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HISTORICAL FACTS: South Africa, The Cold War

South Africa:

In 1910, four British colonies – Transvaal, Orange Free State, Cape Colony and Natal – joined to make the self-governing Union of South Africa.

White people had almost complete power in the Union, while blacks had virtually no legal rights.

Mahatma Gandhi campaigned for Indian rights in South Africa and had limited success.

Black South Africans set up their own campaigning group in 1912, with the movement that was later called the ANC (African National Congress)

Afrikaners – descended from the Dutch Boer people -began to fight for control. Their National Party made headway and in 1948 came to power. It enacted ‘apartheid’ laws to keep all the races firmly apart.

The ANC fought against apartheid and especially against ‘pass’ laws that meant blacks had to carry passes.

In 1960, police opened fire on protesting blacks at Sharpeville, killing 69. The government banned the ANC.

In the 1970s and 80s, opposition to apartheid grew both in and outside South Africa, with many countries applying sanctions (trade restrictions).

In 1990, President de Klerk released Nelson Mandela, an activist jailed since 1962, and repealed apartheid laws.

In 1994, the ANC won the first open elections and Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black Under Mandela (president 1994-1999), South Africa became a ‘Rainbow Nation’ in which different peoples cooperated. Court-like commissions investigated previous abuses of human rights and those guilty publicly sought forgiveness.

The Cold War:

After the war between the gods and the Titans, the god Zeus punished the Titans Atlas by commanding him to hold up the skies on his shoulders.

• The cold war was the rivalry between communist and non-communist countries after World War ll – between the USSR and USA in particular.

• It was called cold war because the USSR and USA did not fight directly. But both supported countries that did, like the USA in Vietnam and the USSR in Korea.

• The Iron Curtain was the barrier between western Europe and communist eastern Europe.

• The Iron Curtain was used by German propagandist Goebbels and adopted by Churchill.

• The Berlin wall dividing communist East Berlin from the west was a powerful Cold War symbol. Dozens were shot trying to escape from the East over the wall.

• The Cold War was fought using both propaganda and art, and by secret means such as spies and secret agents.

• The USA and USSR waged an arm race to build up nuclear bombs and missiles one step ahead of their rival.

• Real war loomed when US president Kennedy threatened the USSR as it attempted to build missile bases on the island of Cuba in 1962.

• The Cold War thawed after 1985, when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced reforms in the USSR and began to co-operate with the West. 

• In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. In 1989 to 1990, many eastern European countries broke away from Soviet control.

Fidel Castro, the prime minister of Cuba at the time of the 1962 missile crisis. 

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