Jan Smuts

Jan Smuts

Jan Christiaan Smuts, OM, CH, ED, KC, FRS, PC (24 May 1870 – 11 September 1950) was a prominent South African and British Commonwealth statesman, military leader and philosopher. In addition to holding various cabinet posts, he served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948. He served in the First World War and as a British field marshal in the Second World War.

He led commandos in the Second Boer War for the Transvaal. During the First World War, he led the armies of South Africa against Germany, capturing German South-West Africa and commanding the British Army in East Africa. From 1917 to 1919, he was also one of five members of the British War Cabinet, helping to create the Royal Air Force. He became a field marshal in the British Army in 1941, and served in the Imperial War Cabinet under Winston Churchill. He was the only person to sign the peace treaties ending both the First and Second World Wars.

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 organisation for peace: the UN. Smuts 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.

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 final positions of the top ten were to be decided by a second round of voting but the program was taken off the air owing to political controversy and Nelson Mandela was given the number one spot based on the first round of voting. In the first round, Field Marshal Smuts came ninth.

Read more about Jan Smuts:  Support For Zionism, Other Offices Held, Jan Smuts in Popular Culture, Place Names, Honours

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... Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts, OM, CH, ED, KC, FRS (24 May 1870 – 11 September 1950) was a prominent South African and Commonwealth statesman ... This article is about Jan Smuts' rise from obscurity to high office, from his return to South Africa in 1894 until the outbreak of the Second Boer War in 1899 ... After setting up a law practice in Cape Town, the Anglophile Smuts was drawn to the charismatic Cecil Rhodes ...