Pre-Crisis Phase (January 1, 1964-April 15, 1964): British South Rhodesia had joined British North Rhodesia (Zambia) and British Nyasaland (Malawi) to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland on August 1, 1953. The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved on January 1, 1964. Ian Smith succeeded Winston Field as prime minister of British South Rhodesia and leader of the Rhodesian Front (RF) on April 13, 1964.
Crisis Phase (April 16, 1964-December 31, 1971): Prime Minister Smith banished African nationalist leader Joshua Nkomo on April 16, 1964, and suppressed African political organizations on August 26, 1964. Prime Minister Smith requested independence for South Rhodesia during meetings in London on September 7-10, 1964. Prime Minister Harold Wilson of Britain warned against a unilateral declaration of independence by South Rhodesia on October 27, 1964. White residents of British South Rhodesia voted overwhelmingly for independence from Britain in a referendum on November 5, 1964. Parliamentary elections were held on May 7, 1965, and the RF won a majority of the votes. Prime Minister Smith demanded independence from Britain during meetings in London on October 4-8, 1965, but the British government refused the demand for independence. Prime Minister Smith unilaterally declared South Rhodesia’s independence from Britain on November 11, 1965. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly condemned the government of Rhodesia on November 11, 1965. The US condemned the government of Rhodesia, and imposed diplomatic sanctions (non-recognition) against the government of Rhodesia on November 11, 1965. Canada refused to recognize the independence of Rhodesia on November 11, 1965. India and Ceylon imposed diplomatic sanctions (non-recognition) against the government of Rhodesia on November 12, 1965. West Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Israel, Japan, and Turkey imposed diplomatic sanctions (non-recognition) against the government of Rhodesia. The UN Security Council condemned the government of Rhodesia on November 12 and November 19, 1965. Australia imposed diplomatic sanctions (non-recognition) against the government of Rhodesia on November 16, 1965. The UN Security Council imposed voluntary military sanctions (arms embargo) and economic sanctions (oil embargo) against the government of Rhodesia on November 19, 1965. The Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) headed by Joshua Nkomo and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) headed by Robert Mugabe were established in opposition to the government of Prime Minister Smith. The US imposed economic sanctions against the government of Rhodesia on March 18, 1966. Rhodesian government troops attacked ZANU rebels on April 28, 1966. On December 1-3, 1966, Prime Minister Wilson of Britain and Prime Minister Ian Smith met on a warship off Gibraltar to discuss the dispute, but failed to come to an agreement. The UN Security Council imposed mandatory military sanctions and economic sanctions against the Rhodesian government on December 16, 1966. South Africa deployed 2,000 paramilitary police in support of the Rhodesian government beginning in 1967. Prime Minister Wilson and Prime Minister Smith met again on a warship off Gibraltar from October 9 to October 13, 1968, but again failed to come to an agreement. A new constitution was approved in a referendum on June 20, 1969, and the constitution went into effect on September 11, 1969. Prime Minister Smith proclaimed the Rhodesian Republic on March 1, 1970, and Clifford Dupont was chosen as interim president. The Soviet Union condemned the Rhodesian government on March 7, 1970. Parliamentary elections were held on April 10, 1970, and the RF won 50 out of 66 seats in the parliament. Clifford Dupont was elected as president by the parliament on April 14, 1970.
Conflict Phase (January 1, 1972-December 5, 1979): Niall MacDermot, secretary-general of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), conducted a fact-finding mission in Rhodesia on October 17-23, 1975. The ICJ isued a report on December 17, 1975. John Wrathall was inaugurated as president on January 14, 1976. Rhodesian government troops attacked ZANU rebel bases near Nyazouia, Mozambique on August 8, 1976, resulting in the deaths of some 675 individuals. ZANU and ZAPU rebel military units merged to form the Patriotic Front (PF) on October 9, 1976. The Organization of Front Line States (OFLS) decided to provide military assistance to PF rebels on January 9, 1977. Rhodesian troops and PF rebels clashed near Chiredzi in southeast Rhodesia on May 9, 1977, resulting in the deaths of 35 civilians and one rebel. The US and the UN secretary-general condemned the government of Rhodesia on June 1, 1977. The UN Security Council condemned the government of Rhodesia on June 30, 1977. Rhodesian government troops attacked refugees in Mozambique on November 24-28, 1977, resulting in the deaths of some 1,000 refugees and 200 Mozambicans. The Soviet Union provided military assistance to ZAPU. Prime Minister Smith and Bishop Abel Muzorewa of the United African National Council (UANC) signed an agreement providing for African majority rule on March 3, 1978. A three-member Executive Council consisting of Prime Minister Smith, Bishop Muzorewa, Chief Jeremiah Chirau, and Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole was established on March 21, 1978. The government lifted the ban on the ZAPU and ZANU on May 2, 1978. Three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) personnel