THE ‘ATOMIC’ DESPATCH: FIELD MARSHAL AUCHINLECK, THE FALL OF THE TOBRUK GARRISON AND POST-WAR ANGLO-SOUTH AFRICAN RELATIONS
AbstractIn January 1948, a despatch written by Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleckwas published in London. These detailed military operations involving BritishCommonwealth forces had taken place between November 1941 and August 1942 inthe Western Desert of North Africa. Initially submitted to the War Office (WO) fiveyears before, a complex and often bitter political dispute helped ensure that the pathof this despatch towards publication would prove a tortuous one. The key reasonbehind the delay was the South African government’s complaints about references tothe Tobruk garrison, which, in June 1942, whilst under the command of a SouthAfrican general, had been forced to surrender to German forces. The drafting of thedespatch had begun almost as soon as the final battles had concluded. As a result ofhis reverses at the hands of General Erwin Rommel and the latter’s Afrika Korps, thethen General Auchinleck had been dismissed by the British Prime Minister WinstonChurchill in August 1942, during the so-called ‘Cairo Purge’, to be replaced byGeneral Sir Harold Alexander. Alexander declined the offer of the newly createdPersia and Iraq command and departed for India, where he later becameCommander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, turning his focus to the completion of hisaccount of recent events.
Copyright (c) 2018 Andrew Stewart
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors, copyright holders, may use the publishers version for teaching purposes, in books, theses, dissertations, conferences and conference papers.
A copy of the authors’ publishers version may also be hosted on the following websites:
- Non-commercial personal homepage or blog.
- Institutional webpage.
- Authors Institutional Repository.
The following notice should accompany such a posting on the website: “This is an electronic version of an article published in Scientia Militaria, Volume XXX, number XXX, pages XXX–XXX”, DOI. Authors should also supply a hyperlink to the original paper or indicate where the original paper (http://scientiamilitaria.journals.ac.za) may be found.
Authors publishers version, affiliated with the Stellenbosch University will be automatically deposited in the University’s’ Institutional Repository SUNScholar.
Articles as a whole, may not be re-published with another journal.
The following license applies: