United Party

Afrikaans  Verenigde Party 

      one of the leading political parties of the Republic of South Africa from 1934 to 1977, governing from 1934 to 1948.

      The UP was formed in 1934 by a merger of the National Party and the South African Party, led by J.B.M. Hertzog and Jan Smuts (Smuts, Jan), respectively. Hertzog's hope was for a coalition of Afrikaners (who had dominated the National Party) and English-speaking South Africans (of the South African Party). Although the UP remained in power from 1934 to 1948, its success as an English-Afrikaner coalition ended in 1939, when Hertzog and other Afrikaner nationalists left the party because of the UP's decision to support Great Britain against Germany in World War II. The UP then formed a new government under Smuts with the cooperation of the Labour Party and the Dominionites, giving it a more clearly English-speaking, pro-British cast.

      After the war, the “liberalism” of Smuts and the United Party came under fierce attack from the Nationalists, who won the general election of 1948. Smuts resigned, and, when he died two years later, his party went into decline. Over the years the party continued to lose strength through defections of members who formed the Progressive Party in 1959 and the Reform Party in 1975 or who joined the ruling National Party. On June 28, 1977, the United Party was formally disbanded, and its majority faction formed the “centrist” New Republic Party.

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Universalium. 2010.

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