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A question of timing: South Africa and Rhodesia's unilateral declaration of independence, 1964-65

Onslow, Sue (2005) A question of timing: South Africa and Rhodesia's unilateral declaration of independence, 1964-65. Cold War History, 5 (2). pp. 129-159. ISSN 1468-2745

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Identification Number: 10.1080/14682740500062135


This article explores the attitude and behaviour of South Africa towards Rhodesia's growing confrontation with the British government, which culminated in the Smith regime's Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in November 1965. The issue of white minority independence in Rhodesia confronted the Verwoerd government with an acute dilemma: a UDI risked further international isolation and consequent danger for the Republic of South Africa (RSA) - the extension of economic sanctions against Pretoria, the possibility of racial war drawing in outside hostile powers, or indeed a United Nations Organization (UNO) force, which would breach the RSA's insistence on non-intervention in a country's domestic affairs. It therefore immeasurably complicated South Africa's own international position. However, the South African government appreciated the ideological, racial, geo-strategic and economic advantages that could accrue to South Africa in the context of the Cold War. 'Never was a country so compromised in its foreign policy by its domestic agenda',1 yet on the question of Rhodesia in 1964-65 Pretoria played a difficult hand in international relations with consummate skill.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2005 Taylor and Francis Group
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2008 15:59
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2021 03:51

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