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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Boer War
    Posted: 06-Jun-2011 at 21:25

Towards the end of the 19th century the British fought two wars against the Boers: Dutch farmers who had settled South Africa at the invitation of the Zulu king. In both conflicts the Boers, armed with rifles given to them by the Germans, inflicted humiliating defeats on the Brits, forcing them to abandon red coats in favor of khaki. The British were only able to conquer the Boers after Kitchener invented the first concentration camp intended to demoralise the guerillas by imprisoning and mistreating their families.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jun-2011 at 22:59
Originally posted by Nick1986


Towards the end of the 19th century the British fought two wars against the Boers: Dutch farmers who had settled South Africa at the invitation of the Zulu king. In both conflicts the Boers, armed with rifles given to them by the Germans, inflicted humiliating defeats on the Brits, forcing them to abandon red coats in favor of khaki. The British were only able to conquer the Boers after Kitchener invented the first concentration camp intended to demoralise the guerillas by imprisoning and mistreating their families.

Here's two links for you to consider on earlier concentration camps:


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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2011 at 19:34
Did the Brits intend to merely force a Boer surrender or did the concentration camps have a more sinister purpose: to kill the mothers who would transmit Boer culture to the next generation?
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  Quote Bulldog69 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2011 at 12:54
I think the opening post contains a little too much Apartheid-era propaganda. 'Everything was the fault of the British etc etc ... we poor Boers just wanted to be left in peace'  

Defeats are usually 'humiliating', so not sure why the need to sensationalise it. Were the many defeats the Boers suffered during the war 'humiliating' too?

Many also seem to forget that:

a) the Boers started the war by invading the British territories of Natal and Cape Colony.
b) the first farm buring and lootings were done by the Boers - read 'The Boer Invasion of Natal' for further information
c) the Boers heavily outnumbered the Imperial forces at the start of the war - by about 2:1.

The suggestion that the British planned the concentration camps for a sinister purpose is far fetched and offensive. People died in the camps from measles, for heavens sake - not in gas chambers. 15000 British troops died of disease during the war - was that sinister too?

The Boer War must be one of the most misunderstood wars in history - mainly thanks to the revisonist history of the Apartheid government, and the nonsense spread by self-loathing liberals in the UK.


Edited by Bulldog69 - 30-Aug-2011 at 02:29
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  Quote Bulldog69 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2011 at 13:02
And as for the Boers being 'invited to settle in South Africa by the Zulu king' - you are kidding, right?  Have you ever heard of The Battle of Blood River? The battle where the Boers massacred thousands of Zulus? You should take a look round the battlefield and monuments one day.
Far from being some sort of benign, peace-loving liberal nation, the Boer republics were unstable, expansionist, enormously racist (in the Boer republics - unlike in the British colonies of South Africa - non-whites had no political rights at all, and slavery was still practiced under the code name of 'apprenticeships') and picked fights with all the neighbouring tribes.
Picking a fight with the British Empire at its height was probably not the cleverest thing they ever did.


Edited by Bulldog69 - 30-Aug-2011 at 02:22
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2011 at 13:34
The defeats were humiliating because the British army was defeated by old men and boys. These were immigrant farmers, not professional soldiers
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  Quote Bulldog69 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2011 at 14:50
So you honestly believe that the Boers only had boys under 16 and men over 60 in their armies? Why would that be the case? Where were all the other men?

The Boers were tough frontiersmen, crack shots and excellent horsemen. They were well equipped - far better equipped than the British army - and, despite what you claim, they did indeed have professional units: the ZARPS and the Staats Artillerie.

The bulk of their forces were, of course, made up of Commandoes - part time soldiers rather like the yeomanry of the British Army - the big difference being that the Boers of the Commandoes had spent the last 15 - 20 years in non-stop battles against their African neighbours, so they were very experienced. Bear in mind that the Boer republics had been won and constantly expanded by battle and bloodshed (despite what the opening post claims) - among others, the Boers had fought the Zulus, the Basutos and  the Ndebele - the latter having been the primary tribe in the Transvaal before the Boers invaded and drove them out in the 1830s.

That said, the Boers proved no match for the British in terms of discipline or courage - they only ever took one fortified British settlement (the town of Kuruman) in the whole war - a somewhat 'humiliating' record, wouldn't you say? - and only very rarely would they hang around to taste British cold steel - usually, they would snipe away until the glinting bayonets got a bit too close for comfort, then would break and run.

