Talk:Jan Smuts

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Former featured article candidate Jan Smuts is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
March 25, 2007 Featured article candidate Not promoted
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League of Nations, New World Order[edit]

The significance of Jan Smuts' understated yet substantial and dogmatic contributions to the League of Nations warrants prominent discussion in this article. Here are a few excerpts:—

To my mind the world is ripe for the greatest step forward ever made in the government of man. And I hope this brief account of the League will assist the public to realise how great an advance is possible to-day as a direct result of the immeasurable sacrifices of this war.

New World Order[edit]

…the project is not only workable, but necessary as an organ of the new world order now arising.

CONSTITUTION OF THE LEAGUE

…On the debris of the old dead world would be built at once the enduring Temple of future world- government. The new creative peace world would come to us, not as a fleeting visitant from some other clime, but out of the very ruins of our own dead past. In that way the most exalted position and the most responsible and beneficent functions would be entrusted to the new organ of world-government.

Neoliberal Trade Regulation

International administrative bodies, now perform- ing international functions in accordance with treaty arrangements, should in future be placed under the management and control of the Council. Such subjects as : Post, telegraphs, and cables (including wireless telegraphy) ; air traffic ; extradition ; copy- right, patents, and trade marks ; trade and sanitary regulations ; statistics ; weights anol measures ; monetary matters ; navigation of rivers ; private international laws ; liquor traffic ; slave trade ; fisheries ; white slave traffic all these have been dealt with by Conferences in the past, but they can in future be better dealt with by the League, and its permanent Staff should make and control the necessary administrative arrangements.

And so much more in the source. https://archive.org/stream/leagueofnationsp00smutuoft/leagueofnationsp00smutuoft_djvu.txt Xkit (talk) 13:59, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

The Old Boers[edit]

According to the context of the Article, the strikers that is talked about must have been Afrikaners (whites). However, the mines later invited black miners into Transvaal which again might have played a big role in the formation of Apartheid, Can somebody please clarify more clearly the race and culture of the so called miners and strikers, and where they were deported to? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 41.63.238.129 (talk) 08:20, 25 December 2013 (UTC)


League of Nations[edit]

'Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was in the establishment of the League of Nations, the idea for which is usually credited to Woodrow Wilson, but the implementation of which was guided by Smuts.'

Is this really his greatest accomplishment? Perhaps it would be best to consider his work towards the foundation of the United Nations rather than the League (which, after all, did fail rather abysmally). Xdamr 01:54, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

That's why the qualifier 'perhaps' is used. Smuts did more to create the League of Nations than he did the UN, since the embryonic UN being formed out of a wartime alliance, which Smuts played no part in forming. Moreover, as the first organisation of its sort, the foundation of the League of Nations was only allowed by the victory over the ideology of isolation by Jan Smuts and Woodrow Wilson. Its failure is not really related, since Smuts played little part in that, although his inability (and that of Wilson) to win over the US Senate did condemn the organisation to a slow and bitter death. Perhaps, if that rationale cannot be expounded in the introduction, the statement should read: "Perhaps his greatest accomplishments were the establishment of the League of Nations and its successor organisation, the United Nations: outlets for communication between nations for which Smuts had tirelessly campaigned." Or something to that effect.
On a side note, with someone else showing interest, I will soon get to finishing the small tasks that I pledged myself to do three months ago. Bastin8 14:55, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Granted that the UN did not bear Smut's imprint as much as the League did and that the failure of the League was not the responsibility of Smuts. My point really was that to single out the League, an institution now largely regarded as a failure, as 'perhaps' his greatest accomplishment does not do his achievements justice. Smuts' work towards the League found it's way into the later UN; to omit mention of the UN in this regard seems to suggest that his work was a failure, along with the League. Combining the League with a nod towards its influence on the later UN would be a good compromise.
Xdamr 18:29, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Smut's role in the League of Nations is totally over-rated!

