Upon the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War on 11 October 1899 the British government explained its aggression with the argument that the British foreign nationals (Uitlanders) in the Transvaal were being treated unjustly and the Boers did not want to concede to their demands for political rights. It is accepted nowadays that this was a political pretext to manipulate public opinion in Britain. On the other hand, even today many people believe the British aim was actually to take over the Johannesburg gold mines. Both beliefs are mistaken. Joseph Chamberlain, British Colonial Secretary, for instance wrote in a private letter shortly before the war broke out: ‘[T]here is a greater issue than the franchise or the grievances of the Uitlanders at stake …’1 And Lord Milner, British High Commissioner in South Africa, stated shortly after peace was declared in 1902: ‘I do not regard this war as having been a struggle for the mines …’2
KeywordsMilitary Training British Colonial British Government Foreign Power Modern Warfare
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