An especially unpleasant and thick-headed True Believer recently posted a long and rambling antisemitic post on social media, basically blaming the Boer War on Jewish capitalists. I shall dismantle his nonsense in another blog article, but thought I’d focus for now on this particular paragraph of his – one which shows that Defenders of the Myth are every bit as ignorant of Geography, as they are of History:
‘There are those (usually, but not always, British) history ‘revisionists’ who persist in denying that the extraordinarily rich gold-fields (in particular) of the Transvaal (and Orange Free State) Boer republic were the main motivation for the greatest Empire the world had ever seen, to invade the smallest, newest nation on earth’
If nothing else, one has to grudgingly admire this utter buffoon for managing to pack so many mistakes into just a single sentence – though this is certainly a skill at which True Believers tend to excel.
For a start, and as has been explained at length in both my books and numerous blog articles, by the time Kruger moronically started the Boer War, the ‘extraordinarily rich gold-fields’ of the Transvaal were already overwhelmingly owned by British and European investors. Also, the victorious British granted self-rule to the defeated Transvaal just a few years after the war, which should – if one has a brain – show that there was no desire to ‘steal the gold-fields’.
Indeed, the very notion that the war was about gold was simply Marxist drivel dreamed up by J. A. Hobson[i], and has been disproven time-and-time-again in the decades since[ii]. As Professor La May put it, ‘The explanation of the war as a capitalists’ conspiracy must be discarded; it is too smooth and rounded to fit easily into the jagged background of events and personalities, although it appealed at the time to some who were sophisticated and some who were simple minded’.[iii]
Secondly, and speaking of the simple-minded, where, one wonders, does this idiot think the ‘extraordinarily rich gold-fields of the Orange Free State’ were? As there were none at the time of the Boer War, presumably he just made that up, and hoped no one would ask. This is the danger of inhabiting an echo-chamber, and never mixing with anyone who has actually read about the war… or, for that matter, anyone who has ever looked at a map of South Africa.
Thirdly, and most blatantly obviously of all, the ‘greatest Empire the world had ever seen’ only invaded the Transvaal in the Boer War in the same way that, for example, the USSR invaded Germany in the Second World War. If a nation starts a war by invading its neighbours (as both Kruger’s Transvaal, and Hitler’s Germany did), then it does not get to then play the victim when it itself later gets invaded as a result.
On a more basic level, and for the benefit of those who still (willfully?) struggle to understand this concept, if I walk up to a huge brute of a man in a pub and sucker-punch him, I do not get to then pretend to be the victim of the piece when he proceeds to (quite rightly) beat seven shades of shit out of me.
Amazingly, after squeezing all these schoolboy howlers and Apartheid regime propaganda into a single sentence, this antisemitic cretin still managed to fit in one more: the pie-in-the-sky claim that the Transvaal republic was ‘the smallest, newest nation on earth’. Just as all his other nonsense can swiftly be shattered by doing something called ‘research’, so too can this far-fetched, self-serving squeal be proven to be rubbish.
By the time Kruger foolishly started the Boer War, the Transvaal covered 111,196 square miles[iv] – mainly because the Boers had expanded their borders over the previous decades, grabbing and gobbling up land in all directions. Kruger also ‘owned’ Swaziland as a vassal state, adding another 6,536 square miles to his territory. To put this into context, the UK today covers 93,628 square miles[v]. Among the dozens of other nations smaller than the Transvaal was, one could consider Romania (92,046 square miles), Uruguay (68,037), Portugal (35,609), Denmark (16,639), Netherlands (16,160), Switzerland (15,940) and Belgium (11,878).[vi]
So why did this moron claim that the Transvaal was ‘the smallest’ nation on earth?
“Ah”, but he will no doubt squeal, “but what I meant was ‘the lowest population’ of any nation!”. Obviously, this is a totally different claim, and is, of course, just as inaccurate in any case. The 1901 Census of the British Empire shows the population of the Transvaal to have been 1,268,716 (plus another 85,484 in Swaziland)[vii]. This was, needless to say, a couple of years after Kruger started the Boer War, but one can be reasonably confident that the population in 1899 was similar.
Again, to put this into context, when one compares this to the populations in 1900 of other nations, one will see that the Transvaal had a larger population than Uruguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Liberia, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Muscat and Oman, Nicaragua, The Orange Free State[viii], Costa Rica, Montenegro, Bhutan, Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino, Liechtenstein and Andorra. So, once again, the claim is complete and utter rubbish.
And as for his last ridiculous (and utterly irrelevant) proclamation that the Transvaal was ‘the newest nation on earth’ when Kruger started the Boer War, the reality is that it had been established back in 1852[ix]. Though there are always shades of grey around such things, clearly this fool is blissfully unaware that Italy was only formed as a nation in 1861, and that German unification took place between 1866 and 1871. Equally, he seems ignorant of the fact that Romania only became an independent nation in 1877, with Serbia following suit the following year. Bulgaria also declared independence in 1878, but did not become the nation we would recognise today until 1885, when it unified with Eastern Rumelia[x]. Similarly, and after a period of civil wars, Bhutan unified and was recognised as a nation in 1885. And so on, and so on[xi].
It has long been obvious that True Believers have zero interest in either History or Geography. All that really matters to them is keeping their much-loved National Party myths alive, and pathetically playing their favoured role of the victim… which is why they are reduced to telling blatant lies, and simply making stuff up.
[i] John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940). An Englishman who was working as a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian and in South Africa when the Boers invaded. Considering that the Manchester Guardian morphed into today’s God-awful The Guardian, it is not surprising that the paper instantly set itself against Britain’s position, or that Hobson himself was a hard-line leftie who later joined the Marxist Independent Labour Party. Indeed, Hobson’s fervent support for the redistribution of wealth and the nationalization of industry (those nonsensical twin pillars of socialism) inspired none other than Comrade Lenin himself to admiringly describe him as a ‘social liberal’. Within a few months of Kruger’s invasions, Hobson had quickly cobbled together a book called The War in South Africa, Its Causes and Effects in which he blamed the whole thing on capitalists and, less pleasantly and no more rationally, Jews – to the extent that his antisemitism was commented upon by several writers. Needless to say, this class-war, antisemitic drivel was mindlessly lapped up by the usual rabble of assorted liberals, socialists, and Marxists – and has been ever since.
[ii] Lowry, The South African War Reappraised, p.34
[iii] Le May, British Supremacy in South Africa, 1899–1902, p.29
[iv] Census of the British Empire 1901, p.175
[vi] For interest, the Orange Free State was 70,000 square miles
[vii] Census of the British Empire 1901, p.176
[viii] The same census recorded the population of the OFS to be 387,315
[ix] If one feels the need to desperately twist and turn, and pretend that the Transvaal only dates from 1881, ie. after the brief period of (much-needed and competent) British rule, one would have to similarly claim that France became ‘the newest nation on earth’ in 1944. Nevertheless, and even using that utterly contrived logic, the Transvaal still wasn’t the ‘newest’ nation when Kruger started the Boer War in October 1899
[x] The declining Ottoman Empire did nothing to prevent either the breakaway, or the unification, and did not even intervene in the resultant Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885. The legal fiction continued until 1908 when Bulgarian independence was formally acknowledged.
[xi] The Orange Free State was established in 1854