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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > History Library > Alternate Timelines

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Alternate Timelines The great "what if's" of military history.

View Poll Results: Were the Rhodesian betrayed by the British and the Americans
Yes. 6 46.15%
No. 3 23.08%
The British and Americans tried to get the deal for the Rhodesians 1 7.69%
Te Rhodesians were too extreme. 3 23.08%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 29 Aug 11, 13:29
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What if the Tories won the 1966 general Election and supported the Rhodesia UDI?

What if the Tories won the 1966 general Election and supported the Rhodesia UDI?

Following the UDI of South Rhodesia on 11th November 1964, there was considerable support inside the Conservative Party for the Rhodesians especially in the Conservative Monday Club.

I've always wonder waht would have happened if the Conservative Party had won the 1966 general election instead of Labour and openly supported the Rhodesian cause?
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Old 29 Aug 11, 15:56
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I'm not sur ethey wouldn't have openly supported Rhodesia, at least not to the extent I would envisage by that term. Even South Africa could only provide a some official support... then again, SA sold Rhodesia out to at the end.

Would've probably been better for both Rhodesia and Britain if Labour hadnt won that year, for other reasons too.
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Old 29 Aug 11, 16:25
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What roll did America play in Rhodesia?
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Old 29 Aug 11, 16:35
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Trade embargo; interestingly one of the reasons chrome went out of fashion in the 60s on cars is because of the US trade embargo. One of Rhodesia's greatest exports was Chromium.
Then the arms embargo, which if memory serves was well supported in the US, though the French got around it a little via SA. Hence all the Allouette IIIs etc. Not ssure about Israel, I know they assisted South Africa when everyone else was enforcing embargo, but not sure if any of that was early enought to influence the Bush War.

Edit: Checking 'The Rhodesian War' by Moorcraft and McLaughlin, not much mention of the US...I could be mistaken on US invovlement in sanctions with SWA/SA.
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Last edited by Selous; 29 Aug 11 at 16:43..
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Old 29 Aug 11, 16:47
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n 1976, backed by British leaders and the "world community," U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger summoned Smith to Geneva and gave him a heavy dose of power politics. If Rhodesia would not agree to immediately allow majority rule, Smith was told, her oil supplies would be cut off and more sanctions would be imposed. Friends of the Rhodesian leader would later insist that the man aged 10 years during the week he spent in Geneva. One year later, a group of black Rhodesian leaders, including two members of the Rhodesian parliament, made plans to come to United States in order to tell of their support for the Smith government. They got as far as Germany and found that the State Department would not allow them entry into the United States.
- New American - not sure about that as a source, enver heard of 'the New American' before, but im sure the meeting can be looked up elsewhere.
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Old 29 Aug 11, 16:54
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What you report I do not doubt a bit. Very typical for the US at that time with the power politics. I'm not saying that I could support either Rhodesia or SA in their racial politics AT THAT TIME. With hind sight, both could have done better with some more white influence if not white rule. Damn, I hate to admit that. Mugabe has proven to be one of if not the most incompetent depots that Africa has ever seen.
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Old 29 Aug 11, 17:02
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I didn't vote in the poll as none seem to fit what I'd say. Still, that was the way the US saw it at the time; I doubt home pressures in the US at the time (Civil rights movement, about then?) would've allowed a support of Rhodesia. Remember though, Rhodesia didn't have Apartheid, it did have white minority rule and they do appear very simmilar at first but when you get deep into it, there're philosophical differences. Smith did have to compromise in the end, but even then wanted fairness, that's not what the Ndebele people got.

