
allegedly to consult a doctor. The Ministry of Justice went to 
Oswald Pirow whom Smuts had beaten in his constituency, 
Standerton, but who succeeded in getting himself elected else- 
where. The first avowed pro-German joined the government, 
in fact, the first pro-Nazi. 

Smuts accepted an invitation to deliver the Rhodes Memo- 



rial lecture at Oxford, where he breathed the fresh air of Eng- 
land for two months. Then he carried out an old plan. The 
League of Nations' tenth anniversary was about to be cele- 
brated in New York. Simultaneously he received, after many 
similar invitations, an offer from a lecture agency, which had 
managed ex-President Taf t and Prince William of Sweden, for 
fifty lectures throughout the United States and Canada. It was 
a great opportunity. It was not the lecture fees that lured him, 
although they too may have exercised a certain spell, but the 
chance of impressing America with his world-embracing ideas. 

He crossed the ocean at the end of 1929. He was showered 
with civic honors and university degrees. The entire press of- 
fered him bouquets. Many editorials called him the greatest 
living statesman. Only the Irish extremists attacked him fero- 
ciously. He might, they feared, end the British-Irish impasse in 
such a way that Eire would not realize her republican aspira- 
tions. The Christian Science Monitor presented the most accu- 
rate view: "He has always served high ideals in a way that has 
ever inspired a strange confidence. He was not closing his eyes 
to mistakes, one felt, where mistakes were made. His devotion 
was inspired by a much larger conception of things than that 
involved in the generally accepted meaning of the word pa- 

American visitors were startled by his intimate familiarity 
with Irving, Poe, and Emerson. No one knew that he had writ- 
ten an unpublished book on Walt Whitman. Yet he disguised 
his bookishness with that shyness that is an important part of 
his make-up. "I am 80 per cent a farmer, and, at that, a Boer," 
he said, adding smilingly: "Most people think a Boer must be 
a barbarian." He showed little interest in seeing skyscrapers, 
but he was intent on visiting the farm belt in the Middle West. 
"You people have made farming a science. I wish that South 
Africa could emulate you. We have farms in a vast area. But 
we have not yet attained an adequate development." 

In America he made his famous declaration on behalf of a 
Jewish home in Palestine. He would serve their cause, he prom- 
ised, not because it was Jewish, but because it was a great 



human cause. He soon had an opportunity to prove that he 
stood by his word, even at his own political peril. On the ship 
returning to South Africa, he received the news that Parliament 
in Cape Town had voted a bill that would practically exclude 
"Eastern Europeans" from immigration. Most terrifying was 
the fact that not the Hertzogites alone, but almost all his own 
party, had voted the so-called "Quota Bill." He arrived in the 
nick of, time to take part in the third reading. He found no sup- 
port. Again he went down in defeat. 

The lower his fortunes sank in South Africa, the higher 
surged his fame in England. Now was the time for the Cen- 
tenary Meeting whose Presidency he had so gladly accepted. 
He had some of his happiest days in England. He needed them. 
Five thousand scientists from all over the world were congre- 
gated. Respectfully, this most distinguished group listened to 
Smuts dwelling on The Scientific World Picture of Today. He 
was in his element. He presided over illustrious meetings, took 
part in the work of no less than thirteen commissions, spoke 
in public halls and exhibition grounds packed to overflowing 
with plain people. He was given the freedom of York, and had, 
several times a day, to acknowledge distinctions and honors. 
Everyone sought his company: fellow botanists, fellow agricul- 
turalists, fellow philosophers, fellow historians, fellowwhat 
not. He had long and elaborate talks with leading economists, 
thoughtfully discussing what would happen to the world now 
that England had gone off gold. Suddenly the lights went out. 
Only very few days of undisturbed happiness at one time are 
allotted to General Smuts. South Africa refused to go off the 
gold standard. It was insanity. If she did not want to become 
the most expensive country in the world, to paralyze her trade 
and business, she must immediately follow England, Smuts 
urged in repeated cables. 

The Hertzogite Cabinet received his urgent messages and 
explanation with riotous chuckles. Did Oom Jannie not know 
that he was already surviving himself? Did he indeed fancy 
that South Africa would still follow England slavishly as in the 



bygone days of his power? Did he want to stage a come back? 
They refused his pressing advice hilariously, but with grave 
suspicion. What was the old devil scheming? He could not be 
as stupid as that to propose that the country producing half the 
world's gold should go off the gold standard! 

The Chamber of Mines, and a few experts, understood per- 
fectly well. Moreover, they would not be adversely affected by 
an increase in the price of the gold they were producing. This 
simple fact everyone understood, even the bearded Boers on 
the platteland, and now it was clear beyond doubt that Smuts, 
in England, was again plotting with industry and the Jews. 

In November he returned to South Africa. His country was 
choked with its own gold. Prices were far above world market 
levels. Exports had stopped. The farmers did not know where 
to sell their crops. Every other country that had gone off gold, 
including all the other Dominions, undersold them. Australia 
had even gone further than England. One could get Australian 
cattle, wool, corn for half the South African price. But General 
Hertzog, in Parliament, lifted his finger accusingly against 
Smuts and said that Smuts' off-gold propaganda was ruining 
the credit of the Union. 

It happened rarely that Smuts defended himself against in- 
sults. It was his habit to gaze into the air, while a torrent of 
abuse poured down upon him. Sometimes he explained: "The 
dogs bark, but the caravan marches on." That was as long as 
he was in power. Now he was out. Now he said contemptu- 
ously: "This is no government. This is terror." He piled figure 
upon figure to prove his simple facts. He was still derided 
until bankruptcies followed one another rapidly, shops closed 
down, mass suicides occurred, and the farmers, the real power 
in the state, began to lose their patience. They had been 
plagued by another drought, already in its fourth year. Per- 
sistent bad weather always brings government changes in the 
Union. The impossibility of selling their expensive crops, their 
own inability to buy fodder, forage and tools at excessive prices, 
in addition to the drought, bode ill for Hertzogism. One by- 
election after another went to Smuts' followers. 



It was at this moment that Tielman Roos came in. After his 
return from Germany, he had no longer played a role in poli- 
tics. His health was too badly shattered. He had received a 
seat on the Bench of the Supreme Court in Bloemfontein. But 
he could not stand the dignified tranquillity of a supreme jus- 
tice. The toothless Lion of the Transvaal roared again. At 
Christmas 1932, after having resigned his seat, he had a new 
message for the country. It was exactly Smuts' message: "Off 

Now things were different. Now people listened. Tielman 
Roos, everyone's pal, the most popular jolly good fellow in the 
Transvaal had he forgiven his lifelong arch-foe? Indeed, he 
came as a peacemaker. He suggested the adoption of Smuts' 
proposal with Hertzog's consent. Both men should join a "best- 
men" (coalition) government. And since one could not expect 
either of them to submit to the other, he, again plain Advocate 
Tielman Roos, would bring the supreme sacrifice of acting as 
Prime Minister. 

The time was January, 1933. It was just before Hitler came 
to power in Germany. But South Africa had only one problem: 
gold. Hertzog yielded. The Union followed the devaluation of 
sterling. A riotous off-gold rush ensued, unprecedented even in 
the annals of Johannesburg. The country was flooded with 
money. Smuts' prophecy was vindicated a hundredfold. But 
Tielman Roos had stolen the show. His tremendous popularity 
had forced the government to give in, while Smuts had been 
the crier in the desert. 

Roos made a formal offer to Smuts to accept his leadership. 
For his part, he would win over the majority of the Hertzog- 
ites, if necessary, against the will of the leader. Who were his 
followers? Smuts asked. Roos could not yet disclose them. 
Smuts declined. Tielman Roos was not a newly won friend. He 
was a successful turncoat. Smuts did not sacrifice his principles 
for a share in the power. 

Once more Smuts had proved his infallible instinct. The tide 
that had carried Roos sky-high ebbed as rapidly as it had 
surged. People lost interest in politics. It was disclosed that 



Roos had no political followers of any importance. He had no 
financial backers. He was reduced to his natural proportions. 
Now Smuts could deal with him. He offered him a minority in 
a cabinet which he himself would lead. Roos insisted on all or 
nothing. He got nothing. Heartbroken, he returned to Bloem- 
fontein. He was now fifty-five, diseased, penniless. He had to 
start life all over again. It proved impossible. He still hung 
about for a little while, ever joking, ever the good companion. 
Then his light went out. Smuts eulogized him at the unveiling 
of his memorial. He has the habit of praising his enemies. 

He resumed his lonesome walks in the veld. The country, he 
reflected, needed peace after all this excitement. The people 
were sick of political haggling. A dark cloud was appearing on 
the horizon over Germany. A very distant cloud, not yet bigger 
than a man's hand, it was true. Smuts was not so far too badly 
concerned about this fellow Adolf Hitler. The decision of his 
own lifetime was at stake. Hertzog's government was shaken. 
The recurrence of this eternal racial conflict could perhaps be 
prevented. Should he try to return to the government? Upset 
Hertzog, if possible, and establish the rule of his own tottering 
party against another party of about equal strength, and against 
the shadow of Roos, that still loomed behind the scene? Would 
that be union? Fusion? Brotherhood? 

It was at this moment, when both Smuts and Hertzog stood 
at the crossroads, that the kingmaker of South Africa inter- 
fered. "Old Bailey" Sir Abe Bailey had almost twenty years 
before dropped out of active politics, although he might have 
become the dominant power. Yet he had refused to stand again 
when the first Union Parliament expired, excusing himself in 
his inimitable way with the words: "As I was always at cross 
fire in politics, I had the wonderful achievement of keeping 
myself out of office. I wish to keep my record straight/' In fact, 
no other man's record was as chequered as his. He had inher- 
ited Cecil Rhodes' Midas touch, as well as the colossus' con- 
tempt for money not serving a higher purpose. He was the man 
to carry on Rhodes' self-imposed mission. Like his spiritual 
predecessor, "Old Bailey" was one of the greatest latter-day 



Imperialists, perhaps the last one of the honorable line, and 
again, like Rhodes, he wanted to make the Dutch in South 
Africa a pillar of the Empire. 

His methods were shrewder and more direct than Rhodes', 
He had, after all, not made his millions in diamonds and gold, 
but in odd adventures: as a prize fighter and a stock broker, a 
"farmer," as he modestly called himself (he became the world's 
largest estate owner), a land speculator. "I always tried to keep 
up appearances by keeping up the payment of my debts, espe- 
cially the small ones that squeak the loudest," he once con- 

But he was not particular about his "friends" including 
everyone in South Africa paying their debts. Practically all 
Dutch leaders knew where to borrow funds, either for them- 
selves or for their causes. Botha had built his house in Pretoria 
with a loan from "Old Bailey" which was punctiliously repaid. 
Hertzog sought capital for his multiple newspaper enterprises. 
He never touched a penny for himself. But for the good of his 
mission he frequently visited Rust en Vrederest in peace Sir 
Abe's manor in Muizenberg, the fashionable beach near Cape 
Town. Old Bailey lavished money on enterprises to advance 
whatever Afrikaans culture there was. He founded, and richly 
endowed, a Voortrekker's scholarship for research into the his- 
tory of "our pioneer ancestors," although he was the son of a 
Yorkshireman from the West Riding. This scholarship was en- 
trusted to the University of Stellenbosch, which had once been 
Victoria College, Smuts' alma mater. The university was, and 
remains to this day, the Mecca of the British-baiting Afrikan- 
ders. The Union Club in Johannesburg, at the corner of Bree 
and Joubert Streets, which Old Bailey founded and supported, 
was the only club in the country where British and Dutch gen- 
tlemen met on an equal footing. Time and again he used his 
great influence, and spent some of his wealth, to foster in Lon- 
don the cause of the Union of South Africa. 

This was the man, with one foot in the English, the other in 
the Dutch camp, his heart beating for the Empire, who wielded 
perhaps the greatest influence in the decisive hour. He spoke 



Botha was lionized). During the First War Mr. Garvin, one of 
the most influential journalists, suggested retaining Smuts as 
Foreign Secretary. Sir Philip Gibbs even looked upon him as 
the obvious successor of Lloyd George. Similarly, many Eng- 
lishmen wanted to keep him in the country, when he visited 
London during the present war. Smuts never seriously consid- 
ered such suggestions. But he likes to come to the tight little 
island as a friend. It is the only place on earth where he does 
not shun the limelight. 

In his own country even his friends say that aloofness is his 
predominant quality. He finds his chief solace in philosophy, 
and in his model marriage. (About Mrs. Smuts, South Africa's 
much beloved "Ouma" the story made the rounds that she runs 
her house with a grandchild at one hand and the Greek gram- 
mar in the other.) Everyone knows Smuts as a superlatively 
clever, singularly subtle, extremely cautious, but, by the same 
token, unusually daring statesman, and as a glutton for work. 

But only a very narrow, limited circle knows the real Smuts. 
Some have suggested that he should occupy a chair for meta- 
physics at an ancient seat of learning. Others call him a country 
gentleman, interested in herds and crops and in the wide open 
spaces. Even those who see him predominantly as an out-of- 
doors man, understand, however, that it is not only his passion 
for mountain-climbing and his inbred horsemanship that make 
him a part of the South African landscape. The grass of the 
veld has a particular meaning to him; Smuts is one of the 
world's outstanding botanists, specializing in grasses. Country 
life also gives him an opportunity for mental repose, commun- 
ion with himself, for reflection on the eternal verities. He has 
made most of his great decisions after a solitary walk. Before 
he at once signed and protested the Treaty of Versailles, the 
most spectacular incident in his career, he marched, since no 
veld was at hand, up and down the Champs Elys^es. 

Most of his admirers wonder about, some even regret, his 
complete indifference to jealousy, rivalry, ambitions, disap- 
pointments, and to the bitterness of public life that no contem- 
porary statesman has experienced to anything like the same 



degree. No one who has ever watched him from the gallery of 
the House of Assembly can forget the faraway, transcendent 
look with which he, immovably, without response, without any 
reaction, tolerates the outpouring of abuse that has been 
heaped upon him as upon no other living man. His enemies 
loathe him because they know that he towers sky-high above 
them. He appears detached even among his followers in the 
House. One can see him striding along the corridors, lost in 
reflections, but always with his ear to the ground, lest he miss 
a single word of the debate behind the door. 

In social contact he is candid and courteous, but intimate 
with no one. Even his relations with Botha, it is said, were con- 
fined to their work and vision in common, to that telepathy 
that united them, but this did not extend much beyond their 
common interest in their cause. Botha took time off for his 
famous bridge games, for golf and tennis, whereas Smuts 
crammed every moment with a double order of work and 
study. It is doubtful whether his knowledge of card games 
goes beyond a little old-fashioned whist. He relaxes now and 
then with his family, his horses, his wanderings, his books. His 
life is austere. He drinks only coffee, the mother's milk of the 
Boer, and although he likes his biltong dried venison he eats 
modestly. He has succeeded in keeping his weight steady for 
many decades. 

His handwriting is noted for its illegibility. His manner of 
speech is forceful, convincing, persuasive. Sometimes he speaks 
with vigor, more and more rarely with emotion. In great mo- 
ments he has the rapid, passionate speech of the seer and 
prophet. In private conversation he is frank and cordial, but 
he does not allow familiarity. Whatever he says and however 
he presents it, his words ring on. 

South Africa calls him "slim": crafty, cunning, sly. But every- 
one is aware that only pure and enlightened motives direct his 
political game of chess. For reasons which must lie in invisible 
depths, all South Africa also calls him "Oom Jannie." Even 
Botha, eight years his senior, used to call him so. No one ever 
called Botha, the man with the magic touch, radiating sym- 



pathy, "Oom Louis." Perhaps a comparison with Cecil Rhodes, 
who was, already at the age of thirty, "the old man" to every- 
one, is permissible. He used to refer to himself in these words. 
Smuts has but two passions: his romantic patriotism, which 
makes him call the story of South Africa "the only romantic 
adventure story in modern history," and his passion for bigness, 
an obsession he certainly shares with Rhodes. He has also fre- 
quently been compared with Alexander Hamilton, particularly 
for his work as the chief architect of the Union. He has, indeed, 
Hamilton's world sense. 

The word for Hertzog, his antagonist, later his chief, is: 
petty. His very narrowness made him the idol of the kraal- 
walled Boers. Physically, he was undersized; mentally he was 
slow. He owed his success to his limitations. His brand of na- 
tionalism was exclusive and jealous. He fitted well into a time 
in which the envious, the dissatisfied nationsbig ones like the 
Germans and the Japanese, small ones like the Irish and the 
Boers were everywhere in the ascendant. 

When he was at Victoria College (at the same time as 
Smuts ) , he was not a bookish youth like his younger colleague, 
but rather a bookworm. Painfully, he wormed his way through 
bulky tomes of the Old Roman-Dutch law, while Smuts, until 
his mind became oversaturated at Cambridge, was known for 
his capacity of learning a book by heart after one reading. Hert- 
zog, descendant of a family of German immigrants, refused to 
study at an English university. Hence he was not admitted to 
the bar in the then British colonies. He had to confine himself 
to practicing in Bloemfontein, the capital of the furiously anti- 
British Free State. After the Boer War, in which he only played 
an insignificant part, he entered politics, of which he knew 
nothing. But the Free Staters saw in the foreigner their own 
flesh and blood. He became the champion of all those who 
could not understand why they had been defeated by the tools 
of the "Jews and the capitalists." Hertzog devoted himself to 
the task of rebuilding a downhearted and broken nation. His 
program was merely the airing of grievances, his outlook en- 



tirely racial. He hated the world, and sympathized only with 
other "downtrodden" peoples: the Indians, the Egyptians, the 
Irish. All were members of the British Empire. He came to 
loathe the Empire with an abiding hatred. He hated progress 
and civilization. To play down the fact that he was an outland- 
ish newcomer as it must have appeared to the proud descend- 
ants of the Voortrekkershe appealed to their deepest and 
basest racial instincts. 

The First War not only intensified his hatred for Britain, it 
made him set all his hopes upon Germany. Whereas to Smuts 
the Germans were prodigal sons of the great human family, 
who should be welcomed back after the good spanking they 
had received but, by all means, kept out of Africa, where they 
were liable to build up and train enormous black armies to 
Hertzog the Germans were the redeemers of the future. At the 
Imperial Conference in London he told the members of the 
British Government frankly that he disapproved of their ap- 
parent distrust of Germany. Why, German blood was flowing 
in his own veins, and did he not, despite his wild words, prove 
a perfectly amiable business partner? After the First War a 
picture of Frederick the Great hung over Hertzog's desk, oppo- 
site the picture of his own German grandfather. 

His predilection for national isolation in a thinly populated 
and faraway country made him the natural enemy of Smuts' 
Pan-African conception. Smuts' Holism was treason to Hertzog. 
Smuts' eloquence was a challenge to his own manner of losing 
himself in cumbersome, never-ending sentences, which, inci- 
dentally, many Boers liked, since they need not listen quite so 
attentively and could have a good nap during the three hours 
Hertzog took to speak. Yet his persistence, his dogged repeti- 
tions, the fact that his creed, Hertzogism, consisted of four or 
five ever-recurring platitudes, made his appeal popular. There 
was this smoldering flame in him that kindled the platteland. 
He was obscure, often unintelligible, habitually cautious, until 
he burst out in a rage. 

His was a double life. As if to offset the wild man from the 
veld, his conduct in private life was gentle and ingratiating. 



He had many English acquaintances, provided they were good 
South Africans, not jingoes. He spoke their language without 
the slightest foreign accent. Megalomaniac in politics, he was 
simplicity incarnate in his off-stage bearing. In society he felt 
insecure, but he was sure of his hold on his old friends and 
liked their company. He cared little for money, and not at all 
for amusements. He was entirely deficient in humor. He was 
single-minded, and an introvert. Some day the little man would 
no longer be satisfied with play acting the big boss. Some day 
his repressed passions, the true ones, would burst out. 

Smuts strove hard and honestly to make the coalition work. 
Hertzog remained stubborn and evasive, although he, too, 
wanted to give the new combination a working chance. For 
the time being it was the only instrument that would keep him 
in power. 

Dr. Daniel Frangois Malan had different aims. He attributed 
Tielman Roos' downfall to providential dispensation. He had 
loathed his chief competitor with that Old Testament hatred 
that only the Dutch Geref ormeede Church can teach. When he 
heard of Tielman Roos' punishment by the Lord that the ail- 
ing, prematurely aged man could scarcely eke out a living, and 
that his family suffered direst need he spent all day in church 
praying, he said, that the Lord may have mercy on a sinner. 
When he left the church, Alderley Street, Cape Town's Fifth 
Avenue, saw a show that no one had ever seen: Dr. Malan 
strolled leisurely down the promenade, and, good Lord, Dr. 
Malan laughed. 

He was now the undisputed chief lieutenant of, and heir 
presumptive to, Hertzog. But at the age of sixty it was no 
longer enough to be a lieutenant, or an heir to the throne. Dr. 
Malan, a faultfinder throughout his life, saw through Hertzog's 
emptiness. Hertzog was a relic. What the nation needed was a 
reformer. Had he himself not borne the burden of reforms dur- 
ing the coalition government with Labor? Had he, Dr. Malan, 
as Minister of the Interior, not made Afrikaans the official lan- 
guage? Curtailed the power of the old-fashioned, pro-Smuts 


Senate? Appointed reliable Britain-baiters to all offices of in- 
come under the Crown? Destroyed Smuts' educational system, 
so that the Boers should remain on the soil, and become farm- 
ers as their fathers and grandfathers had been? Who else, if 
not he, had borne the burden of the struggle in the flag quar- 
rel? Should all his reforms be marred by a compromise with 
Smuts? This was a good time for reformers. Germany had this 
man Hitler, another Bismarck, another Frederick die Great. 
He, Dr. Daniel Frangois Malan would be damned forgive, 
Lord, forgive! he would be most unhappy if he did not be- 
come the Luther of the Boers. 

Although he had saved his mandate in a faraway Cape dis- 
trict only due to the help of Smuts, who had come to campaign 
for his perennial vilifier, Dr. Malan now refused to join the new 
Cabinet. Instead, he organized a head committee of the irrec- 
oncilables in order to outbid Hertzog's now necessarily some- 
what subdued racialism and to steal his leader's thunder. 

As duly elected chairman of the head committee, Dr. Malan 
asked Prime Minister Hertzog whether he agreed "that the 
British Crown, in so far as the Union is concerned, is divisible, 
that we possess the right of neutrality, and that we have the 
right of separation." 

Hertzog was trapped. He could either agree to renew the 
anti-British campaign at this moment, which would endanger 
the coalition, or lose his aureole as Britain-baiter number one. 
This seemed the graver menace. He answered Dr. Malan: 
"With regard to the question of sovereign independence and 
the removal of court anomalies it gives me pleasure to be able 
to state that the intention is as presumed by your head com- 
mittee." The British Crown, to which Hertzog had four times 
sworn fealty, was now "court anomalies" to him. 

The head committee went one step further. It demanded a 
status bill to bring the Prime Minister's declaration into legal 

Hertzog agreed. He would move the bill. 

To Smuts this decision came as a terrible blow. The Cabinet 
to which he belonged was about to deceive England. Perhaps 



the merits of the act did not matter so much. Smuts felt con- 
fident that he could stave off the worst. But the breach of con- 
fidence involved, the fact that South Africa adopted an at- 
titude which must appear as if the Union was going back on 
Vereeniging, and on the Statute of Westminster, on both the 
great declarations of freedom which he himself had materially 
helped to bring about the double-dealing, the foulness of his 
coalition partners, aroused his wrath. Should he break out of the 
kraal? It would mean a renewal of fratricidal strife. It was im- 
possible. He had to fall in line. 

For the whole duration of the coalition government such 
conflicts recurred, on a smaller or larger scale, conflicts not im- 
portant because of a thinly veiled split inside the Cabinet, but 
terrible because the split was inside Smuts. It was the conflict 
between the South African and the philosopher. The Old Mas- 
ter surpassed himself in exercising his strongest power: self- 
control. He preserved South Africa for the great test that was 

He turned to Hertzog. Smuts implored him to watch his step. 
With all his persuasiveness he wrestled for what he called 
Hertzog's soul. The weathercock yielded a few inches. He gave 
Smuts a written promise that those points on which they had 
disagreed in the past would not be touched by the new act; he 
and Smuts would merely continue to disagree about them. 

In Parliament Smuts fought valiantly to keep the new act 
within the frame of the Statute of Westminster. On this occa- 
sion he delivered one of his historic speeches, celebrating the 
Statute of Westminster as the magna charta of freedom. To the 
people of South Africa he gave the promise that they would 
not be asked to do anything they should not be asked to do. 
He pleaded with London not to be unduly disturbed. 

But the Dominion Party, the small group of independent 
South African English under Colonel Stallard, was distrustful. 

The new Status Act was passed with a great majority. Both 
Hertzog's and Smuts' followers voted for it. The Dominion 
Party was opposed and, strangely, the Malanites as well. Al- 
though Dr. Malan's head committee had declared: "When the 



present Status Bill is passed by Parliament South Africa will be 
more free than Paul Kruger's Transvaal was in 1884!" the act, 
suddenly, did not go far enough for their appetites. Having 
tasted his first victory, Dr. Malan wanted more elbow room. 
With a handful of followers he seceded from the United Party. 

The Boers had won the Boer War in 1934. It was the com- 
mon opinion in South Africa. The English in the country knew 
it best. Smuts saw their confidence waning. They had but a 
couple of seats in Parliament. They were no longer a political 
factor of any importance. But their distrust hurt Smuts deeply. 
He addressed a few heart-rending words to them: "If I cannot 
be trusted after what I have done for a lifetime, then who 
can be trusted in this country? ... If I cannot be trusted, 
who can be trusted in this world?" 

On the same day Dr. Malan founded his party of "Purified 
Nationalists." Its constitution was drafted on the pattern of the 
National Socialistic Labor Party in Germany. 

Nazism grew tropically on South Africa's hot soil. Its tenets 
confirmed what most of the Boers had always suspected. Al- 
ready during the Boer War they had unanimously assured Win- 
ston Churchill, their prisoner of Pretoria, that "the Jews and 
the capitalists" were responsible for the war. While Adolf Hitler 
was still a schoolboy in Linz, Upper-Austria, Boonzaier, South 
Africa's foremost cartoonist, discovered that one could make a 
good living on Hoggenheimer alone! on the caricature of a fat, 
apelike, bejeweled Jew, standing for the Rand capitalist. Hog- 
genheimer held an enormous cigar in his left hand; his right 
hand pulled the strings on which a shrimp with Smuts' likeness 

Against a flood of rabid anti-Semitism, Smuts stood out to 
protect the Jews, almost alone. A little assistance came from an 
unexpected quarter. In 1933, Tielman Roos, shortly before his 
death, lifted his fading voice against anti-Semitism. But by then 
the Nazi locusts were already swamping the land. 

Smuts did not yet know Hitler's secret weapon: the hypo- 
dermic. Methodically, Nazism poisoned South Africa's blood 



stream. Nazi propaganda mushroomed on the hot soil. Nowhere 
else were conditions for spreading the gospel of racialism as 
favorable as among the race-crazed Boers. Moreover, in no 
other civilized country was there so much destitution. South 
Africa fell prey more easily to Nazism than Germany itself. 

Twenty-two per cent of the white population were poor 
whites: men of European descent who could not make a living 
on civilized standards and who did not keep clear of the color 
bar. Crushed between the haughtiness of skilled white labor, 
from whose ranks they were barred, and cheap native labor, 
with which they could not compete, three hundred thousand 
poor whites, many of them bywoners on the farms, others slum 
dwellers in the towns, lived in a state of physical and mental 
decay that made them ripe for every revolution. According to 
a report of a Carnegie Commission of Inquiry, another 34 per 
cent of South Africa's white population were unable to feed 
and clothe themselves, to be decently housed or to send their 
children to school without government assistance. There were 
neither English nor Jews among them. They were Boers to the 
last man. 

The bigoted Calvinists who loathed the English with Old 
Testament hatred, as well as the irreconcilable Republicans, 
who dreamed of the return of Oom Paul's golden days, set all 
their hopes on Hitler. Moreover, the "national awakening" in 
Germany appealed irresistibly to that third of the Boers who 
claimed German descent. Most of them had long forgotten 
their ancestors, mercenaries, who had come as soldiers of for- 
tune in the pay of the Dutch or of the East India Company. 
But now, as Hitler thundered at the gates of the world, it 
became a promising proposition to recall a German great- 

Hitler's urge for living space was essentially the Boers' own 
craving. They could not see the smoke of their neighbor's chim- 
ney. It was proverbial. And if the Hitler-Germans claimed to 
be the master race why should not the Boer himself be the 
baas in South Africa? 

Throughout the year 1934 Nazism in South Africa spread 



like the plague. Smuts was disturbed. But he was not yet pre- 
pared to antagonize Germany. The German measles would be 
cured as soon as the world gave the Third Reich a square deal. 
Delivering his rectorial address at St. Andrews, Scotland, how- 
ever, he made Human Freedom his topic. 

He returned to South Africa by airplane. Bodyguards re- 
ceived him at the airport. They followed, and screened him, 
everywhere. Smuts protested. Would they not, at least, let him 
alone when he was mountaineering? They would not. They 
were under orders. Nazism was rampant. 

Chapter 27 PRELUDE TO WAR 


nucleus for the vast German colonial empire of which Wilhelm 
II had once dreamed. He who holds South Africa holds the 
whole continent below the equator. He also commands the con- 
fluence between the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. He has 
the key to the world. Furthermore, he has the earth's richest 
gold output. 

The Nazi penetration of South Africa was entrusted to Ernst 
Wilhelm Bohle, boss of the "League of Germans Abroad," who 
also founded the bunds in this country. But Bohle's heart was 
never in the United States of America. It was always in Cape 
Town. Son of a professor of electrical engineering at the Cape 
Town University, he had grown up under the shadow of Table 
Mountain, but he remained an undiluted boche whose every 
thought was treason to the land of his birth. His right-hand 
man was his venerable father, then living in Berlin in "retire- 
ment," in fact as chief of the African Division of Dr. Hau- 
shofer's "Geopolitical Institute," Hitler's brain trust. 



The Bohles, father and son, sent masses of German immi- 
grants to South Africa, particularly to the mandated territory 
of the former German South West. Four thousand alleged Ger- 
man ' miners" who wanted to disembark at Windhoek, were 
refused admission, and had to return on their ship. But this was 
the only case on record in which the Hertzog government pro- 
tected the country against Nazi infiltration. Even the Prime 
Minister did not wish to hand South West Africa back to Ger- 
many. Hertzog declared that the return of the Reich as a great 
colonial power in Africa was both inevitable and desirable, but 
he tried to persuade the Germans to help themselves to the 
Belgian and Portuguese colonies. He disposed as magnani- 
mously of other people's countries as his model, Hitler, himself. 

He did nothing to stop the influx of German agents into 
South Africa proper. Eighteen thousand Germans, less than 1 
per cent of the total white population, were German settlers. 
They had no influence in politics, but their little hamlets were 
scattered all over the map. 

Bohle's agents, arriving in droves, took care that the Nazis 
obtained majorities in the committees for German schools and 
in the councils of elders for German churches. All Germans, in- 
cluding Jewish refugees, were registered by Nazi functionaries. 
If they did not want to contribute to the German Winter Hilf e 
winter relief their relatives in the old country would be 
herded into concentration camps. The funds, allegedly for char- 
ity, were used by the Nazi press fund, headed by Manfred 
Zapp, who later shifted to New York. German businessmen in 
South Africa were forced to hire Nazi employees, if they did 
not want to lose their trade with Germany. German residents 
had to see movies from Bablesberg, the German Hollywood. 
German steamers in South African ports arranged "socials" for 
the Germans in town. The friendly invitations carried the 
words: "Attendance obligatory." Hitler was shown in the news- 
reels, and the bored crews in the audience had, time and again, 
to feign enthusiasm. By way of relaxation, they staged propa- 
ganda marches through the streets of Cape Town. 

An army of agents and spies was unloosed over South Africa. 



Botany professors, pretending to draw samples of the rare 
South African flora, sketched bridges, harbors, the site of muni- 
tion dumps. Ethnographers came to study the vanishing bush- 
man. They brought literature with them. Between covers with 
scientific titles were folded reprints of articles from the 
Stuermer, the notorious anti-Semitic sheet. German exchange 
students and professors proved so charming, although admit- 
ting their undying devotion to Hitler, that the Nazis could not 
be so bad, after all. Missionaries from Germany preached neo- 

Occasionally, more important visitors came. Miss Rutkowsky, 
a fanatic Nazi schoolmistress, toured the country with a cam- 
era, and showed in hotels and schools films of the Nazi move- 
ment. Her preferred shots were pictures displaying the neo- 
pagan rites of the believers in Wotan. This disgusted even the 
pro-Nazi Dutch Reformed Church, and she was asked to leave 
the country. Another case of attempted religious infiltration oc- 
curred in the Trappist monastery at Marianhill, in Natal. The 
brothers extended their hospitality to a group of German mis- 
sionaries who talked incessantly of the unholy combination of 
Judah and Rome. Trappists, for their part, do not talk at all. 
They are bound by an oath of silence. Silently, they went at 
their German brethren, who, within a few minutes, collected 
their bones outside the monastery. 

A Nazi with the suspiciously Jewish-sounding name of 
Hirschfelder represented the heavy industry in the Ruhr. He 
penetrated South African big business, and offered, not unsuc- 
cessfully, such barter agreements as Dr. Schacht had intro- 
duced to get imports free of cost. At present Hirschfelder 
enjoys the hospitality of a South African detention camp. 

The most sinister uninvited guest was Gestapo chief Diverge, 
assistant editor of the Schwarzes Korps, mouthpiece of Hitler's 
elite guard. He visited Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, 
and Durban, and reported on every single German in the four 
biggest towns of the Union. His accounts were detailed: did 
the man drive a German car, or did the traitor use a car of 
American make? Did he employ a German chauffeur or a Ne- 



gro? His wife and secretary took down his interviews in short- 
hand, and sent them to Berlin. Diverge was also commissioned 
to investigate the German Legation and the Consulates in the 
Union. He was not satisfied with Dr. Leitner, the Minister, and 
relegated him to third rank in the Nazi hierarchy, subordinated 
to boss Jasper, who had had a hand in the rape of Austria, and 
to the second in command, a gunman by the name of Lierau, 
who later became notorious in fomenting trouble in the Sude- 
tenland. To prove his reliability as a Nazi, Dr. Leitner pro- 
tested to the Prime Minister when the City Councillors of Cape 
Town had refused a German offer for harbor installations, al- 
though cheaper than the British tender. After profuse excuses, 
Hertzog sent his Under Secretary for External Affairs, Dr. 
Bodenstein, himself a German by descent, to the Town Fathers 
of Cape Town. Dr. Bodenstein was told that Hertzog might 
betake himself to the opposite place to Heaven. He had no 
right to interfere in matters of local jurisdiction. 

Hertzog, a bad loser, compensated the Reich by giving large 
orders for railway construction to the German industry. More- 
over, he sold to Germany South African wool to the tune of 
three million pounds sterling for clothing the Reichswehr, and 
manganese for the German steel industry, working full speed 
at rearmament. 