You should also be aware that large numbers of the Imperial forces were not 'professional soldiers' as you claim. Units like the aforementioned Yeomanry were like the modern day TA, whereas the Boer invasion took the British so much by surprise that they had no choice but to hastily raise units from civilians: some of the famous examples are the City Imperial Volunteers (CIV) and the Imperial Light Horse (ILH) - you are perhaps even aware that the ILH were raised by English speaking refugees who had been forced to flee Johannesburg by the Boers before they attacked Natal?



Edited by Bulldog69 - 30-Aug-2011 at 00:45
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  Quote Bulldog69 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2011 at 14:52
Also, Kitchener did not invent the first concentration camp. This is factually incorrect and should be retracted. 
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2011 at 15:54
The Russians have had death camps in Siberia since the 18th century. However, Kitchener was still a war criminal. He ordered his men to shoot wounded Sudanese rebels in case they had concealed weapons and desecrated Muslim shrines. Prime Minister Lloyd George and even that racist bigot Winston Churchill denounced Kitchener's concentration camps as barbaric as they resulted in the deaths of over 27000 Boer women and children

Edited by Nick1986 - 29-Aug-2011 at 15:55
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  Quote Bulldog69 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Aug-2011 at 00:11
So let me get this straight.... the reason you lied about Kitchener inventing the concentration camp during the Boer War was because you think he had some wounded people shot in another war in another country? Why would you seek to spread a falsehood on what I assume is meant to be a historical site? 
Also, there is a huge difference between a concentration camp and a death camp. The term concentration camp was coined by the Spanish and was used by them in their war in Cuba a few years before the Boer War. The practice was subsequently used by the Americans - also in Cuba, and also prior to the Boer War.  

The Boer women and children died of measles - are you seriously suggesting they wouldn't have died anyway? Surely you are aware that there was a measles epidemic in South Africa during the war? Surely you know that (as well as thousands of Imperial servicemen) many British doctors and nurses based in the camps also died as a result?
Do you have any idea of what peacetime infant mortality rates were at the time? Whereas today, infant mortality rates are in the order of about 6/1000, in South Africa during the Victorian era, they were often (depending on the town / area / climate / epidemics etc) around 500/1000. Basically, you could expect about 1 child in 2 not to make it to one-year-old.
In one town in the Cape the year before the war broke out, the infant mortlity rate was actually OVER 1000 - which sounds impossible if you don't understand how the figures are calculated (they count deaths of all children up to the age of 1 against births over the period). Thanks entirely to the efforts of the British, however. in many of the concentration camps, the infant mortality rates dropped to lower than those in some British cities.
If the British had a sinister motive behind the camps, why did they permit people like Emily Hobhouse (and many others) free access to visit and report on the conditions? Why were there churches, hospitals, schools and shops in the camps? If the British wanted to exterminate the people in camps, why did they (other than a night-time curfew) allow them to come and go as they please? Why did they encourage them to find work in neighbouring communities? Why did the British, where possible, seek to place the refugees with families in the towns near the camps, rather than in the camps themselves? If the British were trying to kill the inmates, why was it that people became healthier (ie. the death rate dropped) the longer they stayed in the camps?
 
What of the 15000 British / Imperial servicemen who died of disease? Who is to blame for that?

So Churchill was a 'racist bigot' was he? Do you also consider the Boers to have been racist bigots? And if not, why not? You are surely aware that Boer hero, Jan Smuts, burned down an African village during the guerrilla war / terrorist campaign and slaughted all the inhabitants? Why do you not feel that to be worthy of comment?

I also note you have not addressed any of the other questions I raised.


Edited by Bulldog69 - 30-Aug-2011 at 03:49
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Aug-2011 at 10:02
Of course they were. Racism was widespread in the 19th century. Maybe Kitchener didn't invent the death camps (i forgot about the Indian Reservations) but he definitely used them. What falsehood do you imply i spread? Having researched genocide for my MA i learned invading armies sought to destroy a culture by killing off the mothers. "Accidental" infection would have been an effective way of achieving this without public outcry, especially if the camps had organised medical staff who could be depicted magnanimously battling the epidemic.
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  Quote Bulldog69 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Aug-2011 at 12:42
What falsehood have you spread?
How about your claim that the Boers were 'invited' to settle in South Africa by a Zulu king? Are you even aware that the two Boer Repubics (The ZAR and the Orange Free State) were not actualy in Zulu land? Have you ever been to South Africa?
How about your claim that Kitchener was the first user of the concentration camp? That was a lie which you obviously thought you'd get away with but haven't.
How about your continual attempts to confuse the concentration camps of the British with the death camps of other, much less benign, regimes? Why did you not comment on some of the details I gave you of the concentration camps in my last post? Did they sound like 'death camps' to you?
How about your latest insane suggestion that the British started the measles epidemic? Do you have ANY evidence to support this latest nonsense? Can you explain why, if the British wanted to exterminate the Boers, infant mortality rates dropped in the camps? Why people's chances of survival INCREASED the longer they stayed in the camps? Why they let independent observers examine the camps? Why thousands upon thousands of British troops died of disease too? 
Why, if the British had some wicked scheme to wipe out the Boers and steal their country, did the British give self-rule to the Transvaal just 4 years after the war? Why did they give independence to the newly formed Union of South Africa in 1910, just 8 years after the war? In both cases, whites of Dutch extraction formed a majority of the electorate, and therefore the elections were bound to return a pro-Afrikaans government? Why - if the British were so evil - did they let this happen?

