National Party


The National Party (Afrikaans: Nasionale Party) (with its members sometimes known as Nationalists or Nats) was the governing party of South Africa from 4 June 1948 until 9 May 1994, and was disbanded in 2005. Its policies included apartheid, the establishment of a republic, and the promotion of Afrikaner culture.

The National Party was founded in Bloemfontein in 1914 by Afrikaner nationalists soon after the establishment of the Union of South Africa. It first came to power in 1924, with J. B. M. Hertzog as Prime Minister. In 1930, the Hertzog government worked to undermine the vote of Coloureds (South Africans of mixed White and non-White ancestry) by granting the right to vote to white women, thus doubling their political power. In 1934, Hertzog agreed to merge his National Party with the rival South African Party of Jan Smuts to form the United Party. A hardline faction of Afrikaner nationalists, led by D. F. Malan, refused to accept the merger and maintained a rump National Party called the Gesuiwerde Nasionale Party (Purified National Party). Opposition to South African participation in World War II was used by the Purified National Party to stir up anti-British imperialist feelings amongst Afrikaners. This led to a reunification of the Purified Nationalists with the National Party faction that had joined the United Party fusion in 1934; together, they formed the Herenigde Nasionale Party (Reunited National Party), which went on to defeat Smuts' United Party in 1948.