Sunday, May 31, 2009



Japans's Blitzkrieg

Tha Fall of Malaya and Singapore
(the full photos in page 60-61)

World War II was a 'total war'. Although it began in september 1939 as an essentially regional conflict between Germany and the Anglo-French allies over the future of Poland, it rapidly developed into an idealogical contest, with each side- Axis and Allies- intent upon the complete destruction of its rival. It culminated in the use of atomic bombs against Japan in August 1945, by which time over 50 million people had died and the shape of the world politics had been radically altered.

1. Japanese troops offload supplies during the invasion of Thailand/Malaya, 8 December, 1941. Elements of the invasion fleet may be seen on the horizon.

2. British troops under Japanese guard in Singapore, 15 February, 1942. Over 130,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers were taken prisoner during the Malayan campaign: all were to suffer appaling hardship during the 4 1/2 years of their captivity and many were to die of exhaustion, overwork and neglect.

3. Japanese Type 95 light tanks advence down a Malayan road, Devemver 1941. Armed with 37mm main gun, the Type 95 was mobile but poorly armoured and given the type of terrain usually encountered, saw limited action.

4. The Japanese ability to move swiftly through difficult country wes one of the keys to their victory in Malaya. It was created in part by the use of bicycles: here a group of Japanese cyclists surmont the obstacle of a muddy stream.

5. Symbol of British defeat: Japanese soldiers march past the General Post Office in Singapore, 15 February 1942.

6. The destruction of Force Z, 10 decemver, 1941: sailors scramble over the side of the stricken Prince of Wales, destroyed by Japanese aircraft. She was the first capital ship in history to be sunk by air power alone.

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