Care to expand on that?
Xdamr 17:02, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

As I understand things (and perhaps this may assist you with your write-up on Smuts and the League)...........

The story and glory of the League of Nations was not as simple as its success or failure (as contemporary ignoramuses may like to compare) but rather its core concept, which was completely new to the world! This is the point that should be made, with all due credit given to Jan Smuts for proposing something so bold. Previously it was considered impossible to create an organization which standardised norms of behaviour on a global scale.

Jan Smuts was in the unique position to observe British munificence after the Anglo Boer War. After losing the war, it was Smuts who appealed to the British to preserve Afrikaner identity and self-determination. This was given - a credit to Smuts' convincing arguments, and his appealing and sagacious character. Effectively, the Afrikaners got everything they wanted and much more (while expecting the contrary): an Afrikaner became head of state to the newly formed and larger Union of South Africa! Its affects were profound, for the more radical, autocratic and paranoid Paul Kruger faction, the group of Afrikaners bent on ideas of persecution from the British, were forced to take a back seat in politics (at least until 1948).

Jan Smuts saw the benefits of a nation NOT scorned after losing a war. This was a concept Smuts tried to instil in the League of Nations, predicting the global consequences of treating Germany badly after WW1. He was not able to convince the French and other nations who wanted to completely carve up Germany. The League of Nations was therefore an attempt to tame vindictive attitudes which, if left unchecked, may have plunged the world into war again. Unfortunately, the world was not ready to submit to a higher and saner authority. Germany was indeed scorned and the resulting resentments from Germany again plunged Europe into war. Although the League was weak, it was this insight into world events that Jan Smuts MUST BE CREDITED WITH.

The failure of the League had little to do with Jan Smuts. However, the original intentions and merits of the League (i.e. those that were carried through into the UN) had everything to do with the vision of Jan Smuts, as was echoed in his inaugural speech to the UN. Eltharian Talk 30 April 2006

Organisation[edit]

I never envisaged this article to be this long, but it is. If I continue this article with this amount of detail, as I intend to do, it will soon become unwieldy (even without pictures). I suggest that this article be broken up into a series of separation articles. I think that the only biography to be similarly divided at this moment is that of Sir Isaac Newton. Does anyone object to that style of biography? Bastin8 17:12, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

Victoria College[edit]

Smuts could not have met his wife at Victoria since it was (and still is in the form of the Paul Roos Gymnasium) a boy's school.

Recommend revising to say he met her in Stellenbosch.

Thanks for pointing that out. Changed. Bastin8 13:05, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

Greatest South African Poll[edit]

The initial assertion in this article that Smuts was placed ninth is indeed incorrect, since (as correctly noted), places 2 to 10 were not ranked. When the programme was axed, Smuts was ranked sixth in terms of votes cast. With the existing caveat, I believe that that position should be used. Bastin8 13:05, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

As the one who made the change in the first place, I agree that what you are suggesting sounds eminently sensible. Batmanand 15:11, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

To the Anonymous Editor[edit]

First, create a Wikipedia account, and use it. That way, other people can tell who you are.

Second, you'll have to explain the sort of conjectures that you're making about the article thus far. It's not perfect, and it's certainly not finished. However, your disputes with it are hardly well thought out. I've cited my sources, which plainly support the article as I've written it. His inability to get on with Gandhi is well-known and well-documented, but, if you have any evidence that Smuts and Gandhi were friends, I'd like to see it. Bastin8 00:34, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Splitting up the article[edit]

As promised 3 months ago, I am dividing this article into sections that deal with different parts of his life. Nobody objected to it then, so I assume that nobody objects to it now. Right now, the organisation is rather rudimentary, with the articles at JanSmuts/[section title]. If, right now, it seems like a step backwards, that's because it probably is. In the next week or so, I will sort out some of the bigger problems resulting from this reorganisation.

