Effects Of Cold War On Africa

3642 words - 15 pages

The Impact of the Cold War and the Fall of the Berlin Wall on Southern Africa
John Daniel

Southern Africa’s immersion as a region into ‘the international civil war of the twentieth century’, as Sue Onslow (2009: 2) has described the Cold War, came relatively late in that seven-decade long conflict and lasted only a short period, no more than two decades. Yet the price paid in human and material terms was horrendous, arguably, as I have suggested elsewhere, ‘one of the great crimes of the twentieth century’ (Daniel in Onslow 2009: 50). The gradual winding down of the Cold War in the latter half of the 1980s likewise impacted on events in the south of the region, contributing significantly ...view middle of the document...

In his view, the ‘West was


The Impact of the Cold War and the Fall of the Berlin Wall on Southern Africa

threatened by Soviet expansionism’ and he envisioned South Africa as playing a vital role in that conflict ‘as part of the West’ and as part of ‘a global struggle against the forces of communism’ (1996a: 4). Central also to Botha’s thinking was the notion that the ‘defence line’ must be kept ‘as far as possible away from South Africa’ (Ibid). Consistent with this view, a number of pre-emptive steps were taken post-1966. These included i) the deployment of police units to both northern Namibia in response to SWAPO’s decision to launch an armed struggle and into Southern Rhodesia to assist Rhodesian government forces fighting Zimbabwean and ANC guerrillas. According to the SADF, these units were dispatched ‘to fight against men who originally came from South Africa and were on their way back to commit terrorism in South Africa’ (1996a:5) – a classic expression of pre-emptive interventionist thinking; ii) what the SADF referred to as ‘limited support’ to Portuguese forces fighting liberation movements in both Angola and Mozambique. This included helicopters and tracking personnel for use in Angola and intelligence and logistical support in Mozambique (1996a: 6). By April 1970, this limited support had developed to the point where a senior SADF intelligence analyst, Brig. Willem ‘Kaas’ Van Der Waals, was stationed in the South African consulate in Luanda as liaison officer to the Portuguese armed forces in Angola while in Mozambique several high-ranking SADF officers were deployed at the Portuguese regional military headquarters in Nampula, northern Mozambique. One of these was Brigadier Cornelius (Cor) Van Niekerk who in 1979 was appointed to head up the Department of Military Intelligence’s (DMI) Directorate of Special Tasks (DST), a covert unit supporting operations by the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) in Mozambique and the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in Angola. By the early 1970s, therefore, there was an extensive cooperative network involving the Rhodesian, Portuguese and South African governments and their security forces committed to preventing the forces of Southern African Black Nationalism advancing further south than Zambia and Tanzania. As these relations deepened, so too did their discourse of anti-Sovietism. According to the apartheid intelligence operative, Craig Williamson, by 1971 the security studies field had become a veritable industry with all of South Africa’s police and war colleges offering courses in the theory and practice of counter-revolutionary warfare whose


20 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall

‘central tenet … was that the Soviet Union was central to our security problems…that the coexistence of the Soviet Union and imperialist states was unthinkable. One or other must triumph in the end. And before that end comes, a series of frightful collisions between the...

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