South-West Africa Campaign


South-West Africa Campaign

Warbox
conflict=South-West Africa Campaign
partof=African theatre of World War I
campaign=


caption=
date=September 1914-July 1915
place=South Africa, Namibia
result=Allied victory
combatant1=flagicon|United Kingdom United Kingdom
*flagicon|South Africa|1910South Africa
combatant2=flagicon|German Empire Germany
*flagicon|German Empire German South-West Africa
commander1=flagicon|South Africa|1910 Jan Smuts
flagicon|South Africa|1910 Louis Botha
commander2=flagicon|German Empire Victor Franke
strength1=67,000 of the SADF (South African Defence Force)
strength2=3,000 "Schutztruppe" plus c.7,000 male settlers
casualties1=113
casualties2=1,131
notes=
The South-West Africa Campaign was the conquest and occupation of German South West Africa, now called Namibia, by forces from the Union of South Africa acting on behalf of the British Imperial Government at the start of World War I.

The outbreak of hostilities in Europe in August 1914 had been anticipated and government officials of South Africa were aware of the significance of their common border with the German colony. Prime Minister Louis Botha informed London that South Africa could defend itself and that the Imperial Garrison may depart for France; when the British government asked Botha whether his forces would invade German South-West Africa, the reply was that they could and would.

South African troops were mobilised along the border between the two countries under the command of General Henry Lukin and Lt Col Manie Maritz early in September 1914. Shortly afterwards, another force occupied the port of Lüderitz.

Boer Revolt

However, there was considerable sympathy among the Boer population of South Africa for the German cause; it was, after all, only twelve years since the Second Boer War during which Germany had supported them. Maritz, who was head of commando forces on the border of German South-West Africa, issued a proclamation that :"the former South African Republic and Orange Free State as well as the Cape Province and Natal are proclaimed free from British control and independent, and every White inhabitant of the mentioned areas, of whatever nationality, are hereby called upon to take their weapons in their hands and realize the long-cherished ideal of a Free and Independent South Africa."

Maritz and several other high ranking officers rapidly gathered forces with a total of about 12,000 rebels in the Transvaal and Orange Free State, ready to fight for the cause in what became known as the Boer Revolt (also sometimes referred to as the Maritz Rebellion).

The government declared martial law on 14 October 1914, and forces loyal to the government under the command of Generals Louis Botha and Jan Smuts proceeded to destroy the rebellion. Maritz was defeated on 24 October and took refuge with the Germans; the rebellion was effectively suppressed by early February 1915. The leading Boer rebels received terms of imprisonment of six and seven years and heavy fines; however, two years later they were released from prison, as Botha recognised the value of reconciliation.

Combat with German forces

In March 1915, the South Africans were ready and 67,000 troops, moving in four columns began the complete occupation of the German territory. Botha himself commanded the force that occupied Walvis Bay and Swakopmund in the north of the territory. During the campaign the occupying forces encountered land mines and poisoned wells, as well as some stiff resistance. The capital, Windhoek, was occupied on 12 May, by which time the South Africans had taken over most of the country. An attempt was made to persuade the Germans to surrender at this stage but it was unsuccessful and the campaign continued with the German forces gradually being squeezed into the northwest corner of the territory. They were defeated at Otavi on 1 July and surrendered at Khorab on 9 July 1915.

ee also

* World War I

External links

* [http://www.anc.org.za/books/reich1.html Hypertext version of The Rise of the South African Reich, Brian Bunting, chapter 1.] A source for the quote from Manie Maritz.
* [http://www.thuto.org/ubh/etext/nlisa/nl23.htm Sol Plaatje, Native Life in South Africa: Chapter XXIII — The Boer Rebellion]
* [http://www.worldwar1.com/tgws/swafrica.htm 90th anniversary of German defeat in South-West Africa] from the Great War Society


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • SOUTH WEST AFRICA — (Namibia). Jewish connections with the territory were established even before its conquest by the Germans when it became a German colony. During the middle of the 19th century the de pass brothers, Jewish merchants from Cape Town, established… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • West Africa Campaign (World War I) — Warbox conflict=West Africa Campaign (World War I) partof=African theatre of World War I campaign= caption=African troops in German Kamerun date=August 3, 1914 – February, 1916 place=Kamerun, Togoland result=Allied victory… …   Wikipedia

  • German South-West Africa — Deutsch Südwestafrika German colony 1884–1915 …   Wikipedia

  • 2nd (West Africa) Infantry Brigade — Infobox Military Unit unit name= 2nd (West Africa) Infantry Brigade abbreviation= caption= dates= 1940 1945 country= allegiance= British Crown branch= British Empire type= Infantry role= size= Brigade command structure=2nd (African) Division 12th …   Wikipedia

  • 82nd (West Africa) Division — The 82nd (West Africa) Division was formed under British control during World War II. It took part in the later stages of the Burma Campaign. History The inspiration for the division s formation came from General George Giffard. He had extensive… …   Wikipedia

  • 1st (West Africa) Infantry Brigade — Infobox Military Unit unit name= 1st (West Africa) Infantry Brigade abbreviation= caption= dates= 1940 1945 country= allegiance= British Crown branch= British Empire type= Infantry role= size= Brigade command structure=1st (African) Division 11th …   Wikipedia

  • South African Wars (1879-1915) — Ethnic, political and social tensions among European colonial powers, indigenous Africa, and English and Dutch settlers led to open conflict in a series of wars and revolts between 1879 and 1915 that would have lasting repercussions on the entire …   Wikipedia

  • SOUTH AFRICA — SOUTH AFRICA, republic comprising nine provinces – Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, North West, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State, and KwaZulu Natal. Prior to 1994, when multiracial democracy was introduced, there were four… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • South Africa — Republic of, a country in S Africa; member of the Commonwealth of Nations until 1961. 42,327,458; 472,000 sq. mi. (1,222,480 sq. km). Capitals: Pretoria and Cape Town. Formerly, Union of South Africa. * * * South Africa Introduction South Africa… …   Universalium

  • South Africa under apartheid — Apartheid (meaning separateness in Afrikaans, cognate to English apart and ) was a system of legal racial segregation enforced by the National Party government of South Africa between 1948 and 1990. Apartheid had its roots in the history of… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.