were killed by PF rebels on May 18, 1978. Rhodesian government troops and PF rebels clashed near Dombashawa on June 10, 1978, resulting in the deaths of 22 civilians. OAU foreign ministers expressed support for PF rebels on July 18, 1978, and OAU heads-of-state expressed support for PF rebels on July 22, 1978. The WCC provided humanitarian assistance to the PF on August 10, 1978. President John Wrathall died on August 31, 1978, and Lt. Colonel Henry Everard became acting-president on September 1, 1978. The government imposed martial law in parts of the country beginning on September 10, 1978. Government troops attacked several PF rebel bases in Zambia on October 20-21, 1978, resulting in the deaths of 1,500 PF rebels and 37 Zambian soldiers. President Wrathall resigned on November 1, 1978, and Jack Pithey became acting-president on November 2, 1978. Sweden decided to provide additional humanitarian assistance to ZANU and ZAPU on November 10, 1978. A new constitution was approved by the National Assembly on January 20, 1979, and the constitution was approved in a referendum on January 30, 1979. Parliamentary elections were held on April 10-20, 1979, and the United African National Council (UANC) won 51 out of 100 seats in the parliament. The PF boycotted the parliamentary elections. The UN Security Council condemned the Rhodesian elections on April 30, 1979. The Rhodesian parliament elected Josiah Gumede as president on May 28, 1979, and Bishop Abel Muzorewa of the UANC formed a government as prime minister on May 29, 1979. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) had announced its refusal to recognize the government of Prime Minister Muzorewa on May 26, 1979. Rhodesian government troops attacked PF rebel bases in Mozambique on September 6-8, 1979, resulting in the deaths of 300 PF rebels and 15 Rhodesian soldiers. Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) heads of state expressed support for PF rebels on September 8, 1979. Lord Carrington of Britain, representing the Commonwealth of Nations (CON), mediated negotiations between representatives of the Rhodesian government and PF in London beginning on September 10, 1979. Rhodesia government troops attacked PF rebel bases in Zambia on November 3-4, 1979, resulting in the deaths of some 60 PF rebels and 22 government soldiers. The UN Security Council condemned the government of Rhodesia on November 23, 1979. Rhodesian military aircraft bombed a PF rebel base near Lusaka, Zambia on November 25, 1979. Rhodesian government and PF representatives signed a ceasefire agreement in London on December 5, 1979. Some 30,000 individuals, including 1,000 Rhodesian troops and 8,000 ZANU rebels, were killed during the conflict. Some 1 million Rhodesians were internally-displaced, and 100,000 Rhodesians fled as refugees to Botswana, Mozambique, and Zambia during the conflict.
Post-Conflict Phase (December 6, 1979-April 18, 1980): On December 12, 1979, the CON established the Commonwealth Monitoring Force (CMF), which consisted of 1,250 British troops, 150 Australian troops, 24 Fijian troops, 50 Kenyan troops and 74 New Zealand troops commanded by Major General John Acland of Britain, to monitor the ceasefire agreement and demobilization of combatants. Lord Soames of Britain was appointed as colonial governor in Rhodesia on December 7, 1979. The US lifted economic sanctions against Rhodesia on December 16, 1979, and the UN Security Council lifted economic sanctions and military sanctions against Rhodesia on December 21, 1979. South African personnel were withdrawn from Rhodesia on January 30, 1980. Parliamentary elections were held on February 14-29, 1980, and ZANU won a majority of the seats in the House of Assembly. The CON sent 63 observers from Australia, Bangladesh, Barbados, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka headed by Rajeshwar Dayal of India to monitor parliamentary elections beginning on January 25, 1980. The CON mission issued a report on March 2, 1980. Australia, Denmark, Ireland, and West Germany sent personnel to monitor the parliamentary elections (the Irish mission issue a report on March 2, 1980). The government lifted martial law on March 20, 1980. The CMF was withdrawn from the country on March 16, 1980. Zimbabwe formally achieved its independence from Britain, and Robert Mugabe formed a government as prime minister on April 18, 1980.
[Sources: Africa Contemporary Record (ACR), 1978-1979, 1979-1980; Africa Diary, November 28-December 4, 1964, November 6-12, 1965, January 3-9, 1966, January 24-30, 1966, April 18-24, 1966, May 9-15, 1966, May 23-29, 1966, July 11-17, 1966, October 10-16, 1966, November 14-20, 1966, December 29, 1966-January 4, 1967, November 19-25, 1967, December 10-16, 1967, January 14-20, 1968, June 23-29, 1968, December 8-14, 1968, March 26-April 1, 1970, April 16-22, 1970, June 25-July 1, 1977, May 7-13, 1978, October 22-28, 1978, July 2-8, 1979; Africa Research Bulletin (ARB), January 1-31, 1980, March 1980; Banks and Muller, 1998, 1041-1047; Beigbeder, 1994, 242; Bercovitch and Jackson, 1997, 132-133; Cefkin, 1968, 649-669; Cervenka, 1969, 170-191; Clodfelter, 1992, 1021-1023; Donelan and Grieve, 1973, 194-202; Facts on File, August 25, 1978; Keesing's Record of World Events, November 27-December 4, 1965, December 18-25, 1965, January 15-22, 1966, November 11-17, 1974, February 27, 1976, April 28, 1978, September 1, 1978, February 9, 1979, April 27, 1979; Langer, 1972, 1083-1085, 1274-1275; Tillema, 1991, 123-124; Weisburd, 1997, 89-92.]