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, ww2australia.gov.au ) .
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
( australiaushistory.com.Australia-US 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” (HistoryLearningSite.co.uk. 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.
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: //john.curtin.edu.au/audio/
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.
Baynes, L 2003The Will to Populate, BBC: WW2 People ‘s War, accessed 4 June 2014,
& lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/87/a1320887.shtml & 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
‘Fall of Singapore Opens Battle for Australia- Curtin’ 1942,Northern Star, 17 February,
accessed 4 June 2014, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/98955947? 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: //
trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/25912679/1860332? 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.
‘PACIFIC WAR DRAWING NEARER AUSTRALIA’ 1942,The Mercury, 17 February,
accessed 4 June 2014, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/1860332?
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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: //trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2584234? 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.
All in- Yankees down under, n.d. Australia ‘s War 1939-1945, accessed 6 June 2014, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //
www.ww2australia.gov.au/allin/yanksdownunder.html & 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: //
australiaushistory.com/ & 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
Chua, J 2005First bomb foray on Singapore, Singapore Infopedia, accessed 6 June 2014,
& lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_7_2005-01-25.html & 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: //
www.awm.gov.au/education/talks/1942-fall-of-singapore/ & 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, Historynet.com, accessed 4 June 2014, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //
www.historynet.com/battle-of-singapore & 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: //
news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/february/15/newsid_3529000/3529447.stm & 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 ” . HistoryLearningSite.co.uk. 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