You cannot just make up any old rubbish you want and pretend you have uncovered some dastardly conspiracy. Is this really a site to discuss history on, or some sort of teenage fantasy / conspiracy site?
 


Edited by Bulldog69 - 30-Aug-2011 at 12:50
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Aug-2011 at 19:32
Maybe you can explain where i said i agree with any of these theories? Zulu king Dingane initially welcomed the Boers in the 1830s and signed a treaty before doublecrossing them at Blood River. The Brits didn't want the Boers' country: they wanted their gold. Once British companies controlled the mines the empire no longer had any need to stay there. However, the execution of this man for treason is very suspicious. His crime was recording the number of deaths in the concentration camp and passing on the data to neutrals. I'm no expert on African history, but the photos i have seen are definitely not those of the happy, well-fed prisoners you claim existed
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  Quote Bulldog69 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Aug-2011 at 05:06
Once again, let me explain to you that Dingane and his Zulu empire were nowhere near the old ZAR or the OFS - I think you are getting very muddled up. Please take a look on a map and you will see the error you are making. There was indeed another Boer republic established in the Zulu lands  this was Natalia (known to the English a few years later as 'Natal') - and the double cross was not at Blood River - that was the battle that took place some time after the massacre of Piet Retief and his men at Dingane's kraal. None of this had anything to do with the Boer Republics which were founded in the OFS and the ZAR and which united to invade the British South African territories in 1899.
 
Having been caught out lying about Kitchener setting up the first concentration camps, you then came up with the idea that the measles epidemic was spread by British doctors. I have never heard anyone else suggest this, so naturally assumed it was something you had dreamed up. I am glad you now admit it was a truly farcical theory.

Again, you throw out another wild theory - 'the Brits wanted the Boer's gold but not their country'. What are you basing this latest claim on?
Let me remind you (once again) that the Boers were the ones who attacked the British - NOT the other way round. The British were so unprepared by this attack that they were caught with their pants down well and truly. The British were outnumbered, out of position, had only 2 weeks worth of coal reserves in Natal, and only 8 weeks' worth of .303 ammo stocks in the Empire. Did you know that, so ill-prepared were the British by the surprise attack, that in 1901, the British armanents industry was still behind in orders to the War Office?
Also, you are very wrong in your statements on the British 'now owning the gold' in the wake of the war. Please, please do some research on this. You will find that the gold mines were overwhelmingly owned by foreign (mainly British, some German - including lots of Jewish of both nationality) investors prior to the war, and continued to be thereafter. The gold owning capitalists actually did very badly out of the war as many years' worth of production were lost.
Are you suggesting British companies and investors didn't own the mines before the war? Who do you think did? Do you think the Boers developed the gold mines? If so, who were the Gold Bugs and Uitlanders? Why were they there? Why was (and still is) Johannesburg a predominantly English speaking city whereas Pretoria is predominantly Afrikaans speaking?

However, one thing we can agree on is that you are no expert on African history (in another thread you claimed that the Royal Navy had a base in Rhodesia...) so why are you continuing to make outrageous arguments about a subject you admit to know little or nothing about? If you are interested in the subject, then that's great - lets discuss things. But instead you simply adopt a position and then desperately try to defend it with no justification at all.  
 
For example, let's take the link you provided in your last post: http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=PBH19011026.2.3 
You claimed this was the tragic tale of a man who was "executed for treason for giving details of deaths in concentration camps to neutrals".
A damning claim indeed, but actually the link made no mention whatsoever of the concentration camps. Instead, the newspaper cutting explained how this unpleasant individual was charged with offences relating to encouraging surrendered Boers to break the oaths of neutrality they had made to the British Crown (the British were certainly fighting a Gentleman's War in this respect, and accepted this oath without question). He also advocated the killing of any Boers in British service - sounds like a really nice guy.
However, in your haste to blame the British for everything, not only did you get his crime completely wrong, but you also failed to let us know that the newspaper story only reported that the trial had started - not that he had been executed.
 
