Kruger Paul - President of South Africa. Part six.
"If the British want me and offer me to surrender to them as a hostage and send them to St. Helena, I will gladly sacrifice myself for the freedom and independence of the Republic of South Africa."
- Boer War of 1899-1902 According to archival materials and memories of eyewitnesses.Stephanus Johannes Paulus Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger was born approximately October 10, 1825 ...
Oom Paul, known by the respectful nickname “Uncle Paul”, is the President of the Republic of South Africa in 1883-1900.
The last president of the Republic of South Africa, revered by most Africans.
The origin of Kruger can be traced from Germany, his family arrived in South Africa from the town of Uckermark, north of Berlin, where this surname is common. He himself wrote his name through "u" (Kruger), as is customary in the Germans.
The study, conducted by K.Yuis, proves that he was born on Zoutpansddrift farm, near Ventstad. His date of birth is probably wrong ...
Kruger's father, Casper Jan Hendrik Kruger, and his mother, Elsie Francine Stein, joined the Great Track and young Paul experienced all the difficulties of a difficult journey early on.
At the age of 15 he was recognized as a citizen, at the age of 17 he married and settled on his Waterkloof farm near Rustenburg in Transvaal. Once on a hunt at the time of the shot, the rifle tore into pieces and as a result, he was forced to amputate his thumb without anesthetization. After this injury, it was all about cutting off the hand due to infection, but the goat’s fresh stomach method helped ...
Kruger became one of the leaders of the Doppers, the church, whose leading preacher he remained until the end of his life. He participated in several wars with the Aborigines, and in 1854 showed outstanding courage in rescuing Commander Potgeyter from the fortress besieged by the native troops of the leader Macapan ...
His attempt to unite Transvaal with the Orange Free State proved unsuccessful. During the next Civil War, he led a detachment of the Rensburg militia and captured the city of Potchefstroi. After the actual refusal of President Buerger to uphold independence, Kruger became one of the strongholds of national resistance to the British policy of annexing Afrikaner states.
After Stepston raised the British flag in 1877, Kruger joined the protest delegation in London, impressing many with his innate diplomat skills.Failing to negotiate, he concentrated on anti-British propaganda among his fellow citizens in Transvaal and, as deputy president of the Republic of South Africa, led the next dispatch of the delegation to London in 1878. Then he created the organization of resistance of the British administration. And in 1880, when the real uprising began against the British who captured the Transvaal, becoming a member of the Triumvirate, did much to win the first Boer War of 1880-1881, then headed the peace talks on the independence of the Republic of South Africa. As Vice Chairman, Kruger, convened an extraordinary Volksraat session, which confirmed the Pretoria Agreement.
In 1883, Kruger was first elected president of South Africa and became its leader, respected by the entire population.
In 1884, he secured the signing of the London Convention by the United Kingdom.
A huge influx of foreigners after the discovery of the gold deposits of Barberton and Witwaterstrand, put it in front of the problem of settling the coexistence of local residents - the Boers with illegal immigrants. He failed to defend the coast near St. Lucie Bay and continued to reshape the border in Swaziland and in the areaadjacent to Bechuanland. Here the British colonialists faced stiff resistance from the Transvaal authorities. He was forced to restrict the right of his citizens to cross the Limpopo River, so as not to cause friction with Cecil Rhodes, the governor of British Southeast Africa. In 1888, elected president for the second time, he entered into open conflict with him. In order to counterbalance British influence, Kruger distributed the overwhelming majority of posts in the government to the Dutch, and was headed by Secretary of State Dr. V.Y. Leyds. Kruger approved the construction of a railway line to Portuguese East Africa. Produced purchases of modern weapons, including modern rapid-fire rifles, machine guns and guns.
In Europe, Kruger’s policies aroused sympathy and admiration for his diplomatic skills. After all, he constantly had to maneuver between Britain and Germany ....
A funny case described his worldview: "In the evening, around a campfire, talk about literature came and there was a heated argument between the Germans and the English about who was superior: Shakespeare or Goethe?
Oom Paul did not take any part in the conversation, but sat silently and shook the straw.
- Well, what do you think, oom Paul? - addressed to him one of the disputants. - Who is higher: Shakespeare or Goethe?
- Did not read either one or the other! - followed by a frank answer.
- My God! exclaimed the startled German. “Here is a man whom the Boers call great, and he never read Goethe!”
- Never read Shakespeare! cried the Englishman in indignation. “So what are you reading, damn you, then?”
“Only that,” said Ohom Paul, pulling the tattered Bible out of his pocket. - I read it every morning and evening every day for forty years and still did not comprehend all its beauties. When I study the Bible, I’ll probably do Goethe and Shakespeare. "
Kruger was not a crazy old man. No matter how patriarchal his views were, he was very well versed in the complex vicissitudes of world politics. Without this, he would not hold on to the presidents. He could not act according to the principle “there is strength - there is no mind”: his state was not a great power, and the character of its fellow citizens is very obstinate.
