The first of five volumes of the 18-volume official British History of the Second World War dealing with the war against Japan; this book describes the fall of Britain’s Far Eastern territories: Hong Kong, Borneo, Malaya, and finally the fortress island of Singapore – perhaps the greatest single British disaster of the entire war. The authors pin the blame for the loss of Britain’s Asian empire on the neglect of its defences between the wars, and on the Government’s preoccupation with saving Britain itself in 1940. In the authors’ opinion, ‘the campaign in Malaya was lost beofre it begun’, at least partly because of the ineptitude of the authorities on the spot. The book describes Japan’s plans for imperial aggrandisement at the expense of vulnerable British and Dutch colonies in the region, and the rapid collapse of the European empires before the lightning Japanese advance. The loss of the British warships ‘Prince of Wales’ and ‘Repulse’, complementing the disasters onshore, and the disappearance of so many men – British, Australian and other Commonwealth nations – into the horrors of Japanese captivity, complete the sad story of one of Britain’s lowest points in the Second World War. With 27 appendices illustrating the strength and structure of the forces engaged, the book is generously illustrated with 28 maps and sketches and 26 photographs.
Major-General S. Woodburn Kirby, Capt C. T. Addis, Col J. F. Meiklejohn, Col G. T. Wards, Air Vice-Marshal N. L. Desoer
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2004 N&M Press reprint (original pub 1957). SB. xx + 568pp with 28 maps and numerous contemporary photos.