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Jan Smuts

Jan Christiaan Smuts, (1870 - 1950) was a prominent South African statesman and soldier. He was born in Malmesbury[?] in the Cape Colony and was educated at Christ's College[?], Cambridge.

Smuts was a supporter of Cecil Rhodes until it was revealed that Rhodes had instigated the fateful Jameson Raid by a group of Uitlanders[?] on the Transvaal Republic[?]. He moved from the Cape to practice law in Johannesburg where he became State Attorney. He later became a Minister in the Transvaal government led by Paul Kruger until the outbreak of the Boer War.

During the Boer War he led a Boer Commando[?] in the Cape Colony and showed a great aptitude for guerrilla tactics. After the war ended in 1902 he returned to politics as a member of the government of the Union of South Africa led by Louis Botha[?] until the outbreak of World War I when he rejoined the army. In 1917 he was invited to join the Imperial War Cabinet[?] by David Lloyd George.

Smuts returned to South Africa after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 and served two terms as prime minister (1919-1924) and (1933 - 1939).

During World War II Smuts worked closely with Winston Churchill and attained the rank of Field Marshall. He was the only person who was a signatory to both the peace treaties ending the two world wars. He contributed to the formation of both the League of Nations and the United Nations.

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