Freedom Fighter or Werwolf?

I was recently made aware of this article by a friend:

https://dailyfriend.co.za/2021/01/17/the-boers-as-freedom-fighters/


As well as regurgitating the usual far-fetched Apartheid-regime myths (‘this was an extraordinarily brave rebellion against overwhelming odds’ … errrr – really? So not an invasion of British territory, then?) what this fellow is essentially advocating is that the Boers should be remembered as ‘gallant freedom fighters’, in the same sort of mold, apparently, as members of latter-day terrorist groups such as Umkhonto weSizwe (MK).

The author certainly has a rather bizarre way of looking at the Boer War, and (as is all too common) completely ignores the inconvenient fact that the Boers were the ones who started it by invading and annexing British territory. He also cheerfully overlooks the fact that those ‘Bitter-Einders’ who fought on long after the counter-invasions of the Boer republics were doing so to preserve the Boers’ supposed ‘right’ to Lord it over the millions of other residents of those territories, completely denying them any democratic representation, or basic human rights.
Indeed, the only significant difference between the surrender terms rejected by the Boers at Middelburg[i] in February 1901, and those they accepted at Vereeniging in May 1902, was that the British dropped their insistence that the franchise should be extended to non-whites before self-rule was granted.

So, basically, the Bitter-Einders fought tooth-and-nail to prevent the vast non-white majorities of the former republics from getting the right to vote (unlike in Britain’s Cape Colony, which had a colour-blind franchise system). Christ alone knows what any of that has to do with ‘freedom’.

Also overlooked is that the Bitter-Einders turned to terrorism pure-and-simple, targeting their surrendered kinsmen, civilian trains and black villages, killing and looting as they saw fit. Loyalists and ‘hensoppers’ could expect to be burned out of their property and / or shot, whereas Mission Stations were viewed as a handy source of supply to be raided and pillaged as desired. Afrikaners who had switched sides, and black Imperial scouts and dispatch riders, who were unlucky enough to fall into the hands of the Boers were regularly tortured, castrated and murdered. Even refugee camps established for displaced blacks were targeted by the Bitter-Einders, and sheep and cattle stolen from these poor wretches.
Of course, many other so-called ‘freedom fighters’ have resorted to such despicable acts over the years. What is rather different, however, is that the Bitter-Einders were doing so, not to spread ‘freedom’, but in a desperate attempt to maintain the pre-war position of the white, Afrikaans-speaking, minority as a supreme ruling-caste.

Again, not really much to be admired there.

So rather than some sort of noble and gallant ‘freedom fighters’, in reality the Bitter-Einders more closely resemble the last-ditch ‘Werwolf’ resistance units established in Nazi Germany towards the end of WW2.


Hans-Adolph Prützmann, SS officer in command of the Werwolf Units


Germany, like the Boer republics in 1899, started the war by invading their neighbours; both regimes were equally convinced – and for equally spurious reasons – that the land they grabbed and annexed was somehow rightfully theirs. When the tide turned against the Germans, and the USSR and the Western Allies started driving into the Fatherland itself, these supposedly die-hard Werwolf units were meant to maintain the fight, operating in captured uniforms or civilian clothes, and making life intolerable for the occupying forces by using hit-and-run tactics, sniping, IEDs and assassinations.

The parallels with the Boer War are obvious: with the Boer invasions of British territory thwarted and the invaders driven out, the republics were, in turn, invaded and occupied by Imperial troops in 1900 – exactly as Germany would later be invaded by Allied troops in 1944/5. Just as the Werwolf units were meant to do (but, in the event, didn’t really manage to), bands of Boer Bitter-Einders dragged the war on long after anyone with half a brain knew it was lost, fighting out of uniform with no respect for the accepted rules of war, hitting at soft targets, massacring black villagers as the fancy took them, and terrorizing those among their own people who wished to move on with their lives.

What should never be forgotten is that the Bitter-Einders, just like the Werwolf, were doing all this on behalf of a deeply racist, expansionist, undemocratic regime. Despite their murderous acts of terrorism, at least the thugs of MK could claim they were seeking to establish democracy in South Africa; the Bitter-Einders, on the other hand, were explicitly fighting against the spread of democracy, and for the supposedly God-given ‘right’ of a tiny ethnic group to maintain complete and utter control over the majority, to deny the franchise to all but the chosen-few, and to practice slavery in all but name.