Again, if anybody thinks that there's something inherently wrong with splitting up this article, please mention that now. Within the next few days, it will be possible to change it back quite easily, but if someone objects to it a month down the line, I'll be really pissed off. If there are problems that you've noticed that aren't listed at my Jan Smuts project page, correct them or discuss them here. Bastin8 15:41, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

  • No, I think it looks excellent like this. I knew virtually nothing about Smuts before reading it and it is really fascinating, easy to read and well laid out. I've begun taking a real interest in South African affairs recently after I came back from there a few weeks ago. My uncle is a politician there and my family was heavily involved in the anti-apartheid movement but I've never really taken much interest until recently. This was an excellent starting poin as it is really detailed, helpful and informative. Thank you. XYaAsehShalomX 19:34, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Hi, I think your articles are very good, be aware that the us of / in article space is now avoided (excpet for things like /temp /oldversion etc.) So you should probably be looking at Youth of Jan Smuts etc as the article names. If you need help, let me know. Rich Farmbrough. 12:24, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. It was originally just a temporary arrangement, but I got lazy (hence the other delays). Since I've begun updating the articles again recently, I hope that I'll resolve this problem very soon (I assume it not to be urgent). Bastin8 15:28, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Membership of WW1 War Cabinets[edit]

I was wondering if someone who edits this page can clarify something for me. Jan Smuts is listed as being a member of two war cabinets in the First World War:

  • The Imperial War Cabinet, which was made up of ministers from a number of countries in the British Empire.
  • The British War Cabinet, which - other than Jan Smuts - was made up entirely of British politicians.

The Jan Smuts article isn't too clear on the matter. The introduction lists him as a member of the British War Cabinet, whilst the "Soldier, Statesman, and Scholar" lists him as a member of the Imperial War Cabinet. Does anyone know whether he served in just one or both of the cabinets? Thanks. Road Wizard 18:36, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Both. Smuts, as representative from South Africa, was member of the Imperial War Cabinet. In June 1917 he was offered (& accepted) a place in the British War Cabinet.
Xdamr 20:04, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Section on segregation and Smuts[edit]

I have added a section on Smuts view on segregation between the races. This is a subject that surprisingly has been almost completely neglected in an otherwise substantial article. By not dealing with this controversial issue the article seems more like a hagiography than a balanced assesement of the man.

It is wrong to say that as "Prime Minister, he opposed a majority of Afrikaners that wished to continue and further the de facto Apartheid of the inter-war years." In 1948 Smuts wanted to continue white minority rule, but reform some of the aspects of segregation like the restrictions on African movement inot the cities. In the introduction I therefore instead emphasised Smuts' long commitment to segregation, without failing to mention that he started to move away from it on the eve of the nationalist victory in 1948.

THE LATTER PART _ HIM MOVING TOWARDS SOME INTEGRATION VIEWS IN 1948 _ WAS NOW MISSING, SO I ADDED THIS IN THE INTRO

Also changed the statement that during the negotiations on a constitution of the the Union of South Africa Smuts supported " an inclusive electorate (including women, many Asians, and even Africans" This could give the perception that Smuts wanted universal suffrage in South Africa in 1910, which is definitely not the case. it is possible that he wanted a more liberal suffrage law than the most hardline Afrikaners,e.g. some votes for a few propertied Africans such as the case was in the Cape Province, I do not know the details there so I challenge the contributor behind the statement to go more into the details there and document his sources. Therefore changed statement to " a more inclusive electorate", hope someone can change that when they have found sources on exactly what kind of suffrage rules he wanted. :kjetor

The views expressed here are fair and the edits are to my mind accurate and justified. However, I am saddened (but not surprised) by the automatic association of Afrikaners (a cultural/language group) with certain political views. I am also interested in the fact that Smuts should be criticised for his commitment to segregation at a time when most of his contemporaries shared those views, and (for example) the United States still practised it in many (legal) forms, including the Indian reservations, segregated schools and so on. The much more radical racial views and acts of Cecil John Rhodes do not seem to merit as close an analysis and scrutiny. My own opinion is that Jan Smuts was (in his beliefs) a liberal, especially when contrasted with his contemporaries. However, he was also a politician,and like most effective politicians, a pragmatic one. pietopper (talk) 04:39, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

