The World War II Multimedia Database

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South Africa in World War II

South Africa, part of the British Commonwealth, fought with the Allies in World War II.

In 1940, South African troops fought with Italians in East Africa, driving them away from Somaliand. South Africans fought in Italy in 1943-1945.

South African Prime Minister Jan Smuts, appointed a United Kingdom Royal Army Field Marshal in 1940, was considered as a wartime replacement for Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill should he expire during the war. Many of Churchill’s supporters believed Smuts would be an excellent leader. After the war, Smuts put forth the preamble at the nascent United Nations Conference in 1945. He hoped the United Nations would grant South Africa a mandate to ensure white supremacy would rule over all of Africa.

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