So, one wonders, does the writer of this article also think the men of the Werwolf units deserve to be remembered as ‘freedom fighters’, and ‘the patriots that they were’? Does he admire them for assassinating Germans who opted to work with the occupying forces, for example? Can we assume he approves of the March 1945 murder of Franz Oppenhoff, the mayor of Aachen, who had recently been appointed by the Allies? And what of the Penzberg massacre of 28 April 1945, when Werwolf ‘freedom fighters’ murdered 15 of their own countrymen for not being fanatical enough in their resistance to the Allied invasion? Is this also something he feels should be celebrated?

How are these atrocities any different from the way, for example, that a gang of Bitter-Einders tortured and murdered Abraham Esau, a Coloured blacksmith who lived in the Karoo town of Calvinia, and who was ‘guilty’ of being Loyal to the Crown? And, to pick another example, what are his views on the massacre of 200 or so non-white civilians at Modderfontein by Smuts’ Boers? Is that something we should admire too?
How about what happened when the ‘noble’ Boers pounced upon the Methodist mission station at Leliefontein in Namaqualand, slaughtering the locals? Any thoughts on how that fits into your theory, Mr Plaut? The indiscriminate violence with which the settlement had been razed and plundered by these ‘freedom fighters’ and ‘patriots’ shocked even the young Deneys Reitz:
‘We found the place sacked and gutted, and, among the rocks beyond the burning houses, lay twenty or thirty dead Hottentots … Maritz had wiped out the settlement, which seemed to many of us a ruthless and unjustifiable act … we lived in an atmosphere of rotting corpses for some days.’
Does Mr Plaut really feel that the Boers who performed this butchery should be put on a pedestal for their actions?

How on Earth can this fellow seek to elevate the Bitter-Einders to the status of ‘patriots’ and ‘freedom fighters’ for conducting a similar campaign to the Werwolf?

NOTES:


[i] The Middelburg talks were also when Lord Kitchener proposed to Louis Botha that all farms should be declared off-limits from attack, as long as the Boers stopped using them as supply bases and, more importantly, themselves stopped targeting the farms of surrendered Boers. Alas, Botha rejected this out of hand, declaring: ‘I am entitled by law to force every man to join, and if they do not do so, to confiscate their property and leave their families on the veldt.’
When Kitchener asked him how best he could thus protect the surrendered burghers and their families, Botha callously declared: ‘The only thing you can do is to send them out of the country, as if I catch them, they must suffer.’
Such a noble ‘freedom fighter’.

18 Comments

  • Chris Posted February 1, 2021 9:26 am

    The “Bittereinder” policy was worked out long before hostilities started — by SMUTS
    Read;
    “Interfering in Politics; A Biogrpahy of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick”
    Prof Bill Guest / Prof Andrew Duminy

    Page 58

    “Smuts replied tapping Fitzpatrick on the chest to empahsise his points….
    You may take the cities and the mines , for we would not meet you there , but for six or seven years we shall be able to hold out in the mountains … and long before that there will be changes of opinion in England. Other things will crop up , they will become tired and lose interest; there will be another general election and the Liberals will come into power … And this time we shall get all we want”

    Clearly Smuts had an inside line to — SOMEONE ; because in 1910 the idea of a qualified franchise was NOT adopted. Louis Botha threatened to walk out of the National Convention if this was Cape policy was adopted.

    YOU need to ask your friend JAMESON what was going on there…?????

  • Bulldog Posted February 1, 2021 10:02 am

    Yes indeed: the notion of extending the franchise to non-whites in the former republics was omitted from the surrender terms in 1902.
    Given that they were rounding up 1,500 Boers per month, it is a crying shame that the British did not fight on for another few months, and insist upon a system similar to the Cape Qualified Franchise.

    • Geoff Posted February 3, 2021 12:10 am

      The Cape qualified franchise was continually manipulated over the years to make sure that non-whites never threatened the voting power of whites. A better system than the Boer “no vote at all” option but not without its issues.

