The South African Labour Movement's Responses to Declarations of Martial Law, 1913-1922

  • Wessel Visser Department of History, University of Stellenbosch.
Keywords: First World War, industrial unrest and violence, South African Labour Movement, industrial work force, level of violence, labour's attitude and responses, imposing martial law


The first two decades of South Africa's history is characterised as a period of serious endemic industrial unrest and violence, when the labour movement and capital were involved in regular conflict over labour issues and for control of the country's industrial work force. The level of violence in these conflicts was such that the government as a third party was repeatedly forced to intervene in the disputes and restore law and order by imposing martial law. This paper explores labour's attitude and responses to, as well as the consequences for labour, of the government's declarations of martial law during these disputes and in the First World War.
How to Cite
Visser, W. (2012). The South African Labour Movement’s Responses to Declarations of Martial Law, 1913-1922. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 31(2).