Ian Douglas Smith

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Smith, Ian Douglas


Born Apr. 8, 1919, in Selukwe. Southern Rhodesian political figure.

Smith studied at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. From 1939 to 1946 he served in the British Royal Air Force. A farmer, he was elected to the Southern Rhodesian Legislative Assembly in 1948. In 1953 he became a member of the Parliament of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Smith founded the racist Rhodesian Front Party in 1961, and it came to power in Southern Rhodesia in the following year. He became president of the party in 1965. He was minister of the treasury from 1962 to 1964 and became prime minister in April 1964. In addition, he served as minister of defense until May 1965 and as minister of external affairs until August 1964.

Smith’s government was not recognized by the African population of the country and represented only the ruling European minority. In 1965 this government unilaterally declared the “independence” of Southern Rhodesia and the end of British authority. In March 1970, the racist regime proclaimed Southern Rhodesia a “republic” in accordance with the “constitution” of 1969. Under Smith, the Africans have been oppressed and kept without rights. He has been mercilessly suppressing the liberation movement in Southern Rhodesia.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.