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The Southern Rhodesian economy grew considerably during the war despite the concurrent rise of war expenditure to pay for the expansion of the military and the air training scheme. Expenditure on the war grew from £1,793,367 in the financial year 1940–41 to £5,334,701 in 1943–44[160]—total Southern Rhodesian expenditure on the air training scheme was £11,215,522.[l] These sums, while tiny compared to those incurred by larger nations, were enormous when scaled against the white population of less than 70,000 that accounted for most of the colony's economic output.[160] Annual costs for the air training scheme alone far exceeded the pre-war national budget.[160]—total Southern Rhodesian expenditure on the air training scheme was £11,215,522.[l] These sums, while tiny compared to those incurred by larger nations, were enormous when scaled against the white population of less than 70,000 that accounted for most of the colony's economic output.[160] Annual costs for the air training scheme alone far exceeded the pre-war national budget.[142]

South

Southern Rhodesia was then the second largest gold producer in the world, after South Africa.[161] The colony's gold output had expanded greatly during the 1930s, and it remained the territory's main source of income during the war, though many extracting operations were diverted towards strategic minerals, most prominently chrome and asbestos. Southern Rhodesia became one of the two main sources of chrome for the Allies (South Africa was the other) and the world's third largest producer of asbestos after Canada and the Soviet Union.[161] By the end of the war the mines at Shabani and Mashaba were turning out 1.5 million tonnes of asbestos a year, in addition to 600,000 tonnes of chrome.[162] Gold output reached peak levels in 1941–42 and thereafter subsided.[161] Southern Rhodesia also exported tungsten, mica and tin, and provided coal for the copper mines of Northern Rhodesia and the Congo.[162] The Southern Rhodesian government encouraged private enterprise to form secondary industries to exploit the colony's natural resources and increase production, but also set up some state industries in an attempt to spark growth.[163] The establishment of the RATG prompted a minor economic boom, and also caused the primary direct demand placed on Southern Rhodesia's black population during the early stages of the war—a programme of conscripted labour to build the aerodromes.[164]

The government assigned labour quotas for each district to native commissioners across the territory who in turn called on local chiefs and headmen to provide workers. The tribal leaders decided who was required at the kraal and who would report to the district native commissioner for work.[165] This system, known locally as the chibaro, cibbalo, isibalo or chipara—according to Charles van Onselen, synonymous etymologically with concepts ranging from contract labour to slavery—had been relatively widespread during Company rule (1890–1923), but had fallen out of use by the 1930s.[166] Some tribal communities were resettled to make room for the airstrips.[15]

The chibaro workers received pay and provisions, but the salary of 15s/- per month compared unfavourably with the 17s/6d generally received on white-owned farms. It met with widespread opposition, with many men electing to run away rather than join the work parties. "Hundreds if not thousands", according to Kenneth Vickery, crossed into Bechuanaland or South Africa to avoid the call-up.[15] Some suspected that after finishing the conscripted aerodrome work, they might be drafted to fight overseas. Rumours to this effect abounded enough that the chief native commissioner, H H D Simmonds, distributed a circular in November 1940 instructing the commissioners to make clear that the drafted men were required for labour only.[m]

Voluntary employment increased sharply during 1940 and 1941, both among indigenous blacks and migrant labourers, but many white farmers still complained about a lack of manpower.[168] A severe drought during the 1941–42 season led to a food shortage in the colony, prompting the passing in June 1942 of the Compulsory Native Labour Act, under which unemployed black males between 18 and 45 years of age could be conscripted for work on white-owned farms. Announcing the act, Tredgold—by now Minister of Native Affairs in addition to Defence and Justice—commented that its "principle ... would be intolerable under ordinary circumstances", but that the war made it necessary.[169] The act required each draftee to work at least three months at 15s/- per month; the pay rose to 17s/6 if he agreed to stay a further three months.[n] This conscription of labour contributed to the rise in the country's overall agricultural yield, but had a negative impact on the localised production of many kraals, either because too many men had been drafted for work elsewhere or because they had fled to avoid it. The scheme continued until the act's repeal in 1946.[170]

A central Food Production Committee, set up in early 1942, organised the conscripted labourers and attempted to help the white farmers to grow all the crops they could.[170] Maize production grew by 40% between 1942 and 1944, the potato harvest doubled and the onion crop grew sixfold by the end of the war. Production of the colony's most important cash crop, tobacco, was high throughout the war, averaging about 40 million pounds (18 million kg) annually.[171] The number of cattle slaughtered by the beef industry increased by 134%, from 71,000 head in 1937 to 160,000 head in 1945.[172] Vegetable dehydration, one of the Food Production Committee's main initiatives, proved a great success, allowing Rhodesia to export many products to the UK that would previously have spoiled in transit.[171] Southern Rhodesia also provided goods to the Eastern Group Supply Council, a body set up in 1940 to co-ordinate the build-up of war materiel in India and other British colonies and dominions east of Suez, with the goal of reducing the amount of supplies shipped from the UK. A Rhodesian officer, Brigadier E G Cook, was the group's deputy controller general. Between 1941 and 1945 Southern Rhodesia contributed large quantities of timber, leather goods, soap and building materials.[173]

