Botha, Smuts and the Great War. A talk by Antonio Garcia.
14 Apr

Antonio Garcia will talk about the subjects of his 2023 biography, co-authored with Ian van der Waag,  longlisted in January 2024 for the SAHR Templer Medal.    

Tony is a senior manager in the civil-service, who additionally holds non-resident academic positions, including at Durham University. Commissioned as a combat engineer officer in the SANDF, he served as a commander and staff officer, in missions in the Sudan, the DRC, and South Africa and its borders, retiring as a Major. Tony holds a PhD in history, and is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
He has published widely on military history, biography and strategy.

Tony will explore the varied, complex roles played by Generals Louis Botha and Jan Smuts in the First World War. They formed the apex of South Africa’s political and military leadership, and loom large in the landscape of British Imperial and Commonwealth history. 

The presentation will look at their similarities and differences: the emotional intelligence of Botha, the Union's first Prime Minster - and the intellectual prowess of Smuts, his deputy, and the Minister of Defence. Once prominent, they are today divisive figures who represent different things to different people. 

Tony's lecture will put Botha and Smuts in the context of the ongoing historical dialogue. They fought seemingly insurmountable odds, and at times achieved great victories, but made startling errors, and ultimately - they were crushed by the weight of the world they tried to create.     

The Scots Guards Club, 2 Clifton Terrace, Haymarket, Edinburgh, EH12 5DR
14 Apr 2024 14:00