And the questions that confronted him became more complicated from year to year. Gold fever.The influx of foreigners. By the mid-nineties, they became almost more than the Boers themselves, at least the adult Boer population. Give ootlanders the right to vote in elections, and they will establish their power! One thing remains - to find all the new excuses, to take time, to maneuver. In the same way, he maneuvered between the great powers, England and Germany, trying all the time to oppose one another. He did not hide this at all and even at the banquet on the occasion of the birthday of Wilhelm II said: "Our small republic is still crawling between the great powers, and we feel that when one of them wants to step on our feet, the other is trying to prevent it." ..
Particularly impressed by the African politician, Bismarck.
In the Transvaal, Kruger was accused, possibly falsely, of deliberately obstructing the development of Rand’s new territories, “nepotism”, corruption and many other violations.
On the other hand, fellow citizens respected Kruger more and more for the consistency of upholding national interests and the tireless struggle with the British.
Efforts to ease the tense situation between the new settlers and the government were frustrated by the “Jemson Raid” at the end of 1895.
The leaders of the British "colonial faction", especially Cecil John Rhodes, Joseph Chamberlain and Lord Milner, insisted that the British settlers should receive privileges, but Kruger refused to realize that otherwise his fellow citizens would become strangers in their own state. English colonists in the country significantly exceeded the number of indigenous people.
Over time, he agreed to compromise trying to postpone the war, but the war has already become inevitable ...
He very mercifully dealt with the “James Hijackers,” whom he only handed over to the British, and with the “Reformers,” whom he subjected to only fines and exile, although he had every right to hang for insurrection. Alas, it was not in his power to cope with the situation ...
Kruger was reelected with a large margin in 1898, but the war broke out as early as October 1899.
“President Pavel Kruger. His personality is so well known that we confine ourselves to brief information. Possessing a deep intelligence and amazing will power, he earned the full confidence of his fellow citizens, and since 1882 he has been constantly electing the presidency. The main engines in his life were always disinterested love for the fatherland and religiosity, forcing him to draw on beliefs from the Bible.Enthusiasm, conviction of speech give him a resemblance to the Old Testament prophet and deliver the remarkable charm of his personality. "
Having more than 74 years of age and poor health, and he was a heavy smoker, Kruger was not able to withstand the military campaign, however several times he visited the troops at the front and remained in the South African capital Pretoria until May 29, 1900, when defeated by the disease, they were evacuated from the territory of the Republic of South Africa on the warship "Gelderland", sent by the Queen of the Netherlands Wilhelmina.
Kruger first went to France, and then to the Netherlands, where he stayed until the end of the war, making all possible efforts to assist the Boer Republic (recruiting volunteers for the war, purchasing weapons, anti-British propaganda, etc.). There he began to dictate his memoirs. There is a version that he left with 30 boxes of gold coins in order to recruit mercenaries and attract supporters. After the British victory, the editor of Pretoria’s News, James Gray, conducted a thorough analysis of President Kruger’s financial expenses for the war and found out that by the time the republic was defeated from Transvaal gold, there were still half a million pounds of unspent money.And before the outbreak of hostilities, the Kruger government’s gold reserves amounted to more than three million pounds.
However, James Gray continued his calculations further: at the very end of the war, about 600 thousand pounds of bullion went to European countries as payment for ammunition and weapons. 350 thousand coins were received by the President of the Orange Republic Stein for his help in the fight against Great Britain and 200 thousand by other countries that provided Transvaal with loans. Gray claims that all the money from the President of the Republic of Transvaal by this time was about 150 thousand pounds - a good amount for those times, but representing only one-tenth of the legendary one and a half million.
Six years after the victory of the British in the papers of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Transvaal Republic of Dr. Leides, his memories of a conversation on the subject with President Kruger himself were discovered. There is such a phrase: “I can confirm that neither before nor after the departure of the president from Pretoria gold was buried anywhere, the president personally spoke with me about this.”
All the gold once the richest country in the world is spent on war,and its relatively modest balances are most likely in private banks in the accounts of the descendants of the president himself and members of his government. But ... many years after the end of the war, one of the criminals was convicted by the Johannesburg court. After the trial, the lawyer of the criminal claimed that he received a deposit for protection ... with gold coins of the Transvaal Republic. Moreover, these coins, according to the lawyer. They looked like they had lain in the ground for a long time ...
Kruger made several trips around Europe in order to persuade the rulers to help and restore the independence of South Africa, annexed in 1902 by Great Britain. His treachery was undermined by the betrayal of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, who in words promised to support, but did not want to spoil relations with Great Britain, fearing for the newly acquired colonies in Africa.
During a trip to Switzerland, Stefanus Johannes Paul Kruger died on July 14, 1904, Clarence, canton of Vaud, Switzerland. Kruger’s ashes were buried at the Old Cemetery in Pretoria (South Africa).
Edmond Rostand, a native of Marseille, still young, but already famous, wrote the poem "Hymn to Krueger":
When you went ashore in my town,
Everyone knew you were defeated - nobody believed.
And I, like everyone else, fluttered - Old man! Warrior!
You were met in my heart as a winner.
The film is in German, with French subtitles.