Thousands of Axis POWs and people described as "enemy aliens" were held in Southern Rhodesia during the conflict. These were mainly Italians and Germans, but there were also a handful from Iraq and the Levant; the colony furthermore hosted nearly 7,000 refugees from Poland.[174] Britain delegated responsibility for co-ordinating investigation into enemy aliens in central Africa to the Southern Rhodesian government, which set up a system whereby the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) identified potential detainees while a body called the Internment Camps Corps oversaw the camps. Many of those held in Southern Rhodesia were sent there by Britain or authorities elsewhere in the Empire.[175]

Five internment camps were set up in two waves. No. 1 (General) Internment Camp opened to the north-east of Salisbury in October 1939 and No. 2 (Tanganyika) Internment Camp, just south of the city, opened the following year, mostly housing Germans formerly resident in Tanganyika.[175&#

Five internment camps were set up in two waves. No. 1 (General) Internment Camp opened to the north-east of Salisbury in October 1939 and No. 2 (Tanganyika) Internment Camp, just south of the city, opened the following year, mostly housing Germans formerly resident in Tanganyika.[175] The first two camps together had less than 800 inmates.[174] The third, fourth and fifth camps were set up near Gatooma, Umvuma and Fort Victoria in 1941–42 to accommodate roughly 5,000 Italians from Somaliland and Abyssinia. The Internment Camps Corps' reliance on the elderly, the infirm and so-called "friendly aliens" to staff the three new camps led to indiscipline, poor living conditions and dozens of escapes. A 1943 government commission into the quality of the internment camps reported the second wave camps to be of far worse quality than those of the first wave.[175]

Polish refugees were housed at dedicated settlements set up at Marandellas and Rusape, two towns about 40 km (25 mi) apart to the south-east of Salisbury, from 1943.[o] There were similar camps in Kenya, Nyasaland, Tanganyika, Northern Rhodesia and South Africa. The Polish settlements in Southern Rhodesia were run jointly by local authorities and the Polish consulate in Salisbury; the Polish government-in-exile in London provided funding. Transport back to Europe picked up sharply as the war came to a close, and by October 1945 less than 2,000 Polish refugees remained.[175] Colonial officials were reluctant to let the Poles stay indefinitely, asserting that they were not culturally British enough and might have communist connections or sympathies,[176] but most of those who remained showed little inclination to leave. Southern Rhodesia ultimately allowed around 726 Polish refugees to settle permanently after the war.[175]

Along with most of the Commonwealth and Allied nations, Southern Rhodesia sent a delegation of soldiers, airmen and seamen to London to take part in the grand Victory Parade of 8 June 1946. The colony's contingent, led by Colonel R E B Long,[177] marched after South Africa and before Newfoundland. The Southern Rhodesian colour guard comprised a white officer and two black sergeants of the Rhodesian African Rifles.[178] During the royal visit to Southern Rhodesia in April 1947, King George VI accorded the prefix "Royal" to the Rhodesia Regiment in recognition of its contributions to the two World Wars, and agreed to be its Colonel-in-Chief.[179]

Statistics

Southern Rhodesia had contributed more manpower to the Allied cause in World War II, proportional to white population, than any other British dominion or colony, and more than the UK itself.[180] According to figures compiled by MacDonald for his War History of Southern Rhodesia, 26,121 Southern Rhodesians served in the armed forces during the conflict, of whom 2,758 were commissioned officers. Broken down by race and gender, there were 15,153 black men, 9,187 white men, 1,510 white women and 271 coloured and Indian men. Of the 8,390 who served outside the territory, 1,505 were black men, 6,520 were white men, 137 were white women and 228 were coloured or Indian men.[181]

According to official figures, 33,145 black Southern Rhodesians were conscripted for labour between 1943 and 1945; Vickery estimates that between 15,000 and 60,000 more may have worked on the aerod

Southern Rhodesia had contributed more manpower to the Allied cause in World War II, proportional to white population, than any other British dominion or colony, and more than the UK itself.[180] According to figures compiled by MacDonald for his War History of Southern Rhodesia, 26,121 Southern Rhodesians served in the armed forces during the conflict, of whom 2,758 were commissioned officers. Broken down by race and gender, there were 15,153 black men, 9,187 white men, 1,510 white women and 271 coloured and Indian men. Of the 8,390 who served outside the territory, 1,505 were black men, 6,520 were white men, 137 were white women and 228 were coloured or Indian men.[181]

According to official figures, 33,145 black Southern Rhodesians were conscripted for labour between 1943 and 1945; Vickery estimates that between 15,000 and 60,000 more may have worked on the aerodromes.[182

