Cousins no more? The 1948 crisis in ties between the Netherlands and Afrikaner nationalists
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Despite historic Dutch-Afrikaner links, the Netherlands became a leading critic of South Africa’s National Party (NP) government. Many scholars agree that while differences on involvement in World War II hurt ties, the NP’s apartheid policy caused a major rift only much later. This study examines the roots of that rift in Dutch responses to the 1948 NP victory, the ensuing controversy, and that over appointing Otto du Plessis as envoy to The Hague. Afrikaner nationalists were as baffled by their cousins’ not understanding their wartime refusal to aid the Allies as most Dutch were by many Afrikaners’ wartime actions, discounting such criticism as misinformed and not understanding how much Nazi racial ideology made their apartheid platform toxic. Such different recent histories had made them strangers to each other so that, despite efforts to paper over strained relations, the eventual rupture was significantly shaped by the earlier crisis.