Background to the 2nd Boer War
- Boer's were dutch settlers in South Africa. They lived in the 2 republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal.
- They had left the British Cape Colony in 1836 after the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.
- The foreign policy of the republics was conducted by Westminister, but after the defeat of the Zulus in 1979, the Boers became more independent.
- The first Boer War 1880- 81.
- The British were defeated and the discovery of gold in the later 1880's made the repulics very valuable.
- 1895, the Jamieson Raid attempted to create a Pro-British uprising, but failed.
- It led to the famous Kruger TElegram offering support from Kaiser Wilhelm II
- War Broke out in 1899 after more than a dozen years of unrest between the Boers + Utilanders (foreign miners who moved into the republics in search of gold).
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- The Boer War began in 1899 with expectations of an early and easy victory. An army of 450,000 was recruited to deal with only 50,000 Boer forces.
- British recieve series of heavy defeats in 1st year. Commander Roberts unable to deal with Boer tactics.
- Boers flexible + fast over vast distances.
- Only significant successes in 2st year = relief of Ladysmith + Mafeking.
- Several thousands of men lost in attempts to relieve the sieges + Boers win series of victories.
- However this changes in 1900- string of British victories.
- Coincided with 1900 general election (Khaki election) = Conservative victory as it appeared that the war was won.
- But guerrilla tactics used by Boers meant war dragged on for more than a year.
- Kitchener (Commander Nov 1900) uses blockhouses to strangle the Boers + moving tens of thousands into concentration camps. It proved unpopular.
- Also used scorched-earth policy to restrict Boer movement.
- Eventually Boers forced to surrender May 1902.
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Problems raised by war
- Heavy British casualties: 6% of 450,000 recruits. It showed the inadeqacy of the army + unhealthy state of recruits: 37% failed the medical.
- The financial cost of the war was greater than expected.
- National Morale suffered, only just managed to defeat army of farmers = debate over National Efficiency.
- Conduct of war condemned in 1904 by Committee of Imperial Defence.
- British tactics criticised abroad + contributed to changes in foreign policy: the Anglo-Japansese Alliance of 1902 + the Entente Cordiale 1904.
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Haldane's Army Reforms
- Majority of soldiers volunteers, enlist for duration.
- Experience of war convinced government change was necessary.
- War was now increasingly technological + training was essential.
- Regular Army organised into continental Expeditionary Force. All other units united into home-defence Territorial Forcebased on County Associations.
- Regular Army would be highly trained Expeditionary Force capable of reacting quickly in emergencies.
- New territorial Force of 14 infantry divisions, 14 cavalry brigades +large number of support units created.
- General Haid, Director of War Studies at the War Office, produced entirely new Training Manual to cover all areas of organisation.
- August 1914 Haldane;s BEF sent to Belgium to halt advancing Germans at Mons.
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Impact of press reporting on Britain
- Initial support- fought on mainland Europe, European entanglements like Crimea.
- Imperial war = 'defending' British interests in key area of the Empire.
- Support for Empire at height + appeals for volunteers met rapid response.
- Churchill's reports= support. conservative candidate 1899 + defeated in by-election at Oldham.
- Appointed war correspondant for the 'Morning Chronicle' and sailed with the British forces.
- Accompanied troops to front line + sent reports back to Britain. Strong supporter of Empire.
- More impact when taken prisioner after an ambush troops train. Prisioner of war- but escapes.
- Churchill's experiences made excellent reading + encouraged support for war.
- Press report defences of Ladysmith + Mafeking = public support when they were relieved.
- 'Mafeking' became popular term for massive rejoicing.
- 1900 war drags + Criticisms in 1901- Hobhouse- concentration camps in Orange Free State.
- Hobhouse publishes findings June 1901 + met leading politicians.
- Lloyd George takes up issue in Parliament + attacks politicians.
- Joseph Chamberlain= colonial secretary, defends camps but in November 1901 forces Alfred Milner, High Commissioner in South Africa to take action.
- Gov set up Fawcett Commission (led by Millicent Fawcett- suffragist) to investigate from August - December 1901. All members women.
- More than 27,000 Boers died in concentration camps.
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Support for/ questioning imperial war
- Differences between Conservative approach: Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain + Liberal David Lloyd George.
- Chamberlain saw Empire as source of raw materials- market for domestic goods.
- Supported Rhodes attemps to take control of Central Africa + Milner's confrontational policies.
- 1903 proposes import duties to stop competition from cheaper foreign goods. empire given preferental treatment.
- Chamberlain resigns September 1903 to campaign for Imperial Preference. Thus splits the Conservatives = Liberals have major advantage.
- Lloyd George represented pro-Boer wing of party- oppose extention of Empire.