Smuts, smarting under his exclusion from real power, toured 
the country, and addressed the crowds. He spoke about irriga- 
tion, the fight against locusts, the introduction of new improve- 
ments in agriculture, and ended regularly with an appeal to 
keep faith with the British Commonwealth. Only once he hit 
out against Nazism, but even on this occasion he carefully 
spoke only by implication. A German hairdresser in Cape Town 
by the name of Weichardt had founded the Greyshirts, an or- 
ganization which trained Boer and German youth in throwing 
stones, some day to be replaced by hand grenades. "The Grey- 
shirts are subsidized from abroad," Smuts warned. Nothing 
happened. The Nazis took heart. The Blackshirts sprang up. 
Soon they outnumbered the Greyshirts. 



After more than two years of superhuman patience, Smuts, 
in the end, had one success. When Italy grabbed Abyssinia, 
everyone understood that the Union itself was menaced. All 
Mussolini's balderdash about the great Italian Empire he was 
creating certainly did not refer to Ethiopia alone. The Duce 
meant Kenya, Uganda, the Congo, and Tanganyika. The ma- 
jority of the Boers did not care about British and Belgian colo- 
nies. Yet even Hertzog understood that Italy on both sides of 
the Transvaal would mean the end of South Africa, and thus 
of his own regime. Under Smuts* influence, he consented to the 
strongest representations in Geneva on behalf of sanctions 
against Italy. But the democratic powers shied away from im- 
posing oil sanctions, the only ones that could have broken 
Mussolini. The stock of world democracy sank lower and lower 
among the Boers. 

Early in 1938 their resentment found violent expression at 
the Centenary Celebration to commemorate the mass slaughter 
of their pioneers, the Voortrekkers, by the Kafirs. Voortrekker 
Day is the day when Afrikanders think with their blood. In 
1938, when another war was looming, another mass slaughter 
in which the majority of the Boers wanted no part, all previous 
celebrations were surpassed. From all parts of the Union ox 
wagons, the ark of the veld, in which the Voortrekkers had 
traveled, and lived, and made their homes, rolled slowly to 
Pretoria. Groups of Boer youths, in relays, marched from Cape 
Town to Pretoria, carrying the torch of liberty. Tens of thou- 
sands of men and women in Voortrekker costumes congre- 
gated; the women in long frocks and bonnets, the men in 
breeches and colorful waistcoats. All the men, including hun- 
dreds of Nazi agents, had for many months carefully grown 
luxuriant beards. The Centenary Celebration ended in a gigan- 
tic demonstration for the Republic. 

The Boers were where Hitler wanted them. Innumerable of- 
fers from would-be spies flooded the German Consulate in Por- 
tuguese Louren9O Marques, where the Nazis still maintain their 
African espionage headquarters. One of the most significant of 



these letters was revealed in Parliament by Mr. Harry Law- 
rence, Union Minister for the Interior. It read: "My sentiments 
are with Germany. I feel that my knowledge of South Africa, 
its people, its political parties, its armaments and defense in- 
stallations may be of great use to you in Germany. I have first- 
hand information about the Jewish question, and about the 
possibilities of trade with Germany. Knowing all sections of 
the community so intimately, speaking their language fluently, 
and having access to influential political, military, and financial 
quarters, I feel I could provide information of use to Germany. 
I know Mr. Bruckner de Villiers, who controls Die Burger, and 
on whose behest Dr. Malan adopted the policy of open anti- 
Semitism. I know Mr. Pirow. I could even easily invite myself 
to General Smuts' farm at Irene, and obtain definite informa- 
tion on his opinions. I could without difficulty arrange to see 
the airports at Robert Heights, or find out more about the great 
harbor works at Cape Town and their fortifications." 

The writer of this letter was a man by the name of J. W. 
Gadow, the secretary of the Greenside Branch of the Purified 
Nationalist Party in Johannesburg. The letter was intercepted 
by the Union Intelligence Service. The ensuing investigation 
disclosed that it had been the third of his offers, that Gadow, 
indeed, had been in Germany, where he had been treated as a 
guest of honor, and equipped with money. Mr. Bruckner de 
Villiers, though gravely compromised, remained silent. He was 
not only the backer of the leading Nationalist paper, but also 
one of the most influential members of the mysterious breeder- 
bund which wields the real power behind the scenes of politi- 
cal Afrikanderdom. Entrenched in this strong position, he felt 
certain that the law would not dare to lay hands on him. He 
guessed right. 

During the days of Munich, secession seemed near. Smuts 
had neither protested Hitler's rape of Austria, nor did he find 
the Fuehrer's claim to the Sudetenland improper. Why, it was 
the first step to Holism: the fusion inside the individual nation 
preparatory to the fusion of all nations. The facts that Aus- 



trians and Germans were entirely different nations, and that 
the people of the Sudeten had never been, nor did they wish to 
be, incorporated with the German Reich were too trifling to ar- 
rest his world-embracing attention. Yet Hertzog was suspicious 
that his deputy might, in the case of a showdown between 
England and Germany, want to drag the Union alongside 
Great Britain into a war that appeared menacingly near. 

In his neat longhand Hertzog wrote the memoranda on his 
official stationery. The first, written on September 1, 1938, was 
headed: "A statement of the standpoint to be taken by the 
Union of South Africa in the case of war in Europe with Eng- 
land as one of the belligerent parties: South Africa will remain 
neutral, but stick to the contracted obligation in connection 
with the naval base at Simon's Town." He signed formally: 
James Barry Munik Hertzog. 

Four weeks later he penned another memorandum: "In case 
war should break out in Europe as a result of the quarrel be- 
tween Germany and Czechoslovakia, and England should be 
involved in it, the attitude of the Union would be as is ex- 
plained in greater detail in the accompanying documents A and 
B, signed by myself." These documents had been communi- 
cated by Hertzog to Smuts in the early days of September, dur- 
ing the Sudeten crisis. They stated that South Africa would not 
be involved in a war to safeguard the Sudetenland for Czecho- 
slovakia. Smuts had accepted them as referring simply to the 
situation in these days, but not as a declaration of a general 
policy of neutrality in the future. 

Neither Hertzog nor Smuts, it appeared, saw the warning 
beacon of the agreement of Munich. However, Munich taught 
South Africa a lesson. Hitler's technique of creating dissatisfac- 
tion among German minorities as a pretext for interfering on 
behalf of the "oppressed" might well be applied in South 
Africa, too. The general nervousness increased, when the 
Fuehrer announced that his next demand would be the claim 
for the return of colonies. 

With the half-hearted consent of Hertzog, the Union authori- 
ties began to take an active interest in the German spies and 



agents who thus far had operated quite unmolested. Mission- 
aries, exchange students, lecturing professors, and traveling 
salesmen from Germany were put under control. But no meas- 
ures to stop or deport them were applied. 

The English part of the population as well as many Dutch 
followers of Smuts expressed their anxiety over the miserable 
state of the defences in no uncertain terms. On October 24, 
1938, a sensational newspaper article laid the responsibility for 
this state of affairs at the door of Oswald Pirow, the Minister 
for Defence. Mr. Pirow, the paper said, was responsible for the 
grave neglect of Simon's Town, the British Naval Base in South 
Africa, the maintenance of which was entrusted to the Union. 
The guns of Simon's Town were obsolete. They were incapable 
of keeping out of range any modern cruiser armed with six- 
inch guns. The material for the repair of these deficiencies had 
been available for many months, but it had not been installed. 

Pirow answered with the subterfuge that he wanted to wait 
until more powerful modern guns could be shipped from Eng- 
land, even if this should take another two or three years. More- 
over, he would soon travel to England to discuss the defense 
plans with the British War Office, and to supervise the pur- 
chase of arms and equipment. 

On the very day of this acrimonious debate, a "German 
South- West African League" was founded in Windhoek. Dr. 
G. E. Conradie, the administrator, asked his government's per- 
mission to forbid the league. Hertzog only allowed the admin- 
istrator to forbid civil servants to join any sort of political 

The Germans in South West Africa profited from the appar- 
ent weakness of the Union government. They formed about a 
third of the white population of the territory (8,500 against 
almost 20,000 Boer post-war immigrants and 2,500 English set- 
tlers), but they found help among the Boers. "Manic" Maritz, 
the traitor of 1914, had returned from Germany. He came as a 
Hitler agent, distributing his pamphlet My Lewe and Strewe 
My Life and my Strife which contained such vulgar anti- 



Semitic passages that the author had been fined seventy-five 
pounds. This mild punishment encouraged the Germans and 
their Boer fellow travelers. Dr. Hirsekorn, Hitler's appointed 
gauleiter of the South West, called up all Germans to enroll in 
a "German Fighting League." 

The trouble in the South West caused immediate repercus- 
sions in the Union. A Nationalist paper in Pretoria demanded 
measures against the refugees who were endangering the 
Union's friendly relations with Germany. Dr. Malan, at a con- 
gress of his "Purified Nationalist Party," adopted anti-Semitism 
as an official point of the program, and passed a resolution 
congratulating the Sudeten Germans upon their return to 

In the midst of the general turmoil, Pirow, the stormy petrel, 
slipped out. He did not go to London, as he had announced. 
Instead he toured the Fascist countries. His first step was Lis- 
bon, where Dr. Salazar, the dictator of Portugal, received him 
to the tune of Die Stem of Zuid Afrika, the Boer republican 
hymn. Pirow was a minister under the British Crown. But God 
Save the King was not played. Sir Eric Phipps, the British am- 
bassador in Lisbon, who was present, froze. 

While the Spanish republican government at Burgos was still 
officially recognized, Pirow called upon General Franco, com- 
mitting, as it was generally put, a "blazing indiscretion." He 
duly eulogized Franco, and hurried on to the real aim of his 
journey: Berlin. Hitler received him with high honors. The 
Fuehrer and his presumptive gauleiter of South Africa drove 
through the Berlin streets, where a million people were lined 
up to cheer. Photographs, immortalizing the handshake be- 
tween the two "kinsmen" were displayed in all German shop 

Pirow ordered his daughter to follow him. The half-grown 
girl took an English ship. Innocently, she told interviewers at 
Southampton: "I am really a German girl. All my four grand- 
parents are German. My father spent his youth in Germany. 
German is our household language. I once visited England. But 



I felt every moment that I did not belong. I belong to Ger- 
many." Upon her arrival she immediately joined the Deutschen 
Madchenbundihe League of German Girls. She still lives in 
Germany. Unfortunately, her father returned to his adopted 
country. He presented the bill for his traveling expenses. The 
South African taxpayers had to refund him 1,329. 

The new session of Parliament opened on February 2, 1939. 
Shrewdly, Hertzog calmed the storm that was awaiting him. 
He published an exchange of letters between himself and his 
son. Advocate Albert Hertzog had demanded that his father 
should assume leadership of a movement to be called Afri- 
kander Unity with the aim of excluding the English-speaking 
South Africans from all political rights. With great dignity 
Hertzog pere stated that he had immediately refused this de- 
mand. The English-speaking section should henceforth be "con- 
sidered" as before. 

The first measure of consideration was a bill, presented by 
Dr. Bodenstein, Under Secretary for External Affairs, with the 
aim of forbidding the English-language press to criticize Hitler 
and Mussolini. At the same time Pirow, as Minister of Defence, 
moved his "emergency bill" to suppress hostile demonstrations 
and propaganda in the case of a European war. "Hostile" re- 
ferred to any demonstrations and propaganda in favor of Eng- 
land. A number of anti-Semitic bills were introduced by Na- 
tionalist members. 

On March 15 Hitler invaded Prague. The whole world real- 
ized that sooner or later this meant war. The rumblings that 
followed were loudest in South West Africa. On the very eve- 
ning the occupation of Prague became known, the streets of 
Windhoek were crowded with German insurgents. Dr. von 
Oelhaven, the former German Consul in Windhoek, returned 
surprisingly and told a meeting of Nazi athletes: "If you trust 
the Fuehrer and rely on him, he will keep his pledge and liber- 
ate us in South West Africa." 

Now Smuts acted. Appeasement was dead. Smuts fell in 
line. On Monday, April 17, three hundred policemen with ar- 



mored cars, machine-guns and Bren guns, grenades and rifles 
embarked from Cape Town and Pretoria for South West Africa. 
Legally, Union police had no right to interfere with the man- 
dated territory. But this was one of the repeated moments in 
Smuts' life in which he was the law. He had acted in time. 
Papers were seized in Windhoek disclosing that the Nazis had 
planned a putsch for April 20, Hitler's birthday. They wanted 
to seize Walfisch Bay with its radio station, and broadcast the 
signal calling for a general upheaval. They had planned to give 
short shrift to the two hundred twenty-four local policemen 
scattered over a territory almost three times the size of the 
British Isles. Instead, twenty trucks with Union police and 
machine-guns drove through the streets of Windhoek on Hit- 
ler's birthday, and the Exhibition Grounds were transformed 
into an armed camp. The jubilation of the Boers in the South 
West, the great majority of whom had no intention of returning 
their farms to the old German owners, forced Hertzog to smile 
bittersweetly on his deputy's resolute action. 

Behind Hertzog's bittersweet smile and Smuts' stony mask 
the struggle for power had broken out openly. The majority of 
the Boers were easy prey for uninhibited racialism. The United 
Party, torn from top to bottom by the thinly veiled strife be- 
tween the two leaders, but on the surface still intact, lost, on 
the day after the police action in the South West, a most sig- 
nificant by-election at the Paarl to the "Purified" followers of 
Malan. The Hertzogites became nervous. On the next day 
Smuts moved a bill in the House of Assembly to put the man- 
dated territory under the permanent control of the Union Po- 
lice. Dr. Leitner, the German Minister, rushed to Hertzog to 
protest on grounds of international law. The Hertzogite ma- 
jority within the United Party heeded the protest, and defeated 
their Deputy-Premier's bill. 

But Smuts was again in his stride. He acted on his own re- 
sponsibility. He established a burgher force in the South West, 
which was well able to take care of the Germans. He called out 
volunteers for National Service. Not only the English people 



among whom not a single appeaser was left after Munich but 
also a great part of the Boers responded. Youngsters left school 
to join up. Even German immigrants who had served during 
the First War in the Imperial Army, volunteered. The cleavage 
between the Boers became apparent. A determined minority, 
the aggregate of the best elements, followed Smuts. The major- 
ity, however, became day by day more infuriated against the 
English. Three English teams, a tennis, a soccer, and a rowing 
team were just visiting South Africa, and, except for a single 
football match in the Southern Transvaal, the "bloody foreign- 
ers" took all the honors. 

On the evening of April 24, the Naziphiles, as usual, tuned to 
Zeesen, the German shortwave station, were amazed to hear a 
voice addressing them in Afrikaans. They felt honored, but dis- 
appointed. They were accustomed to Naughty Naughty, the 
Lord Haw-Haw for South Africa. With his spicy reports on box- 
ing matches, with his subtly understated translations of Hitler 
speeches, with his ever-recurring assertions that he could not 
forget England, although he had not really been treated well 
under the government of war mongers, with his Nazi poison 
sugar-coated with perfect English gentleness, Naughty Naughty 
had attracted even a wide circle of English listeners in the 
Union. In a quiet, unobtrusive manner he used to address fans 
who had written him to Berlin, and he promised every South 
African that he would speak via Zeesen to his beloved ones at 
home, if he came to visit Germany. 

Unfortunately, on the twenty-fourth of April the charmer 
Naughty Naughty was replaced by Eric Holm, a dyed-in-the- 
wool Afrikander. His speeches were unconcealed hymns of 
hate. He addressed the republicans, the racial fanatics, the poor 
whites. He started to speak to Dr. Malan himself. Referring to 
Smuts as "J an Smutskowitz," he excelled in Jew-baiting, un- 
hampered by the fact that the Government Information Serv- 
ice soon disclosed that Eric Holm's father was an Elder of the 
Synagogue Council in Cape Town. Kate Voss, the self-styled 
nightingale of South Africa, now in Berlin, and generally rec- 



ognized as the only friend Ribbentrop and Goebbels shared in 
common, was another great attraction. Radio Zeesen scored. 
Today still the German broadcast in Afrikaans is the strongest 
medium of Nazi propaganda in South Africa. 

On July 1 Hertzog celebrated his fifteenth year as Premier. 
Smuts eulogized him duly, and most of South Africa jubilated: 
"Another fifteen!" Hertzog promised he would remain in office 
as long as his mental and physical strength would hold out. His 
main objective was to keep South Africa out of war if Europe 
should go up in flames. 

Two months of almost unbearable tension ensued. Greyshirts 
and Blackshirts demonstrated freely. The Afrikander students 
of the University of Pretoria organized a "peace strike/' Smuts 
toured the country, appealing for racial co-operation. 

On August 25 Hitler told Sir Nevile Henderson, British am- 
bassador in Berlin, that he could no longer tolerate the perse- 
cution of the German minority in Poland. When Zeesen broad- 
cast the news, Pirow rushed to Hertzog's farm. Pirow had just 
received Lord Francis Scott, the leader of the English settlers 
in Kenya, who was perturbed about the colony's complete lack 
of defenses, and had assured Lord Francis in the most folksy 
and engaging manner: "If you people in Kenya will allow us, 
we should like to look on your northern border as our own 
frontier, and if you should get into trouble there, we should be 
prepared to send you at once three hundred airplanes." 

It was a different Pirow who now put pressure on the 
wretched, aged Prime Minister. Pirow's receding hair stood up 
like a brush in Prussian fashion. His small, dark eyes under the 
broad, bushy brows, his tight lips, even his bat ears, trembled. 
He was playing the game of his life. Although he knew that 
Hertzog would not like it, he appeared in his hurry informally, 
in a sloppy, rumpled black suit, and with a gray, loudly striped 
tie around a German stand-up collar. That is how his body- 
guard, appointed by a watchful Government Information Serv- 
ice of Smuts' creation, described the Minister of Defence, as he 
buttonholed the Premier. Now was the moment to declare neu- 



trality and to break away from England. He was in league with 
the Blackshirts, he disclosed; they would march upon Johannes- 
burg if the great leader would give the signal. 

Hertzog was not good at giving signals. He preferred to be 
dragged along by events. Yet Pirow must have made a deep 
impression upon him. Throughout the ensuing fatal days he 
kept the dangerous adviser at his side. 

Dr. Malan was the next visitor to Hertzog's farm. In stark 
contrast to the unbalanced German Pirow, the ex-predikant 
and frustrated professor of theology, did not lose his dignity for 
an instant. His square, heavy-set face, clean-shaven and rosy, 
was expressionless. His high thinker's forehead, looking twice as 
high due to his baldness, remained unlined as he spoke in an 
unctuous voice. Even his ample double chin did not lose its 
natural poise. He had come with an offering. He offered Hertzog 
reunion. The full support of the Purified Nationalists "more 
dangerous a competition than we care to be" would be his for 
the mere asking. The Prime Minister should declare South 
Africa's unwavering neutrality. The Purified members of the 
House had often proved the power of their vocal cords. They 
would again shout down Smuts, and Parliament would be stam- 
peded into submission. 

No bodyguard accompanied Dr. Malan. No one was within 
hearing distance during the interview. Smuts had no report of 
the meeting beyond the mere fact that it was mentioned in the 
papers. Yet, in a parliamentary spech he delivered a few days 
later, he reconstructed the negotiations between Hertzog and 
his two visitors with translucent accuracy indeed, with the 
visionary insight of a man who knows human fallacy. 

Saturday morning, the second of September, Smuts stalked 
into the Prime Minister's Chambers. Pirow and Havenga shad- 
owed Hertzog. Simultaneously all three assailed Smuts with 
their policy of neutrality. "Impossible!" said Smuts. He fell into 
silence. But silence, his habitual protection, was .not permitted 
when the fate of the world was at stake, and, what counted 
more, the fate of South Africa. With unending patience he tried 



in his own words "to show them why neutrality was an im- 
possible policy." The argument lasted the whole forenoon. 
Hertzog remained intransigent. Smuts demanded a full Cabinet 
meeting to lay the matter before their colleagues. 

After luncheon, while all the police squads of Cape Town 
were mobilized, the whole Cabinet gathered. The discussion 
lasted throughout the afternoon, the evening, the night, until 
dawn. All the time Hertzog had Dr. Malan's written offer of 
support in his pocket, but he did not mention it. 

After the first inconclusive day, the Cabinet met again on 
Sunday afternoon. In the meantime Hertzog had received an- 
other promise of support from the "Purified," which he also 

Smuts and his six followers in the government advised 
Hertzog to summon a party caucus. Again Hertzog refused 
abruptly. With the letter, his secret weapon, in his breast 
pocket, he felt sure of obtaining a majority in the House. 

The negotiations led nowhere. Smuts expected Hertzog to 
dismiss him and his followers, reform his cabinet, and appeal to 
the electorate. Instead the Prime Minister appealed to the 
House. When Smuts bowed his way out of the Cabinet council, 
Hertzog whispered, grinning: "I have my majority, Oom Jan- 
nie. I do have it ... in the pocket." 

Parliament met on Monday, September 4. Hertzog dropped 
his mask. The outburst, long overdue, revealed the little man as 
an undiluted Nazi. "I understand the Germans perfectly ," he 
said. "I sympathize with Hitler. I know how he feels. I, too, 
have been downtrodden. We, too, the Boers, are a downtrod- 
den people. We have no quarrel with the Germans. This is not 
South Africa's war. If Hitler were out for world domination, no 
one would oppose the Germans more fervently than I," he con- 
tinued. "There is, however, no proof that this is Hitler's object. 
... I have gone through Hitler's struggle myself, and I know 
what it is to be trampled underfoot so long that eventually one 
prefers destruction to further humiliation/' 

Replying, Smuts was again complete master of his feelings. 
His voice never wavered. Only his fist struck the desk occa- 



sionally to emphasize his arguments. Once or twice he showed 
anger when the Nationalist benches made foolish "humorous" 
noises. Until then the House had listened in deadly silence to 
Smuts, who said: "We are up against the most vital issue for 
the future of this country. The position we take is that it would 
be fatal for this country not to sever relations with Germany at 
this stage. In September, 1938, the country had been prepared 
to recognize that Hitler had a strong case when he claimed the 
return of the Sudetenland. Since then we have seen an entirely 
un-Germanic people, the Czechs, absorbed by the Germans. 
These developments have shown the real objectives and mo- 
tives of the German Chancellor. The next demand, after Dan- 
zig has been wiped off the slate, will be the return of the Ger- 
man colonies. What will our position be when we are treated 
as Austria and Czechoslovakia have been, and Poland is now 
being treated, when we have to surrender what we consider 
vital to the Union at the point of the bayonet? We are not 
dealing with a faraway problem, but with an issue which may 
touch us here. If we dissociate ourselves deliberately from the 
line of action taken by the other members of the Common- 
wealth, we are going to get what we deserve." He concluded 
with a motion to sever relations with Germany, to continue co- 
operation with the associates in the British Commonwealth, to 
defend South Africa's interests and territory, but not to send 
forces overseas as in the last war. 

While the debate continued all day, Zeesen had already 
broadcast: "Union of South Africa remains neutral." The divi- 
sion took place shortly before nine o'clock in the evening. The 
Speaker put Hertzog's neutrality motion to the House. A roar 
of "Ayes" was out-thundered by a hurricane of "Noes!" The 
division bells rang. Across the gangway the whole opposition 
came to Hertzog to reinforce his thirty-odd supporters in the 
United Party. On the other side the balance of the United 
Party, Labor, the Dominion Party, and the three representa- 
tives of the Natives gathered. The tellers swiftly ticked off the 
names. There were sixty-seven Ayes against eighty Noes. Smuts 
emerged with a majority of thirteen. 



On the fifth of September Hertzog resigned. Smuts was sent 
for. He formed his cabinet within an hour. He himself took the 
Ministry of Defence, his own creation, in addition to the Pre- 
miership. On the same day, the Prime Minister of the Union of 
South Africa severed relations with Germany. On the next day 
he declared war. 

Hitler, it was said, laughed at this declaration. 



battle stations at Simon's Town, which, for more than a cen- 
tury, has been the South African base of the British Navy. "It is 
the cornerstone on which our freedom was built," Smuts said 
on this occasion. "The Dutch-speaking South Africans hold the 
might and power of the British Navy in high regard. For centu- 
ries she has ruled and policed the seas, and never once during 
those centuries has that power been abused. Picture for your- 
self what would be the position if Germany ruled the seas to- 
day. No nation would have the right to trade or ply the oceans 
freely. It is not guns and power of weapons which in the end 
will make victory certain. It is the great tradition on which the 
British Navy is founded, the morale of its seamen, men who 
could well be excused if in the heat of action they left their 
swimming foes to drown, but who at their own risk stick to the 
great tradition of their service that, friend or foe, human lives 
must always be saved wherever possible." 

Smuts' first statement in the war was humanitarian. His first 
action was to crush the enemy within. The Union government 
issued Emergency Regulations which gave them the power to 



deal effectively with Nazis and their fellow travelers. It proved 
that Smuts had not been idle while the moles were undermin- 
ing the country. His office possessed authentic lists of each 
Nazi organization in the principal towns of the Union, as well 
as a register of Nazi agents working in the rural districts. Pho- 
tostatic copies of documents disclosed the contacts between 
these and the Blackshirt leaders. The documents revealed a 
Nazi plan for using the mob of the Blackshirts for a march to 
Johannesburg and Pretoria. Smuts had known this conspiracy 
all the time. He had been informed of every step of the chief 
organizer. This man was Counsellor Stiller of the German Le- 
gation. Hertzog would never have permitted any action against 
a German diplomat. Smuts' world record in patience had re- 
mained unbroken. But now he hit out with both fists. In con- 
certed action, all over the Union, the police swooped down on 
the Nazi agents and Blackshirt leaders. Those who did not 
cross the Portuguese border in time were arrested and sent to 
camps of detention. Thus Smuts prevented a repetition of the 
1914 revolution. To general surprise there was no uprising and, 
at the beginning of the war, only very little sabotage. However, 
Hertzog was still a formidable foe. Many Boers, by no means 
all Nazi sympathizers, expressed their traditional devotion to 
their "personal leader." A crowd of twenty thousand people, 
mostly women, celebrated Hertzog in Pretoria. Within a week 
after the beginning of the war, the fallen man had captured 
the United Party machine in the Transvaal, thus far Smuts' 
stronghold. The platteland, however, remained quiet. Many 
more farmers than had been expected supported Oom Jannie. 
Smuts understood perfectly well that he had to bring his 
house in order before he could approach the other problem of 
the war effort. The miners on the Rand used the outbreak of 
the war to make exorbitant demands for wage increases. Smuts 
spoke to their bosses. The old English Trade-Union leaders, 
who, in recent years, had played a rather shadowy role, re- 
asserted their authority. The miners received a slight rise in 
wages, which were stabilized for the duration at a reasonable 
level. A National Supplies Control Board was created. Prices 



were fixed. Stringent measures to prevent hoarding and profit- 
eering were introduced. All volunteers received the promise 
that their jobs would be safeguarded for them. The social prob- 
lems, in peace times South Africa's headache number one, were 
solved within a fortnight after the beginning of the war. On 
the social and economic front there has been no unrest up to 
this day. 

Now Smuts could throw all his strength into the task closest 
to his heart: to transform the world's most pacifist country into 
a fighting unit. He passed the War Measures Bill in the House, 
which empowered the government to suspend Acts of Parlia- 
ment by proclamation but did not allow any interference with 
already existing legislation. The bill reaffirmed the provisions 
of the Defence Act that no one could be compelled to serve 
with the colors beyond Africa south of the equator. Military 
service would be compulsory only for the suppression of civil 
strife or for defending the borders of the Union. 

Recruiting started instantly. Smuts himself took the lead. His 
usually repressed romanticism blossomed. He appealed to local 
and provincial traditions, to the tribal pride both of his own 
Boers and of the Scottish, the Irish, the North Country English, 
and the stubborn Welsh who formed the British part of the 
population. Had the Cape Colony Artillery not proved its met- 
tle a hundred years earlier? Were the great traditions of the 
commandos in the Boer War forgotten? He was well aware 
that he was addressing romantic realists. The South Africans 
would be the best fed, the best paid, the best looked-after sol- 
diers in the world. They would draw at least their peacetime 
wages. Their employers would make up the difference, and 
where small employers could not do so, a pool, richly endowed 
by the mining industry, helped out. In time, Smuts promised, 
the whole South African force would be mechanized. Every 
man would learn a trade that would greatly help him in the 
technocratic world of tomorrow. They would get the best medi- 
cal care available. Above all, it would be a democratic army. 
Each man carries the marshal's baton in his knapsack. All men 
applying for commissions must first enlist in the ranks. If they 



are worth their salt they will soon prove that they are able to 
lead men. The most amazing part was that all these high-flown 
promises were carried out, word for word. 

The largest part of South Africa's youth knew that Oom Jan- 
nie would be as good as his word. All able-bodied English 
males enlisted. Among the first units organized were the Cape 
Town Highlanders and the Irish Brigade. The Boer youth was 
in commotion. The Nationalist section had no desire to die for 
Poland, a country full of hook-nosed Jews, as some were known 
on the platteland. But the majority of the Boer youth heeded 
the call to the great adventure. 

"Old Bailey" emerged out of his retirement. Again he issued 
one of his manifestoes: "You are up against Hitler, a clever 
man, but one whose veracity requires confirmation, and it 
should warn all but those who wish to be deceived. Fortunately 
we have a great Afrikaner, General Smuts. He is holding us to- 
gether, and with great dignity devoting his individual talent to 
South Africa's future. It will win him perpetual renown that he 
brought order and common sense into a dangerous position. 
When I see some of the papers attacking General Smuts, and 
I look back at their birth, I might easily be called their illegiti- 
mate father. The Dutch and the English prefer living together 
to dying together. So let us discard racialism and unite as one 
people throughout our country. Nothing will stop our collective 
march." At this time "Old Bailey" was already more of a legend 
than a man. The South African youth knew little about the 
tremendous sum of his life's achievement. But his fame as a 
prize fighter, as a huntsman, a soldier in a dozen encounters 
lived on. His manifesto was a tonic to the recruiting campaign. 

In a way the rush to the colors was even embarrassing. There 
were no uniforms, and many of those in existence had no but- 
tons. There were plenty of suspenders, but no trousers to attach 
to them. There were neither guns nor airplanes. When Smuts 
took over his old department, he found the Defence Force in 
a state of chaos. Pirow, who had held the office for almost ten 
years, had sabotaged the country's defenses because he feared 
the force would protect important industrial and urban areas 



against Nazi sabotage. Mr. Pocock, M.P., leveled this charge 
against the traitor in open Parliament. Colonel Stallard, the 
leader of the Unionists, concurred. He had himself been asked 
by Pirow when the turncoat was still Minister under the 
Crown, and before he had dropped his mask to form a Volun- 
tary Citizen Force. But he had been so badly hampered by the 
Minister that he could not carry out his task. 

In fact, after ten years of Pirow's regime the Union was de- 
fenseless. Smuts found an actual shortage of 548 trench mor- 
tars, 780 anti-tank guns, and 833 Bren guns, a shortage of al- 
most the whole artillery the Union had on paper. But for 500 
Lewis guns which Great Britain had sent in the midst of her 
own feverish rearmament after Munich, South Africa would 
have had no guns at all. Pirow had also falsified the figures of 
men in the air force. He boasted of having 2,000 skilled me- 
chanics at Roberts Heights. He never disclosed that many of 
them, after having been trained, had gone into "the industry" 
for higher wages. When Smuts took over, he found only 1,350 
mechanics at Roberts Heights, 500 of them unskilled appren- 
tices. Officers of the Ministry of Defence had investigated the 
ammunition supply. They found only stocks enough for one day 
under battle conditions, and bombs for three air squadrons for 
three days. They reported these conditions to Pirow. But the 
Minister never informed his Cabinet colleagues of this report. 

The coastal defense was entirely neglected. Port Elizabeth 
and East London, two of South Africa's four principal ports, 
had not a single gun. 

Early in 1939 Parliament had passed three million pounds for 
extraordinary Defense Services. "How much of this sum was 
spent when Mr. Pirow resigned on September 4?" Mr. Pocock 

Pirow lowered his head. 

"Nothing!" interjected Mr. Hofmeyr, the new Minister of 

"The House has adopted one of your schemes calling for 
137,000 men, including three divisions totaling 67,000 for the 
Union's normal defenses," Pocock continued. "Could you, Mr. 



Pirow, have only put two equipped divisions into the field?" 
Other questions followed like hammer blows: "Only one? . . . 
Was even a single brigade fully equipped? . . . You once told 
the House that the Union had trained and prepared 150,000 
riflemen able to take to the field. How many rifles had we at 
the outbreak of the war? . . . How many of them were fit for 
service? . . . You have assured us that die Union could place 
28,000 men in the field on very short notice. Were there last 
September 28,000 sets of equipment in this country to arm 
these men? . . . There was nothing but an Emergency Plan is- 
sued by you last March/' Mr. Pocock concluded his accusations. 
He quoted contemptuously: "No one in the forces should en- 
gender or aggravate feelings of hostility towards a state or a 
country with which the Union was at peace. It is forbidden 
to listen to overseas broadcasts, such as the British Broadcast, 
for example. . . ." 

Pirow jerked. "Why does the Prime Minister not say these 

Smuts did not yet "say these things/' because he did not talk 
at all. Once more he spent day and night at his desk, building 
up his model army from scratch. The coastal defenses came 
first. He got a last consignment of guns from England, already 
shipped in the face of the U-boat menace, while the pocket 
battleship Graf Spee was plying the waters off South Africa. 
Now Table Bay, the harbor of Cape Town, was protected by 
nine-inch guns at Robben Island, and other coastal guns were 
placed in strategic positions. The two so far undefended ports 
were armed with six-inch guns, powerful enough to keep off 
enemy cruisers. Smuts, who had always warned South Africa 
against building a "tin-can fleet" of her own, now created the 
Seaward Defence Force to clear the sea of mines and hunt 
down U-boats. It was an entirely new beginning. When he had 
come back to office, the Union's whole navy consisted of an 
obsolete, engineless, immovable, discarded English sloop, re- 
christened General Botha, and converted to a training ship. 

It was, however, impossible to protect 2,500 miles of coast- 
line with a handful of converted trawlers and whalers. Smuts 



founded the Coastal Command of the Air Force, the forerunner 
of the R.S.A.A.F., which covered itself with laurels as the war 
proceeded. It was again a very modest beginning. The South 
African Airways, the company in charge of civil aviation, had 
some twenty German Junkers with American engines. Some of 
them had already served to punish rebellious native chiefs and 
to drop food parcels to flooded areas. Now they went to war. 
The Junkers were fitted with bomb racks. Some of them did 
very well within a short time. Other machines were so old and 
obsolete that they came to pieces during the test flights. 

At the same time the Volunteer Defence Force was called up 
to guard the land approaches to the ports, power houses, am- 
munition stores, bridges and other key positions. The air was 
thick with rumors of sabotage. Pirow stumped the land and 
talked unabashed of organizing storm troops on the German 
pattern. He chose his men among the Nationalist slackers who 
were determined to sit out the war. Among a white population 
of two million, most of them spekfet strong and healthy to 
use Smuts' word, some three hundred thousand were able- 
bodied men, fit for military service. Two hundred thousand 
listened to Smuts' call for eer en plig honor and dutyand 
volunteered. A great majority joyfully accepted the orange 
flash, indicating first that they were ready to serve anywhere 
in Africa, not only south of the equator, and later that they 
would fight anywhere in the world. Finally, only volunteers for 
a global war were taken. Some twenty thousand men were 
essential war-workers or holders of industrial key positions, 
carrying a badge that identified them, but wearing it with an 
uncomfortable smile, almost apologetically. Fanners and farm 
hands were not exempt. The racialist youth listened to Pirow, 
the foreign adventurer, until a more seducing little Fuehrer 

Smuts built his army while watching one man. Mussolini was 
his personal enemy. Smuts never doubted that the Duce would 
decay until he became a mere slave of Hitler, and, in Ger- 
many's iron grip, plunge the dagger into the back of the French. 



