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Jan Smuts

Date of Birth:
24 May 1870

Date of Death:
11 September 1950

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Times favorited:

Field Marshal Jan Christiaan Smuts, OM, CH, PC, ED, KC, FRS was a prominent South African and British Commonwealth statesman, military leader, and philosopher. In addition to various cabinet appointments, he served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948. He served as a British Field Marshal in both the First World War and the Second World War.

Smuts was for most of his life a strong supporter of segregation between the races and always opposed the enfranchisement of the black African majority in South Africa, fearing that would lead to the ultimate destruction of Western civilization in the country. However, in 1948 his government issued the Fagan Report, which stressed the impracticability of complete racial segregation in South Africa and wanted to abolish the restrictions on African migration into urban areas. In this he was opposed by a majority of Afrikaners under the political leadership of the National Party who wished to deepen segregation and formalise it into a system of apartheid. This contributed to his narrow loss in the 1948 general election.

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