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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

What did a Brit, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle MD say about the Afrikaners in the Boer War?

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book "The Great Boer War, he describes exactly what makes an Afrikaner tick, in the first paragraph of Chapter 1 of his exciting and fascinating work of the Boer War.

Sir Arthur wanted to attend the front lines as a writer but the Army wouldn't allow it; however, they did allow him to practise as a field doctor and from the stories of the injured, he pieced together his story of the war.

I hate war books but just couldn't put this book down until the very end.

It is now out of copyright and you can download it from the Gutenberg Project free of charge and read it on your computer, phone or tablet. The link above goes right to the download page.

Here is his statement:

Take a community of Dutchmen of the type of those who defended themselves for fifty years against all the power of Spain at a time when Spain was the greatest power in the world. Intermix with them a strain of those inflexible French Huguenots who gave up home and fortune and left their country for ever at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The product must obviously be one of the most rugged, virile, unconquerable races ever seen upon earth. Take this formidable people and train them for seven generations in constant warfare against savage men and ferocious beasts, in circumstances under which no weakling could survive, place them so that they acquire exceptional skill with weapons and in horsemanship, give them a country which is eminently suited to the tactics of the huntsman, the marksman, and the rider. Then, finally, put a finer temper upon their military qualities by a dour fatalistic Old Testament religion and an ardent and consuming patriotism. Combine all these qualities and all these impulses in one individual, and you have the modern Boer—, the most formidable antagonist who ever crossed the path of Imperial Britain. Our military history has largely consisted in our conflicts with France, but Napoleon and all his veterans have never treated us so roughly as these hard-bitten farmers with their ancient theology and their inconveniently modern rifles.
Sir Arthur always said the war was all wrong, and the Afrikaners and the Brits together would be invincible. During the book, his hatred for one General surfaced, but throughout the book, out of all the Boers, whether men or generals, he only disliked this one man - I can't remember his name offhand.

Ampers - Afrikaners, please note there is an "s" on the end :-)

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