To what extent did the fall of Singapore in 1942 change Australia’s perspectives and role in the war?

To what extent did the autumn of Singapore in 1942 alteration

Australia’s positions and function in the war?

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The autumn of Singapore occurred on the 15th of February 1942 with the resignation of all British

and Empire forces on the island. This was three old ages after Great Britain and France

declared war on Germany and merely two months after the Nipponese onslaught on Pearl Harbour.

Australia had instantly joined the war attempt in order to assistance Britain and the imperium, but

shortly faced another formidable enemy, well closer to home- the Japanese. The autumn of

Singapore brought the war closer than of all time to Australia, and brought the chance of contending

on Australian dirt ( for the first clip ) progressively near. The autumn of Singapore generated new

sentiments and positions on the war for all Australians. First, with Britain recovering after

her greatest military licking of all clip, Australia had to reconsider its place in the Empire.

The fright of invasion, as mentioned above, resulted in ‘total war’ in Australia, with all

resources available devoted to the war attempt. Finally, in Australia’s despair to hold a

solid contending force against the Japanese, a partnership with America was formed to seek and

keep back the apparently unstoppable force.

The grounds for the autumn of Singapore were many. First, Singapore lacked a well-planned

defence. In seeking to support the full coastline, forces were stretched excessively thin, without

adequate arms or support from planes or ships (1942: Singapore Forced to Surrender,

BBC ) . The Nipponese attacked with velocity, siting on bikes, taking the soldiers by surprise.

When Singapore was first bombed, on the 8th of December 1941, no one heard the warnings

( Chua, J 2005 ) . There were no exigency blackouts, and cipher took shelter. Merely a twenty-four hours

earlier, Pearl Harbour in America had been bombed, which led to America come ining the war

against Japan- but it was already excessively late for Singapore. There was a ceasefire, where

General Percival made the determination to give up due to a deficiency of supplies, doing a

counter-attack futile. All British soldiers were required to set down their arms at 8:30 that

same twenty-four hours ( A Bitter Fate, 2002 ) . British forces surrendered unconditionally merely seven yearss

after being attacked, despite the fact that “everyone from Churchill down to the lowest

private expected Singapore to keep out for at least three months.” ( Johnson, D 2006 ) (1942:

Singapore Forced to Surrender, BBC ) .

The autumn of Singapore came as a immense daze to Australians. But it was non merely Australia that

felt the impact. Singapore was considered the ‘Gibraltar of the East’ ( both Gibraltar and

Singapore were strategically located for maximal handiness ) and of major importance in

international communicating and connexion. It was considered the ‘crossroads’ of the British

imperium. It was a annihilating loss, as the Nipponese no uncertainty had predicted. But it was besides a

affair of pride. Singapore was a symbol of the British Empire’s strength and security. It was

thought to be, “The alien E, the far Eastern gem of the far flung British empire” ( A Bitter

Fate, 2002 ) . Major General Woodburn Kirby wrote on the catastrophe,

“The adult male in the street had been led to believe that Singapore was an inviolable

fortress… This belief had been impolitely shattered” ( Cantwell, T, Pollock, A, McKinlay, D

& A ; Cantwell, J 2003 )

This lurid event would hold caused many Australians to fear for the safety of their

places. Assurance in the Empire and her strength would hold been shattered for many

Aussies, and made the Nipponese seem like a significantly larger menace. Losing

Singapore would hold besides had an impact on the British military, because they were no

longer able to utilize it as a point for communicating and supplies ; every bit good as a connexion to all

other states in the Pacific part.

As to be expected from a military licking of this nature, Australia began re-evaluating her

dealingss with Britain. It was clear from that point that, with the current state of affairs in Europe,

Britain could non support all its settlements, and hence Australia would hold to happen other

agencies of support. Britain’s first precedence would ever be herself. A British author by the name

of James Leasor, who wrote, “Singapore: The Battle That Changed the World” wrote ‘Men

might hold been resigned or even prepared to decease for their places in Glasgow or Manchester

or London. No 1 wanted to decease for Singapore.’ ( Leasor, J 1968 ) . Some would see the

autumn of Singapore as a show of cowardliness by the British Army. Australia felt the impact of the

autumn of Singapore, with ? of all Empire human deaths being people from Australia ( Coulthard-Clark,

C 2002 ) . The construct of a ‘World War’ was now evident, and it seemed as though Britain’s

military power wouldn’t be able to stretch across the Earth. The Japanese were

underestimated as an enemy, a error that would be Britain a batch. The war in Europe was

taking its toll on British forces, and as a consequence of this the Singapore crisis took a back place.

