Jan Christian Smuts was one of the key figures behind the creation
of the League of Nations; Woodrow Wilson was inspired by his ideas
on the League and borrowed heavily from them, including the
mandates scheme, whereby South Africa took responsibility for
Namibia. Alarmed at the turn that peacemaking was taking, Smuts
took the lead in urging moderation on reparations and Germany's
frontiers with Poland and pleaded for a magnanimous peace, warning
that the treaty of Versailles would lead to another war. Declaring
I return to South Africa a defeated man', Smuts encouraged Keynes
to write The Economic Consequences of the Peace, and denounced the
occupation of the Ruhr in 1923. He became Prime Minister of South
Africa and a leading Commonwealth statesman. He made important
contributions to the British cause in the Second World War and was
instrumental in the establishment of the United Nations.
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