Singapore Subdued

Britain’s loss of Singapore in February 1942 was a terrible blow. But Japan failed to make the most of its prize, says Malcolm Murfett.

Under the rising sun: Singapore, or Shounantou, during the Japanese occupationWinston Churchill described the fall of Singapore in February 1942 as the worst defeat suffered by British military forces since Yorktown in 1781. While some might see this as a typical piece of Churchillian hyperbole, it is manifestly clear that he meant what he said.

At the time of the British capitulation and immediately thereafter it seemed that Singapore would prove to be a strategically vital naval and mercantile base for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and one that could be used profitably by them against the Allies. Did it turn out like that in practice? If not, why not?

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