Here is a quote which will give you an idea why Kitchener had no choice but to set up the refugee camps in the first place. Due  to the savage Boer actions taken against hands-uppers (ie. those Boers who didn't want to carry on the pointless war):

Kitchener told Botha that: ‘if he continued such acts I should be forced to bring in all women and children, and as much property as possible to protect them from the acts of the burghers. I further enquired if he would agree to spare the farms and families of neutral or surrendered burghers, in which case I expressed my willingness to leave undisturbed the farms and families of burghers who were on commando, providing they did not actively assist their relatives. The Commandant-General emphatically refused to consider any such arrangement. He said: ‘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 veld’. I asked him what course I could pursue to protect the surrendered burghers and their families, and he then said: ‘The only thing you can do is to send them out of the country, as if I catch them, they must suffer’.
 
 (The Concentration Camps in South Africa, p.8)
 
To base your whole wild conspiracy theory on the concentration camps on some photographs is illogical. Let's think for a moment about them. There were no 'camera phones' in those days - to take a photo was a long and elaborate process and hardly something that could be done in secret or without attracting attention. So it stands to reason therefore that the British authorities permitted the photos to be taken.
Why would this have been the case? It was because this was the state that Boers were ARRIVING in the British refugee camps in - ie. the state they were in BEFORE the British managed to feed them and give them medical attention. As I earlier stated, life expectancy improved the longer people were in the camps.
Photos might be dramatic and emotive, but they are largely irrelevant when compared to statistics - and you seem to have little interest in the latter.


Edited by Bulldog69 - 31-Aug-2011 at 11:16
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Aug-2011 at 08:53
The "outrageous statements" are intentionally controversial in the hope of prompting interesting debate. Do you know anything about other periods of South African history, like the Voortrekkers, Shaka, man's evolution from ape, the Kingdom of Mapungubwe, and the establishment of the first Dutch colony in the 17th century?
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  Quote Bulldog69 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Aug-2011 at 09:01
Right - so you really knew all along that everything you were saying was incorrect?
What a strange debating style.
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Aug-2011 at 09:07
This is how we're taught in the UK. We are provided with a statement which we must either verify or prove wrong using evidence. It may be strange but it's a very effective way of keeping other members interested in the topic
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  Quote Bulldog69 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Aug-2011 at 09:10
And let me guess - you are also taught to provide links to things which are completely different from what you claim them to be?
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Aug-2011 at 09:28
Few people have heard about Cornelius Broeksma. That newspaper cutting, intended to depict him as a traitor, is deliberately vague. As this link shows, Broeksma visited the concentration camps and reported his findings to the Hague, embarrassing the British and resulting in his execution for treason.

Edited by Nick1986 - 31-Aug-2011 at 09:30
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  Quote Bulldog69 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Aug-2011 at 09:43
In the 2nd link you provide, the author says Broeksma was executed for breaking his oath of neutrality, treason and incitement (all of which he pleaded guilty to), not for 'embarrassing the British' - which I don't think is a crime. If it were, I imagine Emily Hobhouse could have been charged with it too, but she wasn't. 
As Broeksma took an oath of neutrality and freely admitted that he broke it, then it is hard to feel any sympathy for him and I really don't see the issue.
 
Incidentally, 'Innocent Blood' must be one of the worst books I have read on the Boer War. The author uses such rock-solid references as: something he once heard on the radio and another page in his own book.
The author claims every single Boer who was shot was the victim of a miscarriage of justice, giving 'evidence' like: 'he was such a nice religious man' to 'prove' his point.

My personal favourite was the case of the Boer who Jooste claims was 'shot while trying to surrender' in the middle of a battle. The British troops who shot him did it because he was waving a rifle at them. Incredibly, Jooste claims he was trying to use his rifle as a flag-pole to wave a white flag from. Even in the highly unlikely event this were true, a rifle must be the stupidest thing he could possibly have chosen as a flag pole.
What Jooste is unable to explain is why the same party of British soldiers didn't shoot some other Boers who surrendered to them - presumably because they weren't waving rifles about and were approaching with their hands up.

It is also worth remembering the Boer's penchant for violating the white flag - they did it in virtually every engagement.


Edited by Bulldog69 - 31-Aug-2011 at 11:17
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