• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"To what extent did the Boer War change attitudes to Empire in Britain?

Extracts from this document...


"To what extent did the Boer War change attitudes to Empire in Britain? The British Empire at its peak was considered the greatest empire in the world. It was the empire on which the sun never set. By 1897 it was guarded by a navy that was equal to the navies of two other powers. One newspaper described Britain as being in 'splendid isolation' in that it had no enemies and needed no friends. The press's view on the events relating to the empire was very important. In 1907 Lord Sanderson, Permanent Undersecretary wrote in his retirement "It has sometimes seemed to me that a foreigner reading our press the British Empire must appear in the light of some huge giant sprawling over the globe with gouty fingers and toes spreading in every direction which cannot be approached without eliciting a scream". Other examples later show how the press portrayed the majority of public thoughts and reflections on certain issues. In the late Seventeenth Century the Dutch East India Company had formed a trading station in South Africa near the Cape of Good Hope. The poorest members of this community were strongly protestant farmers called treboers or Boers. These pilgrims called themselves 'Afrikaners', people of Africa and searched for land. They spoke 'Afrikaans', a modification of Dutch. ...read more.


The term used in the press that summer was that Britain had been victorious over the 'bloody Boers'. Lord Kitchener and Roberts had retuned. In October 1900 the Unionist government staged the 'Khaki elections' and were victorious over the liberals. It was then to become apparent that the celebrations were premature; the Boers had headed for the countryside where they prepared to fight using guerrilla tactics. By 1901 the Boers had invaded Cape Colony. This provoked Lord Kitchener to return to 'put them in their place'. Kitchener's impact on the Boer war from here on can be described as disastrous in the effect it would happen on the British Empire. His tactics were a huge political blunder and caused massive controversy. His 'scorch the earth policy', which basically consisted of the burning of farms, crops and villages was outrageous and evil. He used barbed wire fences to divide the country into zones and collected the civilian population into concentration camps. His treatment of them here was appalling and provoked much anger and debate back in Britain where even the most empire loving Englishmen were aghast with his methods. Once the news of the horrors of the concentration camps got back to England it cause massive debate. Pro-Boer liberal MP's were the first to realise Kitcheners blunder in herding women and children into so-called 'camps of refuge'. ...read more.


The emphasis on 'imperial expansion' and the great benefits on empire had been reduced. Instead emphasis was placed on the potential threat posed by Germany. Britain insecurity in itself was shown when Boy Scout and Girl Guide movements to encourage military standards in children. British defence was critically analysed after the war and considerable changes had been made. There was considerable re-planning on home defence issues as well as foreign protection of the empire. Things like food and ammunition supplies which had failed to operate efficiently during the Boer war were looked at closely. Free school meals and medical examination in schools were set up. This as well as the setting up of the Territorial Army (TA) to defend Britain in an invasion showed British fear in response to the failure of the Boer war. The concessions showed that the British had felt the negative impact of the Boer war and it had shaken them up and forced them to consider seriously thinking about their safety. Britain was a nation that was thought of as a 'policeman' it was a defender of the 'weak'. After the Boer war and especially the concentration camps that had been used Britain had lost its credibility and the power it once had to give moral lectures. Britain was once a good example to the world, after the Boer war it was still an example but of what not to do and how not to treat other nations. Tazeen Rashid F6PNE 1 01/05/2007 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How far was the Boer War, 1899-1902, a turning point in the history of ...

    5 star(s)

    Previous to the Boer War Britain was considered a strong and dominant world power, enjoying military and economic superiority. However, the defeat of the British army by 'independent-thinking Boer farmers' changed this opinion, causing Britain to be viewed as weaker than initially perceived.

  2. Why did tension increase in Europe between 1900 and 1914?

    * Stalin had not declared war on Japan. * Winston Churchill stated that he had not fought against one dictator for six years to see another one take his place. Why were the Western Allies prepared to trust Stalin? * In early 1945 the West needed Stalin's support in case it was necessary to invade Japan.

  1. Superpower Relations 1945-90

    * Allowing freedom of speech in public. * Free elections were held in 1990. In 1986 Gorbachev and Reagan met several times. The Intermediate-range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty, was signed in 1986. * The treaty committed both sides to the getting rid of all medium-range missiles form Europe within 3 years.

  2. The Prelude to the 1975 War and the Cairo Agreement.

    and by invitation of the Hirawi government, to counter comparisons with Iraqi behavior concerning Kuwait. Curiously, in mid-September the Israelis seemed convinced that Syria was too busy with the Gulf crisis to open "an additional front" in Lebanon-this after the U.S.

  1. Consider How Far Gladstone And Disraeli Differed In Their Policies Regarding The British Empire ...

    Lowe maintains his imperial policies bolstered support domestically, which is something Palmerston managed to good effect. Palmerston's death had left a vacancy of outgoing foreign policy maker, which Disraeli was eager to fill. The Bulgarian horrors had imperial connotations as it affected the sea route towards India, which is a reason why Disraeli got so involved.

  2. Why And How Did Britain Survive The War From 1940-1943

    It grew in time to more than a million part-time soldiers, who received basic training and some arms to defend their local areas against the Germans in the event of an invasion. Land girls were a way for women to help the War effort.

  1. Describe the historical claims of Britain and Argentina to the Falkland Islands

    The UN Security Council passed Resolution 502 calling for the withdrawal of the Argentine troops from the islands. Within days a British Task Force was being assembled to sail and recapture the islands. Submarines had already sailed even before the invasion and a "Total Exclusion Zone" was declared, warning that any vessel or aircraft entering the area would be attacked.

  2. Many peoples have contributed to the development of the United States of America, a ...

    the Confederation Congress, with limited powers not unlike those of the United Nations. The states retained their sovereignty, with each state government selecting representatives to sit in the Congress. No national executive or judiciary had been established. Each state delegation received an equal vote on all issues.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work