World War I

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Responses in South Africa to the outbreak of WWI: Introduction

Introduction

The response to the outbreak of the First World War in South elicited different responses from a number of organisations as well as from different sections of the South African society. The South African government under the leadership of general Louis Botha immediately declared the Union’s support for Great Britain and committed itself to come to the defence of the British empire. In this it was supported by the majority of English-speaking settlers, who identified completely with the British Empire. Afrikaners, however, was deeply divided over the war, and a section led by general Koos De la Rey went into open rebellion against the government over the  invasion of South West Africa. Amongst African, Coloureds and Indians the elite sections declared their loyalty and became actively involved in recruitment drives among their communities. Featured here are some of the responses. 

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Last updated : 24-Feb-2014

This article was produced for South African History Online on 24-Feb-2014