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5. South Africa and the First World War

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Chapter Summary

The outbreak of war in August 1914 provided the South African government with an opportunity to demonstrate its loyalty to Britain and to show its appreciation for the speed with which the Boers had been granted their measure of independence. The South African scenario during World War One provides an opportunity to study propaganda at multiple levels: at a global or Empire level where the information fed through to South Africa was determined by the relationship between the British media and government as was all information fed through to other empire territories; at a dominion level where agreement was reached between the British and South African governments about avoiding certain issues which could escalate xenophobic relations; and at a local level where it played out as electioneering. Ultimately, it was the local electioneering demands which determined what empire propaganda was disseminated and what was avoided.

Keywords: Boers; empire propaganda; First World War; Great Britain; South Africa



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