At the end of the Boer War in 1899, people had to blame the general failure of the Boer War on a scapegoat. In my opinion, that scapegoat was imperialism; the policy of extending the rule of authority of an empire to foreign countries. People could blame the empire because there were few that could argue differently and human atrocities in South Africa like the burning of farms and the introduction of concentration camps, could only build up a case against Imperialism.In Britain there was fierce support for both sides, the Khaki Election in1900 proved that a number of people agreed with the Conservative view on continuing the war. Both sources 4 and 5 use linguistic devices to signpost an inferred negative opinion of imperialism.
In source 4 the words used include “dragged” “disenchanted” and “discredited” which we can infer directly links in with the title, that this source is trying to place a negative slant on Imperialism. Source 5 also uses negative language when talking about aristocrats “manipulating” public opinion.You can infer that this reference is about the aristocrats leaning on the national newspapers to sensationalise positive stories about the war. A particular example of this is Robert Baden Powell, who was the “medias darling” and was very popular because he played tricks on the Boer soldiers and was very successful. Furthermore source 4 uses short sentences to place emphasis on what the author of this source is explaining. “It had cost ? 200 million and over 22,000 British lives. ” We can infer from the use of this linguistic device that the author believes that this is a huge number of lives and cost for a needless war.
While source 6 disagrees directly with source 4 “ I do not think the sacrifices in connection with the war were too great. ” The use of long a short sentences in source 6 indicates use of opinions, this is confirmed because the source is speech that is meant to changed people perceptions. This source emphasises that Imperialism was not discredited because of the outcome of the war. However the reason behind Sir John French saying this is “masked” because of the nature of the source, it is a speech at the time from a senior officer who served in South Africa.Even though he was a witness in South Africa he couldn’t have gauged the public’s view back in Britain. We can use this view as an indicator of a serving officer in the Boer War but like the Khaki Election of 1900 this cannot account for the opinion of the whole population because at this time women couldn’t vote until 1918 and many lower class men didn’t vote as well so the viewpoint is from the upper classes only. Both source 5 and 6 are directly influenced by their writers.
In source 5 Nicolas Owen writes “In his 1902 work, Imperialism: a New Study, J. A Hobson argued..
. ” He is uses the ideas of a well known communist writer at the time to suggest his ideas. This decreases the reliability of the source because a communist would be directly against the Empire and its rulers so this is not an effective indicator of the overall feeling towards public opinion. Also reliability can be questioned further because Nicolas Owen is a third party as he is not only using the words of someone else but also he was not there at the time. However In Source 6,it is a fist hand source spoken at the time.Source 6 is a speech, so the purpose is to be heard, therefore opinions and statements given are manipulated to have a greater influence and effect on the people who are listening. As speeches are not spontanous they are words drafted several times to get the correct meaning across. This source believes that feeling of imperialism was heightened instead of discredited because he believes that not many men were lost “I do not think that the sacrifices to do with the war were too great” suggesting that the casualty rate was expected and was neither bad nor good.
He also uses repetition of “Empire” to create a positive emphasis about the war and the Empire, this emphasis is subliminal and not direct so that Sir John French wants to convey a positive message about the Empire. In conclusion, I don’t agree that that the Second Boer War resulted in Imperialism being discredited because of the Khaki Election which clearly showed the publics view of the war. Although at the time the majority of who voted would have been upper class, the fact that David Lloyd George was a Liberal politician gave an anti-war speech in Birmingham in December 1901 and a riot occurred.The consequence of this was Lloyd George had to get out as tensions were running high. This is a classic example of the lower classes voicing there opinion in support of the war. Also in the aftermath of the war Britain were able to have the economic benefit that they desired and used South Africa as an important port and profited from its diamonds.
This brought long term prosperity after the short term grief of the dead count and the overall embarrassment of losing some key battles like Spion Kop which saw the most men killed in the shortest area in any battle ever fought.