But Smuts was more concerned about Africa. It was clear to 
him that Mussolini would thrust southward. He observed Mus- 
solini's preparations. Under the poor subterfuge of having to 
"pacify" restive native tribes, the Italians built a large highway 
south from Addis Ababa. Gasoline and oil, tanks, guns, and men 
streamed into Eritrea and Somaliland. The ports of Massawa 
and Mogadiscio were crammed with Italian submarines, tor- 
pedo boats, and all sorts of small craft. In Addis Ababa enor- 
mous assembly shops for bombers and fighters were built. All 
this indicated that as soon as France faltered an attack would 
be made on Kenya, Uganda, and finally South Africa. 

Smuts confirmed in earnest Pirow's traitorous promise of pro- 
tection to the British colonies. He took instant measures to 
strengthen their border defenses. He surrounded himself with 
a staff of ranking officers, some of whom had fought on the 
other side in the Boer War, others who were veterans from the 
First World War. He made Colonel C. H. Elaine Assistant Sec- 
retary of Defence, and General J. J. Collyer, the famous strate- 
gic theoretician, his private military secretary. Both officers had 
been his enemies in the Boer War, but his close assistants in the 
South West and East African campaigns. Sir Pierre van Ryne- 
veld, a hero of the First World War and one of the first ace 
pilots in the budding R.A.F., was appointed Chief of the Gen- 
eral Staff. Brigadier-General Dan Pienaar received the Com- 
mand of the First Division. 

The men were ready. The army was built. Voortrekkerhogte, 
the Aldershot of the Union, produced a gallant new officers' 
corps, mostly with instructors who had been officers in the last 
war, and had taken a short refresher course. Medical services, 
map-printing units, scouts, engineers, anti-aircraft units, and 
an ever-increasing corps of women auxiliaries made Oom Jan- 
nie's Force a perfect, self-contained, small model army. Racial 
differences were entirely discarded. The brothers in arms were 
the grandsons of the men who had fought one another in the 
Boer War. 

A true miracle was the shift to war production on the home 
front. Before the war, South Africa had only two industries of 



importance: mining and railways. A small factory, a depart- 
ment of the Royal Mint in Pretoria, had produced some .303 
ammunition. The total number of shells available would have 
barely sufficed for one day of active combat. Every other item 
of equipment had to be imported from Great Britain. Now Eng- 
land herself was hard pressed to manufacture enough arms for 
her own needs. South Africa must help herself in order to con- 
tribute effectively to the war effort of the British Common- 
wealth. Fortunately, the "Iscor," the Iron and Steel Corporation 
in Pretoria, was prepared for the job. Dr. van der Bijl, the man- 
ager general, became the czar of the entire South African in- 
dustry, which sprang up almost overnight. 

He developed South Africa's steel production to such an ex- 
tent that subsequently half a million spare parts a year could 
be shipped to the African battle fronts. The "Iscor" is now pro- 
ducing small arms as well as howitzers, and armored cars with 
American engines and chassis. Not only satisfying almost all 
her own military needs, the Union became famous as the repair 
shop for the Allied armies in the Middle East. No less great 
is her contribution to the Allied naval war effort. Within the 
two-year period ending in March 1943, 6,428 Allied ships 
among them American ships in increasing numbers were re- 
paired and refitted in South African ports. 

Smuts and his men were ready when Mussolini struck. In 
fact, Italy had already muscled into the war before the Duce's 
balcony speech of June 10, 1940. Some two weeks previously a 
lighthouse keeper at Agulhas, the most southernly point in 
South Africa, had detected floating mines. They were duly 
removed by South African mine sweepers. Zeesen bragged that 
the furthermost reaches of the seas were no longer inaccessible 
to German U-boats. But the mines were identified as being of 
Italian make. An investigation disclosed that some Italian craft, 
sailing under the Portuguese flag, had sown them in the Allied 
shipping lanes. 

On June 9 the Commissioner in the Italian border fortress 
Moyale dined and wined his colleague from the other side of 



the track, the British Assistant Superintendent of Police, P. L. 
Carter. In the dawn of the following morning Mr. Carter, to- 
gether with a sergeant of the sappers engineers and a Somali 
police sergeant, was kidnapped by a party under the hospitable 
Italian Commissioner's leadership. 

Some hours later Mussolini thundered from the balcony of 
Palazzo Venezia. Smuts replied in a broadcast from Pretoria. 
All South Africa was agog. Now they would have to defend 
their own skins. 

A squadron of South African Air Force took to the air and 
blasted Moyale almost out of existence. For the first time the 
war cry of the Springboks resounded: 




try's war industry, as it were, was born, the home front was 
torn by dissension. The first serious crack was revealed when 
the Sunday Times of Johannesburg disclosed Nazism inside 
the South African Broadcasting Corporation. A Committee of 
Inquiry was set up. After weeks of painstaking investigation 
the committee admitted that a section of the staff was "ani- 
mated by anti-government spirit." 

Already before the war the Nazis had tried, not altogether 
unsuccessfully, to penetrate the South African radio. Insidi- 
ously, they had parked a few fifth columnists in the offices. 
There were a number of incidents on the prewar record. Reu- 
ter's correspondent in Berlin had reported the lack of essential 
foodstuffs for the German Christinas holidays. The Afrikaans 



speaker refused to transmit this news; it would be an affront 
to Germany. Although regulations prescribed that English and 
Afrikaans broadcasts must be identical, the stubborn Afri- 
kander received permission to omit the passage to which he 
objected. On another occasion, Dr. Leitner, German Minister 
in Pretoria, complained to Hertzog that one Dr. Trimmler, a 
broadcaster imported from Berlin, had not enough liberty of 
expression; his political diatribes had been trimmed. 

After the outbreak of war, every member of the staff was 
asked to sign a declaration of loyalty to the new government. 
A number of Afrikander members refused their signatures; 
they even refused to join the Company's Employees Associa- 
tion on account of its partly English membership. Some refused 
to join the Civilian Wireless Reserve. They wanted no part in 
the war effort. When Sapa, the official South African Press As- 
sociation, distributed news from Germany which rubbed the 
Afrikaans speakers the wrong way, they would not transmit 
"sensational and possibly misleading" stuff. A few Afrikaans 
staff members were declared Nazis. They left, before being 
weeded out. On the others rested the Committee of Inquiry's 
blame of "neither giving loyal support, nor co-operating in 
carrying out the policy of the board/' 

The government made every effort to play down such inci- 
dents. Smuts was hounded by the specter of a renewed civil 
war. He confined himself to the most necessary measures for 
safeguarding the law. For the rest he trusted to his old proverb: 
'The dogs bark, while the caravan marches on." 

Hertzog led the opposition choir. He was still respectfully 
listened to, but his unprincipled vacillations confused even his 
most gullible adherents. Within a single week he was able to 
produce the following statements: On Monday he shocked the 
whole Parliament with a spiteful attack on Smuts. On Tuesday 
he addressed the caucus of his shrunken group, the Afrikander 
Party, pleading for unity, and fulminating against racialism. 
On Friday he spoke under the Kruger Statue in Pretoria: "I 
am convinced that General Smuts has acted sincerely and with 
conviction. We others must fight for neutrality by constitutional 



means." Yet he stood while speaking between Dr. Malan and 
Pirow. Next he warned his listeners in Bloemfontein that no 
division should be permitted between Afrikaans and English- 
speaking South Africans. Rather than have to watch such a 
division, he would prefer to retire from the political scene. On 
the following day he appeared, arm in arm with Dr. Malan, at 
a meeting at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, and 
shouted: "The union of the Afrikanders is reborn. The war in 
Europe is no concern of ours. We must by all means struggle 
for neutrality." He nodded, when Dr. Malan added: "A re- 
public should be the ideal of all of us." 

Smuts replied to this muddle: "General Hertzog has rendered 
great service to this country. It grieves me to see that in his old 
age he is busy destroying the great work which he did in the 
past six years, and I deeply regret that he has become a tool in 
the hands of Dr. Malan. I do not accuse him. He was misled 
by collaborators around him, and especially by one who pre- 
tends to be a 100 per cent Afrikander. But upon this man the 
people of South Africa look with deepest suspicion. This coun- 
sellor of General Hertzog was the cause of his downfall. Today 
this man is busy seeking favor with Dr. Malan. Now the nation 
must be brought into confusion, and must be torn in two, be- 
cause General Hertzog has lost the day. We shall hear a good 
deal more of the personalities to which I have referred in the 
days to come/' 

Hertzog replied by moving a peace motion in the House. 
"Germany," he said, "is being encircled and crushed while fight- 
ing to regain living space. Hitler's persecution of the Jews may 
be ugly, but it is only a passing phase of the struggle. Reports 
about alleged German barbarism in occupied Czechoslovakia 
and Poland are nothing but atrocity stories. I sympathize with 
Hitler's leader-principle. My own party is very much run on 
the same line. Hitler has always encouraged loyalty to the lead- 
ers rather than to dirty politics." 

Even the Afrikaner members of the House shook their heads. 
Was the great, little, old man mentally disturbed? At second 
glance it did not seem so. He was still as alert as ever. He could 



simply not reconcile himself with his personal disappointment. 
He exhibited the stubbornness which had always been his most 
formidable weapon, now that his set opinions and prejudices 
clashed with the country's interest. 

Pirow answered Smuts' criticism in his own inimitable way. 
He announced that he had already organized storm troops, and 
that he would build up "cells of action" inside the Nationalist 

Rarely in his long career had Smuts bothered to attack a 
personal opponent. But Pirow's challenge could not go unpun- 
ished. Smuts took off the gloves. In the session of Parliament 
on March 15 his slashing blows hammered the foreign ad- 

Smuts started with a dangerous smile, pointing out that 
Pirow had, during five years in office, omitted to carry out his 
defense plan announced in 1934. "I have no objection to the 
plan itself," he said jovially. "I will fulfill it just as I have ful- 
filled other promises made and broken by Mr. Pirow. Mr. Pirow's 
work," and now Smuts' smile faded, "was more a danger to the 
country than a protection. His plans were all right, but they 
were just grandiose plans and talk. It was all something on 
paper. Mr. Pirow has nothing to boast of." A long list of Pirow's 
sins of omission followed. Mr. Pirow left only two bombers and 
a few unusable old fighters behind, while he had planned three 
squadrons of aircraft consisting of twenty-six bombers and 
twenty-six fighters each. The artillery, ten guns instead of the 
promised ten batteries, had not enough ammunition for a single 
day's fighting. The whole tank force consisted of two obsolete 
tanks. And so on and so forth. . . . "Mr. Pirow dreamed for five 
years, publicly and before all the country," Smuts concluded. 
"Now we are working day and night, not to make a plan, but 
to make an army. That was Mr. Pirow's duty in those five years. 
But he left it completely to us. We have to do it today." 

Pirow took his punishment silently. His head was sunk be- 
tween his high-lifted shoulders. Nervously, he licked his lips. 
When the chastisement was over, his shifty eyes looked to the 
Nationalist benches in search of aid and comfort. The Nation- 



alists, for their part, looked the other way. They had not for- 
given the turncoat his "sins" in the coalition government. 
Pirow's seat-neighbor heard him cursing: "VerdammtF Then 
he got up and walked into the wilderness. 

Even his brother disassociated himself from the Nazi disciple. 
Dr. Hans Pirow, President of the South African Boy Scout As- 
sociation, declared pointedly: "The religious persecutions tak- 
ing place in the world, and even fostered by irresponsible 
trouble-makers in South Africa, and the use of racial hatred to 
serve political interests make it evident that the time has come 
to fight that type of mental disease." 

Brother Oswald was incurably contaminated. He got mixed 
up in every political mischief that occurred in war-time South 
Africa. He tried his hand as a mixer, negotiator, go-between for 
the rival racialists. Sometimes he was used, more often abused. 
He became the lone wolf. 

The first Allied reverses filled the racialists with joyful ex- 
pectation. The complete breakdown of the British Empire 
seemed near, at least from the perspective of the African bush. 
The German invasion of Norway was hailed by both Hertzog 
and Dr. Malan. Hertzog appropriated the lie that Hitler had 
been forced to act in order to remove the English-sown sea 
mines that menaced peaceful German shipping and trade. Dr. 
Malan insisted that the Germans had anticipated an Allied 

But since only few of the bearded denizens of the platteland 
knew that Norway was a country, and almost none where this 
strange land might be located, the opposition returned to harp- 
ing on domestic issues. Smuts was attacked for locking up Nazis 
and fellow travelers in internment camps. He replied by dis- 
closing new putsch plans which the Information Service had 
unearthed. Every man on the new lists was immediately ar- 
rested. He could appeal to the courts, and was sure of obtain- 
ing a legal hearing if he felt injured. Moreover, Sir Theodore 
Truter, the chief control officer of the internment camps, had 
been vice-chairman of the Transvaal United Party when Gen- 



eral Kemp, one of the most noisy rabble rousers, had been 
chairman, and was, as chairman of the Transport Board, an 
appointee of Pirow, during the latter's term as Minister for Rail- 
ways. A man with this record was certainly above suspicion of 
undue harshness against Nationalists. 

Hertzog, Havenga, his man Friday, and Pirow interrupted 
Smuts persistently whenever he spoke. The choir of Nationalists 
raised a racket so loud that no one could hear his own words. 
Rowdyism had broken out in the venerable House of Assembly, 
and it had come to stay. 

In April, however, the noise was silenced by one of Smuts' 
master strokes. He had negotiated a wool bargain with Great 
Britain that saved the wool fanners from being choked by their 
unsellable crop. Before the war the average price of South 
African wool was 8s 3d. This season's price was raised a third. 
Moreover, England pledged to share with the growers any 
profit that might accrue from reselling part of the wool abroad. 
The wool fanners in the Free State were Hertzog's staunchest 
followers. But they grabbed with both hands the profits Smuts 
had procured them from much maligned England. The Free 
State Branch of the National Association of Wool Growers re- 
solved that the agreement should continue after the war. They 
had now a personal stake in England's survival. Britain also 
bought the entire export of South African butter, cheese, and 
eggs, thus saving the agricultural market from an inevitable 
crash, since no other outlet was open to them. 

Smuts had secretly negotiated the agreement since Decem- 
ber, 1939. His position in the country was markedly strength- 
ened. A "Union Truth Legion" sprang up. More than 650,000 
signatures, far the most numerous petition ever signed in South 
Africa, urged General Smuts to carry on to peace through vic- 
tory. At a tremendous meeting in Cape Town scores of white- 
clad girls handed over to Oom Jannie seventy volumes con- 
taining the signatures. Brigadier-General H. N. W. Botha, M.P., 
assumed the chairmanship. 

Strokes of luck, good or bad, never come singly. A bombshell 
exploded in the House when Mr. Wallach, member for Pretoria- 



West, read a letter which, he said cautiously, had been ad- 
dressed to one of the most distinguished families in the Free 
State. The writer was Dr. Leyds, once the arch-enemy of Great 
Britain, who had left South Africa during the Boer War to in- 
trigue in Germany, and who had spent the next forty years in 
seclusion in Holland, writing books in which the Boer War was 
fought over and over again. His letter read: "We are sitting 
here, waiting what Hitler will do, and in this uncertain atmos- 
phere one never knows what will happen the next day. History 
can take queer turns. I with my feelings of abhorrence and 
contempt for the old Joe Chamberlain would gladly stand 
shoulder to shoulder now with his son in his fight against the 
Germans who, in my eyes, are a curse to the world. This nation, 
particularly the youth, is receiving an education which is re- 
ducing them to something worse than barbarians. Fortunately, 
I have no business in Germany, because my wife and I would 
undoubtedly and expeditiously be consigned either to a con- 
centration camp or to death." 

Dr. Leyds, the man who, by egging on Kruger, was more 
than any other individual responsible for the bloodshed of the 
Boer War, had now reached his eighty-first year. He was still 
going strong. The giant with the white lion's mane had, more 
than a year previously, been celebrated at a banquet in Cape 
Town, at which all surviving officials of the two Republics had 
been present. Smuts had eulogized him as the greatest figure, 
after Kruger, in Transvaal history. 

This man's conversion made a strong impression on the coun- 
try. But it was utterly lost on Hertzog and his followers. Hitler 
invaded the Lowlands on May 10. The abortive resistance of 
Holland and Belgium was unavailing. Two days after the rape 
of Holland Dr. Leyds died. He had retired into a hospital when 
the Germans came, but he could not bear the incessant tramp- 
ing of the Nazi jack boots. His son had already been for some 
time in London. He had obtained British citizenship, and, al- 
though himself advanced in years, joined the English Home 

A fluctuating majority of the Boers, comprising the progres- 



sive part as well as most of the fence sitters, received the news 
of the fall of the Netherlands, their mother country, with a 
deep shock. Only the racialists appeared completely unper- 
turbed. They had never felt any sympathy for the older, richer, 
and more civilized country from which their ancestors had once 
been kicked out. Furthermore, they hated the arrogant Hol- 
landers in their own midst. 

Hertzog, who, fifty years before, leaving the University of 
Utrecht, had written the well-meant verse: "Adieu, thou land 
of freedom sprung, By freedom's bracing power sustained . . ." 
shunned the special session of the House, convoked for a sym- 
pathy demonstration toward Holland. He retired to his farm, 
leaving behind the message to his people: "Let us not become 
partisans toward one or the other nation or country/* In Parlia- 
ment, Dr. Malan, substituting for the leader, declared that he 
felt sympathy for Belgium or Holland, but that the nature of 
modern warfare explained Hitler's lightning invasions suffi- 
ciently, and that the Fuehrer's desire to seize the important 
naval bases of Flanders was perfectly legitimate. Neither Hol- 
land, nor Belgium, nor the Hollanders living in South Africa 
could expect him, Dr. Malan, to erase his neutrality motto on 
their behalf. 

Smuts cabled to Queen Wilhelmina in London: "All South 
Africa would consider it the greatest honor to offer sanctuary to 
the Netherlands Royal Family." The officers of the Secret Serv- 
ice sighed with relief when this friendly offer was most gra- 
ciously declined. The Hertzogite Press was so viciously sputter- 
ing at refugees, royal or Jewish, that the task of protecting the 
Queen's life would have been immensely difficult. 

Smuts broadcast an impassionate speech about German ag- 
gression. "Now you see," he addressed his own people, "that 
neutrality does not mean protection. Germany stops at nothing. 
Unless we resist, our day will come as it has come to other 
nations. But Dr. Malan still sticks to neutrality. He is getting 
deeper and deeper into the mud. I leave him there." 

Even in Stellenbosch demonstrations of sympathy with Hol- 
land occurred. Professor Keet of the Theological Seminary, the 



stronghold of Calvinistic reaction, confessed: "We should no 
longer be civilized people if we did not condemn this crime. 
In our hearts there can never be neutrality toward this act of 
barbarism." Yet the great majority of Stellenbosch professors 
displayed their Nazism ever more shamelessly, and the univer- 
sity, already the Mecca of the fighting Afrikaners, was soon to 
become the parade ground of a new revolutionary movement. 

On the whole, Hitler's rape of Holland strengthened Smuts' 
position in the country. Parliament passed a special credit of 
eight million pounds four times the amount of the normal mili- 
tary budget for the Defence Force. The bill was voted without 
debate. The Nationalists did not appear in the House. Evi- 
dently they feared to provoke the prevailing sentiment too out- 
rageously. But on the next day Dr. Malan resumed his vitupera- 
tions. Germany had invaded the Netherlands for the Dutch 
people's own good, he said. Zeesen had broadcast the same 
phrase a few hours before. 

Thousands of new recruits flocked to the colors. Cape Town 
was in a patriotic ecstasy. Table Bay was crammed with British 
sea giants. A merchant fleet of almost 300,000 tons, among 
them the Queen Mary, the Aquitania, and the Mauretania, 
protected by some 200,000 tons of naval vessels, had brought 
the greatest convoy of troops that thus far had crossed the seas, 
to proceed through South Africa to the Middle East. Smuts 
and Wavell had laid out the plan a month before, when Wavell 
had been in Cape Town on a flying visit. Shoulder to shoulder 
with the Aussies and the New Zealanders, whom the ships had 
brought, the first contingent of the Springboks left for the front. 
They were in high spirits, lusting for a go at the "Eyties." The 
railway coaches were chalked with inscriptions: "Attention, 
Musso! . . . Next stop Rome! . . ." 

In his old general's coat, which he had worn on the Western 
front, but now with the orange flash on the shoulder, Smuts 
was among his men. He bade them farewell: "More no man 
can do than offer his life for his friends. That offer, the highest 
and most solemn offer a man can make, you are now making. 



You are going to face hardships, danger, and sacrifice, perhaps 
death itself in all its fiercest forms. But through it all you will 
gather the experience of life and enrichment of character which 
is more valuable than gold or precious stones. You will become 
better and stronger men. You will not return the same as you 
went. You will bring back memories which you and yours will 
treasure for life. You will not be mere items of the population. 
You will come back as builders of your own nation. Your chil- 
dren will be proud of you. A nation is never proud of its Tiands- 
uppers/ its fence sitters, its players for safety." 

Oom Jannie was now truly his soldiers' father. In the teeth 
of an incessant campaign of hatred and slander, such as no 
other man in public life is exposed to, living in a world of 
thoughts, hard realism and dreams of the millennium mingled, 
he felt and acted, above all, as the guardian of his happy war- 
riors. Each of his "beloved sons," as the otherwise reserved old 
man repeatedly called them, was his personal ward. He ap- 
pointed a committee, composed of Cabinet members and medi- 
cal men, to investigate conditions in the Defence Force. There 
were initial difficulties, inevitable in view of the rapid growth 
of this fine volunteer army, to be overcome. There was too 
much red tape. Professional officers were in some cases not suffi- 
ciently versed in handling problems of administration and or- 
ganization. Inter-departmental rivalries blossomed as in every 
new and great establishment. In the purely military sphere, 
however in regard to training, discipline, mechanization the 
job was supremely well done. 

Smuts appointed Dr. A. J. Orenstein, an American, Director 
of the Union's Military Medical Service. Dr. Orenstein had for 
seven years served as a member of the Panama Canal Medical 
Service, and had won fame for his mosquito control. Then he 
was called to become chief medical adviser to the Corner House 
group, the largest mining combine in Johannesburg. Now he 
worked miracles in protecting the Springboks against the poi- 
sonous flies and insects, the principal enemy in the African 
theater of war. Smuts himself saw to it that his beloved sons 
should get the right diet: no longer the stormjaegers and the 



maagbomme on which their grandfathers in the Boer War had 
thrived, but vitamins and calories. The Springboks were the 
first combat troops to get concentrated orange juice with their 
rations. They were treated according to General Smuts' own 
prescription: give them plenty of good, wholesome food, com- 
bined with hard training and ample opportunity for recreation. 

On the tenth of August they took Kornidil, south east of 
Moyale. The drive against the Italian Colonial Empire was on, 
with the Springboks in the vanguard. At the same time the 
South African Air Force went out daily to intercept the air 
pirates of the Regia Aeronautica. 

While watching and supervising the progress his troops were 
making, Smuts set himself another task. He was going to make 
"the South African coast no place for hostile battleships/' Colo- 
nel Craig, Deputy Director of Fortifications, who had just 
finished the work on the great new harbor of Cape Town, per- 
fected the fortifications on Robben Island and on the mountain- 
side above LJandudno, where General Smuts' 9.2-inch howitzers 
now occupied the sites of Pirow's blue-funk 15-inch guns. 

A few days after South African forces had entered active 
combat, the doom of France was sealed. Smuts was not sur- 
prised. He had always believed that France was gravely over- 
rated. But this darkest hour of the war, the moment of the 
gravest shock, spurred him to a renewed confession of faith: 
'The Dominions are unhesitatingly ranging themselves along- 
side Great Britain in her resolve to continue the war, even if 
she has to stand alone. Of all the Dominions South Africa is in 
the gravest danger, and her interest in taking this stand is there- 
fore the greatest of all. Germany has her historic ambitions in 
Africa, and South Africa with her gold and mineral resources 
and her strategic position in this world is the prize most worth 
having on our continent. If Germany wins this war nothing will 
save this country. We can therefore but choose to stand with 
Great Britain to the end in this mortal struggle. . . . Don't be 
downhearted! By next year Germany's war effort will be crip- 
pled, and the tide of war will begin to turn. Germany's ambi- 



tions and her thrust toward world hegemony will have raised 
a world war in which the alignment of powers will be very dif- 
ferent from what it is today. The end might come with the same 
suddenness of collapse as that which ended her victorious career 
in the last war. This war, which began as Hitler's war, will end 
as God's war!" 

Only Winston Churchill, and no third man in the world, 
could speak with the same great vision and determined confi- 
dence. Churchill, indeed, replied: "The great General Smuts 
of South Africa, that wonderful man with his immense and 
profound mind, his eyes watching from the distance the whole 
panorama of European affairs, does well deserve our gratitude/' 

Hertzog, on the other hand, thought differently about Smuts' 
merits. The fallen leader was already surviving himself. Men- 
tally unbalanced, he had retired into the seclusion of his Sabine 
farm at Waterval. There he wrote a letter to Smuts: "In view 
of the disastrous course of the war and the collapse of the Al- 
lied forces, our further participation in hostilities against Ger- 
many and Italy threatens the existence of the country and the 
people. You will forgive me if I say now that as far as South 
Africa is concerned the time has come to put an end to this 
game of self-deceit, and of deception of the people. I demand 
immediate steps to withdraw from the war." 

Smuts firmly rejected Hertzog's "dishonorable proposal," 
pointing out that it had already been rejected by Parliament 
on September 4, 1939, and would undoubtedly meet the same 
fate again. "The government," he concluded, "will carry out 
the policy on the mandate of Parliament, and will not allow 
the execution of that policy to be nullified by propaganda or 
threats of violence." He did not comment on the fact that Hert- 
zog's letter, in violation of all rules of decency, had been pub- 
lished by Die Vaderland, Hertzog's mouthpiece in Johannes- 
burg, before it had reached its recipient. 

The open letter kindled the ire of all the Nationalists in 
Johannesburg, a particularly spiteful lot, living as a small mi- 
nority, submerged by an overwhelmingly English population. 
Two hours after Die Vaderland was sold on the streets, three 



Hertzogite hooligans, disguised as policemen, called upon Mr. 
F. M. B. Ferreira, a member of the East Rand Board School 
and a local leader of the 'Truth Legion." They kidnapped him, 
drove him to a lonesome spot, stripped him of his clothes, and 
tarred and feathered him. 

On the home front the rule of terror began. 

While the war went from bad to worse for the British Com- 
monwealth, now alone defending the ramparts of human free- 
dom, the seditious movement in South Africa increased by 
leaps and bounds. Hertzog lent it whatever strength he had 
left, although he was already more a shadowy figure than a 
protagonist. Dr. Malan had achieved the aim of his hypocritical 
life. He had dethroned his leader, and was now boss himself. 
He founded the Herenigde (re-united) Nasionale Party. Most 
of the Nationalistic rabble congregated around him. Only a 
handful of faithful followers remained true to their "personal 
leader." They offset in noise what they lacked in numbers. 

Dr. Malan coined a new slogan: "Smutskowitz's" he used 
the name Eric Holm, the traitor of Zeesen had coined "duxmg- 
maatreels (measures of enforcement) must be stopped by all 
means, and the broeder-oorlog (fratricidal strife) between 
Boers and Germans must come to an end." He was little con- 
cerned about the fact that he himself was inciting to broeder- 
oorlog in his own nation. 

His underlings outcried and outbid one another. Following 
Hitler's advice to make one man the single scapegoat for all 
evils, their barrage of lies and calumny was concentrated on 
Smuts. General Kemp, the traitor of 1914, later minister in the 
coalition government, invaded Smuts' own camp. In Malmes- 
bury, Cape Colony, whence Smuts hailed, he addressed a 
meeting crowding the town hall: "England has become the de- 
fender of the small nations only to plunder and rob them of 
their possessions. Never again will I hold out the hand of 
friendship to General Smuts." 

Pirow, the foreign adventurer, went more slyly to work. In 
Pretoria he said calmly: "The occasion might well arise that 



South Africa would voluntarily side with Great Britain in a war, 
for instance if Japan were the enemy. But never, never against 

The first rumblings about the Ossewa Brandwagihe senti- 
nels of the oxcart were heard. Smuts insinuated, ever in his 
cautious legalistic language, "that this new movement had 
negotiated with the Nazis with a view to its being used as an 
instrument for acts of an illegal nature." It was a deliberate 
understatement. Smuts knew perfectly well the name of the 
Nazi official involved, a former counsellor of the German lega- 
tion in Pretoria, as well as the identity of the Brandwagters 
who had met him in Portuguese Louren9o Marques. But Mr. 
Sauer, the chief whip of the Herenigde Party, shouted: 'The 
Ossewa Brandwag is a purely cultural movement! If Smuts 
looks for treason, he shall look before his own door." 

Messieurs Bruckner de Villiers, Nationalistic Senator and 
chairman of Die Burger, and Senator Oosthuisen, another spon- 
sor of Dr. Malan, themselves two of the fattest moneybags in 
South Africa, called Smuts "the slave of capitalism." 

In Parliament Dr. Malan and his followers lavished praises 
on Adolf Hitler, and bolstered up the demand for neutrality 
with fulminations against General Smuts, "himself the most 
ruthless dictator." 

Hen Pirow, and General Kemp, not satisfied even with these 
excesses of the Herenigde Party, founded splinter groups of 
their own. Pirow's program was: proclamation of a Republic, 
immediate peace, cancellation of the Simon's Town agreement, 
recognition of Die Stem as the sole national anthem, stricter 
censorship to stop "imperialistic propaganda." When he left 
the University of Pretoria, where he had made this declaration, 
deliberately in an old-fashioned horse and buggy, the enthused 
students outspanned the horses and themselves dragged the car 
to the railroad station. 

His followers closed the ranks around the Old Master. Hof- 
meyr, Steyn and Reitz the latter two sons of republican leaders 
in the Boer War fought valiantly for their chief. Once more 
"Old Bailey" came to help. Although both his legs had been 



amputated within the last year, he was still possessed with his 
old zest for life. He could not pass away without a last joke, 
full of a deeper meaning. His swan song read: "I have always 
joyed in Africa. Here I am, maybe the largest landowner and 
farmer in the world. I grow horses, cattle, sheep, tobacco, and 
over five thousand tons of fruit a year. As the Yankees say: 
We eat what we can, and can what we can't!' I have had a 
colorful life, unique, perhaps, in the history of the world. Now 
I am old, and a little deaf. So I cannot hear anyone speaking 
about me behind my back. With all my increasing infirmities 
I shall soon be taking a non-stop into the next world. I shall 
certainly not live long enough to see my legs grow again. But 
I do not wish to hear some people talking of how they hate 
living in this period. Personally, I should think they would be 
proud of the experience, and do what they can to win the 

To Smuts, his own fate, the fate of one individual mattered 
little in this time of storm and stress. He was satisfied with the 
rapid growth of the Union Army, and with their proud progress. 
In Groote Schuur he gave the prescribed annual garden party 
for four thousand members of the United Party. Each of the 
guests was astonished at how well the Old Master knew all his 
visitors' names and families, and how he even remembered 
where their farms were located. 

On July 27, street rioting flared up in Cape Town. Nazi pam- 
phlets in large bundles had been left in the tram cars. The 
population was sick of the constant provocation. Nazi fellow 
travelers had a bad time. Smuts spoke over the radio, beseech- 
ing his people not to follow the example of lawlessness. His 
voice sounded harsh. Was he heartbroken? Smuts heartbroken? 
It was simply that he had a heavy cold. Since he believed the 
situation to be firmly in hand, he heeded his doctor's advice, 
and retired for a few days to the lowveld. There he botanized 
with a vengeance, and returned, his cold worse than ever. 



Chapter 30 


headlines of the Nationalist press. 

So Hitler had done it. He was in London. The swastika was 
waving over Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. Now 
was the moment to unfurl and to hoist all the hidden Vierkleurs, 
from Table Mountain to the Limpopo. Now was the chance to 
bring Smuts to account. 

Unfortunately, the man who captured Churchill had done so 
almost forty years earlier. Now, at the blessed age of seventy- 
nine, Mr. Richard Alexander Knipe, of Zoekmakaar, headmaster 
of the Christelike Nasionale Onderwys Skoolone of those 
private schools under the supervision of the Dutch Gerefor- 
meerde Church in which the children learned the ABC from 
Nazi pamphlets had peacefully passed away. The Nationalist 
press told the story of his life and death in that sensational 
manner that passed in Keerom Street for "Americanism/' 

The much-mourned headmaster had also been a popular 
author, a regular contributor to Die Kerkbode (The Church 
Messenger) and Die Huisgenoot (The Home Companion), 
except for the Old Testament the only reading matter on the 
platteland. For almost forty years he had repeated the same 
story, and ever again it kindled the imagination of the nation 
with the longest memory. Mr. Knipe, his story went, had cap- 
tured Winston Churchill during the Boer War. Somewhere 
near the Germiston station, he pretended, he had seen a horse 
that could not possibly have belonged to a Boer. The mare 
looked suspicious, and so did the small house with the shut- 
tered windows in front of which she stood. Far from venturing 
upon a dangerous frontal attack, such as kicking open the door, 
Mr. Knipe boasted of having "besieged" the hut, until a hatless, 



beardless man came out. He threw up his hands. "My name is 
Winston Churchill," he introduced himself. 

In itself the story was of no importance. South Africa is still 
seething with old-timers who have singlehanded taken prisoner 
the British warlord. But the headlines caused by the death of 
a small fry from the backveld, characterized the state of mind 
of many Boers. While their sons sweated their way through 
Italian Somaliland, the fathers and grandfathers fought the 
Boer War all over again. 

So did the mothers. On Sunday, June 23, 1940, more than 
seven thousand well-organized Boer mothers, their gray hair 
still severely brushed back, clad in cheap imitations of the cos- 
tume the Voortrekker vrouwe used to wear, duly primed and 
assured of the Lord's blessing by the Reverend P. J. de Klerk, 
staged a peace-at-any-price demonstration in Pretoria. Smuts 
refused to receive their delegation. Until Monday night no re- 
spectable citizen of the capital ventured on to die streets, for 
fear of being attacked by the parasol-armed, peace-minded 

The Afrikander universities were rebellious. In Johannes- 
burg, on July 1, Smuts addressed a meeting of the National 
Union of South African Students. He tried hard to explain the 
problem of the war. "If the enemy attack succeeds finally, this 
noble order into which we were born will be destroyed, free- 
dom and justice, mercy and humanity will be blotted out, and 
another dark age will settle over this fair world. The State will 
be totalitarian, omnipotent, and will be the new deity. The 
human individual will become an automaton, without freedom 
or rights, without a soul to call his own. Instead of the upward 
reach to the stars, we shall follow the downward and backward 
road to the beehive or the antheap. The lights of the mind and 
the soul will be dimmed or extinguished in the new blackout 
of the human spirit." 

Whereupon Constable Gert Hendrik Theunissen, of the 
Cleveland Police Commissariat, Johannesburg, on duty at the 
door of the hall, remarked to Constable Verwey: "I wish I had 



a revolver. Then I could shoot the dead, when he comes 

The subsequent investigation disclosed that Theunissen had 
been transferred from the alien registration branch of the police 
special staff, where he had easy and pleasant duties, to the 
fatiguing job of tramping his beat, because he had failed to 
take the oath. Of course, that Smuts was guilty for his trans- 
fer. Theunissen declared unabashed that he wanted to go to 
Pretoria to help the students in their contemplated revolt, be- 
cause "the police were treated just like slaves." He admitted 
frankly that he was a champion of the Nazi cause and in the 
habit of giving the Hitler salute. 