      • Bulldog Posted February 3, 2021 4:39 am

        It was certainly not a perfect system, but when Jameson won the election in 1904 to become PM of the Cape Colony, it was reckoned that the non-white vote (about 15% of the total) was what swung the result in his favour.

  • Geoff Posted February 3, 2021 12:05 am

    Regarding the Middelburg terms, was the annexation of the Boer Republics one of the terms? I have definitely read that this was dropped at some point in favour of self rule, but maybe that was Vereeniging?

    • Bulldog Posted February 3, 2021 4:41 am

      The only two significant changes I am aware of were the dropping of the insistence of votes for non-whites, and amnesty for rebels.
      Self-rule was always going to be granted – that was how the British Empire operated its ‘white’ (ahem) colonies.

  • Johan Posted February 9, 2021 10:50 pm

    Using a hand full of atrocities to present the guerilla activities of the boers as primarily an attack on civilians is completely misleading. Portraying the Boer cause as evil because they denied black people the right to vote is anachronistic and hypocritical considering the fact that racism was mainstream in Western society including the British empire.

    • Johan Posted February 9, 2021 10:53 pm

      Portraying General Botha as evil because he confiscatited the property of traitors who aided the enemy is ridiculous. It is also hypocritical considering the fact that the British executed Cape Afrikaner rebels and executed deserting soldiers.

      • Bulldog Posted February 10, 2021 5:51 am

        Had he simply ‘confiscatited’ (sic) the property of ‘traitors who aided the enemy’, I would agree with you. But he didn’t: he ordered his men to loot and burn the farms of surrendered Boers to force them to carry on a completely pointless and unwinnable terrorist campaign – exactly as the later Werwolf units targeted Germans who just wanted to get on with their lives. Are you really unable to see the similarity?

        Given that you seem to have no problem with the Bitter-Einders terrorising those among their own people who had surrendered, am I to assume that you also approve of the massacre at Penzberg by the Werwolf? Do you consider the Werwolf as ‘patriots’ and ‘freedom fighters’? If not, please explain why.

        Furthermore, you will note that I did not state Botha was ‘evil’ (you felt the need to make that bit up for some reason), just that it is far-fetched to pretend a man who targeted his own people with such callousness was some sort of noble ‘freedom fighter’.

        • Johan Posted February 10, 2021 1:04 pm

          No I don’t approve of of burning down farms by either Botha or Kitchener and I don’t support targeting civilians at all. That includes the bombing of cities. Wars are unfortunately characterized by atrocities on all sides as belligerents are willing to do anything to win. The total wars of the 20th century are filled with atrocities committed against civilians by all sides. The bombings of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki can all be defeneed on the basis of defending freedom against fascism. Botha’s actions can be likewise be defended on the grounds of trying to defend the independence of his country. You didn’t call Botha evil but the implication is clear given your statement that the ANC terrorist tried to establish democracy and are thus morally superior to Botha and the Boers who did not support giving non-whites the franchise. The ANC tried and failed to establish a black nationalist single party communist state on the basis of East Germany, not a multi party democracy. South Africa today is not a non racial state btw. Botha’s actions were no worse than that of the lords Roberts and Kitchener and certainly no more than that of Winston Churchill or Harry Trueman. I take issue with you and this blog trying to paint a narrative of the Boers being evil, backward racist aggressors and the British as enlightened peaceful progressives who didn’t do anything wrong. Both sides committed atrocities, both were racist, Lord Milner for example calling himself an Anglo-Saxon race patriot. Neither side was pure evil.

          • Bulldog Posted February 10, 2021 1:29 pm

            OK, so even though you now claim that you ‘don’t support the targeting of civilians’, you seem to agree that the Bitter-Einders deserve to be remembered as ‘freedom fighters’… even though they did exactly that? You’ll forgive me for finding that to be somewhat hypocritical.

            And as for Botha trying to defend ‘the independence of his country’… surely you are aware that the Boers were the ones who started the war by invading and annexing British territory? Picking a fight with the greatest power of the age is a rather strange way to ‘defend the independence’ of any country – though to be fair, Botha was one of those, like de la Rey, who initially opposed Kruger’s insanity. And, as I showed earlier, the Bitter-Einders did NOT fight on for ‘independence’ (as the word is understood by most). Instead, they fought on for the supposedly God-given ‘right’ of a tiny percentage of the population to lord it over the vast majority – do you really think that was reasonable? Is that a cause deserving of any admiration, let alone hero-worship?

