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Saturday, 26 November 2011


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The only reason we lost Singapore is that Churchill, the old humanitarian, would not allow us to use PowerPoint against the Japanese.

Please go easy on your audience.

Take no prisoners! that's my motto!


Perhaps a question you should ask is what did the Japanese need to accomplish to win?

Possible reading.
Guardians of Empire: The U.S. Army and the Pacific, 1902-1940
Brian McAllister Linn

A history of the US Army up to WWII in the Pacific. The balanced discussions of the strategic problems would be very helpful.
Hank’s Eclectic Meanderings

It's a notable feature of the American attitude to empire that they object violently to empires assembled by ship - e.g. British, French, Spanish - but not by horse - e.g. Russian. Why might that be?

The Americans, DM, took exception to any and every empire - except their own! And they weren't averse to using ships to grab a few Pacific islands including the Philippines. Unfortunately, just like Whitehall, they then failed to produce the money to build the ships to protect their gains which left the Philippines hanging like a nice, ripe, juicy fruit ready for Japanese plucking! Likewise, Singapore, of course. Which all goes to prove that we and the Yanks have much in common, not least our 'stoopidity'!

One of the favourite books of my youth - The Naked Island by Russell Braddon - informed a young Umbongo that (part of) the reason for the Fall of Singapore (apart from execrable generalship) was that the massive guns constructed to defend Singapore all pointed South to the sea rather than North from where the Japanese appeared. Worse, apparently Singapore's fresh water supplies had to be imported from the mainland.

In response to DM: weren't the sea-based empires all represented in the Western hemisphere while the Russian Empire was expelled from there by the purchase of Alaska. Actually, the American dislike of the British Empire was a bit one-eyed since the Monroe Doctrine could only have been applied with the tacit support of Britain and the Royal Navy.

Quite right, Bongers, the 'Brass' thought it inconceivable that anyone could manouvre an army through the Malayan jungle and rubber tree plantations, so they ignored the land approach from the north and concentrated on spending £60m (a huge amount in those pre-war days) on making Singapore impregnable from the sea. As Calvocoressi & Wint put it in their superb one-volume history, Total War, it was the British equivalent of the French Maginot line!

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