Innocently, Constable S. R. Excell, a witness, testified: "It is 
fashionable at Cleveland barracks to discuss politics openly, 
defying the government. Theunissen is by no means the only 
one at Cleveland to hold anti-Smuts views. Many comrades 
have said to those who did take the oath of allegiance to the 
government that they were now on Hitler's blacklist, and if he 
wins, they will be in for it. Theunissen would not take the oath 
since he had no intention of fighting for a dog like Smuts. And 
if it were in his power, he said, others would not fight either. 
At least not on the English side. A large section of the Johan- 
nesburg police celebrated the fall of Paris, and other Nazi suc- 

On Smuts' personal intervention, Theunissen was only ac- 
cused on a charge of using improper language in a public place, 
or, alternatively, with conduct incompatible with the proper 
conduct of a member of the police force. 

A few days after Smuts' address to the students in Johannes- 
burg the first open disturbances broke out. Characteristically, 
they occurred in the internment camp at Baviaanspoort, where 
1,200 Germans were detained. The internees were leading most 
comfortable lives, under conditions far excelling the regulations 
prescribed by the Geneva Convention. Their food was good 
and ample, beer and tobacco were among their privileges; they 



were allowed radio sets, newspapers, and visitors. Thousands 
of racialists obtained, under the most flimsy pretenses, visitors* 
passes. They assured the poor Nazis that the whole country was 
in sympathy with them. 

Incited by such assurances, the entire body of internees re- 
volted. The unarmed wardens, among them a good number of 
Nazi sympathizers, were either too weak or unwilling to restore 
order. Police had to be called in. Only using their batons, they 
broke up the upheaval. A hundred internees suffered slight in- 
juries and bruises, two ringleaders were moved to the Johannes- 
burg prison. German arrogance had suffered a defeat. 

But what would Hitler think of the beating up of his faithful 
followers? The collapse of France was still a fresh memory, and 
an invasion of England seemed not unlikely. Certainly the Al- 
lied cause was done for, and the internees from Baviaanspoort 
would be South Africa's gauleiters and district-leaders of to- 
morrow. Senator Brebner, otherwise a comparatively moderate 
Nationalist, declared: "General Smuts is in the position of the 
former French Prime Minister Reynaud, who could not con- 
clude an honorable peace because of his previous invectives 
against Germany. This is the danger General Smuts represents. 
His words are worse and more scandalous than Reynaud's. 
General Smuts will continue to speak about the *beast of Ber- 
lin* and will continue to bring South Africa more and more into 
danger. The time will come when another government will 
have to be set up to do the things General Smuts will not be 
able to do!" 

Instead of answering the calumny, Smuts broadcast to the 
people of Great Britain and America. "Although the Germans 
can show an uninterrupted series of most spectacular successes, 
England will prove an impregnable fortress if Hitler attacks 
her. If Hitler does not attack, he is equally lost. He will in the 
end be unable to hold down the vast populations whom he is 
dominating, starving, and seeking to enslave. To the specter 
of a Nazi-dominated Europe we oppose the vision of a truly 
free Europe. Freedom still remains our sovereign remedy for 
the ills from which human society is suffering. But we have 



also learned that discipline and organization must go hand in 
hand with freedom. We therefore aim at a society of nations 
which will possess a central organization equipped with the 
necessary authority and power to supervise the common con- 
cerns of mankind. In such an international society there will be 
no place for self-appointed leaders and fuehrers. He who will 
be master, shall be servant. Our aim and motto will be a nation 
of free men and women, an international society of free nations/' 

It certainly took courage to prophesy a new world during 
the very hours the blitz struck London with bestial fury. Eng- 
land was no less courageous than General Smuts. While the 
battle of Britain was at its peak, a large number of heavy Mar- 
tin bombers, originally destined for France, were diverted to 
South African pilots, enabling them to wreak havoc on Musso- 
lini's African positions. "The South African Air Force plays a 
vital and brilliant role," Sir Archibald Sinclair attested. 

At the same time the various groups of Boer Nationalists and 
racialists, defeatists and pro-Nazis struggled for position on the 
home front, each outbidding the other for Hitler's grace. Secret 
societies mushroomed, others came out into the open, all were 
the objects of violent rivalries between the republican leaders 
and underlings. Colonel J. C. Laas startled South Africa with 
his sudden demand for supreme authority for his Ossewa Brand- 
wag, since only a "military group" could maintain order. The 
O. B., a prewar growth, started in the beginning of 1939, had 
thus far deceitfully claimed to be nothing more than a cultural 
and social society, devoted to the "awakening and development 
of the Afrikander's national pride." Smuts had known for a long 
time that a great number of O. B. leaders and members had 
been using their "cultural" organization for sinister ends. He 
knew that supporters of his government had been eliminated, 
and that the O. B. was developing along military lines. Yet he 
did nothing to root out this weed. Watchfulness, he trusted, 
would be enough. 

Perhaps the old tactician also relied on the ferocious com- 
petition going on within the Afrikander camp. Pirow tried to 
best the O. B. in adding a Handhawersbondleagae of artisans 



to his storm troopers, assigning to his new foundation the 
functions of a South African Gestapo. But when the Handha- 
toersbond was making headway, the same dark forces that 
really dominated political Afrikanderdom, and to whom the 
German turncoat was never more than a contemptible instru- 
ment, kicked him out of his own foundation. A Reddingsdaad 
Bond, an economic league to promote Afrikander small business 
at the expense of English and Jewish, and an F. A. K. ( Union 
for Afrikaans Culture) added to the number of subversive 
groups. Keerom Street, Dr. Malan's headquarters, wrangled 
violently with the last Hertzogites, now practically led by Mr. 
Havenga, for domination of these societies. Malan's personal 
enemies attempted to set up a Boerevolk organization to unite 
the gray-bearded survivors of the Boer War and their descend- 
ants in an Afrikander elite, which would exclude the instru- 
ments of Keerom Street. They succeeded in driving Dr. Malan 
from Cape Town, where he had spent most of his life. Under 
the pretext that the center of South African politics had shifted 
to the Transvaal, the old man with his wife moved to Pretoria. 
The change of air did him no good. The capital smiled at dour 
Dr. Malan who could so ill conceal his nostalgia for the bustle 
of Adderley Street, the Table Mountain mists, the oak-lined 
avenues, and the koffiehuise of the mother city. He tried to 
work off his personal ill-feeling in redoubled radicalism. His 
Purified Nationalists, Die Suiderstem, Smuts' mouthpiece, dis- 
closed, had worked out a plan for a Christian-Nationalist Re- 
public on the Nazi pattern. Mass meetings in the four provinces 
should culminate in a National Convention at Bloemfontein: 
"the one great meeting before we are free." 

Smuts called in all the rifles in the hands of the civil popula- 
tion. His object, he explained, was not to disarm the people, 
but simply to get the small arms which were so necessary for 
the defense of South Africa. Rifles, he insisted, were the scarcest 
war-requirement in today's world. But he added: "The govern- 
ment cannot be accused of having abused its powers. If there 
is any charge against the government with a semblance of sub- 
stance, it is the charge that the government is being far too 



lenient. There is not a single government anywhere in the 
world which would have allowed what the Union government 
has allowed. The government has done so because it realizes 
the peculiar position in South Africa. It appreciates the political 
differences between the people, and knows that it has to make 
allowance for exaggerations in speech. We shall continue to be 
patient with the people of South Africa," he concluded, "but 
if there are minority influences doing subversive work, I wish 
to tell the country that the full powers of the War Measures 
Bill will be used." 

To test his determination, the racialists invented a particu- 
larly insolent provocation. Cape Town observed a two-minute 
pause at noon. When the bugles sounded, all traffic, walking, 
speaking on the streets stopped. In reverent silence the popula- 
tion paid homage to the heroes and the victims of the war. Eric 
Louw, a Nationalist youth leader, suggested to the students of 
Stellenbosch that they should band together and parade Ad- 
derley Street in Cape Town during the noon pause, to disturb 
the sacred and solemn moment which most passers-by used for 
a short prayer. On July 29, a group of Stellenbosch academic 
hoodlums, indeed, appeared in the center of Cape Town. The 
very moment the bugles had sounded the pause, the hooligans 
crossed Adderley Street, laughing and shouting raucously. For 
two minutes the noise-makers remained undisturbed. Then 
literally all Adderley Street turned on them, and they received 
an unforgettable thrashing. 

At the same time other university hoodlums, back in Stellen- 
bosch, attacked and beat up the colored news vendors, chil- 
dren between six and twelve, who sold English-language pa- 
pers. Some grown-up natives tried to defend the newsboys. The 
local police interfered. They pushed back the natives, and pro- 
tected the academic rabble. 

The score in the South African Civil War was 1 to 1 Cape 
Town pro-war, Stellenbosch anti-war when, on August 1, 1940, 
the Springboks entered active combat. Ten days later they oc- 
cupied Kornidel, south east of Moyale. It was a glorious bap- 
tism of fire. 



Within a fortnight the R.S.A.A.F. had established its superi- 
ority in the skies above Italian East Africa. Overnight the 
budding air aces became national heroes, better known by their 
nicknames such as "Sultan" or "Sheik." The most hilarious 
among the many stories about them was the account of "Sul- 
tan," who was sitting in a tree, clad only in drawers, when an 
air-raid warning announced the enemy's approach. "Sultan" 
rushed through the bush to his plane in a minute, and was 
climbing skyward. It took him another five minutes to shoot 
down a Caproni. The Italian mechanic was killed. But the pilot, 
although burned and sorely wounded, still looking smart in his 
snow-white uniform, glanced at his victorious foe and remarked 
acidly: "To think that I, an ace of three wars, should have been 
shot down by a naked ape!" 

The Air Force was the pride of South Africa. The artillery 
and the tankmen ran a close second. The Union was proud of 
its new tanks and howitzers, the first to be manufactured in 
the country, and already coming rapidly off the assembly lines. 
The old Imperial barracks at Potchefstroom were converted 
into a huge training camp for the South African Artillery. 
Potchefstroom is also the site of University College. The atti- 
tude of the hopeful youth was explained by the chairman of 
the Students' Representative Council, a youngster by the name 
of Coetzee: "We stand aloof from the soldiers. We walk out 
of the movies while God Save the King is being played. We 
should all be interned for republican sympathy. We refuse to 
fight against Germany." 

But they did not refuse to attack solitary soldiers who had 
come from the camp for an evening stroll through the town. A 
sergeant by the name of Poth was pushed off the sidewalk and 
kicked into the gutter. "Soldiers are not allowed with decent 
people on the sidewalk," his assailants said. A few minutes 
later a number of other students dragged a soldier from his 
motorcycle. He had a bad fall. "Serves him right for wearing 
khaki!" commented a belle. "It's a pity he was not killed out- 
right," nodded another. Both girls wore Normal College blazers. 
Corporal Oats was attacked by five young men, mercilessly 



beaten, and had to be taken to a hospital. It became the general 
custom among the blazer-wearers to give the Nazi salute when 
they saw a soldier approaching. A gunner's wife was spat at by 
three women. "We don't want General Smuts!" was the ex- 
planation. Even Colonel Noel Poulton, commander at Potchef- 
stroom, was waylaid by students on a narrow street corner, 
where he was turning his car, spat at, insulted in the most 
obscene manner, and followed by a jeering crowd as he drove 

For a few days rowdyism went unchecked. But on the eve- 
ning of August 7 five hundred artillerymen, who had lost 
their patience, gathered in front of University College, and 
gave every student that fell into their hands a severe beating. 
The young rowdies retreated into the building. Armed with 
nothing more than sticks and make-shift weapons, the artillery- 
men followed them into the premises. The students retreated to 
the upper floor. A few soldiers pursued them. The first to place 
his hand on a stair-rail received a violent shock, and was thrown 
back. The ingenious students had charged the stair-rails with 
electricity. After suffering three or four casualties, the soldiers 
understood the device, and applied their hands where they 
rightly belonged. For weeks scores of students went about with 
black eyes. The King's uniform was no longer insulted in 

But the students were by no means disheartened. They re- 
ceived support of the Church. The Reverend J. D. Vorster 
addressed the Afrikaanse Nasionale Studentenbound: "Hitler's 
M ein Kampf points the way to greatness. Afrikanders must be 
fired by the same holy fanaticism that inspires the Nazis. . . . 
The foundation of the republic shall be that the Afrikander 
shall no longer co-operate with the Englishman. He will lay 
down the conditions, and the Englishman will be compelled to 
subscribe. The Englishman must also surrender his language. 
We want to hear nothing more about this liberal-democratic 

The Reverend Jacobus Daniel Vorster, Minister of the Nuwe 
Kerk, Bree Street, Cape Town, was a "general" in the Ossewa 



Brandwag, like many of his brethren, and a very zealous one 
into the bargain. He induced Corporal Broegart of the Coastal 
Command in Simon's Town to betray defense secrets, the num- 
bers of batteries, caliber of guns, the strength of the garrison, 
which immediately found their way to the German espionage 
center in Louren9o Marques. Broegart suffered pangs of con- 
science, and went to the police to confess. "General" the Rever- 
end Vorster was arrested and tried. During his trial Mr. Har- 
toges, the magistrate, received a threatening letter, signed 
"Trou En Trots, Die Memse wot Verraaiers doodskiet" ( Faithful 
and proud, the people who shoot traitors dead) . Also the Crown 
witnesses were threatened with murder. Nevertheless, Vorster 
was sentenced to a long term. 

His Church did not dare to side openly with the traitor. 
However, the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in the 
Free State sent a message to Smuts: "The Church cannot be 
convinced that the German people are out to destroy Chris- 
tianity and its principles. As to Hitler's alleged plan of world 
domination, the Church does not know what goes on in Hitler's 
heart. He who sheds blood and tears merely on suppositions 
goes too far. The Afrikanders did indeed choose to stay out of 
the war, but in Parliament they were outvoted by the repre- 
sentatives of the other section which in origin, tradition, voca- 
tion and interest are opposed to the Afrikaans-speaking people. 
Now these people are not only being governed by an alien 
majority who are themselves afraid of going and fighting a 
bloody war, but they are also being dragged, life and property, 
into this war. The people, therefore, do not recognize a govern- 
ment ruling at its own discretion. The people must always and 
in everything be more obedient to their God than to their gov- 
ernment. The Church urges the government to make immediate 
peace, and bases its request on the Word of God. In the name 
of the Synod: P. H. van Huyssteen." 

Exactly one week after this message was published, one of 
its authors, by the name of Christiaan Rudolph Kotze, a Minis- 
ter of the Chief Dutch Reformed Church in Bloemfontein, was 
indicted by the Circuit Court for common assault. 



The Ossewa Brandwag was encouraged. It organized politi- 
cal demonstration in the Churches. The Wolseley congregation, 
which had been united for two years after having been split 
for longer than a century over a previous dispute, was again 
torn asunder. The Kerkraad (Church Council) asked the min- 
ister to cancel a service to which men and women of the local 
O. B. marched in serried ranks. The minister declined, where- 
upon the greater part of the congregation left. Old women 
wept: "There is no longer room for us in our churchl" Having 
won the day, the O. B. group roared, in front of the crucifix, 
the hymn Afrikanders, Landgenote, which is sung to the tune 
of "Deutschland iiber Alles " 

Strangely, the strongest resistance against Nazification of the 
Church came from a German minister. The Reverend Wilhelm 
Luckhoff, Minister of the German Lutheran Church at Bloem- 
fontein, declared that Nazism and Christianity were in an ir- 
reconcilable conflict. The members of his church council cen- 
sored him. During the first week of the conflict he received 
three threatening letters, one of which read: "Pastor, you are 
a marked man. I must earnestly request you to leave the coun- 
try at the earliest possible moment for your own safety. They 
know everything about you: all the information you have given 
about your countrymen, your trips up here, your contacts with 
the heads of departments, etc., etc. Your life is in danger. 
Friend." The strangest thing about this letter was its envelope. 
It bore the imprint of the Office of Patents, Designs, Trade 
Marks and Copyrights, and was posted at Johannesburg. 

When members of the congregation asked the Reverend 
Luckhoff to pray for Hitler, the Niemoller of South Africa re- 
plied: "To ask God's blessing on Hitler's person would be a 
mockery of prayer." He was instantly dismissed. His farewell 
sermon was based on the text: "He that is not with me is 
against me, and he that gathered not with me, scattereth 

Pirow covered the country, speaking darkly of the coming 
social and economic revolution, a new system of government, 



military education for the nation, and a new relation between 
state and citizen. "We require nothing less than an economic 
and socialistic revolution," he asserted. "The state will have to 
look after the citizens in a manner which today would be re- 
garded as Utopian. The citizen should have to submit himself 
to a control which today would be regarded as militaristic. The 
domination by capitalism and by the capital-controlled press 
must stop/' Even Keerom Street was afraid of this undiluted 
Nazism. Pirow's speeches were tucked away in the Nationalist 
press. Yet the difference was only one of degree: while Pirow 
dreamed of a sub-Nazi dictatorship, he himself lording it over 
South Africa, with a privileged class controlling the people by 
a gestapo and storm troopers, Die Burger had no moral objec- 
tions to such methods of achieving domination of South Africa 
for one narrow section, but only feared the dangers involved. 
Pirow's Handhawersbond grew into a sixth column. It re- 
garded itself as the political police of South Africa. The mo- 
ment for action would come with Hitler's invasion of England. 
Then the Handhawersbond, all of whose members were calling 
themselves "generals," would give Smuts forty-eight hours to 
resign and hand over the government. A president "with the 
powers of Hitler" would succeed him. "If things in Europe 
should not go as we expect," the program cautiously added, 
"and if we must remain within the British Commonwealth, we 
demand that the reins of government shall be taken over by 
the Handhawersbond, which stands for action. The trouble is 
that we have too many timid Afrikanders. In the Handhawers- 
bond we want only die bulls who are unafraid. We want to 
play the role of policemen in politics, and in this way get con- 
trol of the government." A number of prominent government 
and railway employees accepted leading functions. They were 
swayed by Pirow's promise: "Under the present system things 
are measured in terms of gold; under the new system the yard- 
stick will be the happiness of the people and their progress. 
The disciplined labor power of the people will be our new 
wealth. There will be a place for youth in the national admin- 
istration." Eagerly the underpaid white collar men and the job 



hunters listened. No one knew that Pirow was simply parroting 
Hitler's words. No one objected to his aping Nazi manners at 
his meetings. The speaker on the platform began: "We de- 
mand. . . ." Short pause. The crowd fell in: "... freedom." It 
was Nuremberg all over again. 

But the Handhawersbond, for all its martial pretences, was 
only a mere shadow of the real thing: the Ossewa Brandwag. 
On September 13, 1940, Lieutenant-Colonel J. C. C. Laas, the 
founder of the "purely cultural" organization (who, inciden- 
tally, had received from the Hertzog-Smuts government the 
difficult task of organizing the Commandos in the Free State), 
declared that there was no longer any necessity for secrecy. 
The O. B. was strong enough to come into the open. Its aim 
was to obtain political leadership and supremacy in South 

A few days afterward the Reverend J. S. du Toit, another of 
the innumerable self-styled "generals," described the O. B/s 
military organization. At the top was the Commandant-General, 
under him the generals, then the commanders, each of whom 
had three field-cornets. This hierarchy formed the general staff, 
or, in the civil-war parlance which the O. B. preferred, the 
Vigilance Committee. Three assistant field-cornets were ap- 
pointed to each cornet, three corporals to each assistant field- 
cornet, and every corporal lorded it over eight men. Thus the 
individual commando averaged two hundred fifty men, ap- 
proximately the combat strength of a commando in the first 
months of the Boer War, before many of the mounted fighters 
had galloped home. 

Already in May arrangements had been made to purchase 
twenty thousand yards of veld-green corduroy to equip at least 
the higher-ups with uniforms reminiscent of the Boer War 
days. But a government ban on private uniforms had put a 
premature end to this venture. Consequently, every O. B. offi- 
cer was compelled to buy a fancy uniform of his own. He wore 
regalia at meetings, but arrived and left cautiously in mufti. 
The badge was worn openly. It was an exact replica of the 
German Nazi badge, the same, incidentally, the Youth Section 



of the Bunds in the United States of America used to display. 
The membership was as chequered as the first groups of Nazi 
hoodlums had been. Members of the civil service mingled with 
miners, lawyers, doctors, poor whites everyone was welcome 
who proved his republican sentiment by undergoing a medi- 
eval blood oath. 

The O. B/s first "direct action/' still carried out in secrecy, 
was the organization of a boycott of all those Boers who sup- 
ported the government. Loyalists were socially ostracized and 
driven out of business, at least in the dorps in which the ma- 
jority of the customers were Republican. 

The prophet Van Rensburg, the same whose dreams had in- 
cited the revolt of 1914, emerged out of oblivion. Already a 
shrunken oldster, he rose to a new peak of fame by predicting 
the fall of Paris a few days before the tragedy actually oc- 
curred. During the battle of Britain he published a pamphlet 
which, at one and six, had a record sale on the platteland. 
Britain would shortly be blitzed to death, he prophesied, and 
a few weeks later the Smuts government would crumble. After 
two great battles five big German ships would come to South 
West and South East Africa, and to Cape Town. Parliament 
would be in session. It would rain heavily, and the grass would 
be green. Three blue letters would arrive. The third one would 
be read in Parliament. The members would scramble, and flee 
out of the Cape. "If they come here," the prophecy ended, "I 
see us sitting on horses and moving in the direction of Lichten- 
berg. There by a hill we meet, and there a man in a brown suit 
speaks to us/' 

The advent of Hitler in South Africa was predicted. Smuts 
had not another moment to lose. 

Parliament was actually in session. Smuts appeared as domi- 
nating as ever. His tanned face beneath the white hair had lost 
none of its vigorous expression, although it seemed a little thin- 
ner than six months before. He still walked in his brisk fashion, 
a little impatient, as it were, with a nod for one member and 
a quip for another. He met Hertzog most courteously. His old 
foe had also visibly lost weight, but he, too, was still bronzed 



and fit. He made it clear that he still felt himself leader of the 
opposition, and that he did not mean to be driven out by the 
extremists under Dr. Malan, who themselves were shivering in 
their shoes for fear of the new competition: the O. B. Smuts 
and Hertzog had a brief and formal discussion about the co- 
operation of the opposition in operating the parliamentary ma- 
chine. No agreement was reached. Hertzog reserved the right 
to spend hours in harping on his favorite theme: the poor, 
downtrodden Germans. But there were no precious hours to 
be lost. Smuts moved, and carried, his "guillotine" motion, 
which strangled any attempt at obstruction. Otherwise he 
treated the House with the full respect of a veteran parliamen- 
tarian democrat. Even the Hertzogite ex-President of the Sen- 
ate C. E. van Niekerk thanked him for the friendly and tactful 
manner in which he was handling the business. "Yes, one must 
keep one's tongue under control," Smuts replied. "There are 
people who speak just a bit too harshly. Now, whenever I hear 
hard words it reminds me of the old days when I was young. 
President Kruger once said to me: 'Smuts, your whiplash cracks 
too harshly/ I think, as we grow older, so do our whiplashes 
cease to crack. Unfortunately, in some places there are still 
those who cannot keep their whiplash in leash." 

Instead of his "whiplash" his police cracked down on the 
subversive elements. The offices and houses of the known lead- 
ers of the O. B. in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and 
Bloemfontein were raided. All lists of membership and a great 
number of secret documents were seized. In Pretoria the uni- 
form of a woman general of the O. B. was found: khaki-colored 
casement cloth with epaulettes indicating the high rank of the 
wearer. In the Bloemfontein house of Colonel J. C. C. Laas, as 
well as in the houses of the Reverend D. G. van der Merwe and 
of Advocate Swart, the up-and-coming man of the racialists, 
explosives, arms, ammunition, anti-government pamphlets, 
heaps of Nazi literature in German, and precious membership 
lists were unearthed. 

After the raid Mr. H. G. Lawrence, Minister of the Interior, 
could disclose a number of interesting details. In the O. B. 



headquarters in Johannesburg, 403, Voortrekker Gebou, Hoek 
Street, a report about available arms and ammunition, supplied 
by Dr. Wertz, German Consul at Lourengo Marques, was 
found, also a circular to all generals and officers of the O. B. 
dealing with methods of organization, with special reference 
to the duties of various ranks. The "war council/' the storm- 
jaegers (storm troops), and the women's section had each their 
functions assigned. "There is no room in the O. B. for anyone 
who is not prepared to serve in any capacity." 

One hundred seventy thousand members, a terrifyingly high 
number, were prepared to serve. The type of service was speci- 
fied in the papers of the organizing secretary Abraham Spies, 
who managed to escape to Portuguese territory. Some of the 
members had to obtain information about defense, railways, 
factories, troop movements. Others were to inform on danger- 
ous persons "inside and outside" the O. B. A scout corps was 
formed for "immediate action." Attempts at infiltration by 
members of the O. B. into the police, railway services, and 
defense forces were made. Evidently some of these attempts 
had been successful. Among the confiscated documents were 
plans of Defence Camps with the number of men and their 
armament, and names of particularly "reliable" soldiers: Janse 
V. R. of Casseldale was specially qualified as an Air Force 
mechanic and machine-gunner, whereas W. J. Jacobs of Wit- 
port possessed expert knowledge of Bren and Vickers guns. 
The police found evidence that the O. B. had been behind the 
strike in the East Rand Proprietary Mines. The organization 
had promised the strikers its support, attacked the government, 
magnified the men's grievances and was responsible for a num- 
ber of other wildcat strikes. 

The worst crime of the O. B. was to unloose the sabotage 
wave, the true curse of South Africa. Bombing outrages oc- 
curred in widely separated areas. It was a new method of 
crime, imported after the outbreak of war. In spite of all peren- 
nial hooliganism on the Rand, the dynamiter had previously 
not been known. Now bombing was a daily event. The govern- 



ment introduced a bill setting the death penalty for dyna- 
miters, and making it retroactive. For a time it helped. The 
raid had eliminated some of the worst elements in the O. B. 
Colonel J. C. C. Laas, the commander general, resigned. Hun- 
dreds of his underlings were sent to internment camps, where 
discipline was rigidly enforced. It was high time to take such 
measures. The camps at Leeuwkops, Baviaanspoort, and Anda- 
lusia were seething with insubordination. An epidemic of es- 
capes had broken out. The Internment Guards had been per- 
meated with Nazi sympathizers. Now they were replaced by 
troops. General L. Beyers, Commander of the Fifth Brigade, 
was appointed Camp Director with full powers. The First Bat- 
talion of the Sixth Infantry Regiment and the Sixth Battalion 
of the Infantry Reserve Brigade were at his disposal. Immedi- 
ately all visits were canceled, broadcasts and newspapers were 
banned, the singing of the Nazi anthem was effectively stopped. 
At the same time the search for fugitives was vigorously con- 
ducted. Five Italians who had escaped into Swaziland were 
captured by the police after the greatest man hunt the jungle 
had ever seen, before the native chiefs, who had joined die 
hunt with a vengeance, could get at the heroes of Abyssinia 
and roast them on their spits. 

Toward the middle of October Smuts organized a National 
Reserve of Volunteers in two sections: the military section took 
over internal security duties, whereas the Civilian Protective 
Services guarded the key positions. These measures, combined 
with news of the ignominious beating the Luftwaffe had taken 
in the skies over England, did much to restore order. With his 
infinite patience and unwavering determination at the critical 
moment, Smuts had staved off a revolution on an unprece- 
dented scale. 

Looking anxiously at her husband's tired face, Mrs. Smuts, 
who, a short time before had received the first evacuee children 
from bomb-torn Britain and was teaching those on her own 
farm, Irene, her old childhood games, klip-klip and bok-bok, 
decided that he needed a holiday. His Cabinet colleagues con- 



curred in this opinion. They insisted that their beloved leader 
should take off at least a week. 

Smuts yielded. "I might pay a visit to our boys up North!" 
he murmured. "But don't rush around too much!" Mrs. Smuts 
was reported to have warned. On an evening late in October 
the Oubaas got out some maps, and ran his fingers northward 
to Kenya, the Sudan, and Egypt. Pointing out Tanganyika he 
reminisced about the bush and wild life during the East Afri- 
can campaign. Peering through his spectacles, he remarked on 
the vastness and great possibilities of Africa. 

Early on the next morning he put on his old general's uni- 
form. A fast American-built bomber swooped over Pretoria. 
The General went north. After sunset he arrived at the Nairobi 
airport. It seemed almost as if his aircraft were falling from the 
deep-purple sky. The airport was illuminated by floodlights. 
Smuts inspected the South African guard of honor, and met 
large groups of senior officers. He attended a soiree at Govern- 
ment House that lasted late into the night. Yet he was the first 
only accompanied by his aide-de-camp Lieutenant-General 
Barnard to venture out before dawn. For hours he drove 
through rain, mist, mud and slush. At the first Springbok camp 
he met dozens of officers, who escorted him on motorcycles 
while the Old Master inspected the camp. He watched the sig- 
nallers receiving their instructions. He observed maneuvers: 
machine-guns in action, a charge of soldiers with gas masks, a 
mortar attack through the bush. Back at the camp he looked 
at other units digging trenches in their mud-stained working 
clothes. He obviously did not feel in the mood for speeches. 
"The Union is behind you. I have no doubts for the future," 
was all he said. The soldiers were so impressed by his simplicity 
that they forgot to cheer. Only an old bald-headed man, with 
his helmet in his hand, replied quietly: "God bless you, Sir!" 

A soldier among his men, the Oubaas strode along: in an old, 
worn gabardine uniform, with helmet and Sam Browne belt, 
swinging his cane. His mannerisms were familiar to all. While 
discussing, he fingered his Imperial reflectively; while simply 
chatting he stood hands on hip, drumming with his fingers. 



He motored to the artillery park, called at the casualty clear- 
ing station, went through the operating theaters and wards, 
and smiled benignly when he came to "J an Smuts Ward." At 
the air station he talked with all the members of the crews, 
pilots, navigators, gunners, wireless operators and mechanics 

Accompanied by Lieutenant-General Sir Pierre van Ryne- 
veld, Chief of the General Staff, he toured the front with 
Lieutenant-General Alan Cunningham, then general officer 
commanding in East Africa, to whom Smuts introduced a great 
many of his Springboks in person. At a front-line outpost he 
was talking to a young man in battle dress who stood smartly 
to attention until the bomber arrived to take the General back. 
Only at that moment Second-Lieutenant Jan Smuts relaxed: 
"Good-bye and good luck, Pops!" he shouted. 

Smuts 7 visit up North lasted eight days, within which he 
covered 7,500 miles by air, held a number of important con- 
ferences, attended social functions, delivered a few addresses, 
and had personally inspected the positions of the South African 
divisions as far as the most extreme outposts. In spite of this 
exertion he looked sprightly and refreshed when he returned 
to Pretoria on November 4. Only then his "holiday" was di- 
vulged. Until Casablanca it remained the best-guarded military 
secret of the war. 


the case that I feel convinced that in the last resort America 
will not as indeed she cannot afford to stand out. Under the 
great and inspiring leadership of President Roosevelt she will 



country. He does not know the Afrikander people. Ever since 
the time of the Boer War he has been the arch-enemy of the 
Afrikanders. Today he fights alongside the same English who, 
during the Boer War, had promised to the natives the farms of 
the Boers and selfs hutte vrouens (even their wives) if they 
would take arms against us. I repudiate Smuts root and branch." 
On behalf of the O. B. the acting Commander General, a 
Boer by the name of Smith, endorsed the alliance with the 
Herenigde (Re-United) Party. The O. B., he promised, would 
see to it that no defections occurred. 'Traitors will be driven 
back into our ranks with the sjambok!" he announced. To dif- 
ferentiate him from other bearers of his not infrequent name 
he was henceforth called Sjambok-Smith. 

"South Africa will not change from democracy to a Fuehrer- 
system without blood and tears/' Smuts replied. 'The message 
for a new order came from Munich or Berlin. The O. B. has to 
be carefully watched. This is an organization of precisely the 
same character as the organization which brought Hitler into 
power in Germany. Its methods come straight from Germany, 
and its purpose is nothing else but to introduce into this coun- 
try by underground means the system flourishing in Germany. 
Its organizers keep on saying that the O. B. is not a secret or- 
ganization. Why, then, do they talk so much about traitors? 
The other day Mr. Swart, one of their leaders, said that traitors 
must be branded and treated as such. But if the movement has 
no secrets, how can it be betrayed?" 

The Old Master's appeal to common sense was wasted. Pres- 
ently, the same Mr. Swart, whom Smuts had singled out, won 
the by-election at Winburg, a 100 per cent Afrikaans constitu- 
ency, by an overwhelming majority against the Prime Minister's 
old friend and supporter Theron. 

In this dark hour Nazism seemed as invincible among the 
Boers as on the European battlefields. Both Dutch Churches 
condemned Bolshevism, but never Nazism. Many divines were 
profoundly influenced by the pamphlets the Fichtebund and 
the Weltdienst smuggled across the Portuguese border. The 
Afrikaans universities were hotbeds of Hitlerism. The students 



sang German songs, voted peace resolutions, and adopted 
"Opsaair for Heil Hitler! as a salute. The professors and in- 
structors, particularly at Stellenbosch, taught philosophy, his- 
tory, even gymnastics on the German pattern. The Voartrekker- 
Youth, the Afrikaans counterpart of the boy scouts, became 
"race-conscious/* although its members were all of a tender age 
below fourteen. The boys in their advanced teens joined the 
stormjaegers\he youth-organization of the O. B. or the Grey- 
shirts. Many families were disrupted. Others were agreed on 
the blessings of Hitlerism. One Sunday a month they ate the 
one-dish-meal, as Hitler had ordered in Germany, to save some 
money for the O. B. English housewives on die Rand were 
terrorized into contributing to the collection. 

At the beginning of 1941 two hundred thousand Boers, one- 
fifth of the whole nation, were committed to active Nazism. 
The drive to segregate the Afrikaner nation into a racial kraal, 
and to set up the dwarf -nation as Africa's Herrenvolk master 
racedominating in a narrow republic of Hitler's grace, insu- 
lated against foreign influences, wilfully blind to world collabo- 
ration, went on with ever-increasing vigor. It was the very 
opposite of Smuts' worldwide outlbok. This was the principal 
issue in the fight for South Africa. 

Strangely, the first casualty in this fight was the first avowed 
Nazi in the country: old man Hertzog. The man who spent the 
eve of his life aping Hitler and pitying the poor downtrodden 
Germans still remained a relic of the old days. Fanatically as 
he hated the Empire, he would not acquiesce in making the 
English-speaking South Africans politically rightless, provided 
they had abjured the devil of jingoism. He wanted a republic 
as passionately as anyone. But he wanted its proclamation by 
consent, not by a coup tfetat. The new generation could not 
understand this reluctance. Hertzog's own son associated him- 
self with the men of "direct action." Although his caution, in- 
herited from his father, forbade him to take direct action him- 
self, he defended a good many dynamiters, saboteurs, and 
traitors in court. As was said of his father, Dr. Albert Hertzog 
also became a lawyer, not a soldier. 



