The Recruitment of South African Blacks for Participation in the Second World War

  • Louis Grundlingh


Although the history of South Africa and the Second World War has received considerable attention (especially the military aspects), nothing substantial has yet been written on the participation of South African blacks in the war. Capt. J. C. Knoetze and Lt. M. Hallack respectively completed factual reports on the Non-European Army Services (NEAS) outside South Africa1 and a record of the NEAS2 shortly after the war. H. J. Martin and N. Orpen dismissed black participation in a few lines,3 while E. Roux4 and recently K. W. Grundy5 each touched on the topic in passing. In an article in the South African Historical Journal, M. Roth also cursorily dealt with the subject of South African blacks in the Second World War.6


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  1. 3.
    H. J. Martin and N. Orpen, South Africa at War. Military and Industrial Organization and Operations in connection with the conduct of War, 1939–1945, Vol. VII (Cape Town, Johannesburg and London, 1979) pp. 150–1.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    E. Roux, Time Longer than Rope. The Black Man’s Struggle for Freedom in South Africa (Wisconsin, 1978) pp. 302–16.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    K. W. Grundy, Soldiers with Politics. Blacks in the South African Armed Forces (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, 1983), pp. 63–89.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    M. Roth, ‘“If you give us rights we will fight”: Black Involvement in the Second World War’, South African Historical J. xv (1983), pp. 85–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 48.
    This term was used by D. Killingray with regard to recruiting in Ghana for the Second World War. D. Killingray, ‘The colonial army in the Gold Coast: official policy and local response, 1890–1947’ unpub. PhD thesis, University of London, 1982, p. 298.Google Scholar
  6. 52.
    A. H. M. Kirk-Greene, ‘“Damnosa Hereditas”: ethnic ranking and the martial races imperative in Africa’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, III, iv, (Oct. 1980), pp. 406–7.Google Scholar
  7. 54.
    J. ’Bayo Adekson, ‘Ethnicity and army recruitment in colonial plural societies’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, II, ii (April 1979), p. 151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© David Killingray and Richard Rathbone 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louis Grundlingh

There are no affiliations available

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