Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentMilitary · 1 decade ago

what was South Africa's involvment in WW1 or WW2?

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    copied from wikipedia :)


    Bonds with the British Empire

    During the First World War, Smuts (right) and Botha were key members of the British Imperial War Cabinet.

    The Union of South Africa was tied closely to the British Empire, and automatically joined with Great Britain and the allies against the German Empire. Both Prime Minister Louis Botha and Defence Minister Jan Smuts, both former Second Boer War generals who had fought against the British then, but who now became active and respected members of the Imperial War Cabinet. (See Jan Smuts during World War I.)

    South Africa was part of significant military operations against Germany. In spite of Boer resistance at home, the Afrikaner-led government of Louis Botha unhestitatingly joined the side of the Allies of World War I and fought alongside its armies. The South African Government agreed to the withdrawal of British Army units so that they were free to join the European war, and laid plans to invade German South-West Africa. Elements of the South African army refused to fight against the Germans and along with other opponents of the Government rose in open revolt. The government declared martial law on 14 October 1914, and forces loyal to the government under the command of General Louis Botha and Jan Smuts proceeded to destroy the Maritz Rebellion. The leading Boer rebels got off lightly with terms of imprisonment of six and seven years and heavy fines. (See World War I and the Maritz Rebellion.)

    Military action against Germany during World War I

    The South African Union Defence Force saw action in a number of areas:

    1. It dispatched its army to German South-West Africa (later known as South West Africa and now known as Namibia). The South Africans expelled German forces and gained control of the former German colony. (See South-West Africa Campaign.)

    2. A military expedition under General Jan Smuts was dispatched to German East Africa (later known as Tanganyika and now known as Tanzania). The objective was to fight German forces in that colony and to try to capture the elusive German General von Lettow-Vorbeck. Ultimately, Lettow-Vorbeck fought his tiny force out of German East Africa into Mozambique then Northern Rhodesia, where he accepted a cease-fire three days after the end of the war. (See East African Campaign (World War I).)

    3. 1st South African Brigade troops were shipped to France to fight on the Western Front. The most costly battle that the South African forces on the Western Front fought in was the Battle of Delville Wood in 1916. (See South African Army in World War I.)

    4. South Africans also saw action with the Cape Corps as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in Palestine. (See Cape Corps 1915 - 1991)

    Military contributions and casualties in World War I

    More than 146,000 whites, 83,000 blacks and 2,500 people of mixed race and Asians served in South African military units during the war, including 43,000 in German South-West Africa and 30,000 on the Western Front. An estimated 3,000 South Africans also joined the Royal Flying Corps. The total South African casualties during the war was about 18,600 with over 12,452 killed - more than 4,600 in the European theater alone.

    The British Empire is red on the map, at its zenith in 1919. (India highlighted in purple.) South Africa, bottom center, lies between both halves of the Empire.

    There is no question that South Africa greatly assisted the Allies, and Great Britain in particular, in capturing the two German colonies of German West Africa and German East Africa (although many South African troops were tied down by the failure to capture all the German East Africa forces) as well as in battles in Western Europe and the Middle East. South Africa's ports and harbors, such as at Cape Town, Durban, and Simon's Town, were also important rest-stops, refueling-stations, and served as strategic assets to the British Royal Navy during the war, helping to keep the vital sea lanes to the British Raj open.

    World War II

    Political choices at outbreak of war

    On the eve of World War II the Union of South Africa found itself in a unique political and military quandary. While it was closely allied with Great Britain, being a co-equal Dominion under the 1931 Statute of Westminster with its head of state being the British king, the South African Prime Minister on September 1, 1939 was none other than Barry Hertzog the leader of the pro-Afrikaner anti-British National party that had joined in a unity government as the United Party.

    Herzog's problem was that South Africa was constitutionally obligated to support Great Britain against Nazi Germany. The Polish-British Common Defence Pact obligated Britain, and in turn its dominions, to help Poland if attacked by the Nazis. After Hitler's forces attacked Poland on the night of August 31, 1939, Britain declared war on Germany within a few days. A short but furious debate unfolded in South Africa,

  • 1 decade ago

    I know for certain in the early part of the war, they were fighting the Italians in Ethiopia and East Africa.

    I think some other units also participated in other parts of the North Africa Campaign.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    the two have been particularly ill. WWI could have been slightly worse because of fact it grew to become right into a conflict of three Emperors who could have prevalent , if that they had had any brains, that they have got been on their final legs. WWII grew to become into approximately revenge, and how a 2-bit corporal could desire to take over the international (and intensely just about did). it is stressful to declare which war took extra lives - a lot of persons died from starvation interior the 1st airborne dirt and dust-up, yet then their have been a lot of those that have been intentionally murdered interior the 2d bypass-around. in my opinion, i think of it is a toss-up. each time a man or woman dies because of options made via yet somebody else - it is f***ed up.

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