Old man Hertzog's political career ended when the Trans- 
vaal Congress of the Re-United Party laughed, shouted, and 
voted him down, although he was again, after his conflict with 
Dr. Malan had been patched up, the nominal leader. The party 
decided to adopt the revolutionary course. Hertzog, who had 
preached sedition all his life, was devoured by the monster of 
his own creation. Even the constituency of Smithfield, which 
he had represented for forty years, rejected him. In the third 
week of December he resigned his parliamentary seat. One man 
alone followed his example: "Klaasie" Havenga. A few other 
veteran followers banded together in an "Afrikander Union" 
to promulgate the threadbare gospel of Hertzogism. 

The only effective help came from Smuts. He passed a mo- 
tion in the House, granting his fallen foe a pension of 2,000 
a year. "General Hertzog has never thought of himself," he 
said, "although there was much temptation in a young coun- 
try. He did not even make provisions for his old age. It is now 
our duty to make these provisions." 

On the very day Hertzog retired from Parliament, another 
resignation occurred, an act that was to influence events in 
South Africa considerably more strongly. Dr. J. F. J. van Rens- 
burg resigned from his post as Administrator of the Orange 
Free State. The country was electrified. "The old leader has 
gone. The new leader is coming." Then for two weeks nothing 

Business went on as usual. At night solitary unarmed sol- 
diers, or preferably members of the air force, were attacked, 
kidnapped, taken to some lonely spot on the veld, stripped of 
their uniforms which the hold-up men needed for good, sub- 
versive reasons, and left naked, sometimes with profuse apolo- 
gies. Afrikaans soldiers on furlough in their dorps were greeted 
by their neighbors as 'loyal Dutch." English-speaking Spring- 
boks were assured that their "little England complex" would 
soon be shattered by a crushing German victory. Stories circu- 
lated, and even appeared in print, of casualties in the North 
so heavy that the blood-stained uniforms of the dead were ar- 



riving at Voortrekkerhoogte in truckloads. The Boer-Nazis' 
most tender concern went out to General Smuts. Poor Oom 
Jannie had collapsed from a heart attack, scores of thousands 
whispered on the appointed day. Smuts himself heard the ru- 
mor when he returned from his habitual ten-mile stroll around 
his farm, Doornkloof . "How many doctors are attending me?" 
he asked. 

Occasionally the scare stories backfired. Gossip had it that 
banknotes would soon be worth only paper. "Get silver and 
hang on to it," friendly neighbors advised each other. The bank 
was exposed to a rush for silver. The Pretoria Mint wished for 
nothing better. It coined more silver at ample profit, and when 
the panic had run its course, silver trickled back into circula- 
tion. Then it was rumored that the government was going to 
seize all investments. Not only the Boer-Nazis, but a great 
many poor, misled people queued up at the Post Office Savings 
Bank to cash their savings. Every penny was paid out, every 
demand was punctiliously met. The money returned, and more 
was put into bank accounts than had been taken out. Confi- 
dence in the South African currency was stronger than ever. 

Jewish shops were blown up, railway lines were sabotaged, 
telegraph poles were axed in the best Boer War manner. But 
such incidents were no longer remarkable. No one paid much 
attention until Dr. Malan announced: "Conditions in South 
Africa amount to no less than the rule of jingo terror. Where is 
General Smuts leading South Africa? Does he want civil war? 
If he does, he is going in the right direction. I hope the day is 
not, far off when the Brandwag and the Afrikaner nation are 
one and the same thing!" 

This was the clue. Immediately after this speech, Kleinbaas 
Hans, as the English-language press baptized him, took over. 
On January 1, 1941, Dr. J. F. J. van Rensburg was appointed 
"Chief Officer and Commander General" of the Ossewa Brand- 
wag. Friend and foe alike recognized him as a man with whom 
one would have to reckon. The van Rensburgs were the first 
family of Afrikander society. Their ancestor had led the Voor- 
trekkers some one hundred years before. He was a national 



hero. His descendants were patricians in Stellenbosch. The 
youngest scion had served his apprenticeship as private secre- 
tary to Tielman Roos, the lion of the Transvaal. At the age of 
thirty Kleinbaas Hans was Under Secretary for Justice, a year 
later Secretary, and soon afterward Administrator of the Trans- 
vaal. Such rapid careers were rare in the Union. Dr. van Rens- 
burg caused much attention. But no one was surprised when, 
shortly before the outbreak of the war, the remarkable young 
man visited Hitler in Berlin. The van Rensburgs had always 
been ultra-nationalists. None of the tribe, however, had ever 
looked the way Kleinbaas Hans looked upon his return from 
the Third Reich. Now he was the answer to every cartoonist's 
prayer: the "boche" incarnate. His slightly curled, carefully 
greased hair was parted on the left, while one wave drooped 
over his forehead. Furrows between his eyebrows, a pugnacious 
nose, tightened lips with deep lines running from the corners 
of his mouth to his receding chin gave his clean-shaven, fish- 
eyed face the perfect appearance of a Prussian lieutenant in 

His first act after his resignation was to claim the handsome 
pensions which were due to him from the various civil service 
posts he had held. Then he delivered his maiden speech: "As 
long as our Supreme Council can maintain and improve disci- 
pline," he mingled promises with threats, "there will be no 
danger of disorder and violence among the two hundred fifty 
thousand men of the O. B. We do not want to cause disturb- 
ances in the country. We only want to see to it that Afrikaner- 
dom shall not be crushed to death. This is the calling of the 
O. B. The Supreme Council appointed me, and if I cannot an- 
swer to this body, I will resign. The O. B. is mobilized Afri- 
kanerdom mobilized in economy and culture, and for mutual 
protection. Whatever Afrikanerdom may have in superfluity- 
droughts, pests, poverty and politics discipline is not among 
these things. If we do not cultivate this discipline and mutual 
trust, no one need hope for new orders, worlds, republics. I 
have not joined the O. B. to start a rebellion or to spill blood. 
I am well aware that we would suffer defeat in such an attempt. 



I have been an officer long enough to know how hopeless and 
reckless such an action would be. I give the government every 
assurance on that point. I wish to give General Smuts the as- 
surance that the O. B. is at least as concerned as he is to main- 
tain order and law in the country. As a philosopher General 
Smuts will realize that an idea always triumphs over violence, 
provided the idea is imbued by vitality. General Smuts knows 
that the Afrikaner, true to tradition, is peace-loving, unless he 
is too strongly provoked/' It was polite blackmail. 

No answer came from Smuts. The Old Master kept his ear 
to the hot African ground. He heard the first rumblings of the 
incipient revolt of native chieftains in Abyssinia. He was proud 
of his Springboks. On the last Dingaan's Day they had stormed 
El Wak in Italian Somaliland, capturing nine of fifteen guns 
and all the Italian transports. Brigadier Dan Pienaar, Smuts' 
personal favorite, had surprised and routed the enemy. He now 
received the D.S.O. for gallant leadership. At the same time 
the Union's Seaward Defence Force left their South African 
ports to assist the British fleet. For the first time South African 
warships co-operated with the Royal Navy outside their home 
waters. On October 22 Wavell announced the capture of To- 
bruk. The South Africans had been in the vanguard. Twenty 
thousand Italian prisoners were taken. Simultaneously, Spring- 
boks captured El Yiba and El Sardu, two Italian outposts on 
the Ethiopian border. This was too great a time for arguments 
with Kleinbaas Hans. 

Not for the racialists, however. Pirow instantly espoused the 
cause of the O. B. under its new commander, who would take 
care, he hoped, that there should be more action and less kul- 
tuur. Van Rensburg, fully conscious of his importance as the 
new czar, tolerated Pirow for a while, but soon shook him off. 

Was Hdnschen klein really the new czar? To some stalwarts 
of nationalism he appeared merely an upstart. Professor A. C. 
Cilliers rose against him, a formidable foe, the kingmaker in 
political Afrikanerdom. Officially he was the spokesman of the 
Republican Nationalist majority of the body of Stellenbosch 
professors. In fact he had been Hertzog's brain-truster number 



one for many years, the champion of reunion of all Afrikanders 
long before the war, and, it was said, an influential figure in 
this mysterious Broederbond which never came out in the 
open, but wielded tremendous secret powers. Cilliers had his 
finger in every pie. He was endowed with a peculiar reputation 
as an "insider." He could allegedly outwit every man on earth 
but Smuts. This Professor Cilliers attacked the O. B. openly. 
He called it a curious organization that made the confusion in 
the confused opposition ranks only more confused. "It appears 
in front and behind, above and below and everywhere between 
the ranks of political leaders/' he said. "The O. B. wants Afri- 
kaners to subject themselves to a self-appointed group of 
anonymous leaders. It is a terrorist organization, to be dis- 
banded as soon as possible." 

The first bloody outrage, instigated by the O. B., occurred 
on January 31 in Johannesburg. The Afrikaanse Tool en Kul- 
tuur Vereeniging, the O. B/s "cultural" section, met at a concert 
in the town hall of Johannesburg. A few sailors in uniform 
wished to buy tickets, but were refused admission. A brawl 
ensued, developing into a street fight. The police used tear-gas 
bombs against the sailors and a group of soldiers who came to 
the assistance of their comrades. Sticks, knuckle dusters and 
lead piping were used as weapons. All together some five hun- 
dred men were involved. But this was only the prelude. 

On the next day, a Saturday, rioting assumed a much more 
serious character. Thousands of soldiers marched through the 
streets. They stormed and damaged the premises of the pro- 
Nazi newspaper The Transvaaler and of Hertzog's own mouth- 
piece Die Vaderland. On the other side thousands of Nation- 
alists gathered in Simmond Street. They were protected by 
police, only a few of whom wore the orange tab of loyalty. 
"Where are your tabs?" the soldiers shouted. This was the sig- 
nal for the police attack. The worthy descendants of the Zarps, 
the brutes from the platteland whom Kruger had pitted against 
the uitlanders, drove in trucks right into the crowds of soldiers, 
who were soon dispersed. One of the groups of soldiers, how- 



ever, overturned a police van. Petrol streamed on to the ground. 
Someone lit a match. Flames roared sky high. Soon fire-engines 
raced through the streets. All the ambulances in the city were 
called out. The streets reeked with the fumes of tear-gas bombs. 

The soldiers withdrew to the vicinity of the Soldiers' Club. 
There they were met by a group of police wearing the orange 
tab, accompanied by members of the Military Police. "Think of 
General Smuts!" the M.P.'s said. "The old General won't let 
you down! Don't make it hard for him!" These words had a 
magic effect. The soldiers returned to their camp. 

The Rand Daily Mail wrote about the causes underlying the 
riot: "The soldiers' action was plainly stupid. But the riots did 
not arise without a strong cause, and the cause is evident. For 
months past isolated soldiers have been set upon by bearded 
men, knocked down, kicked when they were on the ground, and 
left unconscious. Rarely in such cases has anyone been brought 
to trial. In some of the country districts soldiers cannot walk 
alone. Their families are being boycotted and persecuted. In 
none of these instances did the government do anything really 
drastic. Is it not natural, is it not, indeed, inevitable, that the 
soldiers should eventually hit back?" 

Smuts promised the House an impartial inquiry into the riots. 
The first findings were published within ten days. They proved 
that the police had indiscriminately hit, struck, and kicked sol- 
diers. A few had been attacked who had been entirely uncon- 
nected with the riot, as they walked by, some with their wives. 
At the Voortrekker-gebou, the Brown House of Johannesburg, 
the police had even called O. B. men to "defend" the building 
against the soldiers. 

The final findings of the Rand Riots Commission, published 
on April 8, were still more grave: "In order to restore public 
confidence in the Police Force it is necessary to enforce severe 
disciplinary measures against those members of the force who 
disobeyed orders or committed unnecessary acts of violence. At 
the outset there was no organized attempt on the part of the 
soldiers to create disturbances. The exercise of more tact and 
forbearance on the part of the police might have prevented the 



disturbances that followed. The baton charge by the police 
against the soldiers and civilians in the neighborhood of city 
hall was made without an order by a superior officer, and was 
unnecessary, violent, and brutal. Certain civilians, who had 
come armed to the concert and remained on the scene with the 
obvious intention of participating in any trouble that might 
occur, joined the police in the baton charge and further aroused 
the soldiers. Some of the South African police, in carrying out 
the charges, used unnecessary violence in striking on the head 
soldiers who were running away and soldiers who already had 
been felled and were lying on the ground. The police indis- 
criminately attacked persons, including women who were ob- 
viously spectators. The chief offenders were non-tabbed mem- 
bers of the force. 

"Members of the O. B. incited crowds by their attitude out- 
side the Voortrekker-gebou, and by carting missiles from the 
windows and roof of that building. Certain members of the 
O. B. joined the police in the baton charge. The vast dispropor- 
tion between the numbers of wounded soldiers as against the 
numbers of policemen injured, as well as the severe nature of 
the injuries inflicted upon soldiers, is significant. Medical evi- 
dence shows that most wounded soldiers suffered head injuries 
of a serious nature which in a great majority of cases were re- 
ceived on the back of the head or in such a position that they 
could only have been inflicted from behind. The police indis- 
criminately clubbed soldiers and women, a body of police with- 
out badges went about beating soldiers and civilians. 

'The O. B. contributed considerably to the feelings of di- 
vision and friction which arose between soldiers, police, and 
certain sections of the public. This organization is distinctly 
sectional in character, with a racial bias. It is not only undemo- 
cratic and anti-government, but also un-Afrikaans. In the O. B. 
the Grand Council, not the three hundred fifty thousand mem- 
bers, choose the Commandant-General. Van Rensburg says, 
when speaking of democracy, that when you have worn out an 
old shoe you throw it away. The fifteen members of the Grand 
Council have the fate of three hundred fifty thousand people 



in the hollow of their hands, and can dictate a policy which 
their adherents willy-nilly must carry out. The Commander- 
General has openly stated that if his organization were at the 
head of affairs he would not under the same circumstances tol- 
erate a body with a membership of three hundred fifty thou- 
sand opposing his policy and working actively against it. It 
seems to us that in the present circumstances the O. B. could 
have no just grounds for complaint if they received the same 
treatment as they admit they would, if in power, mete out to 

The most terrifying statement, in this document was the es- 
timate of the commission that the O. B. numbered three hun- 
dred fifty thousand members. In the three months since van 
Rensburg had taken over, its ranks had almost doubled. In the 
middle of April, 1941, more than every third Afrikander (in- 
cluding women, children and even infants) was an organized 
Nazi of the South African brand. 

Still Smuts was determined to ride out the storm. His gov- 
srnment only took half-hearted measures. Civil servants were 
Forbidden to join the O. B., or received two weeks' time to 
sever any existing relations. But a great many incidents proved 
that even this order was disregarded. The whole country was 
disturbed. Only the Old Master seemed in high spirits. Looking 
the image of radiant health, he flew to Nairobi on his second 
^var-time visit to East Africa. His amazing vigor was evident 
when his plane flew at an altitude of twenty thousand feet over 
Mount Kilimanjaro. As a rule, pilots flying above fifteen thou- 
sand feet use oxygen. But Smuts refused it. He would not be 
listurbed. He was too deeply engaged in gazing at the snow- 
Jad peak, towering thousands of feet above the clouds. When 
:he aircraft landed in Nairobi, the pilot said: "The only pas- 
senger who seemed not the least bit affected by the altitude 
ivas well, you know whom I mean." 

From Nairobi Smuts went on to Cairo, where he conferred 
Mr. Eden, Sir Archibald Wavell, and Sir John Dill. Asked 
reporters whether he wished to make a statement about his 



conferences, General Smuts obliged most readily. He let the 
cat out of the bag: "The possibilities of the new situation called 
for careful consideration in our Cairo talks. A review of the 
whole Mediterranean position took place, which is certain to 
have an important bearing on future developments in that part 
of the world." 

No one can call Smuts a chatterbox. Few have ever called 
him jovial. Yet it was a jovial Prime Minister who returned 
from the battlefields, just in time to attend the Victoria F6te 
at Greenpoint near Cape Town. He appeared in a lounge suit, 
and in his happiest mood since prewar days. As usual, his first 
tribute went to Mrs. Smuts, who, he proudly jested, was being 
called "Old Gifts and Comforts" in the Transvaal (on account 
of the Gifts and Comforts for Soldiers' Fund, over which South 
Africa's beloved Ouma presides). Then the Oubaas compli- 
mented the ladies "who have gate-crashed my army in the 
North. . . . They are better than the men," he said. "They are 
keener. They have even stopped titivating themselves. . . ." 
Finally he paid tribute to the colored transport drivers, al- 
though none of them happened to be a guest at the Victoria 
Fete. 'They are partly responsible for our victories in the 
North!" General Smuts said earnestly. 

Victoria Day was a day of many gatherings. In the best, 
almost Prussian fashion van Rensburg blared to his audience: 
". . . and the O. B. has the right to decide whether it obeys the 
law, and upon whom it wishes to enforce it. . . ." 

A thin, fading voice explained to a few faithful old followers 
who were spending the holiday at the Sabine Farm Waterval: 
"I have broken with General Smuts because. . . ." 

Dr. Malan, the old man on the flying trapeze, tried desper- 
ately to have one foot in the O. B. camp and the other among 
the old Afrikanders. "But for Smutskowitz," he declared, "the 
Re-United Party embraces. . . ." 

The Old Master made a bow to his guests at Greenpoint. His 
last words to the assembly are on record: "Thank God, this is 
not a country of bachelors. I dislike them. They are a sign of 





human endurance. In addition to running South Africa's war 
effort and keeping a restive, turbulent country on an even keel, 
his advice was sought by the Allied leaders before every stra- 
tegic movement in the African theater of war. 

The war, it appeared, proceeded on schedule. On April 5 the 
British forces, with the Springboks in the vanguard, marched 
into Addis Ababa. On the same day the Cape Town regiment 
returned from Cairo for a short leave, bringing with them 7,500 
Italian prisoners. All went well. So Oom Jannie could take off 
an afternoon. In a khaki shirt open at the neck, the sleeves flap- 
ping loosely at his wrists, his feet in a stout pair of boots, he 
set off across the brown veld for a good twelve-mile tramp. A 
heavy stick in his hand, he swung along four to five miles an 
hour, striding in his eager, loose-limbed way, bent slightly for- 
ward. His companions not to call them his bodyguards were 
hard put to keep up with the Old Master. 

Sometimes accompanied by his wife, he stumped the platte- 
Iand 9 preaching confidence and good cheer, which he himself 
radiated. The wool farmers in the Free State received him with 
the anxious question whether England would renew her wool 
purchases. "If the German U-boats do not make shipping im- 
possible. . . ." Oom Jannie replied cautiously. Many Free Staters 
had Hitler's picture hanging in their farms. But most of these 
disappeared rapidly after Smuts' simple remark. 

A "War Train," rolling for six weeks through the length and 
breadth of the Union, did excellent propaganda. It carried an 
exhibition of the huge output of the six hundred new South 
African war factories. Thousands of backvelders came from the 
most distant hamlets. They could see for themselves the first 
howitzers made in South Africa. They thrilled at the boom of 
eighteen-pound guns and the rattling of machine-gun fire. The 



will not be broken by the new appointment. I am too old now 
to change names/' 

Even as an Imperial Field Marshal he wanted to remain the 
Boer General. But this expression of fidelity did not satisfy the 
opposition. "We are very pleased," wrote the leading National- 
ist paper. "From now on it will be impossible to mistake the 
British Field Marshal for the General Smuts of the Boer War." 
Boonzaier, the creator of "Hoggenheimer," expressed his con- 
gratulations in a cartoon depicting Smuts as a sentry, standing 
guard on the South African shores. "Who goes there?" he asks 
a shadowy stranger. "Enemy of AfrikanerdomI" comes the an- 
swer. "Pass, my friend!" says the sentry Smuts. 

Heir Adolf Hitler, however, seemed seriously perturbed over 
Smuts' promotion. His own Erwin Rommel was still a simple 
Lieutenant-General. Moreover, Rommel was at that moment 
hiding in some foxhole, so that he could not come to Potsdam, 
where, since time eternal, conquering German war lords have 
received the marshal's baton. Herr Hitler broke another prece- 
dent. Posthaste he sent a marshal's baton to Africa, where Rom- 
mel snatched it with little ceremony. "Field Marshal Rommel!" 
Zeesen blared triumphantly on the same evening. The South 
African station continued, modestly, to refer to the Old Master 
as "General Smuts." 

The Springboks entered Sidi Barrani and Sollum. Ouma and 
seven of her grandchildren had a bird's-eye view of Pretoria, 
flying above the capital in a captured three-engine Caproni 
bomber. Lord Croft, British Under Secretary for War, eulo- 
gized the South African troops: "They are the spearhead of the 
later operations in East Africa," he said. "Their advances in 
the race against the long rains were amazing. To the Union 
troops, under the umbrella of their airmen who have flown an 
immense mileage with amazing immunity from losses, fell the 
great honor of that remarkable uphill advance from the Awash 
River, and when they entered Addis Ababa, instead of taking a 
well-earned rest, they started in further pursuit of the enemy. 
Already their advance from Kenya to Jyiga was surely a world 



record of distance made in astonishingly short time. To that 
record must be added the exploit at Ambi Alagi, 1,400 miles 
from the Kenya border, and 1,731 from their original railhead. 
These achievements can never, I think, be equalled for time/' 

The Springboks, in fact, conquered within five months an 
area larger than the whole German East Africa, from which, 
dining the First World War, Germany was ejected only after 
three years' fighting. The subjugation of Abyssinia and Italian 
Somaliland was achieved within one-seventh of that time. It 
was, of course, the conquest of a less pestiferous, swampy and 
malaria-ridden territory than German East Africa. But the main 
reason for the success was the highly organized efficiency of 
the services. Mechanical transports replaced the huge armies 
of native porters. Food was better in quality and more varied 
than in any previous campaign. The medical service under 
Brigadier Dr. Orenstein was exemplary. Moreover, Italy had 
not produced a Lettow-Vorbeck. In close comradeship with 
the R.A.F. the South African Air Force had given the enemy a 
terrible grueling. Italian fighters were swept from the skies. 
The morale of II Duce's ground forces, particularly of their 
black contingents, was destroyed. Excellence of staff work, fine 
qualities of leadership, the fighting spirit of all ranks, and 
streamlined equipment scored. Above all the success of the 
campaign was due to the inspiring guidance and long-range 
vision of General Smuts, who from the outset had laid out the 
plans for crushing Mussolini. 

Now even the Dutch Churches paid eloquent tribute to the 
valor, endurance, and "finishing power" of the South African 
troops. The slime-flood of Nazism in the Union was beginning 
to recede when the German invasion of Greece, the conquest 
of Crete, and the ensuing British reverses in North Africa re- 
vived the furor. As always, the South African airmen had val- 
iantly done their share. They had protected British warships 
and merchantmen evacuating the Imperial troops from Crete. 
Smuts appealed for new volunteers. He predicted heavy fight- 
ing. "The Italian menace has been eliminated," he said, "but 
now we will have to meet a more formidable threat: German 



forces in North Africa. South Africa calls on every man and 
woman to do his and her duty." 

In response, the united opposition met at a rubber-stamp 
congress at Bloemfontein. Twelve hundred delegates crowded 
town hall. All the stale grievances were repeated, the Vierkleur 
was waved, Nationalist anthems were sung. The foreign situa- 
tion was not mentioned by a single word, and the war only to 
be ferociously condemned. Dr. Malan moved a motion: "The 
Congress rejects Smuts' war policy with determination and in 
its entity, and demands the immediate withdrawal of South 
Africa from the war." But while he sputtered his venomous 
words, his voice sounded broken. He was the dictaphone, no 
longer the dictator. He was the leader under the lash of the 
O. B. sjambok. Behind him stood Pirow, the self-styled man 
of destiny, who emphatically warned President Roosevelt to 
keep out of the tangle, and grinning van Rensburg. All three, 
van Rensburg, Pirow, and Dr. Malan, a poor third, were in the 
race for Hitler's favor. All that was left was for Adolf to win the 

America's entry would prevent it, Smuts repeated inces- 
santly, once even at the opening of a new and splendid Johan- 
nesburg movie theater with a Hollywood picture. Before boy 
met girl, General Smuts appeared on the stage, and smiled: 
'They say that the United States is a country of hustle. If 
hustle means what I think it does, then, I trust, America will 
live up to it in the near future. I am sometimes a prophet, 
often a false one, but occasionally a true one, and I feel tonight 
I can venture on a prophecy. If you read hustle and the United 
States of America in terms of the present world crisis, I think 
you will not be far wrong!" 

"General Smuts has suggested that the United States shall 
inherit South Africa," Dr. Malan replied in Senekal, a sleepy 
small town in the Free State. "We will oppose America just as 
we have struggled against foreign domination during the past 
one hundred fifty years. We will not shirk the battle. It is clear 
that the United States is only concerned with her own interests. 
She wants a say in the peace conference and wishes to be heir 



to the British estate. The Royal Navy is Britain's movable prop- 
erty, and the United States wants to hold a mortgage in case 
Britain should lose her fleet." Hitler, on the other hand, Dr. 
Malan assured, had none but honorable ambitions as far as 
South Africa was concerned. As a token of his trust in the great 
man he, Dr. Malan himself, was now ready to accept the title 
volksleier, Afrikaans for Fuehrer. He frankly offered himself as 
Quisling: "Germany wants a government in South Africa which 
would be amiably disposed to her. We can provide a govern- 
ment of men who have already shown that they have no hos- 
tility toward Germany/' 

Pirow thought the same thing. The difference was only that 
the gauleiter wanted nothing of a volksleier. "The program of 
the Herenigde Party is good, but still diluted by too much milk 
and water," he carped. To emphasize that he was the right 
man, and no one else, he promised: "I will continue to advocate 
African National-Socialism and changes upside down!" 

Dr. Malan took up the gauntlet. To beat Pirow at the game, 
his first action as volksleier was to overhaul his party, and re- 
establish it on the Nazi cell system. The platteland, deeply 
impressed by the latest German successes, liked the change. 
But shrewd peasants as they were, they preferred the whole 
hog to half a hog. They deserted both Malan and Pirow, and 
streamed in masses to sjambok-wielding O. B. Commandant- 
General van Rensburg, whose very looks identified him as the 
real thing: a genuine Nazi. 

"Russia becomes ally against Hitler. The Allies are fighting 
the war on behalf of Jewish Imperial Capitalism!" shouted Die 
Burgers flaming headlines across eight columns. Since the Pact 
of Moscow the Nasionde Pers, the powerful Afrikaans press 
combine with Die Burger as its most important mouthpiece, 
had never attacked Soviet Russia. For two years Dr. Malan had 
not mentioned Stalin's name. Now he issued a statement: 
"Churchill and Smuts are dragging us with open eyes into the 
abyss. Britain, and through Britain, we, now stand in alliance 
with Russia. If it had not been for Germany, the tidal wave of 



Bolshevism long would have swept the world. Now Mr. Church- 
ill, with his arm around Stalin's neck, and with Field Marshal 
Smuts at his coat tails, has decreed the total destruction of the 
only bulwark against Bolshevism, which, for a long time, has 
had its eyes on South Africa. We have always been against 
participation in this war, but if we ever had good reason to 
demand that South Africa should withdraw, then we have a 
hundred times more reason today." 

Once again Smuts proved his visionary foresight. He under- 
stood that Russia's entry into the war, although tremendously 
important in itself, was the harbinger of a real world war. 
Quietly he conferred with Mr. Wilfred J. Kennedy, the Presi- 
dent of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce. The out- 
come was the decision to restrict severely Japanese imports, 
and all trade with Japan. Then he broadcast a message to his 
people, which, indeed, anticipated the Allied invasion of North 
Africa by a year and a half. Predicting heavy fighting on the 
Russian front, he foretold on July 14, 1941: "But the final 
knock-out blow will come elsewhere. The definite turn of the 
tide will probably begin in North Africa, and the Springboks 
will have their share in the crowning glory just as they have 
had in the first successes of the war." 

On the next day Winston Churchill, in the House of Com- 
mons, quoted another passage from Smuts' broadcast. "With 
his usual commanding wisdom General Smuts has made a com- 
ment which, as it entirely represents the view of His Majesty's 
Government, I should like now to repeat: 'Nobody,' said Gen- 
eral Smuts, 'can say we are now in league with the Communists 
and are fighting the battle of Communism. More fitly can the 
neutralists and fence sitters be charged with fighting the battle 
of Nazism. If Hitler and his insane megalomania has driven 
Russia to fight in self-defense, we bless her arms and wish her 
all success without for a moment identifying ourselves with her 
Communistic creed. Hitler has made Russia his enemy, and not 
us friendly to her creed/ " 

The Nationalist press raged against Smuts. It proved that 
Hitler's attack on Russia, on June 22, 1941, had unloosed the 



final stage of the life-and-death struggle between two diametri- 
cally opposed philosophies. Now the papers of the Nasforude 
Pers formally embraced the creed with which their country 
was officially at war. Their entire propaganda was concen- 
trated on the fight against Communism, next to the "black 
danger" the peril most easy to exploit among the Church-loving 
fanners. In this respect Hitler's invasion of Russia was a god- 
send to the Boer Republicans. 

Into the struggle over Bolshevism crashed the battle over V. 
Smuts was quick to grasp that the coming general election 
might go to him who fought it under the V sign. On July 23, 
he started the V campaign in South Africa with a broadcast: 
"We adopt the V sign as our own. It stands not only for Vic- 
tory, but in our country also for vryheid freedom. It is there- 
fore to us a symbol of the two things for which we are now 
making the greatest national effort in our history. The V sign 
will be the symbol of protest of all good South Africans against 
disloyal and often treasonable talk, against the subversive 
propaganda of certain sections. Let the whole world see our 
colors this V symbol of our faith in our cause. This common 
symbol will thus become a source of unity, strength and in- 
spiration to us in the trials and difficulties which may still face 
us before the final victory." 

His appeal found a tremendous echo among the Loyalist 
section of the population. An onrush to the colors ensued. 
Young and old volunteered. The youngest recruit was a lad 
of, he insisted, seventeen, who gave his name as Smuts and 
did not deny a distant kinship with the Prime Minister. The 
recruiting officers scrutinized him suspiciously. He seemed a 
little underdeveloped for his age. Ouma was sent for. Smiling, 
she took her thirteen-year-old grandson home. "He shall first 
get his matriculation certificate," she decided. "Then he will 
go up North." 

Among the oldsters Colonel Creswell emerged out of obliv- 
ion. His prestige with labor was unimpaired, although he had 
already been living in political retirement for many years. The 
lifelong socialist spoke about British tradition, ending it was 



his opinion an invasion of Europe would be inevitable. And a 
strong American Expeditionary Force would have to be in it. 
Mrs. Smuts had an equally busy program of engagement. 
Visiting hospitals, she said to a wounded Springbok: "You are 
not only fighting for South Africa. You are also helping Great 
Britain to save western civilization/' The former Isie Krige of 
Stellenbosch had come a long way. 

With her sweet grandmotherly smile Ouma visited the quar- 
ters of the Mossies, the South African Wrens. She complimented 
the "army of girls" upon the important part they were playing 
in the war. She gave a tea on the Lotus Houseboat on the Nile 
where the women in uniform spent their time off. She shook 
hands with hundreds of South African soldiers, noted their 
home addresses so that she might inform their families that 
their sons were well, and formally opened the Springbok Club. 

At the opening, the Old Master related that the idea of the 
air commando had really been his wife's. After her tour over 
Pretoria in the captured Caproni a propaganda stunt to aid 
the Gifts and Comforts Fundshe had broached the question. 
"As a good husband I followed my wife's advice," Smuts con- 
fessed. "We broadened the idea to become the air command 
that is now flying over the length and breadth of the Union/' 

A high-ranking observer, watching Smuts' unforced intimacy 
with his men, smiled: "The Smuts rule is, indeed, a patriarchy." 

It is, to be exact, at once a patriarchy and a matriarchy. 

As if an epilogue to Smuts' conferences in Cairo, the late 
Sir Patrick Duncan, Governor-General of the Union, on behalf 
of the King, handed Smuts his Field Marshal's baton on Octo- 
ber 1. "My dear Field Marshal," read the royal message, "I was 
hoping to present your Field Marshal's baton to you person- 
ally in England, but I well understand the reasons why you do 
not want to be away from South Africa for so long at the 
present time ... I should like you to know how proud my field 
marshals are to count you among their number. . , ." 

This was all the formal part of the ceremony. The Governor- 
General's tribute sounded rather like recollections from an old 



friendship that had weathered many a storm. Tactfully and 
persistently, he called the new Field Marshal by his old title. 
Sir Patrick, indeed, had spent most of his political life in close 
association with Oom Jannie. Their old antagonism at the time 
when the then Mr. Duncan acted as Milner's chief secretary 
and Advocate Smuts was hell-bent on ousting the proconsul 
with his kindergarten, had given way to decades of co-opera- 
tion and alliance in the service of a common cause. Now both 
old men stood in the mellow light of the evening sun. 

"The baton is an emblem of military dignity, but it would be 
quite inadequate to suppose that General Smuts' services have 
been purely of a military kind," Sir Patrick said. "I can tell you 
from my own experience that there is no one inside or outside 
South Africa who has to make decisions, whether on military 
strategy or state policy, who would not seek and follow the 
advice and counsel of the General. He is a great rock in a weary 
land. On the one side General Smuts met flattery and approval, 
on the other the breezes and blasts of enmity. But he has been 
neither softened by the one, nor hardened by the other. He has 
pursued his own way. I have never seen General Smuts more 
cheerful, more the center of jokes and laughter, than when he 
was going out to confront some critical occasion where his own 
personal safety was very much involved. It is not only in the 
spheres of war and statesmanship that our general is consulted 
and listened to. In high centers of philosophy and science his 
name is respected. So this friend of ours is a man of many parts 
and of great distinction, a prophet not without honor save in 
his own country. . . ." 

Thus far Smuts had listened with his habitual composure. But 
the Old Master flushed with pleasure at his friend's last sen- 
tence: "In spite of many adverse blasts there are few South 
Africans today who are not in the depths of their hearts proud 
to acknowledge General Smuts as a son of South Africa/' 

This was all that the universal genius wanted for himself. 





as it did the United States. In point of fact, the Japanese peril 
was considerably nearer to South Africa, whose east coast is 
washed by the Indian Ocean. Smuts had certainly sensed the 
danger. Ten days before Pearl Harbor he had opened a con- 
ference "to improve the protection and increase the working 
capacity of South African'harbors." Since Italy seemed practi- 
cally out, at least out of Africa, and German U-boats could 
endanger the shipping lanes but not the harbor fortifications, 
it was easy to guess against which potential aggressor the new 
defense measures were directed. 

The very instant the news of the barbaric assault came, an 
official statement assured the public that South African gunners 
and the airmen of the costal command were ready for any 
emergency which might result from Japan's entry into the war. 
Heavy guns, manned by excellently trained gunners, guarded 
the coastal approaches day and night. Long-range bombers con- 
stantly swept the sea routes. Anti-submarine patrols and mine 
sweepers ensured safe passage to Allied shipping. On Sunday 
night Cape Town had its first blackout. 

The Union Cabinet met on Monday morning. After the ses- 
sion Smuts received Mr. Keena, then United States Minister to 
the Union. The American diplomat was told that the declara- 
tion of war against Japan must await certain formalities, but 
that the decision had already been taken. On the next day a 
Gazette Extraordinary published in Pretoria declared that the 
Union of South Africa and Japan were at war. In the evening 
Smuts spoke to a party meeting in Cape Town. He began by 
welcoming a group of American visitors: "We have known for 
a long time that our American friends were with us. We have, 
however, waited a long time for them. The longer they stayed 



away, the greater was our anxiety/' And he concluded, after a 
sharp indictment of Japan's "black record" with a comparison: 
"In America, too, there was bitter division on the war issue, 
just as in South Africa. Yet today the most bitter opponents of 
the President are supporting him. Is that not the pattern of a 
truly great nation? If there is any love of our country here, let 
us copy the example of the great American Republic!" 

