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Lecture 06 End of Empire

Turning Point or Continuity?

Turning point of Singapores history: National awakening Decolonisation and independence Singapore as a modern Nation-State Speed bump in a continuous 700 year story: Empire declined, Singapore grew Aspiring Nation-State and Global City grew simultaneously Evolution of a Global City-State

Declining Empire: Increasingly strategic Singapore Gathering ingredients for a Malayan nation Examining WW2 and its effects: Dramatic and disruptive for UK and Malay World Dramatic but not disruptive for Singapore, an accidental creation of 1965 that continued a 700-year old story Exceptional Singapore: Major global trends not as decisive as counter-trends, regional politics and local factors

Slow Decline of British Empire

Military: - From 2-power standard to alliances - From superpower to dependent power Bulk of empire lost Economic: - Rise of USA - Rise of Germany - Cost of two world wars

Empire kept acquiring colonies even after WW2 Administrative and political costs of empire Military resources spread too thin 2-power naval standard since early 1800s Russian threat contained by Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902) - Rise of USA and Japan: Britannia no longer ruled the waves - Germany: Exposed overstretched empire - Cold War: UK junior partner to USA vs USSR

Rise of Russia:


Central Asia: The Great Game

http://www.twcenter.n et/forums/showthread .php?t=333041

East Asia

Hong Kong

19th Century Anglo-Russian Rivalry

Russia replaces France as main British rival in the world - Eastern Mediterranean, Central Asia, East Asia British Empire defence strategy: Concentrate ships to destroy enemys main fleet. In the meantime, colonies might come under attack - Russian Far East fleet can hit-and-run Local and imperial defence: Convergent interests, divergent priorities Russian threat ended by Russo-Japanese War (1904-5) - From 2-power standard to Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902)

Fort Canning: Internal Security

Too far inland to defend harbour Fort built after Indian Mutiny of 1857

European refuge - Chinese Secret Society riots Artillery aimed at Chinatown!

Forts and Coastal Artillery: first Serious Local Defence

Rise of USA & Japan

Monroe Doctrine: US to stop Europeans from acquiring any new colonies in North & South America US expansion across the Pacific - Acquired Philippines in 1898-99 Rise of Japan as a British ally contained Russia, antagonized USA: - US brokered Russo-Japanese peace, favouring Russia - War Plan Orange-Red

Effects on Singapore
British (esp. Australia and NZ) fear Japan opportunistic - US Great White Fleet (1907-08) sail across Pacific. - Japan planned to fight US or Russia, not British. US planned defensive Pacific Ocean strategy. - Both helped Britain defeat Germany (WWI) British power waning, Singapores security increased

Rise of Imperial Germany

3 Lightning victorious wars in 7 years (1863-70): Prussia beat Denmark, Austria and France United Germany (1871) strongest and most dynamic power on European Continent Bismarcks Emperors League and Triple Alliance. Britain had no firm major Western ally Kaiser Wilhelm II and Weltpolitik: Fleet to challenge Royal Navy (RN) German colonialism look menacing. New Guinea & Pacific islands, Shantung (China), SW and SE Africa

World War One

Britain withdrew all major forces to Europe - German commerce raiding: The Emden attacked Penang but bypassed Singapore - The Indian Mutiny (Singapore 1915): Only regular army unit in Singapore rampaged through town killing police and white men. Europeans evacuated to ships - British authorities helpless! S.O.S. all allied ships and armed Japanese community. Johor Sultan sent help Europe: France, Japan, Russia, China and US supported Britain. Germany and allies defeated. Britain and allies acquired many German colonies Europe devastated, Britain exhausted, Singapore prospered tremendously from war supply roles

Rise of USA: Monroe Doctrine Overtook British Economy @1900 Industrial Fordism Rise of Germany: Second Industrial Revolution Overtook Britain as top European industrial economy (1880s) British Empire: Visible to Invisible economy Industrial stagnation and decay

Singapores Pre-WW2 Economic Growth

Singapore growing despite British decline: - US motorcar industry and rubber boom: Servicing world, not just empire demands - War supplies for WW1 - Coaling station/depot, communications, financial, retail, opium and beer production, educational hub - Later military, air travel and recreational (e.g. 3 Worlds and Haw Par Villa), oil storage hub Infrastructure: Rail, roads, power plants, Causeway, New Harbour (Keppel Harbour), hotels, SIT flats, Chinese Protectorate (police) brought Secret Societies under control Singapore more developed, safer and richer than ever!

