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Dogs Of War

1922: Dog taxes rarely provoke armed clashes; tax evaders seldom have bombs dropped on them.

In 1917, South-West Africa introduced a tax on dogs in rural areas; in 1921, the tax was increased fourfold. The native population, which used dogs for hunting, deeply resented the new levy.

Around the same time, the authorities demanded that the Bondelswarts people surrender a number of wrongdoers. The Bondelswarts refused to pay the dog tax and refused to hand over the wanted men.

Gysbert Hofmeyr, the territory’s administrator, dispatched a force of 400 mounted riflemen, with machine guns and mountain guns, and called in aircraft to bomb the rebels.

The Bondelswarts numbered 500 or 600, with only a minority of them armed. Hofmeyr’s bullets and bombs killed their leader and about 100 others.

The rebellion fizzled out.

Source: Neta C. Crawford, Argument and Change in World Politics: Ethics, Decolonization, and Humanitarian Intervention (2002), p. 276

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