First Advisor

Jon E. Mandaville

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Zambia -- Military history, Zimbabwe -- Military history



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, iii, 128 p.)


This thesis examines Northern and Southern Rhodesia's history through the formation and development of their police and military units from the time Rhodesia was created in 1890 until the end of the Second World War. Southern Rhodesia, founded after a series of short and bloody frontier wars, was a self-governing British colony under a white minority and centered its peace-time security efforts around keeping an eye on potential uprisings from the African majority. White Northern Rhodesians viewed the African majority with similar suspicion although they were never able to exclude Africans from territorial defense. Northern Rhodesia was governed from London and ultimate power did not lie with the settler community. The importance of the Second World War for Southern Rhodesia is that, because of British strategic policies, Rhodesians received perhaps the widest possible military exposure of any allied nation of the War. Because of a lingering hostility and suspicion by the Union of South Africa, Britain's prewar plans for defending their African empire were centered on making use of the skilled white manpower of Rhodesia and Kenya. Added to this was the willingness and apparent positive reception by white Rhodesians of black units in the Southern Rhodesian army, a break with the exclusively all-white tradition that prevailed up until then. The political capital accrued to Southern Rhodesia because of its close cooperation with Britain was perhaps the significant factor in the establishment of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1953 which included Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The Federation was Southern Rhodesia's supreme political achievement and the closest it came to legal independence and international respectability.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL

Persistent Identifier

Included in

History Commons