I spend most of my time weeping. Why? Because of the past, forgotten glory of South Africa, and about how my dying husband came to be treated as a consequence.
Jan Christiaan Smuts
It breaks my heart that Canadians are unaware of the fact that there were South Africans at Vimy Ridge and Delville Wood and so little is known about the part the South African 'Cheetahs' played n the Korean War. It surprises me that so very few of my North American friends, and possibly also the modern generation of South Africans, have ever heard of Field Marshall Jan Christiaan Smuts, the prominent South African and British Commonwealth statesman, military leader and philosopher who, in addition to holding various cabinet posts, served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948.
Smuts helped to create the Royal Air Force, became a Field Marshall in the British Army in 1941, served in the Imperial War Cabinet under Winston Churchill and became the only person to sign the peace treaties ending both the First and Second World Wars. According to Wikipedia,
One of his greatest international accomplishments was the establishment of the League of Nations, the exact design and implementation of which relied upon Smuts. He later urged the formation of a new international organization for peace: the UN. In addition, he wrote the preamble to the United Nations Charter, and was the only person to sign the charters of both the League of Nations and the UN. He sought to redefine the relationship between the United Kingdom and her colonies, helping to establish the British Commonwealth, as it was known at the time. This proved to be a two-way street; in 1946 the General Assembly requested the Smuts government to take measures to bring the treatment of Indians in South Africa into line with the provisions of the United Nations Charter and in 2004 Smuts was named by voters in a poll held by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (S.A.B.C.) as one of the top ten Greatest South Africans of all time.
The Only Allied Victory In The Opening Years Of The War
Hitler, it is said, laughed when he heard that South Africa had declared war on Germany. (Neither his sense of geography nor history could have been very well developed!) Without the Cape sea lane, the Allies would not have held Egypt, the Middle East or India. Probably, and ironically, the Mediterranean would have been lost. Perhaps Russia too, as the Axis swept up from what was then Persia, through the back door. Pearl Harbour might have been unnecessary for the Japanese if they had taken India; thus, according to experts, there would have been no USA involvement.