On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
Print version ISSN 0018-229X
MOUTON, F.A.. "The sacred tie": Sir Thomas Smartt, the Unionist Party and the British Empire, 1912-1920. Historia [online]. 2012, vol.57, n.2, pp.01-30. ISSN 2309-8392.
The Irish born Thomas Smartt loved South Africa, and fervently believed that that his adopted country's highest destiny could only be achieved by being in the British Empire. For him the imperial connection with Britain was a "sacred tie", and he saw it as his duty as the leader of the pro-imperial Unionist Party, the official parliamentary opposition between 1912 and 1920, to protect and strengthen it. He was, however, a disastrous leader of the Unionist Party, and did much to harm the "sacred tie". His lack of self-restraint when it came to imperial interests meant that instead of controlling and guiding the attachment of South African English-speakers to Britain, he fuelled a destructive jingoism. In the process he harmed the efforts of Louis Botha and J.C. Smuts to reconcile the two white groups after the trauma of the South African War, and to create a united and loyal South Africa within the Empire.
Keywords : Sir Thomas Smartt; Unionist Party; British Empire; South Africa; First World War; L.S. Jameson; Louis Botha; .C. Smuts; J.B.M. Hertzog; South African Party.