            I am sorry that you take issue with me dealing in historical reality on my blog, but understand that it must be unsettling to have myths that you have grown up with, and very much enjoyed over the years, shattered.

    • Bulldog Posted February 10, 2021 5:47 am

      I am rather surprised you dismiss mass-murder so readily, Johan. Do you really think that (for example) the murder of c.200 civilians by Smuts’ Bitter-Einders at Modderfontein should be glossed over with a shrug? I guess in your mind murder is not a problem when the Boers are the ones who did it? Or is it instead that it’s not a problem for you if those being massacred are non-white?

      A few more examples for you to cheerfully dismiss as completely unimportant:

      As Warwick and Maurice relate, rural violence became endemic in the western Cape as bands of guerrillas and rebels roamed the countryside, seizing produce and livestock from natives—either for their own use or for redistribution to local Afrikaner farmers. ‘These were roaming, thieving bands of rebels, grouped roughly under Conroy, Van Zyl, and Jan Louw, parties with no aim but looting.’

      And as a former member of the OFS Volksraad recalled: ‘It is impossible to reason with the men who are now at the front. With the exception of a few officials, these men consist almost exclusively of the poorest and most ignorant class of bywoners [sharecroppers], augmented by the desperate class of men from the Cape Colony, who have nothing to lose, and who lead a jolly, rollicking life on commando—stealing and looting from the farmers who have surrendered, and whom they opprobriously call Hendsoppers but doing very little damage to the English. The officials gull them with promises of farms belonging to the landowners—most of whom have surrendered to the British—which the Orange Free State Government intend on confiscating after the war! These bywoners believe any preposterous story their leaders tell them in order to keep them together’.

      Nasson states the actions of the Bitter-Einders were, in reality: ‘a desperate, undeclared civil war between rural whites and rural blacks’ and that many continued the fight as there were ‘Crown loyalist stores to plunder and foodstuffs to be carried off from luckless African peasants’.

      Jack Hindon, a Bitter-Einder who the Apartheid-regime named a medal after, targeted trains for loot and pillage: ‘Hindon and seventy of his gang members, mostly clad in British khaki, descended onto the scene along with thirty blacks and opened fire on the stricken train, killing wounded soldiers and civilians alike. Realizing that there was no way of fighting back, Col Vandeleur tried to limit the carnage, emerging from cover to shout that one carriage contained only women and children. His reward for this gallantry was to be shot dead along with a male civilian. The train-wreckers then entered the women’s carriage. Recognizing one of the occupants as a nurse named Jacoba Page, one of the Hindon gang shot her, presumably as some sort of act of revenge. Realizing his first shot had not killed the poor woman, he fired again before the pleading of the other female passengers in the compartment persuaded him to stop. The bittereinders then stripped rings, money, trinkets, and private papers from the dead and wounded, even taking all the luggage belonging to the female passengers. Incredibly, Hindon and his bandits then sang a hymn and offered a prayer of thanks for their ‘great victory’ before fleeing the scene. Other attacks saw Hindon’s gang murdering civilian train drivers, firemen, and guards in cold blood’.

      As Conan-Doyle related: ‘a small party of twenty-one Imperial Yeomanry was captured, after a gallant resistance, by a large force of Boers at the Doorn River on the other side of the [Cape] Colony. The K****r scouts of the British were shot dead in cold blood by their captors after the action. There seems to be no possible excuse for the repeated murders of coloured men by the Boers, as they had themselves from the beginning of the war used their K****rs for every purpose short of actually fighting.’

