From the founding of the South African Union to the apartheid laws in 1948
In 1906 the British government granted the Transvaal and in 1907 the Orange Free State internal self-government; In doing so, she was complying with a promise she had made to the Boer republics in the Peace of Vereeniging (May 31, 1902). With the entry into force of the South Africa Act, a common constitution for the British Cape Colony, Natal, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, the “Union of South Africa” came into being on May 31, 1910. Worn by the minority of white settlers from Europe, it was given the status of a self-governing Dominion within the British Empire.
Among the whites, the majority of whom were of the opinion from the outset that they alone had the right to lead the country, two competing political camps formed: According to philosophynearby, the England-friendly South African Party (SAP) pursued a policy of Boer-British reconciliation and the Integration of the South African Union into the British Empire; the critique of England, v. a. The Boer National Party (NP) sought to push back British influence in politics, economy and culture; it called for the “national liberation” of “white Africans”.
The SAP provided Prime Minister L. Botha from 1910–19, and J. C. Smuts from 1919–24; Botha enforced the participation of the South African Union in the First World War (1914-18) on the British side. The South African Union took part in the peace conferences in Paris (1919) as an independent subject of international law and in 1920, as a member of the League of Nations, received the mandate over the former German South West Africa, which had been conquered by South African troops in 1914/15. After the NP’s election victory in 1924, its chairman J. B. M. Hertzog took over the leadership of the government on the basis of a coalition of NP and Labor Party (LP). In 1925, his government made Afrikaans a second national language alongside English. in the Westminster Statute (1931), the Union of South Africa obtained independence under the Commonwealth of Nations.
With the formation of the Hertzog / Smuts government in 1933 and the unification of SAP and NP to form the United Party (UP) in 1934, the leading political forces of the whites attempted to v. a. to overcome their contradictions in the face of the global economic crisis. Under the leadership of D. F. Malan, however, a Boer-determined group split off from the UP as early as 1934 and founded a “cleansed” NP that came into opposition to the government. After the outbreak of the Second World War, Prime Minister Hertzog sought to implement a neutral course in foreign policy. However, he failed because of the resistance of the pro-British forces around Smuts and had to resign in his favor. As Prime Minister (1939–48), Smuts continued the entry into the war (9/6/1939) of the South African Union on the side of Great Britain.
From the creation of the South African Union onwards, the white minority sought to assert its socially and politically dominant role over the black majority and the non-white minorities; The Mines and Works Act (1911) and the Native Land Act (1913), which granted blacks only 13% of the land, laid the foundations for legislation that discriminated against the majority of blacks. Under the impression of strikes by poor whites against the employment of blacks, which culminated in the “Randrevolte” (1922), the government set up separate residential areas for the various ethnic groups and tightened the passport requirement for blacks, which had in principle long been in force. With the accession of Hertzog there was a growing tendency to deny non-white sections of the population any political equality. In 1936 the government abolished the direct suffrage for blacks in the Cape Province, which had existed since 1853, and laid down a. with the Native Trust and Land Act (1936) the foundations of the later policy of apartheid.
A peaceful political movement had developed against the predominance of whites long before the South African Union was formed, first in the Cape Province (Native Education Association, Natal Native Congress). Since 1912, the African National Congress (ANC) has summarized these efforts. After the First World War, the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union temporarily supported a mass black protest movement. During the same period, the ANC organized mobilization campaigns against increasing restrictions on the freedom of movement of blacks. With the founding of the Natal Indian Congress (1894), M. K. Gandhi organized for the first time the resistance of Indian immigrants in South Africa to their discrimination (e.g. the withholding of the right to vote). Between 1906 and 1913 he developed a campaign for the recognition of the civil rights of his Indian compatriots in the Transvaal and developed the ideas of nonviolent resistance.