Zimbabwean Independence (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Majority vs. minority rule in Zimbabwe. Result: Insurgents win political victory; Zimbabwe’s independence.
In 1971, British foreign secretary Alec Douglas-Home and Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith reached an agreement that would have led to eventual black majority rule. The country, which came to be known as Zimbabwe, had been ruled by white settlers who began arriving in 1890 with Cecil John Rhodes’s British South Africa Company. In 1965, Rhodesia, a self-governing colony since 1923, issued a unilateral declaration of independence. The Home-Smith Accord was an attempt to restore legality to Rhodesia and to meet the aspirations of the black majority while providing safeguards for the white minority. The agreement called for a commission to determine its acceptability “to the people as a whole.” In early 1972, the Pearce Commission reported that, while the whites favored the agreement, the black majority was opposed.
Black nationalist groups in exile saw this as an opportunity to renew the independence movement that had ended in failure in the late 1960’s. Following the Pearce report, two liberation groups seeking immediate majority rule increased their activities. The Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), dominated by the Ndebele (Matabele) tribe and supported by the Soviet Union, launched a program of sabotage and small-scale...
(The entire section is 1048 words.)
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