      And also: ‘And it wasn’t just those blacks who actively served the Empire in some way who could expect to be butchered. One of the leading missionaries in the Transvaal, Canon Farmer, wrote of the murderous terror inflicted on the natives of that area by the bittereinders. The blacks welcomed the security of the British columns but when the Tommies were not around to protect them they faced a stark choice between abandoning their livestock and fleeing to British-held towns, or being killed. The missionary concluded that the Boers ‘look upon the K****rs as dogs & the killing of them as hardly a crime’. One example of this butchery occurred in July 1901 when Veldkornet Dirk Brits murdered 29 blacks—men, women and children—at Dordrecht. Brits declared these poor devils were ‘in league with the British’ and, when he cruelly turned their bodies over to their families, the rest of the settlement bolted for the hills. This penchant for off-the-cuff brutality against blacks had long been reported: war reporter Bennet Burleigh described the Boers has having a ‘notorious and almost innate habit of terrorizing, beating, and even killing without mercy, any native who may have happened to have aroused his suspicions or incurred his ire’.
      In addition to this casual mass-murder, rural non-whites could expect the bittereinders to descend on their settlements and commandeer anything they fancied. Upon being ordered by raiders to pay tribute, one plucky native police constable in Barkly East replied, ‘Kruger is not baas here and I am not going to pay him a penny, he can do what he wish I am a Government man and not yours, and I am under the English Government, not him. I am sick of these Boers with their nuisance towards me.’ Among many others, raiders paid unwelcome visits to the towns of Maraisburg , Steynsburg, Colesberg, Molteno, Albert, Dordrecht and Aliwal North, stealing wagons from the locals and often forcing them into slave labour as drivers.

      I could go on and on and on, but experience has taught me that there are none so blind as those who will not see, and you will simply dismiss all these examples too, and cling to the much-cherished myths.

      Lastly, I advise you to compare the voting laws in the Transvaal to those of the Cape Qualified Franchise before attempting to pretend that Kruger’s system was typical of the age. As Dr Kuyper proudly stated: ‘The English prided themselves on protecting the imaginary rights of the natives… The Boers are not sentimentalists, but are eminently practical. They recognized that these Hottentots and Basutos were an inferior race.’

      A European visitor to the Transvaal noted approvingly: ‘The standing of the K****r in the Transvaal is worth notice. While in the English colony they enjoy equal rights with white men, and even have a vote, in the Transvaal their standing is very different. The K****r must not walk on the pavement, he must salute every white man, and must not leave his house after 9pm … every Boer has the tacitly recognized right to punish his blacks. He never does it in passion. When the K****r does anything, he is told to appear the next day at a certain hour. He is then tied to the wagon, the braces are dampened, and he gets the necessary number of lashes.’

      Professor Warwick, who wrote a book on how the black people of South Africa were impacted by the Boer War, stated: ‘a ‘colour-blind’ franchise operated in the Cape whereby any adult male, irrespective of the colour of his skin, was entitled to register as a voter provided he could pass a simple literacy test and either owned property to the value of £75 or possessed an annual income exceeding £50. The franchise was looked upon by members of the black elite as the corner-stone of their liberties and opportunities in Cape society’.

      And let’s give the last word to Winston Churchill: ‘What is the true and original root of Dutch aversion to British rule? It is the abiding fear and hatred of the movement that seeks to place the native on a level with the white man … the K****r is to be declared the brother of the European, to be constituted his legal equal, to be armed with political rights’.

      • Johan Posted February 10, 2021 12:28 pm

        I did not dismiss these atrocities as unimportant, I said it is misleading to portray the guerilla as consisting primarily of attacksing civilians as that article did. These activities were the exception not the norm. For a detailed account of all the military activities during the war a recommend the “War Rapport” by professor Jackie Grobbler. I also find it hypocritical that you do not make similar moral condemnations over atrocities committed by the British during the war. I don’t understand why completely destroying 30 towns and destroying thousands of farms belonging to Boer soldiers isn’t condemned in the same way you condemn atrocities committed by the boers. The condemnation of General Botha for burning the farms of traitors is especially ironic. In case it still isn’t clear to you I don’t approve of immoral acts commited by the Boers either. Wars are almost always accompanied by atrocities committed by both sides and the Anglo-Boer war is no exeption. I believe that portraying the bittereinders guerilla activities as consisting of primarily attacking civilians to be extremely misleading. The Cape qualified franchise only allowed a negligible amount of Blacks in the Cape colony and its successor province to vote. In practice it was almost completely irrelevant. Winston Churchill’s claim that the British intented the put blacks on equal legal footing with whites is utter nonsense. Segregation was implemented throughout British Africa and only a tiny percentage of blacks were granted the right to vote. Rhodesia for example also had a qualified franchise but it was a de facto white ruled colony and later independent state. They also practiced segregation.