The links to those jstor articles cited as references are now broken and need to be tracked down.--Sum (talk) 00:02, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
User:SummerWithMorons added a reference (in jstor) a few weeks ago. I removed that reference; the document in question is a review of another document; neither refer to Jan Smuts in any way, and neither even cover a contemporary time period. The documents in question are in my possession. I am assuming good faith here. pietopper (talk) 18:07, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
He wrote a lecture on "parallel development" would be good, if this could be incorporated! 197.229.242.233 (talk) 11:02, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Thank You General Smuts Day[edit]

I recently read in a high school history textbook of a celebration held at some point (in an October I believe) in Smuts' honour, "Thank You General Smuts Day". I can't find any other information about it. Does anyone know anything about this (particularly the specific date). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 219.89.68.167 (talk) 23:26, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Burial[edit]

The article on Irene, Gauteng states that Smuts' ashes are scattered on Smuts Koppie. This article says he was buried. Any clarification on this?196.36.71.28 (talk) 12:10, 7 March 2008 (UTC) M de Jager

Smuts was cremated and his ashes scattered on a hill on his farm Irene near Pretoria. I do not have a written source, but it is common knowledge in the area. I have visited the plaque on the hill behind his former house, now a museaum (Smuts House: http://www.places.co.za/html/smutshouse.html) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 41.242.239.157 (talk) 22:15, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Peace treaties[edit]

"He was the only person to sign the peace treaties ending both the First and Second World Wars."

Although he signed the Paris Peace Treaties, 1947, I think that the statement needs qualifying as the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany was not signed until 1990. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 10:07, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Sources[edit]

At least part of this article appears to plagiarize the article on Smuts in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Compare the second paragraph under the heading 'After the war' with the last section of Marks's article ('Political defeat and death').

Shula Marks, ‘Smuts, Jan Christiaan (1870–1950)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 21 Jan 2009

Jaz321 (talk) 19:19, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Autocratic Paul Kruger[edit]

The "Climbing the ladder" section contains the sentence "Through late 1896 and 1897, Smuts toured South Africa, furiously condemning the United Kingdom, Rhodes, and anyone opposed to the Transvaal President, the autocratic Paul Kruger." I certainly do not feel that autocratic is the correct adjective, if any adjective should even be used here. It is inconsistent with the Paul Kruger article which does not describe anything resembling autocratical behaviour. The term autocrat and its derivatives aren't used once in the Paul Kruger article, yet it is used here? SumDude (talk) 07:33, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Good point, feel free to remove that if it hasn't been removed already. Invmog (talk) 04:48, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Quote from Julian Tudor Hart in the reference section[edit]

In the References section there is an extensive quote by a medical practitioner and 'author' from some obscure village in Wales rubbishing holism, Jan Smuts and so on, without any substantive argument other than emotive words like "obvious", "banal" and so on. Dr Hart also doesn't have all his ducks in a row about Jan Smuts's nickname: it was not "Janni the fox"; firstly, the diminutive of Jan is spelled "Jannie." More importantly, foxes are so rare in South Africa that the Afrikaans word for fox is quite esoteric ("vos") Therefore the nickname would more likely have been "Jannie the jackal", but that does not make sense either, since the symbolism of "jackal" denotes slyness and cowardice, and for all his other faults, nobody thought of Smuts in that way. In point of fact, his nickname was "slim (clever) Jannie" a rather two-edged compliment denoting that while his cleverness was admired, it was also thought that he could sometimes mislead people through the cleverness of his arguments. The same quotation, complete with typo's is included on the reference section of the holism article. First it makes the references section quite untidy. Second, how is this quote helping us understand Jan Smuts, or holism? Or is someone just trolling? pietopper (talk) 20:04, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Merge[edit]

Should these articles be merged here?

