Macmillan, Verwoerd, and the 1960 `wind of change' speech

Dubow, Saul (2011) Macmillan, Verwoerd, and the 1960 `wind of change' speech. Historical Journal, 54 (4). pp. 1087-1114. ISSN 0018-246X

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Just over fifty years ago, Prime Minister Macmillan made an extensive tour of Africa, culminating in his 'wind of change' speech in Cape Town. This article traces Macmillan's progress through Africa with particular emphasis on his intervention in South African politics. It offers a novel reading of the 1960 'wind of change' speech, arguing that the message was far more conciliatory with respect to white South African interests than is usually assumed. Pragmatism rather than principle was always the prime consideration. Far from being cowed by Macmillan's oratory or his message, Verwoerd stood up to Macmillan and, at least in the eyes of his supporters, gave as good as he got. The shock of the 'wind of change' speech was more evident in Britain and in British settler regions of Africa than in South Africa. Macmillan's advisers had an inflated view of the import of the speech and in many ways misread Verwoerd's brand of Afrikaner nationalism. One of the consequences of the speech was to embolden Verwoerd politically, and to prepare him for the declaration of republican status in 1961 and departure from the commonwealth.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT History of Africa > DT1001 Southern Africa
D History General and Old World > DT History of Africa > DT1701 South Africa
Depositing User: Saul Dubow
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:03
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 20:34

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