LAST year the Government of the Union of South Africa dispatched an air squadron to Japan for operations in Korea with the United Nations armies under General MacArthur. Unremarked at the time, the dramatic quality of the occasion has since been lost in the tumbling events of the days. Very nearly the only comment that appeared upon it was a complaint by British South Africans that the contingent was too small to be anything more than a token of interest in the outcome of the struggle.
The significance of the event lies in the fact that for the first time in the history of South Africa a Nationalist Government has committed the nation to war, and that without reference to Parliament and without compulsions of any kind other than its obligations as a member of the United Nations. The interest of the matter does not end there. The Nationalist Government is itself unique in being the first one in South Africa to be exclusively Afrikaner in personnel. Generals Botha, Smuts and Hertzog each presided over cabinets of Afrikaner and British Ministers, not always equal in numbers but always equal so as far as possible, thereby accommodating the susceptibilities of the two white races which hold the destiny of the country in their hands. Dr. Malan, the fourth Prime Minister of the Union, differs from his predecessors in being a Doctor of Divinity and not a military leader. Botha and Smuts were essentially pro-British, attached to the British idiom, and prepared at all times to ally South Africa's cause to Britain's. Hertzog was an avowed republican who resisted the war decisions of 1914 and 1939.
South Africa does not go to war easily. Of all the Dominions, she is the tardiest to respond to the call: "We fight for world freedom." She does not know the unforced allegiance and spontaneous loyalty to Britain's crises which Australia and New Zealand and Canada feel. Two world wars found the Union seriously divided. The first threw a
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