The '77 proposals had little to commend them and the pressure which Kissinger (Oh and that horrid little man Wilson) tried to exert only galvanised Smith into ever greater defiance. It wasnt good strategy for Kissinger...
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Old 29 Aug 11, 18:24
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On the embargo, I wonder if a conservative government would have turned a blind eye to sanction busting.
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Old 29 Aug 11, 18:33
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I don't think they'd have led the embargo in the same way Wilson did. Perhaps some quite stern words in the UN though.
Are you familiar with the Capricorn Africa society? from what i've read it was simmilar to the support service the British ran to sort out places like Oman and Aden, I could foresee Capricorn Africa or the Monday Club having some kind of off-shoot like that for simmilar support of Rhodesia. There'd have probably been a few more piece of British and other kit in Rhodesia, if the connies had been in power
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Old 30 Aug 11, 00:11
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IIRC America and Britain wanted to take a "Democratic" stand, and show the African people as a whole they weren't hypocrites when they came to majority rule, Remembering the Empire and the fact America didn't really openly oppose the Empire's policies. In the long term it didn't really help.



I find this video interesting, Smith stresses the fact he was not fighting for white rule, but responsible rule. Whereas SA Apartheid had no real provision for eventual black rule, Rhodesia did, albeit a long term one.

Of course, the problem was defining responsible.

Had Rhodesia been given a fair bit of support there is very little doubt in my mind that Africa would be a better place as a whole, for one there would be 40'000 more Matabeles and less money in a certain Swiss bank account!

Had Rhodesia lived on, IMHO it would have acted as a great role model for surrounding nations, possibly even using it's forces to eliminate insurgency and establish stability, as well as supplying educated workers, black and white, to establish mining, farming and manufacture operations. IMO, If there was a nation called Rhodesia on the map today sub Saharan Africa would be a mixture of second and first world nations, independent from foreign aid and self sufficient.

Unfortunately it's mostly a seething hellhole.
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Old 30 Aug 11, 11:57
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I agree with Dashy. If Rhodesia had some support from the west, if could have been the Canada or Australia of Africa. I've never heard of the Capricorn Africa Society, I'll look it up.
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Old 30 Aug 11, 12:17
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Originally Posted by CharlesSibthorp View Post
I agree with Dashy. If Rhodesia had some support from the west, if could have been the Canada or Australia of Africa. I've never heard of the Capricorn Africa Society, I'll look it up.
At the momment Zimbabwe is a basket case. Mugabe allowing the confiscation of white farmers land and handing it over to local tribes who hav no knowledge of agriculture has cost Zimbabwe Billions, Zimbabwe has one of the highest concentrations of Gem Stones in the world and yet is unable to adequately mine it due in no small part of the locals having no understanding of engineering and maintenance of equipment.

Zimbabwe should in theory be one of Africas richest nations, sometimes independence comes at too high a price, this is the case here.
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Old 30 Aug 11, 13:04
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Rhodesia was a rich and prosperous country (in the proper sense of the word) before Mugabe ruined it. No arguments here.
But you'll have to define betrayed in this sense, and look at who what and why. Strategic dimensions, the particulars of COIN warfare; as soon as you have to fight history demonstrates you'll have to compromise in the end. The ambition for responsible rule was an excellent one, but add in all the other factors and was it possible?
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Old 30 Aug 11, 14:11
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Edit: Checking 'The Rhodesian War' by Moorcraft and McLaughlin, not much mention of the US...I could be mistaken on US invovlement in sanctions with SWA/SA.
I recall that it was the Carter Administration that made ending white minority rule in Rhodesia a priority. Carter's UN ambassador Andrew Young was also very outspoken on the topic. Ending the governments in Rhodesia and South Africa (Nambia included) was a goal of black activists in the US, and Carter catered to them. They were not happy with the bi-racial government of Smith-Muzorewa. They did not stop until they handed Rhodesia over to Mugabe and his thugs. Of course they were "heros" in those days. The Thatcher government also played a role. Not sure if it did they took the lead though.
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Old 30 Aug 11, 14:28
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At the time it was impossible to tell that Mugabe would become one of Africa's most annoying dictators: witness Zambia and Botswana. The Smith government was trying to maintain and legitimise the massive land transfer to white ownership that the native population naturally resented - correcting this has been the nub of the problem since.
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