Many of these articles are long winded, and a lot of the material is either duplicated in other articles such as the Second Boer War, or unreferenced. Thoughts? --HighKing (talk) 18:50, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

In my view the material should not be merged in here unless someone references it; as you say, much of it is unreferenced, whereas this article is now fully sourced. Dormskirk (talk) 11:56, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Lies about relativity[edit]

I removed the incorrect attribution to Einstein of his claim that Smuts was only one of eleven people who understood relativity. Einstein himself is quoted directly as denying having ever said anything like the "only eleven people" claim. The sources that indicate that Einstein said this are wrong. See, for example, this Time Magazine quotation from 1929: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,732184,00.html

Please get your facts straight, Wikipedia.

140.252.83.220 (talk) 02:39, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

You are stretching a point, Anonymous IP. The quotation you provide goes on to say that only a handful of people would read the paper. It therefore follows that only a handful of people would understand the theory. All the same, your removal of the attribution is justified.

By the way, there is no such entity as "Wikipedia" who has to get facts straight. Wikipedia is a collection of editors, like you and I. Getting facts straight is our job, not some vague entity's pietopper (talk) 12:58, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

C'mon! Everyone knows what he meant by "Wikipedia" - sheesh.
So? What did he mean by "Wikipedia"? Everyone? Anyone? Anonymous? People? pietopper (talk) 00:54, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
The Einstein quote actually refers to a remark made by Arthur Eddington. Eddington was asked by a reporter if he knew anyone else apart from Einstein who understood the theory of relativity, and Eddington couldn't think of anyone else who did, other than he, himself. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2.24.215.249 (talk) 17:55, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Honours[edit]

Hi, i am unclear on how and why Smuts would have received the Queen's South-Africa medal. Does anyone know the source for this? The QSA was only issued to British Soldiers and military personnel during the Boer War. The Ditsong museum does not list it amongst his medals. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Luchair (talkcontribs) 20:18, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Smuts, Gandhi and race[edit]

Pietopper, I'm a little puzzled by the reasons you gave for reverting my edits. General Smuts had lots of interactions with General Hertzog, General Botha, Winston Churchill and Jan Hofmeyr, to name just a few people. We don't have a lengthy paragraph on any of their racial views. The racial views of other people, even those Smuts had lots of interactions with, are not within the scope of this article.

As for my edit to the lead, WP:LEAD says that "it should define the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points—including any prominent controversies." Smuts's views on racial issues are certainly an important and controversial point about him, and therefore should be included in the lead. There is nothing to say that specific political views or policies shouldn't be referred to in the lead; on the contrary, many biographies of politicians contains such references in the lead. One cannot cover "the most important points" of a major statesman without referring to any of his views or policies. Perhaps my wording left something to be desired and perhaps this should be included in a separate paragraph in the lead, perhaps along with other important political views and policies, but I do think it needs to be mentioned in there. I'd welcome any alternative proposals you might have for doing so. Neljack (talk) 11:11, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Ghandi's racial views are important and apposite in the Smuts article for a number of reasons. Firstly, many, if not all, of his interactions with Ghandi are considered in the context of racial segregation and discrimination. This is not so in the case of any of the other well-known figures that you enumerate. The important point is that Smuts' views on segregation were normal for the time -- even (shockingly) liberal and progressive. The views were in line with many (if not all) of the political leaders of the time, and the Ghandi example illustrates that perfectly. The only censure that South Africa ever got from the international community during Smuts' time was for its treatment of Indians (also the source of the conflict between Ghandi and Smuts) -- never for its treatment of blacks.

