The thesis is based on a multi disciplinary study involving both particulars regarding military history and certain psychological theories. In order to be able to discuss the psychological experiences of Boers during the guerrilla phase of the Anglo-Boer War, the first chapters of the thesis strive to provide the required background. Firstly an overview of the initial conventional phase of the war is furnished, followed by a discussion of certain psychological issues relevant to stress and methods of coping with stress. Subsequently, guerrilla warfare as a global concern is examined. A number of important events during the transitional stage, in other words, the period between conventional warfare and total guerrilla warfare, are considered followed by the regional details concerning the Boers’ plans for guerrilla warfare. These details include the ecological features, the socio-economic issues of that time and military information about the regions illustrating the dissimilarity and variety involved. In the chapters that follow the focus is concentrated on the psychological impact of the guerrilla war on the Boers. The wide range of stressors (factors inducing stress) are arranged according to certain topics: stress caused by military situations; stress caused by the loss of infrastructure in the republics; stress caused by environmental factors; stress arising from daily hardships; stress caused by anguish and finally stressors prompted by an individuals disposition. Then the psychological theories regarding an individual’s resistance resources (or general resistance resources ─ GRRs) and the means of using these resources to cope with stress are applied to the actual circumstances that the Boers were faced with. This discourse is arranged according to material resources, motivational issues and intrapersonal resources. Subsequently the complete guerrilla warfare phase is considered, the accent being placed on the psychological effect that the Boers’ strategies, as well as the British counter strategies, had on the republican forces. The phase is subdivided into four stages according to the course of the war, while still furnishing an overall account of the guerrilla phase ─ ranging from the initial successes on Boer side, the gradual decline in Boer initiatives to the final months, when the few successful encounters that the Boers launched, came too late to change matters. In the final chapter the impact of the guerrilla warfare on a selected group of Boers is examined in the form of case studies. The group includes President M.T. Steyn, whose health failed him in the end and Generals C.R. de Wet and J.C. Smuts, where their positive conduct is considered from a psychological perspective. The result of the continuous pressure on the young Commandant G.J. Scheepers is examined and the stress related experiences of Chief Field Cornet H.S. van der Walt, Burghers P.J. du Toit and R.W. Schikkerling are analysed.
Thesis (DPhil(History))--University of Pretoria, 2005.