Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945by Christopher Bayly, Tim Harper, Tim Harper
Pub. Date: 04/28/2006
In the early stages of the Second World War, the vast crescent of British-ruled territories stretching from India to Singapore appeared as a massive Allied asset. It provided scores of soldiers and great quantities of raw materials and helped present a seemingly impregnable global defense against the Axis. Yet, within a few weeks in 1941-42, a Japanese invasion had… See more details below
In the early stages of the Second World War, the vast crescent of British-ruled territories stretching from India to Singapore appeared as a massive Allied asset. It provided scores of soldiers and great quantities of raw materials and helped present a seemingly impregnable global defense against the Axis. Yet, within a few weeks in 1941-42, a Japanese invasion had destroyed all this, sweeping suddenly and decisively through south and southeast Asia to the Indian frontier, and provoking the extraordinary revolutionary struggles which would mark the beginning of the end of British dominion in the East and the rise of today's Asian world.
More than a military history, this gripping account of groundbreaking battles and guerrilla campaigns creates a panoramic view of British Asia as it was ravaged by warfare, nationalist insurgency, disease, and famine. It breathes life into the armies of soldiers, civilians, laborers, businessmen, comfort women, doctors, and nurses who confronted the daily brutalities of a combat zone which extended from metropolitan cities to remote jungles, from tropical plantations to the Himalayas. Drawing upon a vast range of Indian, Burmese, Chinese, and Malay as well as British, American, and Japanese voices, the authors make vivid one of the central dramas of the twentieth century: the birth of modern south and southeast Asia and the death of British rule.
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Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Some Key Characters
Preface: The Many 'Forgotten Armies'
Prologue, Part I: Escaping Colonialism
Japan's Asian vision and the coming of war
Aung San's Far Eastern odyssey
'Signor Mazzotta' flees to Berlin
Mr Tan Kah Kee visits Mao
Prologue, Part II: Journeys through Empire
The great crescent
A Malayan pastorale
The 'new world' of Singapore
1. 1941: Last of the Indian and Burmese Days
India on the brink
Indian politics as usual?
The world of the hills and the 'tribes'
Dorman-Smith reaches his 'backwater'
Burmese and others
Endgame: the governor and the politicians
2. 1942: A Very British Disaster
The fortress that never was
The arrow leaves the bow
The battle of Malaya
'The modern Pompeiians'
Flotsam and jetsam
3. 1942: Debacle in Burma
The road to Rangoon
From scorched earth to green hell
Burma's false dawn
Death of the innocents
Would India hold?
Total defence in the hills: the Lushai levies
The Nagas, the Kachins and the anthropologists
The monsoon of 1942: an unnoticed turning point
4. 1942: The Abyss and the Way Back
The rape of Malaya
The 'New Malai'
Desperate journeys: Burma in late 1942
The forgotten armies mobilize
5. 1943: Valleys of the Shadow of Death
Another fiasco in Arakan
India in the doldrums
The great starvation
The slow fight back begins
6. 1943: Personal Wars
Ba Maw's apotheosis
The 'Spirit of Asia' and the Malay nation
The second coming of the Indian National Army
Life in the time of tapioca
'Life without salt'
War by proxy
High councils: Tokyo, Cairo and Tehran
7. 1944: The Pivot of the Fighting
Japan's final throw
India on the offensive
Battle commences: Imphal and Kohima
The politics of war
Japan's forgotten army
8. 1944: The Nemesis of Greater East Asia
Heroism and murder in the hills
The crumbling of 'Free Burma'
Roads to the death railway
The peninsular war
New balls at Wimbledon
9. 1945: Freedoms Won and Lost
Ba Maw's last stand
Aung San's revolt
Rangoon falls again
The fading light of the new Asia
10. August 1945: An End and a Beginning
Final journeys down the crescent
Forgotten armies, forgotten wars
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