11 France and Britain in the Belle Epoque: -- Part 4
In the case of southern Africa, British ambitions to rule the area had involved repeated conflicts with the various native tribes but also with existing European settlers who were mostly of Dutch origin.
The Dutch subgroup of the farmers of stern, fundamentalist religious convictions, the Boers, first settled in the area in the 17th century.
The British tried to impose rule on them in the 19th century.
The discovery of large deposits of diamonds and gold in the early 1870s complicated the situation.
The Gold Rush in California in 1849 attracted thousands of explorers.
Afrikaners retreated to the northeast from the west coast in the 1830s and 1840s to establish independent republics.
The First Boer War was a year of full-scale warfare between South Africa and the British.
The British were defeated in several battles.
The peace treaty was signed after the prime minister concluded that the effort to crush the Boers came at too high a price.
The international incident that occurred in the interval between the first and second war changed the climate of opinion in Britain towards Germany.
The telegram's threatening tone set off a wave of indignation in Britain.
Many European countries, including France, sympathized with the plucky Boers in standing up to the British bully.
The war with the Boers was provoked by the British in 1899.
It lasted over three years and was taken with a great deal more seriousness by Britain's leaders, who finally committed over 400,000 troops to it.
The war gained the support of many politicians and newspaper editors, who demanded that these irksome peasants be taught a lesson.
The "Black Week" in December 1899 was very sad.
Even small victories by British forces were celebrated with joy in the home country.
It was a terrible price for victory to come to Britain.
The British military rounded up families, women, children, the aged, and the ill, as well as native workers and servants, and imprisoned them in internment areas in response to the guerrilla tactics of the Boers.
The British burned the farmhouses of the Boers, killed their livestock, destroyed their crops, and poisoned their wells.
By the end of the war, many non-combatants and native Africans died in the camps due to neglect and disease.
The "pro-Boers," a term initially conceived as an insult but then taken up proudly by those opposing the war, faced intense domestic hostility similar to what the earliest Dreyfusards had experienced when coming to Dreyfus's defense.
Critics took the offensive as the cost of the war mounted.
In the 1890s, Hobson wrote a number of books about modern capitalism, and he would continue to write a book every few years for the next half-century.
The orgy of imperialistic expansion in the 1890s was caused by the distortions and contradictions of advanced capitalism.
Hobson did not consider himself a Marxist.
He saw himself as a member of an anti-imperialist group that dated back to the mid-century.
The vast sums being invested in the empire could be better used to raise the wages of Britain's laboring poor.
"If we would understand the economic and political import of the present movements, the activities of rich Jews, the Rothschilds prominent among them, must be studied."
During his tour as a newspaper reporter during the first stages of the Boer War, he made observations that influenced this conclusion.
The linking of Jews and capitalism was a recurring theme on the left in Britain.
The political antisemitism that had appeared in Germany and Austria in the late 19th and early 20th century was not something that Hobson sympathized with.
He had expressed horror at the pogroms in Russia.
He didn't hold Jews responsible for the ills of capitalism and was aware of the important role non-Jews played.
The more radical critics of the Jews in Britain and elsewhere did not respect such distinctions.
The death of Victoria occurred during the war.
Some of the more notorious activities of those women she had denounced as mad and wicked predated her death.
In the decade before World War I, the cause of female suffrage was taken up with unprecedented audacity in Britain, causing front-page press coverage and disdainful editorials.
In this arena, the liberal ideals of reasoned debate and gradual reform were being replaced by passionate conviction and violent confrontation.
Part of the reason for the surge was that Parliament had failed to pass any of the many bills that were put before it in order to give women the right to vote.
This was a failure for many women in Britain.
The head of the Women's Social and Political Union, Emmeline Pankhurst, gained a lot of attention as she disrupted parliamentary meetings and marched in the streets.
The Suffragettes used to break windows, blow up mailboxes and place a bomb by the house of the Liberal leader, David Lloyd George.
They went on hunger strikes after they were arrested.
In 1913, Emily Davison threw herself in front of a horse owned by the king and was trampled to death, the only death associated with the Suffragettes.
There was no parallel to the British movement for female suf Frage on the Continent, but a number of women gained unusual public visibility or played prominent roles in ways that connected to the debates about the Woman Question.