The Making of a Guerrilla War: A Study of the Zimbabwean Revolution
Pfluecke, James David
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The British colony of Rhodesia was launched into the international spotlight on November 11, 1965, when the colony's European minority issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence. Great Britain's only response was to initiate United Nations recommended sanctions, and the African population of Rhodesia was forced to find its own solution. The answer that the African nationalists found was armed insurrection. In the fighting that ensued, over thirty thousand people, mostly Africans, would be killed and in the end, the Europeans were forced to relinquish control of the government. As historians reflect upon the conflict, several questions arise: (1) Why did the Africans choose this time to revolt. They had begun fighting before UDI,so the rebellion could not be solely viewed as a response to UDI; (2) Who were the guerrillas and why did the people support them; and (3) Why and What did the Africans win. The standard answers to these question are usually phrased in racial and class struggle terminology. The titles of much of the literature surrounding the conflict reflect this trend-Rhodesia: a Crisis of Color, Racial Conflict in Rhodesia, Under the Skin: The Death of White Rhodesia- but the subject matter of these publications inevitably turns to the complex web of circumstances that led to the construction of the racist settler state and to its eventual downfall. It is the purpose of this essay. to explicate these circumstances to show that the conflict was an outgrowth of the ethnic and cultural differences between the two races. To gather support for this argument, it is necessary to examine the series of events that culminated in the creation of Zimbabwe.