- Attack's chamberlain for creation of concentration camps (64) + use of 'coolie labour' (Chinese labourers brought to South Africa.
- But disagreements within Liberal Party over imperialism.
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Boer War + liberal imperialism
- limps= faction in the British liberal party- active from 1890- outbreak of WW1
- right of party against pro-boer, anti war campaigners (Lloyd George, Harcourt.)
- Pro-Boers = 60-70 Liberal MP's, liberal imperialists = 60 in strength by Lord Rosebery..
- John Morley describes Liberal Imperialism as 'Chamberlain wine with Rosebery label' (Chamberlain now in conservative gov)
- Limps see themselves as new order of liberal party, leave Gladstonian idea that war is immoral.
- see imperialism as unifying cry. Also an economic + social necessity.
- the factions battle1901 in private + press: Pro-boer Daily News + Limps Daily Chronicle.
- Initial support for pro-boers who describe the concentration camps.
- limps hit back but weaknesses outweigh strengths.
- end of war 1902 prevents split of liberals.
- Liberal Imperialism to be 'submerged in a tide of Gladstonian revivalism' (Pugh) + 3 of its key players joined the upper ranks of newly elected liberal government 1906.
- Rosebery left to regret tactical errors that made limps irrelevant after 1902.
- liberals adopt policy of moderate devolution in India- the Morley Minto reforms allow indian role in gov for 1st time.
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- 37% recruits refused entry to army due to physical unfitness.
- 90% in some cities.
- issue so serious kept secret until after the war- debate over national efficiency.
- fierce debate at end of century- to continue as military power need to ensure health of population
- German social benefits include unemployment + sick pay
- The Committee on hysical Deterioration reported in 1905 = leads to changes.
- 1906: Education (Provision of School meals) Act local authorities provide school meals to poor
- No funds to pay for this. Still the service provided 14million meals for 158,000 children by 1914.
- 1907: Education (Medical Inspection) Act - to counteract diseaases such as tuberculosis- results in establishment of Board of Education.
- 1908- children's + young persons Act - borstols + juvenile courts introduced- children bannd from buying alcohol + tobacco - parents legally responsible for children.
- Medical inspections results in discovery that working class children 8cm shorter than middle class children.
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Significance of New Liberalism
- Work of Booth in London + Rowntree in York = 1/3 of Urban dwellers living in absoloute poverty.
- publish report in 1901-2- shows main cause of poverty was low pay not idleness.
- Rowntree also shows poverty is cyclical- extreme hardship when family was growing, unemployment, sickness + old age = main targets for Liberals 1908.
- Poor Law 1834. In 1900 about 140,000 people recieving oor relief in workhouses + another 840,000 recieving outdoor relief.
- After 1906 social reform- means of taxation
- Publication of Poor Law in Royal Commission 1909= high profile
- Lloyd George = catalyst.
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Social Reforms 1908-14
- 1908 - old age pensions: 25p a week to singles over 70, 37.5 to married, income must be below £31 + 8 1/2 hr working day for miners
- 1909 - Trade Boards: representatives of employers to assist sweated industries.
- 1910 - Labour Exchange: helps unemployed get job, 410 set up but complaints about queues.
- 1911 - Shop Act: grants 1/2 a day holiday per week.
- National Insurance Act (pt 1):50p a week for 26 weeks if off work due to illness + free medical treatments- for all workers earning up to £160 a year.
- 1912 National Insurance (pt 2) for industries with high risk of unemployment e.g ship building, covers about 2.5 mill, unemployed allowed 35p per week for 15 weeks.
- Miners Minimum Wage Act / Schools clinics set up = treatments after medical inspections.
- 1913 - Trade Union Act: allowed unions to make political contribution from a members subscription.
- This had been only way Labour MP's could get a salary before Parliament Act of 1911.
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Liberal Reforms helped poor
- 1st time government accept responsibility for peoples well-being. By 1913 Liberal gov had shown it was prepared to interfere.
- Role of state became greater: driving force of Churchill and Lloyd George moves Liberalism forward.
- Many now regard social reforms as beginnings of welfare state.
- Health legislation covered 13 million people by 1914.
- By 1914 almost 1 mill people claim od age pension + this cost about £12 mill.
- O.A.P Act virtually ended outdoor relief of those over 70.
- Old Age Pensions paid at 70- av. life expectancy 47.
- Only lowest paid male workers covered by National Insurance
- Health Insurance not on national basis- Ministry of Health not established until 1919.
- Medical treatment of act did not include dentists + opticians + not family + hospital treatment only for TB (most dangerous disease at time).
- Poor Law (until 1929) + workhouses not abolished- when benefits ended after 26 weeks hadto go to workhouse.
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