      • Johan Posted February 10, 2021 7:39 pm

        Fighting to preserve the independence of their republics does make them freedom fighters regardless of the fact that they were not fully democratic. Would you say that the Dutch who fought against Spain for their independence were not real freedom because the Dutch republic was an Oligarchy with an official state religion and not a secular liberal democracy like it it is today? I am not convinced of the claim that Kruger was the aggressor in the war mainly because of the what happened in the failed Bloemfontein convention. Lord Milner clearly had no interest in avoiding a war because he showed up late for meetings and rejected all of president Kruger’s proposed compromises and drove Kruger to tears exclaiming “No sir, it is my country that you want.” Kruger explained his reasons for going to war by saying that only a fool would attack a lion with a pocket knife but only a coward would not try do defend himself against a lion. Why would Kruger make statements like that if we wanted to invade British colonies? Why would he offer compromises on the uitlander question if he didn’t at least try to avoid a war? How did he get president Steyn to go join the war if Steyn didn’t believe that the war was defensive. Why not go on the offensive immediately before the British could properly mobolize their forces. The ultimatum issued by the Transvaal demanding the British stop assembling their forces near the border of the ZAR was completely reasonable. Going on the offensive after the British rejected the ultimatum is also a rational move. You could make the argument that Kruger could have avioded the war by fully giving in to the British demands regarding the uitlander question as many of his contemporaries like Joubert, Botha ect did. Out of all his political opponents who blamed him for the war for not giving into British demands non considered the war an attempt to conquer British territory. While you might be convinced that Kruger started the war to conquer British colonies virtually no other historian does. Dismissing them all as anti British left wingers or Afrikaner nationalists or simply incompetent isn’t very convincing. Maybe address actual myths about the war like the myth held by many Anglos that the number of British soldiers who died because of disease guarding the concentration camps is comparable to the number of deaths amongs the boer civilians. Another myth I hear often from Transvaalers is that Cape Afrikaners overwhelmingly sided with the British and made up the majority of the national scouts.

        • Bulldog Posted February 10, 2021 10:35 pm

          I think you have a very strange definition of the word ‘independence’.

          Do you really admire terrorists who fought out of uniform, against all the established rules of war, so as to preserve the ‘right’ of a tiny percentage of the population to lord it over the vast majority?

          By these standards, do you also describe the men of the Werwolf units as ‘Freedom Fighters’? And if not, why not?

          Please answer these simple questions.

          Also, there is no doubt over who stated the war: do you really deny that the Boers declared war and invaded Natal, the Cape Colony and the Bechuanaland Protectorate? If so, then you have absolutely zero knowledge of the war. Let me suggest you start by looking at where all the battles were fought in the opening few months of the war. That simple, undeniable geographical reality (hint – they were all fought in British territory) should leave even the most blinkered observer in no doubt as to who were the aggressors in the war.

          And as for your claims that the Boers didn’t want to capture British territory… then why did they invade it, annex it, and rename some of the towns they took? Kruger and his ilk had boasted of driving the British from Southern Africa since the mid-1880s, and their dream of establishing an ‘Afrikaans Empire from the Zambesi to the Cape’ is well documented. Take a look at a map of the time, and you’ll realise that could not be achieved without snatching enormous tracts of land from the British. I would also recommend you read the work of Count Sternberg.

          Deny it all you want, spread Apartheid-regime propaganda all you want, but geography does not lie. Again, look at a map of where the opening battles took place. The Boers started the war by invading British territory. They tried to twist the lion’s tail. They lost. These are simple, undeniable facts, no matter how upsetting they are to some.

  • Bulldog Posted February 10, 2021 1:21 pm

    And yet I have provided countless examples which show exactly how the Bitter-Einders regularly went about their business. How many incidents of mass-murder would you find to be unacceptable? If you can put a number on this, it would help me understand your mindset a little more.

    Do you also defend the Waffen SS, for example, by claiming that, sure, they regularly committed mass-murder, but so what – they also fought in battles, so that makes everything OK. So, in your mind, they are ‘patriots’ and ‘freedom fighters’ too?

