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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The production of literature on the 'Red Peril' and 'Total Onslaught' in twentieth-century South Africa
Author:Visser, WesselISNI
Year:2004
Periodical:Historia: amptelike orgaan
Volume:49
Issue:2
Pages:105-128
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:communism
historiography
Abstract:For much of the 20th century South Africans, and Afrikaners in particular, were fascinated by the historical phenomenon of communism, which was often perceived as a 'threat' or 'peril'. The general public's awareness of communism was stimulated by the so-called 'Red Revolt' on the Witwatersrand in 1922, which followed in the wake of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. In the 1930s and 1940s, the communist 'Red Peril' was equated with the 'Black Peril', when communists were depicted as proponents of racial equality and internationalism. The 'Red Peril' was also equated with the 'Jewish Peril' as many communist trade union leaders of Jewish origin vied with Afrikaner cultural entrepreneurs to gain the support of the Afrikaner working class. From the 1930s to the 1980s, Afrikaner churches contributed vigorously to the increasing production of anti-communist rhetoric. The avowed atheism of communism was perceived as a 'deadly threat' to Christianity in South Africa. From the 1950s onwards, production of literature on the 'Red Peril' reflected a preoccupation with a presumed Soviet and Red Chinese 'onslaught' against South Africa. With the establishment of the Institute for the Study of Marxism at the University of Stellenbosch in 1980, communism as a historical factor also drew serious academic interest. This article investigates the phases in the production of literature on the 'Red Peril' and 'Total Onslaught' in 20th-century South Africa. Notes, ref., sum. in English and Afrikaans. [Journal abstract]
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