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World War II Re-explored

Some New Millenium Studies in the History of the Global Conflict

Edited By Jarosław Suchoples, Stephanie James and Barbara Törnquist-Plewa

This volume is a collection of thirty papers written by authors from around the world. The writers focus on topics related to their own research interests. As a result, readers obtain a worldwide perspective on World War II from academics working on nearly every continent, proving that World War II was, probably, the first ever truly global experience for humanity. Present are many and different perspectives on the war. Eighty years after the end of World War II, these academics share their knowledge and reflections about a gruesome, but still not very remote time. In the new millennium, their studies should remind readers that the ‘end of history’ has been an impossible illusion and warn that peace and stability in international relations are not a given.

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The Japanese Invasion of Malaya in World War II

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Anti-Japanese Resistance and the Malay Nationalist Movement

Abstract: The war launched by Japan in the Pacific, began with the attack on Malaya on 8 December 1941. By mid- February 1942, following the British defeat at the hands of the Japanese, two movements emerged and developed in Malaya adopting two opposing strategies. On the one hand, the anti-Japanese resistance movement under the leadership of the Communist Party of Malaya and the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA), took the route of forging a ‘united front’ with the British to fight against the Japanese, while, on the other, the Malay nationalist movement under Kesatuan Melayu Muda (Union of Malay Youth), under Ibrahim Yaacob and others, worked with the Japanese to fight the British for independence. These different strategies and approaches towards the war affected inter-ethnic relations, especially in the immediate post-war years. The paper shows that Japan’s swift triumph over the British at the beginning of World War II had a special significance, not only in breaking the myth of the invincibility of the British Empire, but very importantly, in fostering the idea that Asians could challenge Western powers and gain independence. This paper offers reflections on the question of the impact of the war on anti-colonial movements in particular, in what way it accelerated the movement for independence. As there were different strategies employed in the war, the paper also addresses the difficult question of who were the wartime ‘patriots’ and ‘collaborators.’

Keywords: Impact of Japanese...

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