Apartheid's Reluctant Uncle: The United States and Southern Africa in the Early Cold War

Thomas Borstelmann, Author Oxford University Press, USA $75 (320p) ISBN 978-0-19-507942-5
In this thorough and incisive analysis, Borstelmann, who teaches history at Cornell University, shows how the United States' post-World War II policy hinged not on South Africa's 1948 establishment of apartheid but on the region's supply of weapons-grade uranium. President Harry Truman's advisers, the author writes, were both anti-communist and racially prejudiced; they helped block anti-colonial votes when the United Nations was established. Portugal's provision of an Azores airfield ensured American acceptance of its Southern African colonies. Linked by history and trade with Great Britain and thus also with the United States, South Africa supported the 1950 U.S. entry into the Korean War, thus blunting any potential criticism of its vigorous crackdown on domestic dissent. Because of its focus on anti-communism, the author argues cogently, the United States government engaged in little internal debate before making the morally questionable decision to help prop up apartheid. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/21/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
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