South Africa’s involvement in the Second World War was strongly opposed by elements within the
white South African community, especially the Afrikaners. The majority of Afrikaners were historically
anti-British, although some supported Britain, and the issue of participation divided them accordingly.
Activist elements, such as the Ossewa-Brandwag, became platforms for discontent and various militant
groupings violently opposed South Africa’s participation in the war. Gen. JC Smuts, infamous amongst
Afrikaners for his brutal suppression of the Afrikaner Rebellion in 1914-1915, as well as striking miners
in 1913-1914 and 1922, utilised the Union Defence Force (UDF) and South African Police (SAP)
to facilitate internment, to spy and to guard strategic objectives in an effort to prevent sabotage and
serious damage to the war effort.