Viewpoints on the Veldt: The Attitudes and Opinions of New Zealand Soldiers during the South African War, 1899-1902
Nicholson, B. (2012). Viewpoints on the Veldt: The Attitudes and Opinions of New Zealand Soldiers during the South African War, 1899-1902 (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/6510
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/6510
The purpose of this study was to take a critical look at the attitudes and beliefs of New Zealander who served in the South African War, 1899-1902, through a close and critical reading of letters, diaries and reminiscences written by over 60 soldiers during and after the conflict. This was intended to correct social myths and historical distortions revolving around the soldiers and their experiences in South Africa, and to reveal the diversity of attitudes expressed by historical actors rather than continuing to see attitudes in generalised and popular terms. The thesis is structured thematically, with the first chapter analysing attitudes to writing, followed by two chapters concerning attitudes to people - the Others encountered while at war and themselves and their own identity - while chapter four investigates attitudes about the war itself, their motivations, and the duties required of them. The results revealed that the attitudes of the New Zealanders cannot be generalised to the degree attempted by many scholarly works and that, in most cases, dissenting opinions are displayed regarding the topics analysed. The implication of this thesis is that research into the historical past is made richer by taking a microhistorical approach, and by acknowledging contradictory and competing beliefs and individual thoughts, rather than propagating unproblematised social myths.
University of Waikato
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- Masters Degree Theses