The Nationalists answered Smuts 7 call to unity by unloosing 
another wave of sabotage along the Witwatersrand and ter- 
rorism in town and country. Dr. Malan was busy telling them 
that America, now fully occupied in the Pacific, would no 
longer be able to supply Britain with implements of war. Hit- 
ler's victory was absolutely assured. The sinking of the Prince 
of Wales and the Repulse clearly indicated the end of the 

But most South Africans felt that the war menaced their own 
doorsteps since Japan was in it. A number of by-elections shat- 
tered the opposition, although Smuts was still the target of 
insane hatred. "Stalin's comrade" was one of the milder epithets 
hurled at him. But more and more Boers came to recognize 
that the country could not do without him. Major P. V. G. van 
der Byl put it in this way: "General Smuts has not shirked, or 
complained of the appalling load of responsibility that his 
people laid on his shoulders at a time when our country was 
shaken to its foundations, and he, he alone had the courage, 
the brain, the leadership, the strength, and the ability to carry 
it. ... A man is as old as his physical strength, his nerve, his 
courage, and his brain make him. Measured by this yardstick 
General Smuts is hardly middle-aged. He draws his strength 
from the confidence his people have in him. He has only one 
urge: to serve his great love the people and the country." 

To this eulogy by a follower and Cabinet colleague a leading 
Nationalist answered: "Damn Smuts! We want a Republic! 
But who shall be President? Dr. Malan? That papbroek (weak- 
ling) no, thank you! Herr Pirow? He shall go to Germany. 
... I think we'll have to elect Jannie Smuts!" 



"Be up and doingl" was Smuts' New Year's message to his 
people. "Double your efforts!" 

Like a voice from the grave came the echo from Hertzog's 
farm: Afrikanderdom should call him back, was the gist of his 
address. Only if he returned as Caesar would South Africa be 
free and her participation in the war end. 

The war up North went excellently. The Springboks were 
hotly engaged in Libya. Together with British and New Zealand 
troops they had taken part in severe hand-to-hand fighting 
near Sidi Rezegh, the keypoint of the whole Libyan offensive. 
They helped raise the siege of Tobruk. Bardia surrendered 
after an assault by South African and British troops lasting 
sixty hours. They had an important part in the capture of Sol- 
lum. Springboks under Major General de Villiers defended a 
sector of the Halfaya hellfire Pass against a powerful Axis 

The war, into which South Africa had entered with a scant 
majority of thirteen votes in Parliament, and which a large 
section of the population had just endured, became popular. 
Hertzogite stalwarts came over to Smuts. Mr. Quinlan, M.P., 
one of the oldest Nationalists, could no longer stomach the sub- 
servience to Hitler shown by Dr. Malan and Pirow. "I made a 
mistake about the war," he announced. "I am a Nationalist. To 
me patriotism means love for South Africa, not hatred for Eng- 
land. Now that democracy is in danger, lip service is no longer 
sufficient. It is necessary to support the government. Since my 
efforts to persuade my own party failed, I have only one alter- 
native left: personally to support General Smuts." Mr. Havenga, 
since the days of the Boer War Hertzog's fidelis achatus, did 
not go as far as to announce his support of the government. 
But, protesting his unending love for Hertzog, "the only true 
volksleier" which was a quip against Dr. Malan he formally 
parted with the idol of his life, who now was a blunted tool 
of Hitler. Finally, Professor Cilliers of Stellenbosch, for many 
years Hertzog's political tutor, dropped "the advocate of Naz- 

These conversions deeply impressed the country. But the 



irreconcilables were driven into a fury. They tried to make up 
in increased terror what they were losing in popular appeal. 
A new sabotage wave swept the Rand. The Johannesburg 
police seemed unable to check it. This was the moment for 
which Smuts had waited so long and so patiently, and so little 
understood by his own most faithful followers. 

A parade of the police and detective corps was arranged on 
Marshall Square. The police were lined up on one side, the 
National Volunteer Brigade on the other. Four hundred known 
Brandwagter among the police and detectives were called out, 
man by man, while the National Volunteers held their rifles 
ready. The guilty men were put under arrest. Military trucks 
took them to the fort in Johannesburg. The whole affair had 
been planned so secretly that neither the police nor the Na- 
tional Volunteers had been informed why they were paraded 
on this particular afternoon of January 20, 1942. Police from 
other parts of the Union were drafted. Two days after the 
purge the Johannesburg police force was again at full strength. 
The pest of sabotage was not yet under control, but at least 
crime was no longer aided and abetted by accomplices within 
the forces. Quiet, calm, imperturbable as ever, Smuts told 
Parliament: "For the moment the government has gone far 
enough in stamping out sabotage. But we will certainly take 
stronger measures if things go further/* 

Things did go further, and not for the better. The Japanese 
conquests stunned the world. Rommel began to assert himself 
in Libya. Again a wave of half-heartedness swept the country. 
And again Smuts was at his post. Paternally he scolded his 
people for their lukewarm attitude, for behaving as if they were 
not part of the war. "Some people still look to maintaining con- 
ditions as they were before the war. They seem not to realize 
that we are all engaged in a life-and-death struggle, in a global 
war in which South Africa has a vital stake. Yet some people 
feel the little deprivations. When we have to pay more for this 
and that, or find that things previously common are difficult 
to obtain, we should remember that bearing this patiently is 
only a very small contribution. We must make our contribution 



without criticism or grumbling. Our fate is at stake in a way 
never before experienced in history. Let us cultivate the spirit 
of gravity/' Life, in South Africa, alas, had been too sweet and 
bountiful to foster much spirit of gravity. 

In addition to all his strenuous duties the Old Master had 
now to deliver his daily pep talk. "The time will come when 
the Japanese will run the other way . . ." he said, and, "cer- 
tainly the Allies are passing through difficult times, but war is 
like that." The first German setbacks in Russia filled him with 
great expectations. "After losing a million of men, a great mass 
of war material, and the richest part of their country the Rus- 
sians have made a grand recovery. It all reads like a miracle." 
He rarely spoke about conditions in his own country. Only 
once, on one of the most critical days of 1942, he put his finger 
on the sore spot: "South Africa is not a country where conscrip- 
tion can be applied. But although the burden falls only on a 
portion of the people, there is no country in the world where 
war service is conducted with so much earnestness and devo- 
tion. The tragedy is that this war burden is being carried by 
the few, and is not an all-out effort. The few are carrying on 
their backs the unwilling ones/' 

All decent people in the country thought that Smuts himself 
was carrying too heavy a burden. Some old friends in the Sen- 
ate voiced this fear openly. But how could the Old Master take 
a rest while Australia was training guerrillas in preparation for 
an attack, Rangoon had fallen, followed by Singapore, while 
the Indian ocean seethed with enemy raiders, and the hideous 
outrages at Hong Kong aroused the world? Even South Africa 
awaited a Japanese attack by air and sea. 

Smuts made a momentous declaration: "Before the Japanese 
take this country, I will see to it that every colored man and 
every native who can be armed, will be armed. It will help us 
to know that if the struggle comes to our coasts and frontiers, 
we will not be alone. I will train and arm any non-European 
prepared to help defend South Africa. I have not the slightest 
doubt whatsoever that the bulk of our people agree with me in 
this attitude." 



With his habitual courtesy Smuts called the natives: "non- 
Europeans." But to the racialists they were kleurlinge and slep- 
sels, just creatures, less than human. Nationalist members in 
the Senate, where Smuts had made his announcement, shouted 
and yelled. Smuts had his famous steel-rod glance in his eyes 
when he quietly took the opposition to task. "For a consider- 
able time members of the opposition have said that they were 
going to remain aloof at all costs and that they would not even 
participate in the defense of our soil. But the natives and the 
colored porters and drivers have voluntarily come forward to 
make their contribution, notwithstanding the restrictions placed 
upon them. There are sixty thousand non-Europeans in the 
army, all in non-combatant services. But they want to be 
armed. They do not want to be regarded as inferiors, but as 
citizens. If we grant their demand they will come forward to 
fight in great numbers. I am very sorry to say that the attitude 
of the native population is in many respects more praiseworthy 
than that of some honorable senators opposite. There is no 
doubt that those sixty thousand non-Europeans who have vol- 
untarily taken part in the struggle, even if they were only per- 
mitted to serve in a limited capacity, are an example to many 
of the white people who stand aside at this grave crisis." 

The battle of the Middle East was interrupted by a lull. 
Smuts grew restless. With the old warrior, as in war itself, 
motion was everything. He went up North again. He covered 
another two thousand miles by car and by plane to inspect 
Egypt and Cyrenaica. He repeated his already customary tour 
of bases, hospitals, aerodromes, and trenches. Yet he set up a 
new record: he was the oldest soldier and the only Field Mar- 
shal ever to venture out into the first line of battle, where he 
spent three days. At the headquarters of the Eighth Army, as 
the Army of the Nile had been rechristened, he met representa- 
tives of all the South African units in the field. They were weary 
of months of comparative inactivity. The sight of Oubaas 
cheered them up. Smuts acquired another nickname among the 
Springboks: Old Tonic. 



Between audiences with the Kings of Egypt and Greece, re- 
spectively, Smuts traveled along bumpy, dusty desert tracks, 
made most uncomfortable by the hot, dust-laden khamseen 
that cut men's faces like sharp blades. Untiring, the Old Master 
braved the blazing sun for hours. He could no longer climb 
Table Mountain, although it was strictly forbidden to mention 
this fact. But here at the front he proved that he could per- 
fectly well climb escarpments to watch points of specific in- 
terest. He visited the Springboks' proud battlefields at Bardia 
and Sollum. He took his meals with his men, unless General Sir 
Claude Auchinleck or Mr. Casey got hold of him for dinner. 
With a group of Springboks he went bathing in the sea. Healthy 
and bronzed, he stood for a few minutes on the beach of a 
little cove between Tobruk and Bardia. Then he plunged into 
the water. "I am going to swim in the Mediterranean, and I am 
not going to ask Mussolini's permission, either," he decided. He 
could only stay a few minutes in the water. A wildly gesticu- 
lating man stood on the beach, signaling the Field Marshal to 
return. Lieutenant-General Ritchie, then commander of the 
Eighth Army, had been hunting Smuts for several days. 

At a press conference he reaffirmed his unshakable belief in 
the strategic importance of this very theater of war. During 
this dangerous lull, which everyone knew was exactly what 
Rommel, the desert fox, needed to prepare for the leap, the 
Old Master predicted: "J ust as Wellington held on to an ap- 
parently worthless strip of Portugal, until Napoleon was bro- 
ken, so we must hold this Middle East block, and we will hold 
it. There is a possibility that it will become the base for a great 
offensive. I have come to the conclusion that we will see a great 
trial of strength. You may see it here in North Africa, which, 
I have always felt, is destined to become one of the great bat- 
tlefields of this war." The day was May 22, 1942. The young 
man, who had been Smuts' inseparable companion during his 
tour of the front, nodded respectfully. 

This mystery man was Mr. S. F. Waterson, then Union High 
Commissioner in London, now Minister of Commerce in Smuts' 
government, and, many believe, one of the coming men of 



South Africa. Smuts used every free moment they were rare 
enough for whispered conversations with him. Obviously, a 
grand strategic plan was in the making. Smuts' trustee should 
convey it to Churchill. So much was clear. But no one could 
guess as to the facts and merits of the Old Master's grand 
strategy. It remained an anxiously guarded military secret. On 
his return to Pretoria, Smuts disclosed that he had discussed 
with Mr. Waterson the important matter of South African wool 
prices and the general rise in the production costs of South 
African agriculture. Mr. Waterson had been instructed to ap- 
proach the British Government with the request that an in- 
crease in the wool price should be considered at an early date. 

Another result of his inspection was that Smuts, early in 
June, announced he had decided on a complete reorganization 
of the South African army. Both Springbok divisions in North 
Africa should be turned into tank divisions, which would "enor- 
mously increase the Union's contribution to the general war 
effort." Simultaneously Smuts formed two new home com- 
mandos, a Coastal Command, and an Inland Command, under 
Major General J. P. de Villiers, the victor of Halfaya, Bardia, 
and Sollum, consisting of full-time forces, fully trained, per- 
fectly equipped, and highly mobile. This latter commando 
boded ill for the future of the Ossewa Brandwag, whose sedi- 
tious, already revolutionary, activities had reached an all-time 
peak while Rommel was lurking around the corner. 

"We are back in the Boer War days," the Old Master ex- 
claimed joyfully. "Our ancient traditions fit splendidly into the 
most recent developments in tactics. The days of stationary 
warfare are past. The experience of the First World War has 
largely been negatived by what has happened today. We are 
once more launched upon a warfare of mobility, of surprises, 
tricks, ruses, and all the sort of things we practised and knew 
so well in the Boer War. Then there were no textbooks, no red 
tape. We kept our eyes open and moved fast by night and day, 
surprising the enemy." 

Oubaas was in his twenties again. The King's field marshal 



was the general by the grace of a defunct republic and by the 
choice of three hundred comrades on stolen horses who trusted 
him blindly. 

"If you go to Libya today and look at what is happening," 
Smuts continued, "you will see that there is no front. It is a 
wild war dance between the armies. They are here, there, and 
everywhere. Tanks, almost as mobile as motorcars, have made 
all the difference in the world. The mounted forces of the Boer 
War repeat their tactics in the age of steel. Here in this war 
we do not sit in fortifications and pillboxes. There is room for 
maneuver!" Did the old warrior hear his stallion neighing from 
the grave, one of the dozen horses the English had shot from 
under the raider of the Cape, the man with the charmed life? 
He heard, it appeared, two voices, and both at the same time: 
the undying melody of the past, and the clarion call of the 
future. It is this complex faculty that makes Jan Christian 

He is a prophet, even in disaster. Less than three weeks after 
he had announced his intention to mechanize the entire Spring- 
bok force, Tobruk fell. An entire South African division was 
captured. When the terrible news came through, Smuts, ac- 
cording to reliable reports, asked only two words: "How many?" 
Fifteen thousand, he was told. Again two words: "So many?" 
It later proved that the number was less than thirteen thou- 
sand. Major-General Dan Pienaar reported that the troops had 
been condemned to a passive role by lack of tanks, "although 
they had only Italian opposition against them. When they at 
last had an opportunity of attacking, it was too late." 

It was, his friends, insist, the heaviest blow General Smuts 
had sustained, not only since the beginning of the war, but for 
a great many years. His sudden pallor frightened his entourage. 
To lose fifteen thousand young men, each of whom the Old 
Master loved like a son. . . . 

It was time for a scheduled broadcast. Without a break in 
his voice he sent a message of hail and good cheer to a meeting 
of the Friends of Soviet Russia. 

On the next day he made his famous Tobruk statement. He 



spoke crisply, accurately, to the point: "The fall of Tobruk has 
involved the capture by the enemy of substantial numbers of 
the South African forces in Egypt. The exact composition of the 
South African Forces which formed part of the Tobruk garri- 
son is not yet known. The general situation is confused as a 
result of the withdrawal of the Eighth Army. While we should 
not minimize the seriousness of the losses, there remains in the 
field a strong, well-equipped and experienced fighting force, 
the larger part of the total South African forces sent to Egypt. 
These units together with reinforcements which South Africa 
will now provide will play a vital part in the defense of Egypt 
and in the ultimate wresting of Libya from the Axis. South 
Africa can take it, and South Africa will seek retribution/' 

The General spoke of Egypt and Libya. But he meant Italy. 
The Springboks took a valiant part in the epic of the Eighth 
Army. When the last Italians were driven into the sea, they 
shouted: "We are coming, Musso!" 


Africa's battle cry. He had carefully worked out his new re- 
cruiting campaign, the biggest and most successful, as was soon 
proved. The provinces vied with one another to replace their 
losses. Proud regiments with a century-old tradition were fully 
restored. The Western Province of the Cape established a new 
Cape Field Artillery Regiment. The Eastern Province rebuilt 
the Kaffrarian Rifles, and Natal the Mounted Rifles. At the 
same time Smuts pressed the conversion of the Union's fighting 
divisions to armored and mechanized troops. On August 1, 



1942, he announced that the Seaward Defence Force would 
henceforth be known as the Royal South African Navy. The 
"tin-can fleet" of converted trawlers and improvised mine 
sweepers was now a formidable naval force of sixty-four units. 
South African ships convoyed Allied merchantmen through the 
Mediterranean, then known as the "alley of death." At the end 
of July the Admiralty in London congratulated the new sister 
fleet upon the exploits of the Protea and the Southern Maid 
which, between them, had destroyed a pack of German U-boats 
and captured the survivors. Nevertheless, the U-boat menace 
off the South African shores was increasing. The sea lanes, 
along which the Allies had to send practically all their supplies 
for the Eighth Army, were infested with German submarines. 
Smuts later confessed that he had many a sleepless hour while 
pondering the U-boat problem. Soon events proved that his 
brain is most fertile when he cannot sleep, which, incidentally, 
happens rarely. 

All loyal sections assisted in recruiting. The Rand industry 
decided to keep staffs necessary only to maintain production, 
but not to expand business, despite the alluring possibilities of 
the war boom. Smuts appointed advisers from the trade-unions 
to sift labor in search of new volunteers. A committee under a 
Cabinet minister Colonel Deneys Reitz transferred civil serv- 
ants to the army. Transport was restricted in order to free em- 
ployees for the forces. Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban, 
the three biggest English-speaking towns, achieved a record in 
recruiting. But also the Dutch-speaking platteland contributed 
its fair share. Colonel Werdmuller, Director of Recruiting, 
toured the country as the special emissary of General Smuts. 
His meetings, he reported, were "crowded and spirited." But 
the young Dutchmen from the veld could not volunteer with- 
out exposing themselves to being called "Hanskhakis" ( substi- 
tute Englishmen) or, politely, "Rooi-luise" (red lice) by their 
Nationalist neighbors. 

"Many people sneered and jeered at the Avenge Tobruk cam- 
paign," Smuts said over the radio. "But we help each other. 
The Defense organization of South Africa is a circle of friend- 



ship. We do our best to meet our difficulties and misunder- 
standings. To me, of course, the recruiting work comes first and 
foremost. And I can say, I am getting my men." 

While the fight with Rommel still hung in the balance, South 
Africa's contribution to the Allied war effort advanced in 
mighty strides. At a particularly critical moment Major-General 
Dan Pienaar, commanding the First Springbok Division, said 
cheerfully: "Rommel will never enter the Nile Valley, or oc- 
cupy Alexandria, or dine on Shepheard's Terrace, unless he 
goes there as a tourist after the war." 

The Springboks were as good as their commander's word. 
The Royal Natal Carabineers, the senior volunteer regiment 
of the British Empire, attacked on the El Alamein front. At 
8:30 P.M. the troops advanced on a path through the enemy 
mine fields English sappers had cleared. Hundreds of guns fol- 
lowed them. At 9:20 the troops were in battle position. In- 
telligence officers briefed them where to take prisoners. At 
ten forty the Germans started a diversion in the south. But 
there the Australians countered instantly. While the Aussies 
fiercely engaged the enemy, the South Africans moved forward, 
unnoticed by the Germans. The sky began to light up before 
midnight. At five to twelve the South African guns opened fire 
to silence the heavy German mortars sending barrage after 
barrage into the Aussie's lines. The German mortars replied, 
and the Springboks started their bayonet attack through a hail 
of German 88 mm. shells bursting all around. At twelve thirty 
the Brigadier reported: "Our boys have now penetrated the 
wire into the mine field." Six minutes later came a report from 
the Natal Carabineers: "Having a thin time with shells and 
heavy machine-gun fire." At one o'clock, however, they were 
inside the mine field. At one ten they had advanced seven 
hundred yards, and were just in front of the German pillboxes. 
At one fifty British units marched through the gap into the 
mine fields. A hurricane of gunfire received them. It was a 
desperate attempt to stave off a bayonet attack, which Jerry 
fears most of all. The attempt miscarried. Soon Jerry evacuated 
most of his pillboxes. 



Rommel was retreating, and, for all practical purposes, the 
enemy within was beaten. When Smuts had the whole direc- 
torate of the Ossewa Brandwag arrested and interned, "Com- 
mander General" van Rensburg whined that he was only an 
appointed officer, not responsible for shaping the policies of the 
organization. Suddenly Dr. Malan spoke about the long and 
tiresome path of the polling booth which would, some distant 
day, lead to the Republic. He speculated on the political set- 
back that follows every war. 

Now Smuts could carry out a plan he had cherished for ten 
years. He availed himself of Winston Churchill's repeated in- 
vitation. In a new Lockheed Ventura, piloted by Lieutenant- 
Colonel Piet Nel, he flew to England. He arrived in London 
on October 13, two days ahead of schedule. As always, his 
decisions and actions were swift. He had been so impatient that 
he did not permit his plane to interrupt the journey at the 
regular stops. He came, he said, for consultations and discus- 
sions; not with preconceived ideas, but as a champion of a defi- 
nite settlement of the campaign in North Africa. 

With an audible sigh of relief the Old Master said on arrival: 
"And so I am back in London after an interval of many years. 
That I have not come earlier is due to circumstances largely 
beyond my control. Like other Dominion Prime Ministers, I 
had frequent and pressing invitations from Mr. Churchill. But 
unlike them I was peculiarly tied down to my duties in South 
Africa and to a political situation very different from that in 
other Dominions. The position in that respect, has, however, 
considerably eased. My talks with Mr. Churchill last August 
in Egypt made it clear to me that there might be some advan- 
tage in further talks in London." 

Mr. Churchill whisked him right from the aerodrome to at- 
tend a meeting of the War Cabinet at Downing Street starting 
at ten o'clock in the evening. 

Throughout his stay in London Smuts moved in with all his 
old speed and urgency. He had comein Churchill's words 
at a stern and somber moment. Nearly all his numerous confer- 
ences were directly concerned with the immediate purpose of 



his self-imposed mission: acceleration of the general conduct of 
the war. Yet he proceeded in London just as informally and 
simply as he was in the habit of performing his routine duties 
at home. 

Frequently he visited South Africa House. Crowds were 
gathered outside to cheer the Old Master when he showed him- 
selfdespite the London October chill without an overcoat. 
Again he met the members of the War Cabinet. He lunched 
with the King at Buckingham Palace. The Old Master had 
brought a little gift: a complete collection of current issues of 
the stamps of the Union and South West Africa. He knew that 
George VI would appreciate it. The times had changed since 
the Edwardian era. It was no longer the biggest diamond in 
the world a grateful Dominion had to present its sovereign. The 
present King, a keen philatelist, enjoyed the collection of stamps 
probably more than his grandfather had relished the Cullinan. 
To keep the balance, another high-ranking philatelist was on 
the same day presented with another set of the collection: 
President Roosevelt, it is said, was much pleased at this at- 

After lunch Smuts attended a meeting of the Defence Com- 
mitteethe chiefs of staff presided over by Mr. Churchill. 
Then the Old Master issued his first public statement. Empha- 
sizing South Africa's dominant strategic position, he declared 
that the war was entering upon a new phase: from defensive 
warfare to the offensive. With victory in sight, if only at a dis- 
tance, he could not refrain from making a reference to the 
peace to come. "This is a man-made war," he said, "and the 
peace to follow it should not prove beyond human capacity 
beyond the untapped sources of wisdom and planning, of fore- 
thought and good will." 

To the Cabinet he delivered what one of its members called 
a "masterly expose of the war situation." He was confident of 
Russia's staying-power, and viewed the future with cautious 
optimism. He had lunch with King Haakon of Norway, inter- 
views with Ambassadors Winant and Maisky, and a long talk 
with Vincent Massey, the Canadian High Commissioner. For 



the week end he retired to a country house to prepare his great 
speech. Throughout his ride to the countryside his dark blue 
limousine was everywhere recognized and cheered. 

He spoke on Wednesday. The scene was unique in the his- 
tory of Parliament. A thousand members of both the Houses 
were gathered, the Lords occupying the front seats, behind 
them the faithful Commons. On the platform sat Smuts in his 
field marshal's uniform, between Churchill and Lloyd George. 
On the left was a small tribune for the lady guests, including 
Mrs. Churchill and Mrs. Eden. The brilliant assembly chatted 
for half an hour. Then three cheers were given: Lloyd George, 
the father of the House, rose. He looked frail, thin and worn in 
his simple navy-blue suit. Yet his magnificent voice had lost 
nothing of its resonance. Lloyd George said only a few words: 
"Smuts is one of the foremost statesmen of my generation/' 
That was about all. Winston Churchill jumped up from his seat 
of honor to help the old man into his overcoat. 

Now Smuts took the floor. Every point he made was quickly 
seized by the audience. "My small country" brought an out- 
burst of laughter. Stating the great issues at stake, he was lis- 
tened to with the closest attention. A solemn hush reigned as 
he quoted Scripture. It was followed by general hilarity when 
he dealt with Hitler's blunders. He more than hinted that Pearl 
Harbor was a blessing in disguise. He evoked a storm of ap- 
plause with the statement: "This is Trafalgar Day!" 

Smuts predicted the war would last until 1944. The Allies 
had had to cope with an exceptional run of bad luck. Russia 
was doing more than her share. The German Army was bleed- 
ing to death on the Russian front, while Stalin's army would 
certainly hold out. The unloosing of the yellow flood and the 
Allied reverses in the East were largely caused by the tragic 
fall of France through the treacherous surrender of Indo-China 
by Vichy. 

In the silence that followed, Smuts said with raised voice: 
"Once the time has come to take the offensive and to strike 
while the iron is hot, it would be folly to delay, to overprepare, 



and perhaps to miss our opportunity. Nor are we likely to do 
so. Of that I am satisfied." 

The speech rose to a noble, generous tribute to all that Eng- 
land had endured, and a eulogy of the Commonwealth of Brit- 
ish Nations. "This is its glory," he said with deep emotion. "To 
have stood in the breach, and to have kept open the way to 
man's vast future. This is the glory of the spirit which sees and 
knows no defeat or loss, but increasingly nerves, nourishes, and 
sustains the world to final victory." 

Smuts ended in his best manner by pointing to the future: 
"This is at bottom a war of the spiritof man's soul. Hitler has 
tried to kill this spirit and to substitute for it some ersatz-thing, 
something which is really its negation. His faith is a revival of 
the pagan past and a denial of the spiritual forces which have 
carried us forward in the Christian advance, the essence of 
civilization. Hitler has trampled on the cross, and substituted 
for it the crooked cross. He has started a new era of martyrdom, 
an era of persecution such as mankind has not known since it 
emerged from the Dark Ages. At the bottom, therefore, this war 
is a new crusade, a new fight to the death for man's rights and 
liberties, and for the personal ideals of man's ethical and spir- 
itual life. 

"We cannot hope to establish a new heaven and a new earth 
in the bleak world which will follow this most destructive con- 
flict of history. But certain patent social and economic evils 
could be tackled on modest, practical lines on an international 
scale almost at once. In sober resolution, in modest hope and 
strong faith, we move forward to the unknown future. There 
is no reason why we should not hopefully and sincerely attempt 
to carry out for the world the task which now confronts us. 
Health, housing, education, decent social amenities, provisions 
against avoidable insecurities, all these simple goods and much 
more can be provided for all, and thus a common higher level 
of life can be achieved for all. 

"As between nations, a new spirit of human solidarity can be 
cultivated, and economic conditions can be built up which will 
strike at the root causes of war, and thus lay deeper founda- 



tions for world peace. With honesty and sincerity on our part 
it is possible to make basic reforms, both for national and in- 
ternational life, which will give mankind a new chance for sur- 
vival and for progress. Let this program, by no means too ambi- 
tious, be our task, and let us now already, even in the midst of 
war, begin to prepare for it." 

Fifteen million people in the United Kingdom alone, accord- 
ing to the BBC estimates, had heard his speech. Immediately 
afterward Smuts hastened to Downing Street to take part in the 
deliberations of the Pacific War Council which lasted all night. 
Everyone was amazed at the Old Master's vitality and stam- 
ina. In the company of Winston Churchill and two American 
friends, Messieurs Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the United 
States Treasury, and Averill Harriman, President Roosevelt's 
personal envoy, he went to inspect the Dover defenses. He ad- 
dressed a parade of the Civil Defence Workers: "I have very 
unpleasant memories of Dover from the last war, when I came 
across the channel and left in a small destroyer. I thought these 
unpleasant memories of 1917 would be the only ones of Dover 
I should carry into the future when I read reports of blitzes on 
Dover, singled out by the enemy for special punishment. We 
really thought that Dover was gone. But now I come here, and 
find Dover's men and women smiling, happy and still alive. 
There'll always be a Dover!" 

A couple of sentimental visits followed. Smuts called upon 
Lloyd George at his farm at Churt, in the most beautiful part 
of Surrey. The father of Parliament showed some of the results 
of his experiments in fruit growing. The Old Master, in turn, 
gave accurate data about his prize bull, Doornkloof's acquisi- 
tion from America. The war was forgotten. The veterans were 
exceedingly happy. On Sunday Smuts took his son, Captain 
Japie Smuts, on a motor trip to Cambridge to see his old col- 
lege, Christ's. The students interrupted dinner to give the 
doyen of the alumni a rousing cheer. Smuts joined them. Seated 
at the right of Professor Raven, the master of the college, he 
displayed a most healthy appetite. 



His every hour was crowded. On a single day Wednesday- 
he had an audience with Queen Wilhelmina, whereupon he 
broadcast in the Dutch language to Holland and Belgium. An 
engagement with Mr. Harriman followed; the outcome was 
that President Roosevelt sent a group of lend-lease administra- 
tors to South Africa. Lord Leathers, British Minister of Trans- 
port, was his next caller. Smuts saw General de Gaulle, had 
dinner with Mr. Eden, and attended another night session of 
the War Cabinet after having put in a short appearance at a 
reception at the South African Club. 

One event stood out: on October 31, three thousand Welsh 
coal miners were assembled in Central Hall, Westminster. 
Churchill and Smuts addressed them. What the two leaders 
had to say was so serious that their speeches were not released 
until half a year later. They asked the miners to increase pro- 
duction because England was faced with the very great danger 
of fuel shortage. The time of peril was not yet over, both speak- 
ers emphasized. The U-boat menace was becoming worse; the 
danger of invasion was still real, and Hitler was hell-bent on 
achieving a stalemate, his last, desperate hope. He was trying 
to turn Europe into a fortress that would be able to hold out 
for years, waiting for the Allies to grow weary of war, fall out 
among themselves and agree to a compromise peace. Under 
such conditions no internal disturbances could be tolerated. 
Coal miners and operators must get together. The ensuing Coal 
Conference brought them, indeed, together, and removed for 
good the danger of serious disturbances in the mines of Wales. 
Churchill had again proved his intuition in calling in Smuts, 
the peacemaker par excellence to help in bringing about a 

During his entire stay in London Smuts was in constant con- 
tact with South Africa. The news was good. Two by-elections 
went to his followers. But the U-boat peril had reached South 
African waters in earnest. During the second half of October, 
U-boats struck for the first time west of the Cape to interrupt 
the stream of supplies and reinforcements to the Allied armies 
in the Middle East. A few weeks later German U-boats were 



sighted off South Africa's east coast. Obviously they were the 
same packs. This meant that they had already been at sea eight 
or nine weeks, and would take another three weeks to return 
to their nearest bases in the Bay of Biscay. They must have 
been furnished with fuel, fresh water, and torpedoes by Ger- 
man supply ships, probably anchored somewhere along the 
coast of the Portuguese colonies. There was another possibility, 
too. A few small islands in the "Roaring Forties/' south of the 
Cape, Gough, Bouvet, Prince Edward, Marion, and the Twin 
Islands, had, in peacetime, been used by whaling fleets as tem- 
porary bases. Smuts decided to have these almost inaccessible 
rocks cleared up. But this was only a local expediency. The Old 
Master joined in establishing a supreme anti-U-boat staff to 
supervise the campaign to stamp out the menace. Churchill 
himself presided. 

Again, as in the First World War, Smuts had an important 
part in shaping the Allied grand strategy. He was recognized 
as a man of outstanding intellect, of profound experience in 
war and peace over half a century, and, above all, as a man, 
for reasons of race and geography, able to take a broader view 
of events and development than that generally prevailing. His 
work in London re-established him as one of the acknowledged 
leaders of the United Nations, more particularly of the British 
Commonwealth of Nations, somewhat aloof, but passionately 
in the center of things, sharing in the making of history. 

In conferring the freedom of Plymouth upon him, Lord Astor 
acknowledged his peculiar position: "The South African Prime 
Minister exemplifies all that is best in the traditions and ideas 
of the British Commonwealth of Free Nations." Addressing 
Smuts directly, he continued: "You are not of British blood. At 
one period you actually fought against this country. But you 
are the answer to the critics of the British Commonwealth." 

Smuts' last speech in England summed up what he had come 
to urge: the acceleration of the pace of the war. "The issue of a 
second western front takes new shape," he said, "and several 
new fronts against vulnerable areas should now become pos- 
sible. All western and southern Europe lies exposed not only to 



attacks from Britain, but also across the Mediterranean. Our 
lines of movement are multiplied. Possibilities become tremen- 
dous. The offensive should continue without rest or pause, and 
attacks on enemy countries should make it most difficult for 
them to regain their lost offensive. We have already wrested air 
supremacy from the enemy. There remains the sea offensive. 
By this I mean the U-boat campaign, the most serious menace 
against us. It is evidently the last hope of Germany, so it should 
be our foremost task to tackle it. For this purpose we command 
unrivalled skill and experience. We have the air supremacy to 
demolish U-boat building bases in enemy and occupied coun- 
tries, and to hunt U-boat marauders from the high seas. We 
have, besides, the finest scientific genius in the world, consist- 
ing not only of the foremost British physicists of the age, but 
also of brilliant sons of Germany, now refugees here and in 
Allied countries." Then he smiled: "I speak, of course, with all 
due modesty. I am only a landsman from Africa. Others would 
know much better how to proceed about this job." 

All England smiled in return, gratefully and affectionately, 
when the Old Master stepped into his Lockheed to return to 
his old home, but ever to new destinies. 

"General Smuts' presence in London was sinister evidence of 
the weakness of Allied arms and the darkness of Allied pros- 
pects!" Die Burger received the homecoming Prime Minister. It 
sounded like a cry in the dark. Dr. Malan knew that the game 
was up. While his great opponent had made history, he himself 
had been sidling from dorp to dorp, endlessly dissecting the 
barnyard squabbles of his volk. Frustrated and bitter, wrapped 
in archaic flags, making safe threats of "going to jail," he failed 
even in the leadership of a handful of Afrikaners. Now he was 
to pay the penalty of basing his whole policy on nothing more 
substantial than impotent rage and obsolete prejudices. Al- 
though the opposition Afrikaners, even in the judgment of their 
progressive fellow Boers, were the most stupid isolationists in 
the world, they reacted more quickly to events in the world 
than any other section of the population. Their own fate, after 



embracing Hitlerism, was even more dependent on what hap- 
pened abroad. 

A short time before Dr. Malan had still used a secret trans- 
mitter to discuss with Zeesen the conditions a victorious Hitler 
was willing to grant to a subservient, dictatorially run South 
Africa. Now his retreat from Nazism coincided with Rommel's 
retreat, but it was considerably faster. He directed all his at- 
tacks toward van Rensburg and Pirow. Those two were hope- 
lessly compromised. They were doomed, the moment Hitler 
should fall. 

