Launching The Union The Formation Of A New y

Divisions in the Afrikaner community soon surfaced. Much of the controversy in Afrikaner politics revolved around the figure of J.B.M. Hertzog from the Free State and a member of Botha’s cabinet. Imperialism, declared Hertzog, was acceptable only when it helped South Africa; when it conflicted with the interests of South Africa, he opposed it. To him South Africa had to come first. 

Hertzog maintained that he was not one of those individuals who always talked of conciliation and loyalty for he considered them idle words. Hertzog’s speeches put Botha in a dilemma. With Hertzog in the cabinet, he would have little hope of winning English-speaking support. He reconstituted cabinet, excluding Hertzog. But Hertzog was not alone. Particularly younger Afrikaners under the leadership of lawyer Tielman Roos opposed Botha’s conciliation policy. They were probably correct in their belief that ‘conciliation’ justly applied should mean a firmer recognition for Dutch as a language and for the rights of Afrikaners. Botha, however, was reluctant to countenance a diminution of the dominance of the English language and of the Englishspeaking people in South Africa, as his aim was to gain the confidence of this group.

Hertzogism soon assumed the stature of a political creed. Preliminary discussions in January 1914 were followed by the publication of a programme of principles and the formal establishment of the National Party of the Orange Free State in July 1914; subsequently Transvaal, Natal and Cape parties were formed.

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