For this same reason the political/policy views held by Smuts are inappropriate for the lede. There are no references, for example, to the views that Churchill had regarding racial segregation, even though it is a fact that he and Smuts were close friends, and the inference that they must have had many discussions on the topic, and therefore Churchill must have understood and agreed (to some extent) with Smuts' views.
There are a number of editors who are using Wikipedia as a platform for political judgement and censure. You can see, for example, lengthy quotes from an obscure doctor from Wales, in a book about the British NHS of all things, censuring and mocking Smuts for simultaneously being the father of "holism" ("a soapy concept") and also espousing segregation. He was not even born when Smuts' book on holism and evolution was published. People see history through the prism of the present, and the filters of our current views.
I am tired of Wikipedia and it's endless edit wars. This is my last contribution. Do with the Smuts article whatever you like. pietopper (talk) 11:23, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

Jan Smuts, Holism and Einstein[edit]

I provisionally deleted the following from the Wiki entry for Jan Smuts: "After Einstein studied "Holism and Evolution" soon upon its publication, he wrote that two mental constructs will direct human thinking in the next millennium, his own mental construct of relativity and Smuts' of holism. In the work of Smuts he saw a clear blueprint of much of his own life, work and personality.[44]"

This is not borne out by the letter from Einstein cited in the reference [Letter from Einstein to Smuts, 24 June 1936, Vol 54, Folio 33, Cambridge University Library]. I managed to obtain a copy of this letter (transcribed from the original on microfilm by a kind Cambridge librarian, Lindsay Jones, to the best of her ability, and it does not give any indication that it refers to Smuts's book. Einstein appears to be responding to a suggestion Smuts made to him, perhaps about the philosophy of international relations, rather than commenting on Smuts's book. Einstein would have indicated in the letter if he had read Smuts's book on Evolution and holism. Incidentally, Smuts refers in the book to the "discovery of the aether", at a time when the general belief among scientists was that it's existence had been effectively refuted by a series of experiments starting with the Michelson-Morley experiment in the late nineteenth century. One would have expected Einstein to at least refer to this, since he himself abandoned the aether hypothesis in 1905. But Einstein would have been interested in the comment -- he himself later resurrected the aether in a redefined form, which found little support in the scientific community, and played no role in the continuing development of modern physics [see Wikipedia article on Luminiferous aether -- [[1]]

I corrected obvious transcription errors in the original German, and translated the transcript of Einstein's letter to Smuts from German as below. My German is poor and the translation can perhaps be improved.

It seems that the Cambridge libraries may have more correspondence between Einstein and Smuts on microfilm, but someone may have to visit them in person to copy the material, which I am unable to do (living in Cape Town).

24 June 1936, Albert Einstein to General JC Smuts

Hochgeehrter General Smuts,

Wie gerne würde ich Ihrer freundlichen Anregung folgen, wenn ich irgendwelche Hoffnung auf Erfolg sähe. Unsere Zeit ist weniger als die unmittelbar vorangehende geneigt, auf geistige Menschen zu hören, hinter denen keine Macht steht. Zum Teil ist dies die Schuld vieler Intellektuellen selbst, die böse Kompromisse gemacht haben. Dazu kommt, dass ich meine Meinung wiederholt unzweideutig ausgesprochen habe, so dass ich nur wiederholen könnte.

Jedenfalls danke ich Ihnen herzlich für das Vertrauen und die Sympathie, die aus Ihrem freundliche Briefe spricht.


Esteemed General Smuts,

I would with much pleasure have taken up your kind suggestion, if I saw any hope of success in such a venture; however, we must accept that the present era is less inclined than the immediate past to heed spiritual voices — that are bereft of any kind of powerbase [“behind which no power stands”]. This is partly the fault of many intellectuals themselves, who have made wicked [or simply "bad"?] compromises. Moreover, I have repeatedly and unambiguously expressed my own view on the subject, so that I would now be unable to do more than merely repeat myself.

At any rate, I warmly thank you for the trust and sympathy implicit in your kind letter.

Sjjvdberg (talk) 11:06, 23 October 2014 (UTC)