The Old Master no longer deigned his opponents a single 
word. He was above the squabble. His lifelong austerity was 
mellowed by the serenity of active, purposeful, highly success- 
ful age. Nothing could affect him. 


Dan Pienaar was killed in an airplane crash. Smuts' face went 
white, when the news came. "It is as bad as Tobrukl" he mur- 
mured. But instantly he pulled himself together. He ordered 
done everything necessary for Dan's widow and the families of 
the other airmen who had perished with their general. He sug- 
gested that the news of the tragedy should be held back until 
Sunday morning. He did not want to ruin the big rally in Jo- 
hannesburg in his honor. In the late afternoon he wrote a per- 
sonal tribute to the memory of his young friend who had died 
just as he was on the way to greatness. Dan Pienaar's position 
was sure to increase while the Axis would have been blasted 
out of Africa and the battle would roll to the south of Europe. 
Moreover, Dan Pienaar was scheduled to become commander 
of the South African Army after the war, succeeding Smuts, 
and perhaps also to make a great contribution to the political 
reconstruction of the country. 

Smuts looked tired, when a crowd of twenty thousand 
cheered him in Johannesburg. But he recovered as he spoke, 
and he spoke much more personally than usual. Reporting on 
his journey to England, he summed up, as it were, the experi- 
ence of his life: "I wish to express to my British friends, known 



and unknown, my deep gratitude for the reception they have so 
warmly and spontaneously given me. In my person as a South 
African and as a Boer the British system of today stands vindi- 
cated before history. Promises have been kept, freedom granted 
in fullest measure, and a generosity has been shown, unprece- 
dented in history, which in turn has evoked the most moving 
response on the part of the British people, both in the last war 
and in this. The critics of the British Empire have their answer. 
At the same time it is a reminder to the British people that the 
Empire is no mean thing, but something to be proud of, and 
worth serving and dying for. My visit in the Empire's historic 
setting was a symbol and a reminder of what was deepest and 
best in this vast system of ours, which will endure beyond this 
war, and point the way to mankind towards the future com- 
monwealth of the world. 

"In all practical matters I have found single-mindedness and 
open-mindedness in the Prime Minister, and a fanatic inflexi- 
bility in his only objective of winning the war. To him, above 
all, the success whatever it may be of my visit has been due, 
and my deepest thanks are due to him, my old enemy and later 
comrade of a lifetime. Forty-three years ago I had to sit in 
judgment on him and condemn him to internment as a com- 
batant passing under the guise of a press correspondent. I was 
right then. Ever since he has continued as a fighter, as a com- 
batant, in spite of the aliases of politics and literature. What 
else can one expect from a member of the tribe of Malbrouk? 
To me the most comforting sign of all I saw was the solid and 
enthusiastic support of the whole nation behind Churchill. So 
forward to victory behind the leader!" 

Now he devoted most of his energy to the training of the 
new Sprinkbok recruits to which he applied the scientific Smuts 
touch. The men were schooled in the fine art of mechanic war- 
fare to become, as tank crews, the spearhead of the fighting 
forces. Special courses were given to the assault troops. Poten- 
tial officers and non-coms received instruction to develop the 
quality of leadership. The secret of fighting, the Old Master re- 
peated, was initiative. The Springboks were born desert fight- 



ers, crafty and experienced in the trickiness this particular sort 
of warfare demands. Some of their regiments soon proved out- 
standing qualities. The Transvaal Scottish were an example. 
Many were awarded the Military Cross or the Military Medal 
for particular bravery, extreme gallantry, initiative and good 
leadership in patrol activities, cutting enemy wires, crossing 
German mine fields, hand-to-hand fighting, raiding, night re- 
connaissance, taking individual patrols, and harassing the vet- 
erans of the Afrika Korps. As commander of the First South 
African Armoured Division, Dan Pienaar was replaced by Major- 
General W. H. Evered Poole, an officer who had received the 
D.S.O. for "great gallantry and devotion to duty" at the start 
of the Alamein offensive. 

The support the conquering Eighth Army received in South 
African war supplies was no less magnificent than the contri- 
bution of the South African soldiers. The Union's new industry 
delivered the goods while the Axis was being driven out of 
Africa. Tens of thousands of heavy aerial bombs, of shells, gre- 
nades, land mines, scores of millions of rounds of small arms, 
ammunition, hundreds of guns, mortars, tanks, as well as cloth- 
ing, boots, transport vehicles, and highly specialized technical 
gear such as gun sights, radio sets, carbide, wire ropes, and 
structural steel flowed from South African workshops. More 
than five hundred thousand replacement parts for tanks and 
guns were delivered to the Eighth Army. Captured enemy guns 
were reconditioned and many special steels, including armor- 
plates produced in the National Steel Works in Pretoria. All this 
was new for South Africa. Also the drastic taxation Smuts de- 
manded was new to a country famous for having the lowest 
taxes in the world. 

The country did not grumble. Slowly but steadily the popu- 
lation fell into step with the Old Master. He did not promise 
them early relief. After the Axis had been driven out of Africa, 
he said: "We are very far from the end of the war. Only the 
first long phase of defensive warfare has been successfully con- 
cluded. A second phase is beginning. The great danger is th&t 
the people might tire of the war, and slacken in their effort. 



That is the peril to be avoided." And again he insisted: "Don't 
forget that Hitler is still holding more of Europe than Napoleon 
at the peak of his triumphs." 

In Standerton, his old constituency, he opened his electoral 
campaign. Standerton, which he has represented, so far, for fif- 
teen years, is the place where he makes his most important and 
most personal speeches. "During the past years I was like a cap- 
tain guiding a ship through a rocky sea. But things have im- 
proved, and I am grateful for that. The political squabbles in 
South Africa today leave me ice-cold, more than ice-cold. I am 
not interested in them, because I am too busy with my work. 
I have had repeated invitations from President Roosevelt to go 
to the United States. But I was afraid that if I stayed away too 
long you would forget me. Perhaps I shall go to America later. 
If it is in the interests of South Africa I shall certainly go. 
I have been told that I should not fly so much, and not take so 
many risks. But we are fighting for a very great cause, and if 
anyone can do anything to help in the attainment of victory 
it is his duty to take risks and make sacrifices. For South Africa 
I will go to England, to America, I almost said to Moscow, 
I will go to the gates of hell!" 

This was the old soldier's bugle call, opening the electoral 
campaign. Meekly Dr. Malan replied: "Let no one place all his 
hopes on the outcome of the war. The outcome may make it 
more difficult for us to achieve our object." 

The campaign gathered momentum as Smuts asked, and re- 
ceived, parliamentary authorization to send South African 
troops anywhere in the world. Other good auguries followed. 
The Legislative Assembly of the former Germany Colony of 
South West Africa, ever the trouble center of the continent, de- 
cided to seek admission to the British Empire by incorporation 
with the Union of South Africa. A week before the elections 
South African gold shares boomed in the city of London. The 
cause for buoyancy was the general confidence that Smuts 
would obtain an overwhelming majority. 

The most spectacular feature of the campaign was the com- 
petition for the soldiers' vote. It was an utterly fair competi- 



tion. The Springbok, the newspaper of the Defence Force, 
divided its space equally between pro-government propaganda 
and opposition manifestoes. More than 90 per cent of the men 
in the South African citizen army voted. They voted in hospi- 
tals, between fighter sorties, in one case interrupted by an 
enemy bombing raid. Electoral officers under Major W. G. 
Geach traveled thousands of miles by air and car. Soldiers in 
outlying areas and forlorn desert posts marched long distances 
to mail their ballot papers. Bags bulging with ballots came in 
from New Delhi and London. The men of the Sixth Armoured 
Division left tanks and guns to queue up in long lines before 
the voting booths. Special arrangements had been made for 
ships plying the seas. A general had been sent to the Mediter- 
ranean to arrange the voting among the great number of South 
Africans serving in the Royal Navy. 

Smuts scored. One hundred and seven of his supporters were 
returned or newly elected, as against forty-three Nationalists. 
Never since the first Union Parliament had a majority been as 
strong and as decisive. Pirow's "New Order" with sixteen fol- 
lowers in the old House of Assembly, as well as the Afrikaner 
Party, consisting of eight stalwart Hertzogites, under Klaasie 
Havenga's leadership, disappeared completely. Choosing 
prudence, the better part of valor, the boisterous Ossewa 
Brandtvag had "boycotted" democratic elections. Dr. Malan's 
mouthpiece, the Bloemfontein Volksblad, took the defeat of 
aggressive nationalism stoically. "When General Smuts retires," 
the paper wrote, "we will have to deal with worse jingoes 
whose aim will be complete annihilation of the spiritual pos- 
session of Afrikanerdom." 

South Africa was jubilant. From all over the world came mes- 
sages of congratulation. Smuts answered a telegram from Colo- 
nel Deneys Reitz with an expression of warmth which he rarely 
permits himself: "Thank you, my life's comrade. We now begin 
to gather the fruits of long labor/' Then, ever true to style, he 
found a few kind words for his enemies: "It was a clean fight. 
All sides, even our opponents, fought decently and well, and 



they were decently and well beaten. Perhaps this was my last 
struggle. If so, then I will say that the last was the best." 

A few days later he condensed this judgment to the phrase: 
"The last race of the old horse." 

Chapter 35 AT THE HELM 


reer. But he showed no signs of elation. Serious-minded he 
gazed into the time to come. The next five years, the span 
of life of his new Parliament and by the same token his own 
last lustrum in public life, would be the most difficult ones. He 
summed up: Undoubtedly there was a strong upsurge of liberal 
thought throughout the country. There was social progress. At 
least among the intellectuals a vigorous movement for English 
Afrikaans fellowship had set in. But against this advance stood 
racial bitterness, deeper than ever before, an immovable block 
of intolerance against the colored people, seeds of discontent 
among many sections of society, and a certain political lassitude 
among his own following. The balance seemed not unfavorable, 
but by no means reassuring. Yet Smuts was not disheartened. 
He profoundly believes in the good sense of his people. Con- 
stant compromises, he is convinced, will lead his nation to a 
higher level of life. 

He started his march into the new world by reshuffling his 
cabinet. A Ministry of Transportation replaced the old Minis- 
try of Railways and Harbours; the new office is also in charge 
of the administration of road transport, a post-war South Afri- 
can merchant marine, and civil aviation which shall greatly 
expand. A new Ministry for Welfare and Demobilisation was 



established to co-ordinate all social security activities. A Min- 
istry of Economic Development, uniting the old Departments 
of Commerce and Industry, will pay special attention to open- 
ing up the so far unused economic resources of South Africa. 
At the same time Smuts created a National Supplies Council 
and a new Cabinet Committee on Reconstruction. The Old 
Master reserved the chairmanship of both these organizations 
for himself. 

Even his most faithful followers grumbled. They recognized 
that the two more important new ministries Welfare and Eco- 
nomic Development were entrusted to the two youngest mem- 
bers of the government, Messieurs Lawrence and Waterson, 
respectively. Yet, they insisted, the rejuvenation did not go far 
enough. Moreover, they protested against Oom Jannie adding 
new duties to his already superhuman burden. Their objections 
were of no avail. Smuts remains his own jack-of -all- trades. He 
trusts his personal friends, but there is no one whom he would 
credit with his own supreme wisdom of moderation. 

The great reformer has more and more learned to proceed 
gradually. He is well aware that the economic and social sys- 
tem is changing all over the world. The septuagenarian hails 
the change. But he is determined to keep it under control. He 
wants prosperity without a boom, industrial expansion without 
a mushroom growth of industry, neither state socialism nor lais- 
sez faire. "The structure and activities of society are under- 
going extensive alterations," he explained. "An increasing 
amount of State interference with privately conducted busi- 
ness is in evidence in all countries. We in South Africa want to 
preserve the system of private enterprise. Yet there must be 
certain economic controls to bridge the transition period to 
peacetime economy. The wider problems of State's responsibil- 
ity will remain, and the government will have to find out by 
experience how extensive the controls should be and what form 
they should take." 

Post-war planning, however, works both ways. While Smuts 
was all set for his march into the new world the danger he had 
anticipated actually arose: almost unconsciously South Africa 



was slipping out of the war. Her shores were no longer threat- 
ened by a Japanese attack. The enemy had been driven out 
from the black continent. Smuts' "Clear Africa first!" policy was 
triumphantly vindicated. Mussolini was done for, and Italy had 
unconditionally surrendered. Both events justified Smuts' long 
range vision. But now the people at home relaxed. With their 
own country out of imminent danger, victory seemed in the 
bag. Recruiting declined so steadily that only young men 
reaching military age volunteered. Complacency and optimism 
began to work for Hitler. When Major-General George Brink, 
C.B., D.S.O., was appointed Director General for Demobilisa- 
tion, thousands of people simply forgot their war duties. Gen- 
eral Brink had to emphasize that his job was only to prepare for 
the return of the soldiers after the war. His department, he 
stressed, was concerned with problems which would become 
acute a year or two hence. 

Smuts himself had to bring his people back to reality. He out- 
lined the actual war situation: "We are now rapidly approach- 
ing that great moment which will open the final phase of the 
war in Europe. From now on we possess full freedom of strate- 
gic movements across the oceans, and our vastly superior air- 
powers enable us to exert decisive air-superiority on all fronts. 
With our increasing tempo of bombing most of the great 
centers of Germany will, in another twelve months, be in ruins 
or nonexistent/' he predicted on the fourth anniversary of the 
war. "The Fortress of Europe will disappear physically before 
this air onslaught by night and day. Its effect on civilian morale 
will be more devastating than its physical effects. But there is 
even more than the air blitz to point out the doom of Festung 
Europe. Hitler is already falling back upon and using his re- 
serves of manpower and material resources. The limits of physi- 
cal exhaustion are not so far off. Occupied and satellite coun- 
tries are being pumped dry for manpower, raw material, and 
food. The suffering subject peoples are writhing and seething 
with suppressed or open revolt. The German fighting forces do 
not remain unaffected. German U-boat crews and airmen are 
no longer fighting up to their old standards. In Germany Himm- 



ler with his Gestapo and S.S. forces had to be put in charge a 
sure sign of internal heaving and cracking. Apathy, disillusion, 
and despair are beginning to grip the people who see victory 
and its conquests going, who have seen Mussolini and Fascism 
go, who now see the immense forces of East and West march- 
ing toward the Fortress of Europe. The internal agitation is 
growing and is all the more dangerous because it is suppressed 
and driven underground. Faith in the Fuehrer and belief in the 
New Order are vanishing/' 

In a mass rally in the City Hall of Johannesburg he added, 
three weeks later: "This time there will be no less than uncon- 
ditional surrender, though the German armies will fight bitterly 
and hard. There is no question of Germany winning this war or 
of a stalemate. The war has to be won, and it has to be won on 
German soil. There must be nothing like what happened in the 
last war, when Germany made an armistice and secured peace 
without the foot of a single Allied soldier being set on German 
soil. This time it must be unconditional surrender, dictated in 
the enemy's capitals, in Berlin and elsewhere." 

Is this bitter-ender still the Smuts of Versailles? Certainly he 
is. He wants to castigate the Germans, but only in order to for- 
give them once more. His great diatribe against Nazism was 
coupled with the German people's apology: "The Germans are 
a great people. For centuries they have taken a leading part in 
most of the lines of European advance. They are not all Nazi 
monsters, moral perverts, or devil worshippers infected with the 
satanic virus of Hitler. Deep in the heart of that great people 
slumbers something which is very precious to our race. What 
has happened inside Germany, what has been done to innocent 
neighboring people in recent years had sunk deeply, scorch- 
ingly into millions of German minds. There is another and a 
better Germany that must have passed through hell in witness- 
ing the brutal and lawless inhumanity of their people. The 
degradation of their people under Hitler and his fellow gang- 
sters must be more than decent human nature can stand or bear 
for long. A deep revolt is brewing inside Germany which must 
be more catastrophic for Hitler and Nazidom than even the 



terror of the air by night. Of all the vast forces gathering for 
the doom of Hitler not the least will be the fifth column, repre- 
senting the revolt in the German soul itself." 

It must be truthfully stated that there is so far no evidence 
of any revolt in the German soul itself, nor have Smuts' mil- 
lions of scorched German minds in any recognizable way pro- 
tested against what was happening inside Germany and what 
has been done to innocent neighboring people. In fact, the 
"decent, human nature" of the Germans did stand and bear the 
"degradation" of their people long enough, precisely ten years, 
without bursting out. But such trifling objections would not 
occur to the old warrior without hatred. 

His house-cleaning most efficiently done, Smuts went on 
leave, and once more plunged into history. His private airplane, 
a four-engined American machine, took him to Cairo, the half- 
way house. He spent two busy days in conferences with military 
and political leaders, and witnessed a parade by an armored 
division. While the tanks rolled slowly past, he himself stood on 
the turret of a General Sherman, with one foot resting on the 
75 mm. gun. Gravely he saluted each unit. To the Springboks 
and the Rhodesian troops of the Sixth South African Armoured 
Division he said: "I am convinced that the hardest, the blood- 
iest battles of the war still lie ahead. You must return not only 
with victory, but with peace in your hands!" 

Another scene: the harbor of Alexandria. Smuts, flanked by 
Admiral Sir John Cunningham and General Sir Henry Maitland 
Wilson, standing on the bridge of a captured Italian battleship. 
Silently, with tight lips, the deeply furrowed face blank and 
without discernible expression, the Old Master surveys the long 
rows of surrendered Italian vessels. The fall of Fascist Italy, so 
impressively demonstrated in this show, was the reward of his 
long exertions, his personal triumph He does not care to speak 
about it. 

An airplane of the R.A.F. Transport Command, escorted by 
ten Spitfires, picked up Field Marshal Smuts in Cairo, and 
brought him to an airfield in the Home Counties. His recep- 



tion was quick and informal. There was no time to exchange 
speeches. Smuts did not even stop at the brownstone mansion 
which serves him as his London quarters. The War Cabinet 
was already in session. This time he joined the Inner War 
Cabinet not, as during his previous visit in London, as a guest 
of honor, but as a full-fledged member. Mr. Churchill explained 
that he and Mr. Eden would be much abroad in the weeks 
and months to come. Would Field Marshal Smuts preside over 
the Council? And so the self-styled "simple landman from South 
Africa" stepped, temporarily, into Winston Churchill's shoes. 

He is occupied with grand strategy and post-war reconstruc- 
tion. Most of his work must be kept secret. Only one of his off- 
the-record activities during his stay in London may safely be 
revealed. While planning a new world Smuts did not forget 
his old friends, the Jews. Dr. Chaim Weizman, chemist of 
world fame and leader of the Zionist movement, had for months 
been anxiously waiting for a meeting with Mr. Churchill. It 
did not take the Old Master more than two or three days to 
bring about this palaver. The three participants left it in high, 
good spirits. 

Returning to Cape Town, to open the new House of Assem- 
bly, Smuts made his habitual stop in Cairo. By one of those 
coincidences which great men rarely escape, the historic Cairo 
conference had just begun. The Old Master was not of the 
conference, but very much in it. Mr. Churchill consulted his 
veteran adviser between almost every pourparler. Less spec- 
tacular, but no less significant was the first personal meeting 
between President Roosevelt and Field Marshal Smuts. The 
two statesmen had frequently talked over the transatlantic 
telephone. Now they met face to face. 

"We two old Dutchmen got along splendidly!" Smuts chuckled 
afterwards. Embracing his new, old friend with a positively 
tender look, the President remarked to the press: "No com- 
ment!" In fact, Oom Jannie had used the opportunity to drive 
home his point once more. He had pressed for an equitable 
solution of the Palestine problem. 

Smuts has the privilege of speaking with frankness opinions 



no other responsible statesman could possibly utter. On October 
19, 1943, Smuts delivered his already historic speech in the 
battered, blackened and blitzed Guildhall. Surrounded by the 
most eminent men of the Empire, he stood in his familiar atti- 
tude: his right hand pressed against his hip, his left turning the 
pages of his carefully prepared manuscript, his eyes, behind 
horn-rimmed spectacles, fixed upon his text. He spoke of the 
second front in the making. 

Suddenly he turned from the manuscript, took off his glasses, 
waved them, and declared, laying stress on every word: "In 
the assault upon Hitler's Europe the United States will un- 
doubtedly take a leading part perhaps the leading part. In 
spite of her already great contribution her role in the war has 
been principally what it was originally intended to be: the 
arsenal of democracy. Her industrial effort has been prodigious, 
and is still moving to an almost incredible peak. But in view 
of the intense and prolonged strain and the excessive demands 
upon the British Commonwealth, American manpower has been 
rightly looked upon as our grand strategic reserve in the West 
for the final moves in this war. While, therefore, every ally will 
go all out to bring about the final climax, the United States, 
latest and freshest and most potent newcomer into the field, 
may have to play the decisive part in the concluding act of the 
great war drama." 

A month later Smuts addressed the British Empire Society. 
His theme was the state of the world immediately after the end 
of the war. 'There will still be dark days ahead," he predicted. 
"Humanity will be disrupted, and the world milling round in 
suffering and disruption such as it has never known before. 
We will see greater changes than have happened in hundreds 
of years. We will see a temper in the world which is entirely 
new and very dangerous. There is today more hatred running 
through the actions of the aggressors, more human ill will and 
ill feeling than probably has been the case for hundreds of 
years." After this gloomy introduction, however, Smuts ex- 
pressed his staunch confidence that the United Nations would 
win the peace as well as the war. "In this task," he ended, "the 



British Empire and its system of democracy will play an out- 
standing role. Our unwritten way of life, this common under- 
standing which is the soul of our group, has seen us through. 
I think, in that way, perhaps, we can make an enormous con- 
tribution to the future of the world/' 

In the evening of his life the evolution of the once fiery Boer 
guerrilla fighter to the father of the British Commonwealth is 
fulfilled. He cares for and worries over the future of Britain. 
"She will emerge from the war with a glory and an honor and 
a prestige such as perhaps no nation enjoyed," he told the 
Empire Parliamentary Association in an off-the-record speech 
which was only belatedly published. "But economically she 
will be impoverished. This country has held nothing back. 
There is nothing left in the till." 

Smuts foresees that ultimate peace will come very slowly, 
perhaps so slowly as never to make possible any general peace 
conference at all, but only a comprehensive armistice that 
would permit a long process of working out solutions. For this 
long time, at least, America, Britain and Russia will hold world 
power, and must retain leadership. Significantly the Old Master 
has omitted China in speaking of the "trinity" of world powers. 
He believed, although he never said so in plain words, that 
nothing in China's record put her on equal basis with Amer- 
ica, Britain, and Russia. But he recently changed his mind on 
this point, deciding to recognize China's inherent importance, 
her heroic resistance against Japan, and her new leadership in 
Asia. Moreover, it appears to be Smuts' conviction that France 
has disappeared as a great power in Europe. "If she ever re- 
turns, it will be a hard pull for her to emerge again. A nation 
that has been overtaken by a catastrophe such as France has 
suffered, reaching to the roots of her nationhood, will not easily 
resume her old place again. We may talk about her as a great 
power, but talking won't help her much. France has gone and 
will be gone in our day, and perhaps for many a day." 

Thus three of Europe's five big powers are done for: France 
at least for any predictable time, Germany, and Italy. "The 
Japanese Empire will also go the way of all flesh. Therefore 



any check or balance restraining Russia in the East will have 
disappeared. Russia will be dominant in Asia, and she will be 
the mistress of the European continent. She will be in a posi- 
tion of power unique in European history. Then you have the 
United States, the other great world power, with enormous as- 
sets, with resources and potentialities beyond measure. Against 
the vast resources of the Soviet Union and the United States 
Britain may find herself in a position of unequal partnership, 
I am afraid. And I should not like to see an unequal part- 

His advice was that Britain should "cease to be an island. 
Should we not work together intimately," he continued, "with 
these small democracies in Western Europe which by them- 
selves may be lost as they are lost today and may become lost 
again? Surely they must feel that their place is with the British 
member of the great trinity. Their way of life is with Great 
Britain, their outlook and their future is with Great Britain 
and the world-wide British system. ... I utter no dogmatic 
conclusions," Smuts added with his habitual caution. "I have 
no set ideas. I am simply giving you the lines of thought that 
run in my mind when I survey the new situation facing us in 
the world." 

Once more Smuts had expressed what the average English- 
man thought, but the average British statesman is not supposed 
to say. Wholeheartedly, the most directly concerned parties 
agreed with him. The Minister for Colonies of the exiled Bel- 
gian Government immediately took up the cue. His country 
would certainly welcome such a proposition. Dr. Van Kleffens, 
Dutch Foreign Minister, also expressed his approval. He only 
attached one demand: Great Britain should not disarm imme- 
diately after the war. 

Some critics accused Smuts of reviving the balance-of -power 
bogey. He did not shirk the accusation. The old philosopher, 
the stargazer and humanist, concluded with the pregnant 
words: "The greatest lesson to come out of this war is the 
value of power. Peace not backed by power remains a dream." 





Jan Christian Smuts knows well that the trouble will begin 
when the war ends. "What worries me is not what is going to 
happen during this war, but what will happen after the war 
when we have to live together in this country," he told a depu- 
tation of Loyalist women in Pretoria. "We must build up the 
spirit of reconciliation/' he tried to stifle his own worries. "Keep 
quiet, keep the peace, and do not try to down those who do 
not agree with you." 

It is his keynote. He applies it to his own divided South 
Africa, to the relations between color and race, this central 
problem of Africa and, ever more, one of the central problems 
of the world, and to the links between nations, groups of na- 
tions, continents, and hemispheres. 

Unity, or Holism, as he calls it, was his lifelong aim. The les- 
son of the war, particularly the gruelling lessons South Africa 
has had to learn, has only confirmed his belief in co-operation, 
patience, and tolerance. "My government has exercised the 
greatest tolerance in the face of almost unbearable provoca- 
tion, yet the country achieved a war effort practically unsur- 
passed in the world," he insists, looking back on the hard and 
stony road he has had to tread in these last years. "We have a 
complex and difficult country. There is no young country in the 
world where the problem of government is more difficult. We 
have a divided people. But it will not always remain so. The 
time is coming although I shall not see it when this will be 
a united people, and there will be a united national will. We 
have not yet reached that stage. All our work has been done 
not by a united people we have not had that gracious blessing 
here in South Africa. It had to be done with a hopelessly di- 
vided people, against an opposition which did not merely dis- 
sent passively, but was violently active. It has been done 



through patience and tolerance, mostly on the part of the gov- 
ernment. The provocation was sometimes almost more than 
human nature could bear but we bore it. We have been pa- 
tient, forbearing, long-suffering, trying, like a wise doctor, to 
probe into the disease. Personally, I have always been filled 
with love for my own people. If they have sometimes talked 
too strongly, and looked upon me as an enemy I have not done 
the same. 

"Political life in South Africa is a lesson in patience. I myself 
have been impatient, and most of my life I have hustled and 
pushed on to secure what I thought was the good of the coun- 
try. But more and more in the long vista that lies behind I 
have learned that you must be patient. Tolerance and patience 
are the things we have to learn. We have an obstinate and 
wrong-headed people fighting for their own obstinate wrong- 
headedness as if it were the law of heaven. I am sure that the 
tolerance the government has shown to those who differed so 
violently will have its effects in the future that the people of 
South Africa will be prepared to make much more allowance 
for the other man's point of view than they have done in the 

The visionary Smuts never forgets his realism. He knows 
what human nature wants: good jobs and profitable business. 
"Our ultimate aim is to provide fruitful employment, housing, 
and the necessities of life, including food and clothing, for our 
whole community of all races and colors. We are now taking 
the longest stride ever taken toward that greater industrial 
future that surely awaits the country. At last we have learned 
the lesson that we cannot afford to waste our human resources, 
and that there is no place in this young country with its rich 
assets for unemployment and similar uneconomic waste. And 
when this greater industrial South Africa arises after the war 
we may also hope to see many of our present political slogans 
and war cries fall into a merciful oblivion. 

"We have a human situation as difficult and complex as any- 
where in the world. We shall only progress and make a success 
out of this country if we can succeed in establishing harmony 



and balance. I am sometimes afraid that conditions are work- 
ing up for a clash if we are not careful. Our human society is 
stratified in various racial and cultural layers, and there is more 
and more a feeling of strain that fills me with some anxiety for 
the future. I see growing indications of it from day to day, from 
year to year. It is today worse than it was a generation ago; 
and so I am afraid it is worsening all the time. And yet all our 
human material is so good. 

"I am very much afraid that we are not handling our colored 
population, especially our natives, in the best and most sympa- 
thetic way. A temper and outlook is arising among them which 
in the end may lead not to co-operation between us all, but 
just to the contrary/' 

It is one of the greater proofs of Smuts' courage that he 
frankly speaks about the native question, taboo in South Af- 
rica. His own record concerning his country's central problem 
is chequered, a fact not speaking against his consistency but 
demonstrating the intellectual and ethical development of a 
long and rich life. Although since his early youth on excellent 
personal terms with natives, still in his middle age he believed 
in strict segregation of white and black. He did not propound 
white superiority, though frequently stating that he was deter- 
mined to keep South Africa a white man's country, but he was 
convinced that the natives were happier in their reservations 
and kraals, under their own tribal chiefs, living their own way 
of life, than as an urban proletariat, which was, indeed, their 
only alternative. On the other hand, the rise of the individual 
native should not be hampered. "Equality for all civilized peo- 
ple!" had been Cecil Rhodes' prescription for Africa's headache 
number one, and, like many of the colossus' "thoughts," Smuts 
accepted this one, too, as gospel truth. 

Rhodes was long resting in peace, when Smuts recognized 
that the issue of the contacts between various colors and civi- 
lizations was destined to become a dominant problem of the 
twentieth century. The Native Representation Act and the Na- 
tive Lands Act of 1936 were largely based on Smuts' ideas. 
"What is wanted in Africa," he said, introducing the bills, "is 



a wise, farsighted native policy. For there is much that is good 
in the African, and which ought to be preserved and devel- 
oped. The negro and the negroid Bantu form a distinct human 
type which the world would be poorer without. This type has 
some wonderful characteristics. It has largely remained a child- 
type, with a child's psychology and outlook. A child-like human 
cannot be a bad human. Perhaps as a direct result of this tem- 
perament the African is the only happy human I have come 
across. No other race is so easily satisfied, so good-tempered, 
so carefree. A race which could survive the immemorial prac- 
tice of the witch doctor and the slave trader, and yet preserve 
its inherent simplicity and sweetness of disposition must have 
some very fine moral qualities. The African easily forgets past 
troubles, and does not anticipate future troubles. This happy- 
go-lucky disposition is a great asset, but it also has its draw- 

Smuts' native policy consisted in carrying out a scheme of 
gradual development, the establishment of schools and even 
colleges, with a large measure of co-operation by the natives 
themselves, but always maintaining a superior, if friendly, atti- 
tude. He called it trusteeship, and believed that it was the only 
basis on which a happy relation between Afrikaners and Afri- 
cans could be obtained. "It has far-reaching implications in re- 
gard to education, health, and housing of the natives, which 
call for much greater efforts than hitherto," he explained dur- 
ing the present war. "Good relations between South African 
troops and natives from various parts of the country whom the 
war had brought together, are a happy augury." Yet he recog- 
nized the almost insurmountable difficulties of the problem. 
"Always, since the dawn of history, the race relation was the 
most difficult field in the whole range of human activities. Here 
in South Africa this old, primordial race feeling is complicated 
by another strong factor: fear. The whites are a small minority 
in regard to the dimensions of this continent an insignificant 
minority actuated by motives of fear. In the twentieth century 
the race feeling became strongly intensified. Nazism was held 
to be the apotheosis of race. In Central Europe race has be- 



come not only an idea, but a creed. In the Nazi ideology race 
is God. The preaching of that doctrine has spread all over the 
world. We in South Africa felt the effects of it particularly 
strongly. The idea of the master race appealed to the fear mo- 
tive. Some Afrikaners believe if they do not retain complete 
mastery over Africans, they would be endangered. 

"We tried to go round this fear by adopting segregation, by 
keeping whites and Africans apart. The results have been dis- 
appointing," he criticized his own policy of a few years before. 
"Our hopes that whites and blacks would live happily together 
were not realized. But now isolation has gone, and I am afraid 
segregation, too, has fallen on evil days/' 

In January 1942, Smuts took the last step forward: "Segre- 
gation is dead," he proclaimed. Instantly he introduced admin- 
istrative recognition of Native Trade-Unions. He demanded 
higher wages and better opportunities for natives. Bantus 
should share in old-age pensions, and the fact should be rec- 
ognized that natives were now permanent urban dwellers. They 
needed better housing, and particularly better food. "I cannot 
allow the health of the Bantu people to deteriorate because 
maize (corn) remains their staple diet," he told the Senate. "In 
our own interest it is essential to raise the standards of living 
among natives. Increased wages will do the trick; they would 
also stimulate the consumption of our own products." 

Smuts' volte-face in the native question is not quite com- 
plete. South African natives have not yet the vote. In Parlia- 
ment they are represented by three white members appointed 
by the government. This measure of precaution seemed neces- 
sary due to the Communist agitation which strongly appealed 
to at least the urbanized colored people of South Africa. 
Whether Stalin's dissolution of the Comintern will stop red 
propaganda in the bush and in the mines is a matter of con- 
jecture. Smuts, for his part, does not trust anyone but himself. 
He makes his own radio propaganda among the natives. Three 
times a week man and beast in the bush are startled by an in- 
visible voice. "This is Lukasa calling. You will now hear the 
news in Bemba, Chinyanja, Lozi, and Tonga. . . . The Bwana 



Mkubwa's (great masters, the term the Germans applied to 
themselves in their colonial days) forces have received another 
beating. Their sea-alligators and fire-spitting crocodiles are rap- 
idly being destroyed/' As soon as the bush negroes have learned 
their lessons the sea-alligators and fire-spitting crocodiles will 
be called U-boats, and "the Bwana Mkubwa's forces" Jerries. 

The color problem in South Africa is by no means confined 
to the natives. There is the huge colony of Indians, most of 
whom sabotage the war effort. Smuts has no love for them. 
When a number of rich Indian merchants complained that they 
were unable to purchase real estate in Durban where they 
already form half the population the Old Master advised them 
instead to invest their surplus cash in war bonds. 

Finally there remain five thousand Chinese, sons and grand- 
sons of the indentured labor on the Rand. Fighting them, 
Smuts had come into power. He never forgets a debt of grati- 
tude. He recognizes that their descendants form an exception- 
ally law-abiding, frugal, industrial community, who do not even 
complain about a series of restrictive laws restraining their 
economic rights. 

Ever since his speech in Kimberley, delivered in 1895, which 
had been his true baptism of fire in politics, Smuts dreamed 
Cecil Rhodes' plan "from Cape to Cairo." He greatly enlarged 
it. Smuts means the real thing: the whole black continent. 

For almost four decades his English friends did not see eye 
to eye with him. The native question stood between them. A 
White Paper, issued in London in 1923, and still valid, declared 
paramountcy of the Africans' natives' interest the bedrock of 
British policy in Africa. The official policy of the Union, how- 
ever, clung to the color bar and "trusteeship." In later years, 
and primarily through the war, in which English and South 
African troops have fought in exemplary comradeship with 
colored and colonial units, both policies have moved closer 
toward each other. 

