Tested Loyalties: Police and Politics in South Africa, 1939-1963

Keith Shear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
480 Downloads (Pure)


Well into their rule, at a time when South Africa was increasingly perceived as a police state, the Nationalists, the party of apartheid, depended for the implementation of their policies on structures and personnel inherited from previous governments. Even in the South African Police, the institution most associated with the country's authoritarian reputation, key developments of the early apartheid decades originated in and cannot properly be understood without reference to the preceding period. A legacy of conflict between pro- and anti-war white policemen after 1939 was particularly significant. Concentrating on the careers and views of illustrative officers, notably members of the Special Branch, rather than on ‘the police’ in abstraction, this article analyses the complexities and continuities in the South African state's handling of domestic dissent in the years before and after the apartheid election of 1948.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-193
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of African History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'Tested Loyalties: Police and Politics in South Africa, 1939-1963'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this