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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Influence of National Socialist ideology on the South African Nationalist party 1939-1945 Lawrence, John


This thesis seeks to define the relationship between Nazi ideology and the ideology of Afrikaner Nationalism as represented by the Nationalist party of South Africa during the war years between 1939 to 1945. It addresses the two separate problems, what fascist ideology is, for it is necessary to define fascism before one can understand Naziism, a species of fascism, and whether the ideology of the Nationalist party of South Africa was fascist or Nazi during World War II, a period of time when international events exercised a considerable influence on domestic politics in South Africa. These two problems have been approached by examining authorities on the subject dealt with in this thesis, and by looking at statements of leading Nationalist politicians' documents and Nationalist party platforms, as well as the overt political behaviour of the Italian fascists, the German National Socialists, the Nationalist party, as well as other related fascist organizations. The framework into which this data has been inserted includes a historical overview of Afrikaner history in South Africa, and history of the Nationalist party, an examination of the South african political situation during the period under question, followed first by an 8 point definition of fascism and a 2 point definition of Naziism, and then by a comparison of Nationalist ideology with fascism and Naziism on each characteristic. The definition of fascism offered in this thesis is premised on the fact that a political party's ideology comes out in its overt behaviour, and is not merely a recapitulation of its stated party platform. The conclusions arrived at show that the Nationalist party was influenced by fascist and Nazi ideology on some points, notably in its attitudes towards Communists, Jews and democracy. Dissimilarities arise when one compares the Nationalists to the Nazis in the social composition of their respective movements, and when one discovers the contrast between the nationalist party's religio-traditionalist conservatism and the Nazi's revolutionary nihilism. The Nationalist party can be shown to be a party that was open to Nazi influence but not completely swamped by it during the period in question.

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