Smuts repeatedly assured that his plan of the United States 
of Africa was a matter of economic interest and concern, not 



competing with each other to the paths of peace and ordered 
progress, and arranging its relations with the (Jefeated Axis 
states, who should, at first, not be members of the association. 
This new world society would follow positive and construc- 
tive policies for the future, and not concern itself particularly 
with penal or revengeful action toward old enemies. And in 
this way, Smuts hopes, the world may forget its bitter wrongs. 
"First and foremost we shall be called upon to put our own 
house in our own democratic circle in order," Smuts concludes 
his vision of the new world, "and ensure as far as possible 
against the sort of dangers which have now twice overwhelmed 
us in one generation. Leave the rest to time, to the workings of 
ordinary prudence and sympathy and reviving generosity. Do 
not let us attempt more than is wisely possible for the imme- 
diate future after the war. Time is a great force, a great healer, 
and a great builder. Let us leave it its place and its function 
in our vision of the future." 

The Old Master will certainly occupy a seat of honor at the 
peace conference. He has rendered the cause of humanity 
tremendous service during the war. Perhaps he will have an 
opportunity of rendering even greater service when the war is 
over. When there will be deep, almost mortal wounds to heal, 
and gigantic tasks of reconstruction to fulfill, the world will 
need his wise, tolerant, farseeing statesmanship, his philosophic 
understanding of human nature, his unparalleled experience, 
and his dauntless faith. 

The Old Master does not advertise his faith. But once, in the 
worst crisis of the war, he told his people: "I do not see the 
man of Munich. I see the man of Galilee." And throughout his 
blessed life, he has lived the Lord's word: "Love thine enemy." 



Bell, F. W., "General Hertzog," Fortnightly Review, New York, 

Benson, A. C., The Happy Warrior, Cambridge University Press, 


Buchan, John, The African Colony, W. Blackwood and Sons, Edin- 
burgh, 1903. 

, The Pilgrim's Way, Houghton Mifflin & Co., 1940. 

Churchill, Winston, From London to Ladysmith via Pretoria, Long- 
mans, Green & Co. 
Colvin, Ian Duncan, The Life of Jameson, E. Arnold & Co., London, 

De Wet, Christiaan R. 5 Three Years' War, Charles Scribner's Sons, 

Doke, J. J., An Indian Patriot in South Africa, G. A. Natesan & Co., 

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, The Great Boer War, New York, McClure, 

Phillips & Co., 1900. 
Engelenburg, F. V., General Louis Botha, London, G. G. Harrap & 

Co., 1929. 
Fitzpatrick, Sir Percy, The Transvaal from Within, W. Heinemann & 

Co., London, 1899. 
Garvin, J. L., The Life of Joseph Chamberlain, Maomillan & Co., 


Headlam, Cecil ed., The Milner Papers, Cassell, 1931. 
House, E. M., Seymour, C., What Really Happened in Paris, Charles 

Scribner's Sons, 1921. 
Iwan-Mueller, E. B., Lord Milner and South Africa, W. Heinemann 

& Co., London, 1902. 

Levi, N., Jan Smuts, Longmans, Green & Co., 1917. 



Millin, Sarah G., Cecil Rhodes, Harper & Brothers, 1933. 

, General Smuts, Little Brown & Co., 1936. 

, The South Africans, Boni & Liveright, 1927. 

Neame, L. E., General Hertzog, Hurst, London, 1930. 

, Some South African Politicians, Capetown, Maskew Miller 


Nicolson, Harold, Peacemaking 1919, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1933. 
Phillips, Sir Lionel, Some Reminiscences, London, Hutchinson & 

Co., 1924. 

Reitz, F. W., A Century of Wrong, Transvaal Government Publica- 
tion, Pretoria, 1899. 
Sampson, P. J., The Capture of De Wet, E. Arnold & Co., London, 

Simpson, J. S. M., South Africa Fights, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd., 

London, 1941. 
Smuts, Jan Christian, Holism and Evolution, The Macmillan Co., 


, Plans for a Better World, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd., London. 

Trollope, Anthony ed., P. Haworth, South Africa, Longmans, Green 

& Co., 1939. 
The Cape Times, Forum (South African Newsmagazine). 



Abercorn, Duke, 277 

Africa. See South Africa 

Afrikander Bond, 27, 32, 36, 42, 44, 

49, 60, 193, 289 
Afrikander movement, 49, 66, 74-78, 

81, 128, 140, 167, 172, 186, 188, 

224, 297, 305, 357, 372, 391 
Air force, 266-270, 353, 356, 378-407, 

413, 426 

Albert, King of Belgium, 262 
Alberts, Colonel, 226 
Allenby, Lord, 263 
Allied Army, 262-355, 403, 416-459 
American Expeditionary Force, 414 
Anti-Semitism, 126, 210, 324, 329-370, 

395, 409 
Armaments, 84-86, 206, 212, 338, 351- 

360, 376, 386, 424-428 
Auchinleck, General Sir Claude, 422 
Austria, rape of, 336, 346 
Aviation, 265-267, 336, 353-356, 401, 


Bailey, Sir Abe, 145, 318-321, 350 
Bechuanaland, 51, 57 
Belgrave, Lord, 77, 82 
Beyers, General Christiaan, 116, 141, 
149, 184, 193, 203, 209, 215-218, 
222-228, 236-239 
Blackshirts, 334, 344, 348 
Blaine, Colonel C. H., 354 
Bloemfontein, 27, 77, 83, 86, 97, 115, 
130, 142, 172, 194, 208, 234, 
249, 317, 358, 376, 380, 408 
Bodenstein, Dr., 334, 340 

abodes of, 18 
accepting bribes, 54 
armaments for, 84-88 
demands of, 50, 125-128 

education of, 22, 57, 150 

fanning, 123-126, 168, 206, 286 

government of, 17, 26, 70-96, 112 

hospitality of, 18 

internal strife, 247-250, 291-303, 335 

lawmakers, 53 

looting of, 225 

nationalism of, 26, 48, 60, 189-196, 

213-248, 271 
Nazism among, 336-350 
radical, 13, 24, 199 
reconstruction of, 121-135, 244 
repatriated, 125-127 
self-government of, 112-115, 146, 


Three Years' War, 91-103 
Transvaal, 18-28, 48, 50-63, 70, 90, 

104-119, 146, 171 
union with Britons, 140-177 
War, 46-48, 50, 91-110, 137, 149, 
169, 172, 191, 210, 213, 223, 329, 
354, 362, 391 
Bohle, Ernst Wilhelm, 331 
Borckenhagen, 27 

Botha, General Louis, 54, 88, 95, 97, 
101-104, 116, 120, 125-131, 136, 
141-145, 149, 165-168, 176, 181, 
187-191, 197, 207, 222, 231, 240- 
250, 282, 285, 320, 361 
Bourgeois, Lon, 272 
Bourne, H. R. M., 224 
Bovenplaats, 12, 14, 28 
Bower, Sir Graham, 46 
Brand, Sir John, 49 
Brett- Young, Francois, 252 
Brink, Major-General George, 445 
air force, 266-270, 353, 356, 378- 

407, 413, 426, 477 
blitz on, 375, 387, 413, 449 




cabinet, 259-289, 312, 345, 351, 

365, 426, 431, 449 
campaigns, 97-103, 242, 250-265, 


capture Johannesburg, 101 
colonial expansion, 41, 60-67, 126 
commonwealth, 334-370, 391, 410, 

449, 459 

cooperation, 132-152, 164 
Defence Force, 213-253, 354, 365, 

419, 431-455 
fomenting trouble against, 64, 74, 

80, 86, 89, 248, 347 
gains, 97-103, 242, 250-277 
House of Lords, 422 
Imperial Conference, 293, 305, 311, 

loans, 166, 364 
mine owners, 124-153 
Natal, 23, 25, 75, 87, 90, 112, 119, 

156, 177, 288 

navy, 185, 264, 338, 347, 364, 390 
peace offer, 115-120, 172, 269-283 
power menaced, 47, 74-96, 222-239, 


prisoners of war, 277 
proposals, 112-120, 272 
R.A.F., 266, 353-356, 407, 413, 426, 


reconstruction, 121-135 
retribution, 126-130, 166, 364 
sea power, 262, 264, 364 
South African League, 72, 184, 225- 

262, 329-347 
suzerainty, 50, 52, 80 
trade, 60, 292, 310, 348 
Transvaal settlers, 52, 60-67, 126 
troop ships, 364 
Union with South America, 140, 

163, 168-177, 245-347 
War Cabinet, 181, 259-289, 338, 

war with, 90-103, 105, 222-259, 

264, 347-457 

Brits, Colonel, 219-221, 235 
Brockenhagen, Carl, 60 
Buchan, John, 123 
Burgers, President, 21-25 
Butler, Sir William, 87 
Buxton, Lord, 260 
Byron, Colonel, 185 

Campbell-Bannerman, 118, 147-149 
Cape Colony 
British administration in, 15, 144- 

Dutch fanners in, 12, 27, 104, 123- 

126, 129, 134, 169 
education in, 31-37 
Jameson Raid in, 45-48, 59, 64, 183, 


self-government of, 17, 26, 49 
unrest in, 72-76, 92, 107, 271 
Cape Town 

description of, 15 
farming, 13, 151, 168 
government of, 16-20, 183 
legislation, 175-178, 186 
politics, 17, 43, 62, 104, 128, 182- 

186, 341 

wine growing, 13 

Carnegie Commission of Inquiry, 330 
Casablanca, 389 
Cecil, Lord Robert, 272-274 
Celhers, Colonel-Commander, 226, 

397, 418 

Centenary Celebration, 335 
Central Powers' surrender, 268 
Cetewayo, King of the Zulus, 23 
Chamber of Mines, 53, 296-298, 316 
Chamberlain, Joseph, 45, 75, 84-88, 

103, 114, 130, 159, 362 
Chinese coolie, 72, 133, 135-148, 160 
Christian National Education Move- 
ment, 150 

Churchill, Winston, 98-103, 119, 148, 
262, 266, 329, 367, 371, 409, 423- 

Classens, Commander, 226 
Collyer, General J. J., 354 
Colored problem, 23, 27, 51, 60, 99, 

124, 178, 257-259, 271, 377 
Connaught, Duke of, 180 
Conradie, Dr. G. E., 338 
Cotzee, Major Ben, 226 
Creswell, Major Frederick H. P., 135, 
179, 190, 204, 244, 250, 292, 296, 
306-314, 411 

Crew, Colonel Sir Charles, 141 
Cronje, General Piet, 58, 97 
Cullinan, diamond, 164-168 
Cunningham, Lt.-General Alan, 389, 


Cunningham, Sir John, 447 
Cunningham, Sir Thomas, 276 



Curzon, Prime Minister Viscount, 263 Fischer, Abraham, 77, 80, 186 

Dakins, Sir Clinton, 138 

Dawson, Geoffrey, 123 

Defence Force, 183, 193, 213-216, 

224-234, 237-253, 354, 365, 419, 

Defence Plan, 184, 193, 213-216, 224- 

234, 254, 365 
De la Rev, General Christian, 88, 93, 

103-105, 113, 116, 120, 127, 132, 

140, 169, 193, 210-218, 223 
Derby, Lord, 52 
De Souza, 99 

De Valera, Eamon, 294-296 
De Villiers, Bruckner, 336 
De Vilhers Roos, Tielman Johannes, 

187, 192, 226, 246, 260, 291, 298- 

300, 312-315, 317, 396, 423 
De Vries, Catherina Petronella (mother 

of Smuts), 15, 28 
De Wet, General Christiaan, 93, 96, 

104, 106, 116, 120, 128, 194, 221- 

239, 246 
Diamond mines, 16, 27, 36, 43, 53, 

63, 95, 124, 134-140, 145, 151, 

165, 291 

Dill, Sir John, 401 
Diverge, Chief of Gestapo, 333 
Dmowski, Roman, 272 
Dopper sect, 24 

Duncan, Sir Patrick, 123, 293, 414 
Durnford, Colonel A. W., 23 
Dutch farmers, 12, 27, 104, 123-126, 

129, 134, 169 
politics, 17, 27, 41-58, 60, 64, 71- 

96, 141-197, 243-245, 291-303 
Reformed Church, 21, 69, 128, 150, 

192, 221, 245, 298, 326, 333, 371, 

380, 392, 407 

Du Toit, Commandant S. P., 234 
Du Toit, Reverend J. S., 383 
Dynamite controversies, 53, 72-74 

Eden, Anthony, 401 

Education, 22, 57, 124, 150, 171, 180 

Edward VII, King, 112, 165, 180 

Eighth Army, 347-440 

Electoral campaign, 177-187 

Elgin, Lord, 148 

Farrar, Sir George, 151, 166-168, 198 
Ferguson, Bob, 70 

Fitzpatrick, Sir Percy, 71, 76, 166-168 
Foch, General, 282 
Foreign Relations Committee, 272 
Fourie, Japie, 227, 238-240 
France, collapse of, 374 
Franchises, 56-58, 80, 89 
Fraser, Lt.-Governor, 114, 231 
Free Staters. See Orange Free State 
French, General Lord, 107, 111 

Gadow, J. W., 336 

Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand, 153- 


Garvin, 322 
Geneva, 335, 373 
George V, King, 294, 310 
George VI, King, 405, 431 

agents, 206-211, 332-370 

arming South Africa, 85-92, 210- 

barbarity, 178, 217, 240, 257-263, 

blitz, 374 

clemency for, 266-275, 280-283 

conspiracy, 208-226 

driven out, 240 

expansion, 269, 331 

fl oggmg, 257 

industry, 331-340 

infiltration, 47, 55, 58, 85-90 

in the Transvaal, 47, 55, 58, 85 

intrigue, 206-211, 332-440 

invasion, 207-257, 329-447 

Nazism, 313-447 

propaganda, 206-211, 332 

protectorate, 85 

reparations, 273-275 

successes, 374 

terrorism, 256-258, 332-370 

trading with, 243, 311 

U-boat menace, 264, 355, 416, 426, 
435-438, 445 

war with, 210-325, 347-457 
Gibbs, Sir Philip, 322 
Gladstone, Gov.-General Lord, 28, 48, 

118, 196 

Goebbels, Dr., 92, 343 
Gold industry, 101, 124-145, 194-200, 

214, 244, 286, 297 

Goold-Adams, Lt.-Gov. Major, 114, 



Gorringe, Colonel, 107 

Grant, Baron, 52 

Greene, Sir Conyngham, 72-74, 89, 

Greyshirts, 334 

Hamilton, General Ian, 113 

Hanbury-Williams, Colonel, 77 

Hatherley Distillery, 53 

Hatzfeld, Fuerst, 85 

Haushofer, Dr., 331 

Haw-Haw, Lord, 342 

Hay, Adelbert S., 99 

Hertzog, Advocate Albert, 340 

Hertzog, James Barry Munnik, 33, 94, 
114-119, 143, 170, 176-196, 199- 
203, 207, 215-221, 229, 239, 250- 
269, 287-296, 306-322, 334, 337- 
347, 358-361, 418, 429 

Het Volk, 132, 140, 149, 179 

Hirschfelder, 333 

Hirsekorn, Dr., 339 

Hitler, Adolf, 317-447 

Hobhouse, Miss, 105, 133, 136 

Hofmeyr, J. H., 32, 42, 49, 320, 351 

Holland, rape of, 362 

Holm, Eric, 342 

Hopley, Major, 179 

House, Colonel, 273 

Hymans, M., 273 

Imperial Conference, 293, 305, 311, 

Imperial War Cabinet, 181, 259-286, 

338, 430, 448 

India, 89-91, 135, 153-163, 178 
Insurrection, 221-225 
Ireland, 294-296 

Jagger, J. W., 293 

Jameson Raid, 45, 46, 48, 59, 64, 183, 

Jameson, Sir Starr, 43, 45, 51, 57, 85, 

171, 176, 180-185, 289 
Japan, 292-294, 369, 416-420, 428, 



British soldiers in, 100, 121-135, 364 
Chamber of Mines, 53, 296, 316 
child mortality in, 63 
conflict in, 42-48, 53, 56, 96, 195- 
200, 247-250, 291-303, 348, 373 
education in, 57, 373 

fall of, 101 

fortifying, 86 

gold mines in, 101, 124-145, 194- 

200, 214, 244, 286, 297 
high treason in, 74 
industry in, 27, 36, 43, 124, 145, 

194-200, 244 
Kruger's rule in, 42, 56-73, 104, 

134, 151 

labor trouble in, 194-205, 286-303 
mining in, 95, 124, 134-140, 194- 

200, 244 

monopolies in, 53-61, 72 
settlement in, 63 
strikes in, 196-207, 209, 291-303 
taxation, 48 

thriving city of, 63, 122-126 
uitlanders in, 38, 48-61, 63, 71, 74- 

77, 115, 126 
upheaval in, 206-210 
Jones, Bishop of Cape Town, 15 

{ordaan, Colonel, 235-237 
oubert, General Piet, 54, 88, 90, 94, 
99, 152, 216, 226, 229 

Kaffrarian Watchman, 62 

Kafirs, 12-15, 58, 96, 99, 124, 134, 

197, 210, 219, 246, 291, 301- 

305, 313, 335 
Keena, U. S. Minister, 416 
Kemp, General, 113, 222, 226, 240, 

271, 361, 368 
Kerr, Philip, 123, 171 
Kunberley diamond mines, 27, 36, 43, 

53, 63, 95, 184 
Kitchener, 96, 105, 107, 111-122, 127, 


Koo, Chinese Minister Wellington, 273 
Kotz6, Chief Justice, 66, 380 
Kramarsch, Dr., 273 
Krause, Dr., 64, 101 
Krige, Sibylla Margareta, 35, 45, 61, 
63, 414 
Sir Gideon, 62 
Kruger, Johannes Paulus, 24, 38, 42, 

45, 47-59, 62-73, 77-90, 101, 104- 

107, 114, 134, 151, 329, 357, 362 
Kun, Bela, 275-280 

Laas, Col. J. C. C., 383-388 

Labor trouble, 133-144, 194-205, 244, 

286-303, 348 
Labouchere, 88 



Land Bank, 165-171 
Lawrence, Harry G., 336, 385, 444 
League of Germans Abroad, 331 
League of Nations, 268-283, 285, 314, 


Leeper, Allen, 275 
Leitner, Dr., 334, 357 
Lend-Lease Act, 405 
Lenin, 271-275 

Leuchars, Col. Sir George, 186 
Levi, Nathan, 224 
Leyds, Dr., 47, 55, 61, 64, 67, 72-74, 

85, 87, 105, 362 
Liebenberg, General, 221 
Lindsay, Henry, 166 
Liquor traffic, 53, 70 
Lloyd George, 119, 148, 261-267, 274, 

280-283, 294, 432-435 
Louw, 62 

Luckhoff, Rev. Wilhelm, 381 
Lusitania, 243 
Luttig, J. C., 17 
Lyttleton, General, 127, 413 

Majuba Hill, defeat of English at, 28, 

48, 50, 78, 82, 118 
Malan, Daniel Frangois, 30, 192, 246, 

251, 298, 303, 326, 336, 345, 358- 

363, 376, 385, 391, 408-411, 418, 


Malet, Sir Edward, 84 
Maritz, Colonel "Mannie," 108, 209, 

216-220, 229, 240, 338 
Marlborough, Duke of, 103 
Maraues, Lourenco, 335, 380, 386 
Marshall, Baron, 85 
Marvell, Andrew, 50 
Masaryk, 279 
Matabeleland, 44, 51, 71 
Memman, 62 
Methuen, Lord, 127 
Middleburg proposals, 115-120 
Milner, Sir Alfred, 48, 59-64, 72-84, 

87-90, 104, 113-122, 125-128, 

132, 135, 141, 146, 158, 171, 263- 

265, 272, 293, 301, 415 
Mining industry, 27, 36, 43, 53, 63, 

95, 124, 134-145, 151, 291, 301- 

316, 365, 386 
Minorities, protection of, 273-277, 

283, 325, 329-370 
Molento, Prime Minister of Cape 

Colony, 17 

Monopolies, 53-56, 72-74, 80, 95 

dynamite, 53, 72-74 

liquor, 53, 70 

mines, 57, 95 

transport, 56 
Munich, 337, 351, 460 
Mussolini, 335, 353-356, '407, 425, 445 

Natal, 18, 20, 23, 25, 75, 87, 90, 112, 
119, 156, 177, 228, 333, 427 

National Convention, 176 

National Supplies Control Board, 348, 

Naval superiority, 178, 185, 264, 338, 
347, 355 

Nazism, 296, 313, 329^51 

Netherlands, fall of, 363 

Nicolson, 275 

Orange Free State, 20, 27, 48, 77, 93, 
97, 104, 114, 144, 170-176, 179- 

182, 194, 203, 216, 221, 234, 249, 
324, 361, 380, 408 

Orenstein, Dr. A. J., 365, 407 
Orlando of Italy, 273 
Ossewa Brandwag, 381-402, 412, 423, 

Pamleve", Paul, 262 

Palestine, 263, 285, 314, 457 

Peace proposals, 73, 112-120. 125, 
172, 269-283, 452-460 

Pearl Harbor treachery, 416 

Permanent Court of International Jus- 
tice, 273 

Peruvian peddlers, 19 

Phillips, Sir Lionel, 152, 168-171, 180, 

183, 195-197, 296 

Pienaar, Brigadier-General Dan, 354, 

397, 424 

Pirow, Dr Hans, 360 
Pirow, Herr Oswald, 246, 313, 336- 
338, 351, 354, 359-362, 381, 397, 
409, 417 
Political parties 

Bolshevist, 271, 280, 291, 410 

Coalition, 320, 326 

Communist, 245, 292, 299, 410, 456 

Conservative, 144-147 

Dopper, 56 

Labor, 179-181, 192, 208, 244, 272, 

296-317, 326, 346 
Liberal, 78, 118, 140-149 



Political parties Continued 

Loyalist, 209-220, 226-239, 411 
Nationalist, 204-208, 243-248, 304, 
309, 320, 336-347, 364-377, 421, 

Nazism, 329-437 
Progressive, 58, 145-148, 166-169, 


Radical, 199-205, 208, 298 
Republican, 66-78, 86, 109, 145, 

330, 412 

South African, 188-194, 216 
Unionist, 179-207, 248-253, 292, 

304, 329, 339-346, 351 
Political unrest, 26, 47-50, 53-58, 64- 

100, 145-249, 286-353 
Popcock, M. P., 351-353 
Pretoria, 23, 25, 27, 42, 55, 61, 68, 72- 

96, 154, 372, 452 
civil administration in, 127 
fortification of, 87 
looting in, 102 
mining in, 354 
political unrest in, 71-90, 187-196, 

208, 222, 341 
Three Years' War, 91-103 
university, 180, 372, 379 
war clouds in, 73-96, 214-242, 335, 

Pretoria Volktem, 68 

Quinn, Hon. J. W., 239 

Racial relations, 14, 15, 23, 48, 51, 81, 

99, 126, 172, 178-186, 298, 324, 


R.A.F., 266, 353-356, 407, 413, 447 
Rand, The, 132-142, 176, 194, 199- 

203, 243-245, 271, 296-298, 304, 

329, 348, 386, 419, 426 
Rebellion, 222-239, 291-303, 396 
Reconstruction period, 121-132, 244, 


Reitz, Deneys, 203 
Reitz, F. W., 72, 89, 91 
Repatriation, 125-135 
Revolution, 31, 221-239, 267, 302 
Rhodes, Cecil John 
arrival, 16, 36, 60 
campaigner, 37, 42-45, 58, 95, 171 
Cape Parliament, 27, 42, 49, 62, 

183, 289, 305, 313 
death of, 96 

influence of, 37, 43-49, 60-64, 76, 
92, 178, 193, 246, 305, 313, 457 
Kimberley mine owner, 43, 95 
united self-governing Africa, 42, 47 

Ribbentrop, 343 

Roberts, Lord, 95-98, 103 

Robertson, 264 

Robinson, Sir Hercules, 78 

Rommel, Field Marshal, 406, 419, 427, 

Roosevelt, President, 389, 405, 431 

Royston, Colonel, 228 

Rustenberg, 31 

Rutkowksy, Miss, 333 

Salisbury, Lord, 85-87 

Schacht, Dr., 333 

Schalk-Burger, 77, 112, 114 

Schreiner, Olive, 43 

Secocoeni, 23 

Seitz, Governor, 217, 242 

Selborne, Lord, 146, 171 

Self-governing states, 37, 42, 142, 148, 

151, 295 

Shelton, Colonel, 109 
Shepstone, Sir Theophilus, 18, 23, 25 

abohtion of, 27, 148 

treatise on, 34, 71 
Smartt, Sir Thomas, 185, 249, 288 
Smith-Domen, General, 250 
Smuts, General Tobias, 233 
Smuts, Hon. Jacobus Abraham, 13-17, 

28-30, 37, 43, 109 
Smuts, Jan Christian 

agriculturist, 151, 168, 307, 334 

air lord, 266-270, 352-357 

anti-British, 60, 74, 81, 89, 94-109 

apprenticeship of, 29 

at Cambridge, 38 

at Victoria College, 31-37 

barrister, 40, 61, 120, 128 

birth of, 16 

cabinet member, 152-186, 289-365 

characteristics of, 29-32, 40, 65, 69- 
82, 97, 105, 134, 223, 248, 251, 

childhood of, 65, 223, 389 

children of, 65, 223, 389 

Churchill and, 119, 148 

crusader, 89-112, 269-277, 283, 325, 

defeat of, 107, 307, 315 



Smuts, Jan Christian Continued 
English influence, 34-45, 61, 64, 

143-425 , 

escape of, 103, 108 
father of, 12-15, 28, 37, 43, 109 
Field Marshal, 31 
Gandhi and, 153, 160-164 
General, 30, 65, 97, 108, 203-249, 

German clemency asked, 269-277, 

283, 325, 336 
guilt of, 283 
health of, 16, 110, 251-255, 305, 


Hertzog against, 188, 271 
honors won, 38, 40 
Imperial General, 251-280 
in Afrikander Movement, 49, 66, 

77, 128, 140, 167, 172 
in defence force, 183, 193, 213-253, 

354, 365, 419, 431 
in Ireland, 294-297 
in Parliament, 152, 165-303, 311- 


in Pretoria, 68-76, 89, 94-103, 128 
journalist, 41, 45, 61, 65, 92, 171 
Kruger's influence on, 45-93, 151 
leader, 104-132, 203-249, 406-457 
marriage of, 63 
memory feats of, 30-32 
Minister of Defence, 347 
mother of, 15, 28 
orator, 44, 62, 131, 144, 189, 204, 

370, 402 
peace plans of, 73, 120, 172, 269- 


philosopher, 143 
political leanings of, 45, 60-62, 68- 

76, 92, 152-277 
pro-British, 132-453 
publicity, 137, 177 
Rhodes' influence on, 36, 43, 45- 

62, 76, 92, 178, 193, 246, 305, 

313, 324, 457 
soldier, 104-110, 143-452 
state attorney, 68-103 
strategist, 89, 105, 252, 263 
sympathies, 80-109, 132-260, 267- 

270, 329 
war strife, 169-194, 208-250, 276- 

325, 347-456 
wife of, 35, 105, 129, 223, 287, 387, 


writings of, 33, 39, 41-45, 61 
South Africa 

abolition of slavery in, 27 
agriculture in, 123-126, 168, 206- 

210, 286, 293, 361 
air force in, 356, 378-407, 413, 426, 

anti-British attitude in, 51, 60, 64- 

78, 102-114, 179, 206 
armed forces in, 85, 141, 196-259, 

280-325, 347-457 
Boer nationalism in, 26, 48, 60, 271, 


bombed, 386 
British in, 23-27, 41, 52, 60, 76, 

103-135, 240-265, 347-356 
broadcasting in, 356 
colored problem in, 23, 27, 51, 60, 

178, 257-259, 271, 377 
conquest in, 242-258 
conspiracy in, 210-223 
crises in, 85, 141, 196-220, 259 
development of, 121-135, 141 
diamond rush in, 16, 27, 63 
Dopper Party in, 56 
economic problem in, 195-205, 296- 

education in, 22, 57, 150, 171, 181, 


epidemics in, 206, 253 
Free Staters of, 27, 49, 76, 93, 104, 

Germans muscling in, 47, 55, 58, 

84-87, 178, 206-255, 331-447 
guerrilla warfare in, 106, 189 
House of Assembly, 30 
immigration in, 182-187 
industrial, 27, 36, 42, 53, 95, 124, 

134, 355 
irrigation of, 207 
Jameson Raid, 45-48, 59, 64 
Johannesburg. See Johannesburg 
labor trouble in, 134-137, 194-205, 

244, 286-303, 348 
League, 72, 184, 225-262, 338 
mining in, 27, 36, 43, 53, 63, 95, 

124, 134, 145, 244, 355 
monopolies in, 53-58, 70-74, 80 
native treatment in, 99, 126, 178, 


navy, 178 
Nazism in, 329-447 



South Africa Continued 
political unrest in, 26, 47-58, 64, 

71-96, 141, 148-239 
racial relations in, 15, 23, 48, 51, 

81, 99, 126, 172, 186, 298, 325 
rebellion in, 222-239, 396 
reconstruction of, 121-132, 244, 444 
refugee government in, 106 
Republic, 23, 27, 50, 52, 73-75, 81, 

88, 91, 118-122, 146, 158, 226 
revolution in, 31, 221-230, 302 
self-governing states of, 37, 42, 142, 

148, 151, 295 
slavery in, 27, 34, 71, 148 
smuggling in, 54 
strikes in, 195-205, 291-303 
taxation in, 54, 181, 297 
Three Years' War in, 46, 91-103 
trade, 292 

Transvaal. See Transvaal 
treaties, 52, 115-121, 126, 131, 268- 

285, 314, 446, 459 
Union of, 11, 33, 42, 47, 60, 142, 
163, 168-199, 245-249, 282, 286- 
United States of, 42, 47, 146, 305, 

unrest in, 53-58, 64-90, 286, 291- 

war in, 26, 48, 91-103, 188-259, 

276-347, 377-406, 419, 424 
Soviet Russia, 299, 409, 424, 431, 451 
Spies, 206-211, 832 
Stallard, Colonel, 328, 351 
Stellenbosch, 31-37, 39, 61-65, 94, 

Steyn, President of the Free State, 77, 

79, 94, 106, 112-115, 234 
Stiller, Counsellor, 348 
Stoffberg, T. C, 29-31 
Strikers, 194-205, 291, 297-303 
Sudeten crisis, 336-339 
Suez Canal, 13 

Table Mountain, 11, 220, 331, 422 
Tariffs, 54, 169, 310 
Taxation, 54, 181, 207, 297 
TChaka, Lion of the Zulus, 252 
Tedder, Air Marshal A. W., 413 
Theophilus, Sir, 23 
Theunissen, Gert Hendrik, 372 
Three Years' War, 46, 91-103 
Tobruk, fall of, 418-426 

Transvaal, The 

agriculture in, 12, 25, 123-126, 129, 

134, 169, 361 
annexation of, 25, 104 
armaments in, 84-86, 228 
as a republic, 23, 27, 48-52, 67 
Boers in, 18-28, 48, 50-63, 70, 91- 

109, 112-116, 146 
British settlers in, 52, 60-67, 126 
collapse of, 17, 101-104, 157 
compensation to, 125 
conflict in, 23, 27, 42, 47, 60-67 
corruption in, 53-61, 70 
defeat of English in, 27 
delegation, 80 
Dutch bigotry in, 54-60, 64 
economic development of, 122-131 
education in, 22, 57, 150, 171, 180 
English relations with, 50, 52, 60, 

72-100, 104-132, 145-276 
executive council in, 89 
financial status of, 21, 25, 56, 133- 


fomentation in, 64, 91-120 
franchises in, 56-58, 80, 88 
Gandhi in, 153-163 
German infiltration, 47, 55, 58, 85- 

90, 178, 206-255, 331 
independence of, 82 
industry in, 27, 36, 43, 53, 95, 124, 


invasion of, 23 

Jameson Raid in, 45-48, 59, 64 
Kruger's rule in, 45-93, 107 
labor shortage in, 134-137, 148 
land bank in, 165-171 
legislation in, 48-58, 60, 66, 132, 

170, 305 

loans to, 166, 364 
military service in, 71 
monopolies in, 53-58, 80 
nationalism in, 26, 42, 48, 169 
parliament in, 152, 165-167 
payment to, 119 

peace proposals in, 112-120, 125 
politics in, 24, 47, 58, 144-177, 189, 


progress in, 49, 95, 124, 134 
reconstruction in, 121-135, 158 
reformers in, 71 
revenues of, 48-54 
slave labor in, 71 
surrendering parts of, 117 



Transvaal, The-Continued 

tariffs in, 54, 169, 310 

trading in, 20, 26 

uitlanders in, 48-63, 71-79, 115, 
126, 398 

United Party of, 360 

unrest in, 26, 48-100 

war in, 91-113 
Treaty of 

Hay-Paunceforte, 268 

League of Nations, 268-285, 314, 

of 1894, 52 

of Vereemging, 115-121, 126, 131 

of Versailles, 269-283, 446 

U-boat menace, 264, 355, 416, 426, 

435-438, 445 
Uitlanders, 38, 48-61, 63, 71, 74-79, 

115, 126, 398 

enfranchisement to, 79, 88, 115 
Union Cabinet, 177-187, 193-197, 245- 

249, 282, 286-347, 379, 388, 416 
Union Jack, 28, 44, 211, 214, 227, 

276, 305, 310 
Union of South Africa, 11, 33, 42, 47, 

60, 142, 163, 168-187, 182, 184, 

225, 242-260, 282, 286-293, 313, 

346, 372, 416, 459 
Union's Defence Force. See Defence 

Uys, Captain, 237 

Van de Venter, General Sir Jacobus, 

108, 226 

Van der B?l, Dr., 355 
Van Huyssteem, P. H., 380 
Van Kleffens, Dr., 451 
Van Rensburg, Advocate Hans, 192, 

210-211, 240, 394-396, 412 
Van Ryneveld, Sir Pierre, 354, 389 
Vereemging Union, 115-121, 126, 131, 

193, 260, 270, 328, 398 
Versailles Treaty, 269-283, 446 

Victoria College, 31-37 

Victoria, Queen of England, 76, 77, 


Volksbode, De, 42 
Volksraad, Republican Parliament, 24, 

49, 53, 57, 66-68, 70-72, 78, 83, 

86-88, 101, 109, 145 
Voortrekker, 13, 19, 21, 24, 27, 51, 

335, 358, 372, 395, 400, 411 
Von Herff, German Consul, 85 
Von Lettow-Vorbeck, General, 252- 


Vorster, Rev. Jacobus Daniel, 379 
Voss, Kate, 342 

Wales, Prince of, 45, 103, 309 

War clouds, 73-96, 169-194, 208-250, 

276-325, 347, 407-453 
War Priorities Committee, 265 
Waterson, S. F., 422, 444 
Wavell, Sir Archibald, 401 
Weichardt, 334 
Weizman, Dr. Chaim, 448 
Welfare and Economic Development, 


Western Front, 262 
Weston, Frank, 256 
White Paper, 457 
Wilhelm II, 59, 85, 105, 178, 203, 

209, 213, 225, 252, 331 
Wilhelmina, Queen, 363, 435 
Wilson, President Woodrow, 262, 268- 

274, 280-283, 288 
Winant, Ambassador, 431 
Wine industry, 14 
Wolmarans, 77 
Wood, Sir Evelyn, 28 
World War I, 105, 108, 164, 178, 205, 

210-267, 276, 325, 407, 423 
World War II, 347-453 

Young Afrikander Movement. 
Afrikander Movement 

Zapp, Manfred, 332