    I note that you still seek to pretend that Botha only wanted to burn the farms of ‘traitors’. Why do you continue to perpetuate this falsehood? I have long noted that those who are desperate to defend the actions of the Boers always have to resort to making things up. As I showed earlier, Botha refused Kitchener’s offer to have all farms placed ‘off limits’, as he wanted to continue to terrorise those sensible Boers who recognised that Kruger’s insane war of conquest was lost, and had surrendered: a very strange definition of a ‘traitor’. I suppose you consider the black civilians massacred at Modderfontein to have been ‘traitors’ too?

    And how, pray tell, does the torture and murder of Abraham Esau fit into your views? How can he have been a ‘traitor’ when he was from Cape Colony?

    I fully agree that virtually all wars see atrocities committed by both sides. Terrorist campaigns / COIN warfare are especially noted for these – which is why it is so ludicrous to pretend that the Bitter-Einders deserve to be remembered as ‘patriots’ and ‘freedom fighters’.

    Alas for you, Churchill is correct. The fact is that non-whites had the vote in many parts of the Empire, and at a time when many whites in the UK itself did not qualify for the vote. Indeed, there were even non-white MPs in the Houses of Parliament in the late 1800s – how many of those did the Transvaal have? To try and pretend the Transvaal was not a deeply racist state is nonsense, and it was even recognised as being so by the standards of the time (as I showed earlier, and which you ignored). In fact, the franchise laws of Kruger’s Transvaal were even more odious than those of Apartheid South Africa – so I am left to assume you will tie yourself in knots to defend the latter too?

    If you really want to learn more about how the Bitter-Einders behaved during the guerrilla war (though I rather suspect you don’t), I suggest you read Chapters 8 and 9 of ‘Kruger’s War’. You will find plenty of other examples of murders and massacres performed by the Bitter-Einders, and which – strangely – most South African academics turn a blind eye to.

    • Johan Posted February 10, 2021 8:12 pm

      If you can demonstrate that the bittereinders spend most of their time commiting atrocities against civilians I would consider your egregious comparison of the bittereinders with the genocidal Wafffen SS to be fair. You did not and cannot. I can make the exact same argument you made and claim that the British were just a bunch of vandals and rapists who even opened fire on boer farmhouses while there were people still inside but they also fought in a few battles. The atrocities committed by the boers during the war were not more egregious than those that take place in most wars and they were certainly not worse than those committed by the British during the Anglo boer war. Neither can be compared to the systematic attempt by the Nazis to exterminate the Jews. South African scholars don’t shy away from boer atrocities btw. I did not defend the Transvaal’s political system or deny that it was racist. I simply made the point that the British were hardly any better. Once again Rhodesia was a racist state despite allowing a tiny fraction of the black population to vote. As for the comparison between the ZAR and the Apartheid regime it depends on when exactly during the Apartheid era you are talking about. The National Party abolished the Cape qualified franchise and stripped al non whites of all political representation in Parliament during Voster’s premiership. Coulereds and Asians were again granted some representation in the tricameral parliament during the 1980’s If you are interested in learning about all the military activities that place during the Anglo Boer war which mostly consisted of guerilla warfare a reccomend reading ” the War Reporter” by professor Jackie Grobler. It takes the format of a weekly/monthly newspaper. The “newspaper is from a Boer point of view but still fair and balanced. I have said everything I have to say to you regarding these topics. Good day to you sir.

      • Bulldog Posted February 10, 2021 10:29 pm

        Well, Johan you seem to have completely missed my questions again.

        Does it really matter if the Bitter-Einders spent 40% of their time targeting civilians, or 60% of their time doing it – does either stat equate to them deserving to be hero-worshipped as ‘freedom fighters’?

        You have consistently tried to pretend that the Boer system was no worse than British Imperial rule. Please do not continue spread your baseless lies on that front, when one was demonstrably so much more enlightened and liberal than the other, as was recognised by all at the time.

        Do please tell the details of these Imperial forces ‘massing on the borders’, as this would change our understanding of the Boer War… but you can’t, as the fact is that you have just made that up.

        With all your attempts to defend that mass-murder committed by the Bitter-Einders having been shattered, it is no wonder you seek to back your way out of the debate.

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