Conformity and conflict : Afrikaner nationalist politics in South Africa, 1948-1961
One of the principal themes of this thesis is that it is incorrect to treat "Afrikanerdom" as a monolithic, unified ethnic entity. At the time of its election victory in 1948, the National Party (NP) represented an alliance of various factions and classes, all of whom perceived their Interests in different ways. Given, too, that black resistance to exploitation and oppression increased throughout the 1950s, apartheid ideology cannot be viewed as an immutable, uncontested blueprint, which was stamped by the NP on to a static political situation. The thesis is based on four main strands of research. It is grounded, firstly, in a detailed analysis of Afrikaner social stratification during the 1950s. The political implications of the rapid increase in the number of Afrikaners employed in "white-collar" occupations, and the swift economic expansion of the large Afrikaner corporations, are also examined. The second strand of research examines the short-term political problems which faced the nationalist alliance in the years following its slim victory in the 1948 election. Much of the NP's energy during its first five years in office was spent on consolidating its precarious hold on power, rather than on the imposition of a "grand" ideological programme. Simultaneously, however, intense discussions - and conflicts - concerning the long-term implications, goals and justifications of apartheid were taking place amongst Afrikaner intellectuals and clergymen. A third thrust of the thesis will be to examine the way in which these conflicts concretely shaped the ultimate direction of apartheid policy and ideology. Nationalist politics was also affected by the legacy of the aggressive Christian-Nationalism of the 1930s. The final main task of the thesis is to trace how and why the key tenets of Christian-Nationalism - especially those pertaining to republicanism and education - developed after 1948.