Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts (24 May 1870 – 11 September 1950) was a South African statesman, military leader, and philosopher.
In addition to holding various cabinet posts, he served as prime minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948.
Although Smuts had originally advocated racial segregation and opposed the enfranchisement of black Africans, his views changed and he backed the Fagan Commission's findings that complete segregation was impossible.
Smuts subsequently lost the 1948 election to hard-line nationalists who institutionalised apartheid.
He continued to work for reconciliation and emphasised the British Commonwealth's positive role until his death in 1950.In the Second Boer War, Smuts led a Boer commando for the Transvaal.
During the First World War, he led the armies of South Africa against Germany, capturing German South-West Africa.
He then commanded the British Army in East Africa.
From 1917 to 1919 he was also one of the members of the British Imperial War Cabinet, and he was instrumental in the founding of what became the Royal Air Force (RAF).
He was appointed as a field marshal in the British Army in 1941.
He was the only person to sign both of the peace treaties ending the First and Second World wars.
A statue of him was erected to commemorate him in London's Parliament Square.