The conflict for Singapore didn’t have the same significance or significance to the British forces,

compared to the combat in Europe. The British weren’t supporting their ain places, nevertheless

the Australians were.

During the conflict for Singapore, the Australian forces in Singapore felt like they themselves

were supporting Australia. The ‘Singapore strategy’ was designed so Australia would help

Britain, and in return Britain would organize a fleet based at Singapore. However, in 1940, with

the autumn of France, Lord Caldecote was forced to acknowledge to Australia that they couldn’t trim

any ships. Singapore was made out to be an inviolable fortress (A Bitter Fate, 2002 ) . A

newspaper study of the clip stated that,

“Australia sent her best work forces and some of her equipment now sorely needed at place

to alleviate British demands elsewhere … the United Kingdom turned deaf ears to every

plea.” ( ‘The Fall of Singapore’ 1942,The Canberra Times)

Reacting to Japan’s apparently at hand onslaught, John Curtin declared ‘total war’ , intending

that all of Australia’s available resources were to be used for the war attempt. He stated that

the ‘Battle for Australia’ was get downing and that, “On the consequence of this conflict mostly depends

the destiny of the English-speaking world” . War arrived on Australian dirt with the bombardment of

Darwin, which occurred merely four yearss after Singapore fell. This onslaught was downplayed by

the media, but Australian military personnels were called back to Australia, despite Britain’s wants, in

order to support their places (When the War Came to Australia2008 ) . Australia had to

prioritize her ain safety over that of the war in Britain, and couldn’t support the war attempt in

Europe while besides supporting Australians.

During World War II, as a consequence of Britain’s preoccupation with war in Europe, it was

necessary for Australia to seek and organize an confederation with America. In December 1941,

Australian Prime Minister John Curtin radius of a new partnership,

“Without any suppressions of any sort, I make it rather clear that Australia looks to

America, free of any stabs as to our traditional links or affinity with the United

Kingdom.” ( Cantwell, T, Pollock, A, McKinlay, D & A ; Cantwell, J 2003 ) .

There was a sense of urgency in procuring America’s co-operation, due to the turning fright and expectancy of a Nipponese invasion. John Curtin negotiations in this following statement of how critical

Australia was in the war and the reverberations if it were to be captured by the Nipponeses:

“The autumn of Singapore opens the conflict for Australia. On its issue non simply depends

the destiny of this Commonwealth…in a big step, the destiny of the British-speaking

world” ( ‘Fall of Singapore Opens Battle for Australia- Curtin’ 1942 )

This statement brought Australia’s safety into the context of the full Commonwealth, and

how the position of Australia could impact that of the full British-speaking universe. During World

War II, Australia received about one million American soldiers. When they foremost arrived, they

were treated with hero position, but wore off and turned into jealousy- Australian work forces received

much lower rewards, among other things. General Douglas Macarthur was of extreme

significance to Australia’s new defence attack, and, polemically, became ‘Supreme

Commander’ of the South-west Pacific ( Australia ‘s War 1939-1945, ) .

Australia’s co-operation with America was important, because in 1951, the ANZUS pact

was created, supplying Australia with a new guardian. This was a immense measure off from

Australia’s traditional partnership with Britain, and the confederation continued even after the war

( Relationss) .

In decision, prior to the autumn of Singapore, it is improbable that the mean Australian proverb

Japan as a major menace to their manner of life in Australia. This underestimate of the enemy is

a big portion of the licking in Singapore. In fact, when the Japanese landed in Malaya, the

governor said ( of the ground forces ) , “Well I suppose you’ll jostle the small work forces off” . It is clear that the

daze after the autumn of Singapore would hold been big. Before the autumn of Singapore,

Winston Churchill, on hearing that two critical British ships had been sunk, wrote in his

memoirs, “I put the telephone down. I was grateful to be entirely. In all the war I ne’er

received a more direct shock” ( 2011) . The autumn of Singapore was a

ruinous event, which may hold had the possible to be Britain its settlement, and caused a

dramatic displacement in the manner Australia perceived the war. Australians realized they could no

longer rely on Britain, had to confront the possibility of being invaded by Japan and the demand for

an confederation with America in order to protect Australia. Therefore the autumn of Singapore greatly

changed Australia’s positions of the war. The impact of the autumn of Singapore is still

relevant now, and evident in international dealingss. Australia had to larn to go selfreliant,

and besides forged a new partnership with America that continues to this twenty-four hours.

