Jan Christian Smuts

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Smuts, Jan Christian


Born May 24, 1870, on the farm Bovenplaats, near Riebeek West, Cape Colony; died Sept. 11, 1950, at Irene, near Pretoria. South African statesman. British field marshal (1941). Idealist philosopher.

The son of a wealthy Afrikaner landowner, Smuts graduated from Cambridge University. He was a Boer general during the Boer War (1899–1902) but later cooperated with the British forces. During World War I (1914–18) he directed operations against the Germans in Southwest and East Africa.

Smuts held a number of government posts in the Union of South Africa. He was minister of the interior and minister of mines from 1910 to 1912, minister of defense from 1910 to 1920, minister of finance in 1912 and 1913, and prime minister from 1919 to 1924. Smuts was later minister of justice from 1933 to 1939 and prime minister, minister of foreign affairs, and minister of defense from 1939 to 1948.

Smuts attended the Paris Peace Conference (1919–20) and helped draft the Covenant of the League of Nations. He was the initiator of the mandate system. Smuts carried out a policy of apartheid, or racial discrimination against the Negro population. In 1942 his government recognized the USSR, but in 1943 he upheld the creation of an anti-Soviet Western bloc. His political writings advocated racism.

Smuts originated the philosophy of holism, according to which a series of nonmaterial and unknowable wholes lies at the basis of evolution. An opponent of the materialist doctrine of evolution. Smuts approached Bergson’s idealist theory of creative evolution and C. Lloyd Morgan’s theory of emergent evolution.


Holism and Evolution. New York, 1926.
Plans for a Better world. London, 1942.


Bogomolov, A. S. Ideia razvitiia ν burzhuaznoi filosofii XIX i XX vekov. Moscow, 1962. Pages 320-35.
Kremianskii, V. I. Strukturnye urovni zhivoi materii. Moscow, 1969. Pages 47-52.
Crafford, F. S. Jan Smuts: A Biography. New York, 1945.
Williams, B. Botha, Smuts and South Africa. New York, 1948. [23–1872–]
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(4) "General Jan Smuts Hero or Villain," Writing, Inc, http://www.writinginc.co.za/content/view/180/105/.
The international conversations and conflicts among statesmen, academics, and activists such as Mohandas Gandhi, James Bryce, Theodore Roosevelt, Jan Smuts, Charles Pearson, Tokutomi Soho, and W.E.B.
Its association with imperial paternalism, however, may have undermined its credibility, especially when that paternalism was as hypocritical as in the British imperial case, exemplified in India, where Gandhi thought there was 'not much to choose between the British and the Nazis' on the race question; and in the person of the South African 'internationalist', but also racist, Jan Smuts, one of the figures Mazower focuses on.
The philosopher Aristotle introduced the principle of holism in his treatise Metaphysics, where he wrote, "The whole is more than the sum of its parts." The actual term "holistic" was coined by South African soldier, statesman and scholar Jan Smuts in the early 1920s.
No one was more central to this effort than the South African statesman Jan Smuts. After his defeat in the Boer War, Smuts made peace with London and soon became a major figure in the British Commonwealth.
James Anthony Froude and Jan Smuts on the one hand and Marcus Garvey on the other are employed to illustrate how beliefs about race in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century shaped the views of political leaders and activists at opposite ends of the race debate: in Garvey and Smuts' case, the belief that the races must be separate.
Field Marshall Jan Smuts officially opened the hospital on the 23rd September 1942.
When he saw the statue of South African leader General Jan Smuts, on Parliament Square, he joked that perhaps someday there would be a statue of "us in its stead".
As a boy he met Ghandi, who stayed with his family, and also on one occasion he met Jan Smuts after climbing Table Mountain and camping there for the night.
The name change is the third for the Johannesburg airport, which was originally named after Jan Smuts, the country's prime minister during World War II, before becoming Johannesburg International Airport in 1994.
Now we have the one time Jan Smuts which changed its name to Johannesburg International in 1994, making sense, and is now wanting to be called Oliver Tambo, which has upset the South African opposition parties.
The scene on July 23, 1948, at Beaumaris Pier when Countess Howe, wife of the deputy chairman of the RNLI named the town's new lifeboat Fieldmarshal and Mrs Jan Smuts. The boat, which had already made several rescue trips, was received on behalf of the county by the Lord Lieutenant of Anglesey, Sir Richard Williams-Bulkeley.