According to official figures, 33,145 black Southern Rhodesians were conscripted for labour between 1943 and 1945; Vickery estimates that between 15,000 and 60,000 more may have worked on the aerodromes.[182] According to Ashley Jackson's work The British Empire and the Second World War, the Rhodesian Air Training Group instructed 8,235 Allied pilots, navigators, gunners, ground crew and others—about 5% of overall EATS output.[p]

A total of 2,409 Southern Rhodesians (977 officers and 1,432 other ranks) served in the RAF during the war, 373 (86 officers and 287 ratings) joined the Royal Navy, and 13 officers and 36 ratings from Southern Rhodesia mustered into the South African Navy. The vast majority of the rest served in either the Southern Rhodesian territorial forces or the British or South African Army. The colony's men and women received 698 decorations during the war; whites received 689 while black troops won nine. No coloured or Indian serviceman was decorated. Army officers won 269 decorations while the other ranks received 158; the air force officers and other ranks respectively won 184 and 72 decorations. All eight decorated Southern Rhodesian naval personnel were officers. Of the seven decorated women, all but one held commissioned rank.[181] Two hundred and fifty-three Southern Rhodesians were mentioned in despatches during the war.[184]

MacDonald records 916 Southern Rhodesian fatalities from enemy action during World War II—498 airmen, 407 ground troops, eight seamen and three female personnel—and 483 wounded, of whom 434 were soldiers, 47 were airmen and two were sailors.[181]

The Rhodesian Air Training Group, widely accepted as the colony's main contribution to World War II, proved to be "one of the most important happenings in Rhodesian history", in the words of its commander Air Vice-Marshal Sir C W Meredith, as it led to great economic development and a large wave of immigration after the war by former instructors, trainees and other staff.[142] This contributed to the swelling of Southern Rhodesia's white population to 135,596, over double its pre-war size, by 1951.[3][142] RAF training operations in the country were stepped down considerably after the war, and the project formally ended in March 1954.[185]

The strengthening of ties with South Africa continued following the war as both countries underwent considerable industrialisation. Between 1948 and 1953 Southern Rhodesia and South Africa operated a customs agreement under which most export and import duties were waived.[186] The decade immediately following 1945 has been called "the moment when Southern Rhodesia's economy 'took off'".[187] Huggins, secure in office at the end of the war, remained Prime Minister for another decade afterwards, and oversaw the colony's Federation with Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1953. He retired in 1956.[188] Southern Rhodesia contributed to several Commonwealth counter-insurgency operations during the 1950s and early 1960s, including the Malayan Emergency,[189] similar actions in Aden and Cyprus, and Operation Vantage in Kuwait.[190]

Amid decolonisation and the Wind of Change, the Federation failed to become a Commonwealth realm and collapsed in 1963.[188] Two years later, following prolonged dispute with Britain over the terms for full sovereignty, the mostly white government in Southern Rhodesia (or Rhodesia, following Northern Rhodesia's independence as Zambia) issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). The Rhodesian government, which had in it World War II veterans including the Prime Minister Ian Smith, attempted to emphasise Rhodesians' prior war record on Britain's behalf by declaring independence on Armistice Day, 11 November, at 11:00 local time.[1][191] As part of its subsequent isolation of Rhodesia, the UK government banned the post-UDI authorities from taking part in the annual Armistice Day service at the Cenotaph in London. Smith's government organised its own Rhodesian wreath-laying ceremony there.[192] Veterans of World War II and Malaya held many key positions in the Rhodesian Security Forces during the Bush War of the 1970s.[193]

After the country's reconstitution and recognised independence as Zimbabwe in 1980, Robert Mugabe's administration pulled down many monuments and plaques making reference to the dead of the First and Second World Wars, perceiving them as reminders of white minority rule and colonialism that went against what the modern state stood for. This view was partly rooted in the association of these memorials with those commemorating the British South Africa Company's dead of the Matabele Wars, as well as those memorialising Rhodesian servicemen killed during the Bush War. Many Zimbabweans see their nation's involvement in the World Wars as a consequence of colonial rule that had more to do with the white community than the black majority.[194] Southern Rhodesia's dead of the two World Wars today have no official commemoration, either in Zimbabwe or overseas.[195]

Robert Mugabe's administration pulled down many monuments and plaques making reference to the dead of the First and Second World Wars, perceiving them as reminders of white minority rule and colonialism that went against what the modern state stood for. This view was partly rooted in the association of these memorials with those commemorating the British South Africa Company's dead of the Matabele Wars, as well as those memorialising Rhodesian servicemen killed during the Bush War. Many Zimbabweans see their nation's involvement in the World Wars as a consequence of colonial rule that had more to do with the white community than the black majority.[194] Southern Rhodesia's dead of the two World Wars today have no official commemoration, either in Zimbabwe or overseas.[195]


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