Did Singapore Have to Fall?: Churchill and the Impregnable by Kevin Blackburn, Karl Hack

By Kevin Blackburn, Karl Hack

This e-book offers a worldly precis of latest wisdom at the Fall of Singapore, together with the severe tensions among Churchill and native commanders.

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Extra resources for Did Singapore Have to Fall?: Churchill and the Impregnable Fortress

Sample text

Under cover of the war, Japan issued Twenty-One demands to China. The Chinese were told they must cede German rights in the Shantung Peninsula to Japan, recognise a special Japanese position in South Manchuria, and accept Japanese political, financial and military advisers. Though Japan reduced these demands before China accepted them in May, it was clear Japan wanted to drastically increase its influence in China. This meant it might not remain a natural ally of Britain, which favoured keeping China as a sovereign and independent country, open for all to invest and trade in, and with no further concessions to foreign powers beyond existing treaty ports and areas.

Even if it had not wanted the local population to concentrate on producing export-earning commodities, the very passion and overseas orientation of Malaya’s Chinese made Britain doubly wary of tapping their support. Did not the communists oppose imperialism, and the Kuomintang the communists? Was the hatred for Japan which these two Chinese parties shared compatible with the British need to appease in the east, while Hitler looked dangerous in the west? From July to October 1940 Britain went so far, under Japanese pressure, as to temporarily close the Burma Road, across which supplies ran from India to China.

Contribution to Imperial defence. In total the base was to cost £63 million, the contributions being a good symbol of Singapore’s position as an imperial base and communications centre. Singapore in 1941 21 As it took shape, the base was to supplement one of the world’s most impressive military routes. After Gibraltar, Malta, Suez and Aden, Singapore (some 7,000 miles from Britain via Suez) formed the next link on a line stretching over 10,000 miles from Southampton to Shanghai, on the River Yangtze.

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