Fuelling the Empire: South Africa's Gold and the Road to War

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Wiley, Jun 13, 2003 - History - 344 pages
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What makes a country go to war? At what stage in that sequence of events, of action and reaction, bluff and brinkmanship does war become unavoidable? The South African War was the first large-scale human tragedy of the twentieth century - the prelude to a century that was to be characterised by such large-scale and avoidable tragedy. The cost in human, environmental and financial terms was colossal. Approximately 60,000 men women and children were killed from countries that not only included Britain and South Africa, but also France, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Moreover, the peace terms that allowed for the continuation of discriminatory racial policies set the stage for a century of racial inequality and strife in South Africa.

In this incisive work, South African author, John Stephens, considers the slide to a war that nobody wanted. This is a story of the shaping of South Africa. It is also a universal story: one of pride, greed and fear - of humans behaving in a very human way.

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Contents

Setting the stage
3
British expectations at the Cape
17
Expectations on the Eastern Frontier
29
Copyright

21 other sections not shown

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About the author (2003)

John J. Stephens studied political science and law at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. In 1970, as a member of the United Party, the then official parliamentary opposition, he was elected to the South African parliament to represent his home constituency of Florida. At age 24, he was the youngest MP in South African history up to that time. Politics and history have remained his passion throughout his life. He was Transvaal leader of the New Republic party through the 1980s in which capacity he worked on the development of constitutional reform in collaboration with the Inkatha Freedom Party.
Through his family history, John is intimately connected with the events described in the book. In 1870, at age 16, his patrilineal great-grandfather immigrated to South Africa from Manchester to seek his fortune in Kimberley, but found a Boer wife instead. John's grandfathers, both bitter-enders, fought the British as members of the Boer commandos. His patrilineal grandmother and her children were internees of a British concentration camp, all of them fortunately surviving with only the scars of bitter me mories. His father was born after the war.
John now works in the fields of finance and managerial training and consultancy. He is a non-practicing advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa.

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