Annotated Bibliography:

Primary Beginnings:


Curtin, J ( Prime Minister ) 1942,John Curtin ‘s Speech to America, media release,14

March, ABC Radio Archives, accessed 4 June 2014, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //

00434.html & gt ; .

John Curtin’s address to America provides valuable penetration into Australia’s avidity

to go Alliess with America ; as a consequence of the autumn of Singapore and increasing

demand for Australia to be protected.

Newspaper Reports:

Baynes, L 2003The Will to Populate, BBC: WW2 People ‘s War, accessed 4 June 2014,

& lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; .

This web site features an in-depth history by a adult male called Leslie Baynes, depicting

his experiences of the autumn of Singapore and his attitudes/ the attitudes of those

around him.

‘Fall of Singapore Opens Battle for Australia- Curtin’ 1942,Northern Star, 17 February,

accessed 4 June 2014, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // searchTerm=fall

% 20of % 20singapore & A ; searchLimits=dateFrom=1942-02-15 % 257C % 257C

% 257CdateTo=1942-12-31 & gt ; .

This newspaper study illustrates the urgency of John Curtin’s words to Australia,

and the apparently at hand war that Australia must fix for.

‘Heavy Defeat’ 1942,The Mercury, 17 February, accessed 4 June 2014, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // zoomLevel=3 & gt ; .

This newspaper study describes Churchill’s delectation at America fall ining the war attempt,

the impact of losing Singapore and the fact that the war in Europe was far from over.


accessed 4 June 2014, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //

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% 257CdateTo=1942-12-31 & gt ; .

This newspaper article mentions Churchill and Curtin, and highlights the impending

war in Australia, with the propaganda sketch in the corner ‘Everyone must work or

fight’ underscoring the earnestness of the state of affairs.

‘The Fall of Singapore’ 1942,The Canberra Times, 16 February, accessed 4 June 2014,

& lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // searchTerm= the autumn of

% 20singapore & A ; searchLimits & gt ; .

This newspaper article negotiations about the impact the autumn of Singapore had on Australia’s

relationship with Britain, and the hunt for a new defender other than Britain.

Secondary Beginnings:

Web sites:

All in- Yankees down under, n.d. Australia ‘s War 1939-1945, accessed 6 June 2014, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; .

This beginning is a government-controlled web site by the Department of Veteran’s

Personal businesss. In provides utile context and information about Americans in Australia

during World War II.

Australia-US Relationss, n.d. Australia US History, accessed 6 June 2014, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; .

This secondary beginning web site provides valuable information about how America

and Australia’s dealingss changed during and after World War II, including the

ANZUS pact.

Chua, J 2005First bomb foray on Singapore, Singapore Infopedia, accessed 6 June 2014,

& lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; .

This web site provides a short and concise sum-up about the first bomb foray on

Singapore. This provided information for the context and background of this essay.

Coulthard-Clark, C 2002,Remembering 1942: The autumn of Singapore, media release, 15

February, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, accessed 6 June 2014, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; .

This beginning is a address given by Dr Chris Coulthard-Clark in 2002 to honor the

day of remembrance of the autumn of Singapore, which detailed the events of the autumn and the

impact on Australians.

Johnson, D 2006Battle of Singapore,, accessed 4 June 2014, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; .

This articles gives an highly elaborate history of the autumn of Singapore, supplying

information about the attitudes of both sides of the struggle.

1942: Singapore Forced to Surrender, n.d. BBC, accessed 4 June 2014, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; .

This study illustrates some cardinal figures including day of the months, captives and a timeline of

World War II events.

”The autumn of Singapore ” . 2011. Web

This website includes many primary quotation marks from people related to the autumn of

Singapore, every bit good as supplying good statistics and background information about the

autumn of Singapore.


A Bitter Fate, 2002, Department of Veteran ‘s Affairs, Canberra.

This book references many primary beginnings, and negotiations in item about the

experiences of Australians in World War II.

Cantwell, T, Pollock, A, McKinlay, D & A ; Cantwell, J 2003,Conflict in the Pacific:

1937-1941, McGraw-Hill Education, NSW.

This book gives background information on all struggles that influenced Australia in

World War II, with a survey on the autumn of Singapore included.

Leasor, J 1968,Singapore: The Battle that Changed the World, Hodder & A ; Stoughton, UK.

This book was utile because it examines the autumn of Singapore on a planetary graduated table,

measuring the reverberations and effects of the event.


When the War Came to Australia2008, DVD, ABC, 29 August.

This DVD was peculiarly utile in depicting the experience of American and

Australian dealingss. It provided several in-depth statements by people who

experient first-hand Americans in Australia during World War II.

Mr Cordiner Year 10 History



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