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Soldiers of Misfortune: The Angolan Civil War, the British Mercenary Intervention, and UK policy towards Southern Africa, 1975-6

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-512
Number of pages20
Issue number3
Early online date8 Jan 2014
Accepted/In press8 Jan 2014
E-pub ahead of print8 Jan 2014
PublishedJan 2014


King's Authors


This article examines the controversial involvement of British mercenaries in the early phases of the Angolan civil war (1975–6), and analyses the effect of their intervention on UK domestic politics and foreign affairs. It concludes that the mercenaries involved - who fought with the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) in January 1976 - were recruited largely as a result of private initiative, and that the available evidence suggests that the British government was not officially complicit in their enlistment. This article also shows that the mercenary intervention not only sharpened party-political differences between the Conservative and Labour parties over East–West relations, but also contributed to domestic fears of right-wing paramilitary activity within Britain itself.

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