Monday, 20 February 2017

The Fall of Singapore and of the White Race

On the 15th February 2017 it was 75 years since Singapore was surrendered to the Japanese. In 1942 most of the world was run by White men, at that time there were less than 10 countries that were not. Today White men are losing control of even their own countries, let alone running other peoples. The fall of Singapore was the start of that decline.

Winston Churchill said the fall of Singapore was a British and Imperial defeat, it was also the end of all of the European colonial empires. The fall of Singapore is one of the most important battles in world history. That may at first seem like quite a claim to make but I don't think so.

By December 1941, the month Japan entered the war, Britain and her Empire was fighting a large war in Europe, Africa and in the Middle East. It's forces had been pushed out of Europe twice, first at Dunkirk in 1940 and then from Greece in 1941. Britain and Malta had both been bombed and the sea routes to both were under attack. But for most of the Empire the effects of the war were not felt, because the fighting was happening far way. The same was true of the French Empire for the most part and the Belgian and the Dutch. The war was nearly entirely, but not exclusively, a European war. But Japan's entry into the war  was to change that.

But the truth was that Japan and it's military were not taken seriously by most Western Governments. I have in my collection a military pamphlet published by the Australian army in 1941 about the Japanese army, my copy has the stamp of the Director of Naval Intelligence in it. This pamphlet is a very serious and accurate description of the Japanese army, how it trained, was organised, equipped, commanded. But even with all of that information available, before Japan attacked, we still underestimated the ability of the Japanese. Why? The answer is simple, Japan was regarded as a second rate power because it was an Asian power, or to be more correct because it wasn't a White power.

In the centuries that it took to create the European Empires and their successor states, like the United States and the other states of the Americas, defeat by a non European army was extremely rare. It is truly remarkable how small armies or fleets of Whites would outfight, out perform and out think non-Europeans. Now many people will say of course they did they had better weapons and technology, but even when they were equipped like the Europeans they still lost. That of course does not mean that Europeans always won, there are many instances of Europeans being defeated. But what is remarkable is not that they were defeated but how small the forces defeated were.

Japan had however defeated a major European power all by itself, it had defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. But this was regarded as a once off, it was dismissed because Russia was a backwards country, in the opinion of others hardly a European country at all and besides Russia was operating thousands of miles from it's supply base. Some of those complaints were real, Russia was backwards compared to other Western countries and it was operating very far from it's supply base. But the professionalism of the Japanese was quickly forgotten.

The general opinion before WWII was that of course Whites ruled the world, they were superior. Why they were superior was a matter of debate, even then, but not that they were superior. Was it because of their Race? There Greek and Roman heritage? Their Christianity? Their education system? Their science? Their technology? Their political organisation? Their manufacturing? Their financial system? In the end most people simply treated them as interchangeable, the fact was that they were in charge and nothing was going to change or challenge that.

But the fall of Singapore did change all of that. Because no one, apart from the Japanese, thought it was even possible. Britain, even in 1941 was a massive power. How could such an important colony as Malaya, the source of 70% of the worlds rubber, be lost? And in theory Malaya and Singapore should not have been lost. Singapore was a major naval base, but the ships that should have been there were instead in the Mediterranean or in the Atlantic. The planes that should have defended the skies were the left over machines that were obsolete and not wanted anywhere else. The soldiers that should have defeated the Japanese were under trained and were used poorly. Non of that was true of the Japanese forces, what made the fall of Singapore even worse what that the Japanese were outnumbered 4 to 1!

Twice British has lost an Empire, it lost it's first at Yorktown in 1781 and it lost it's second at Singapore in 1941. After Singapore, after the defeat, the humiliating defeat, it was hard to believe anymore that Whites were superior. Singapore lead directly to the end of the European colonial Empires in Asia. It destroyed the unspoken agreement that said the colonial subjects would be loyal and in return they would be protected. They were not protected, surprising they were not bitter about that fact, but they had lost the trust that was required if things were to return to how they had been.

Singapore did not mean that the Empires ended overnight, but after Singapore it was hard to maintain the idea that Whites were superior. Whites were fallible just like everyone else, they could be defeated, they were not invincible. The fact that the colonial Empires were effectively bankrupt after WII and that the Soviets and the Americans were opposed to Empires did not help. But it was Singapore, the victory of an Asian power over a White one that changed everything. After Singapore there was no going back, the world had changed.

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2 comments:

  1. An entire division of Australians sent to fight in Malaya even when the British KNEW the battle was lost. Many of those Aussies losing their lives on the Burma Railroad.

    Strange too about Singapore that Percival the commander had been just a few years earlier the Chief of Staff for the garrison. If anyone knew the perils faced by the troops of Empire it should have been him.

    The Japanese had four years of fighting experience prior to the invasion of Malaya but the British had also been in the fray for a full two year and should not have been beaten as easily as they were.

    And of course slightly more than a decade later you had Dien Bien Phu and the end for the French.

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    1. The British did not know that the battle was lost. In fact the last division sent to Malaya was the 18th British division.

      Mark Moncrieff

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