Between the Wars

1921 Washington Naval Conference: US force British and Japanese to limit navies - US Navy equal with RN. 5:5:3 ratio - British worst off: Anglo-Japanese Alliance terminated. One-Ocean Navy with Two-Ocean responsibilities Sembawang Naval Base (1923-), Gibraltar of the East - RN in Sembawang, RAF in Changi, Tengah and Seletar, Army around Pasir Panjang - Military spending = 20-25% of Singapores GDP The Great Depression and rise of Fascism in Italy, Germany and Japan British, French and Dutch increasingly under pressure. USA isolationist, USSRs position unclear

POINTER Malayan Campaign Monograph

Pacific War Dec 1941

German success in Mediterranean: Australian forces and RN trapped in Europe and Africa US sanctions against Japan: - Leave China or else - June 1941: Japan decides on war US Fleet devastated at Pearl Harbour Singapore: Japans priority target in SE Asia Britain sends scraps. Malaya and Singapore falls in 70 days! Singapores fate sealed by global trends. Local weakness direct result of global trends

Lessons of WW2
3 years hell on earth for Singapore Traditional story: Rise of national consciousness- We must defend ourselves! Suspicious minds - Singapore won the war! - Not local effort but overwhelming force on our side. Allies far stronger than Axis - Only a few elite developed national consciousness: Malayan, not Singaporean nationalism

Dramatic, Not Disruptive

Continued growth of a strategic place into a regional and global hub. WW2= speed bump Limited contribution to nationhood: - Pre-war Malayan culture: Language, food, clothing, popular culture - Permanent settlers - Legislative Councils - Post-war educated elite and rise of Malayan nationalism

Post-war Global Trends

Colonial empires dissolving: - Strategic hubs exceptions: Gibraltar, Falklands, HK, Singapore Rise of nationalism: Singaporean Nationalism only after 1965 Rise of communism: - Malaya: Failed but accelerated independence - Singapore: Delayed independence. British reluctant to hand over power

Britains Grand Design

The Malaysia Plan: Britains exit strategy - Leave friends in charge - Pro-British parties in Singapore unpopular. Communistinspired leftists would not allow UK to keep military base - Support for Merger: Overcome UK reluctance to leave Revival of Malay political power in Malaya (1957). Singapores 1 million Chinese a threat UK convinced Malaya - Leftist in Singapore might capture power. Become a Cuba on Malayas doorstep - Borneo territories sweeten deal Singapore joined Malaysia in 1963

Old Pattern in Reverse?

Independent Temasek Under Melaka and Johor Sultanates British Colony Rejoin resurgent Malay World Independent Singapore

Shed Vulnerability of a Strategic Place?

Singapore feared loss of strategicness as British withdraw Plan: Rejoin Malay World and become Malaysias New York - A staple port with an exclusive hinterland - Import-substitution and a common market - Protected by Malaysian resilience and status * An upgraded version of Johor Sultanate model?

Separation 9 Aug 1965

Regional politics and local policies dominated: - Incompatibility of two ruling parties/leaders - Political domination vs economic domination Racial riots Global power could not prevail: Singapore, the accidental nation-state is born! - The last thing anybody wanted - An independent strategic place trapped between two hostile neighbours: Temasek II?

Staring Disaster in the Face

Malaysia and Indonesia (Konfrontasi) hostile - Economic competition expected to replace compatibility - Long-term security problems Early British Military Withdrawal Announced in 1968 - Infant SAF Terminal decline: Palembang, Melaka?

The Classic Singapore Story

You know the outcome, we made it! Rapid industrialization: From Third World to First A formidable Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) From strategic place to home: Nationbuilding End of Empire necessary but not sufficient

The Singapore Story in the Longue Duree

- Not enough resources or market-size to survive. Dependent on middleman roles created by KBEs/WBEs - Too small to prevail against unfavourable balance of power. Diplomacy Needs to be cosmopolitan Global City to survive End of Empire merely a speed bump

Is the End of Empire and the emergence of present-day Singapore another episode in a long 700-year story? Is it a new one independent of it? Which version for transmitting lessons? Which version for building identity?

Looking Ahead
Uses of History: Lessons from the past Building a shared identity Exceptions to the rule: Counter-trends: Only aspiring global-city that is also an aspiring nation-state - Need to find a way to accommodate both

Decline and end of Empire did not lead to decline or end of Singapores role as a regional hub and potential as a Global City - Counter-trend within trend It allowed for but did not create Singapore, the aspiring Nation-State - Malayan vs Singaporean identity - Post-1965 developments A dramatic but not disruptive episode in either storyline