Study of the Psychological Impacts of the Malyan Emergency

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1546 words

1546 words
To what extent did the psychological tactics of the British help to end the Malayan Emergency, from the period of 1948-1958?

To what extent did the psychological tactics of the British help to end the Malayan Emergency, from the period of 1948-1958?

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Plan of the investigation
The Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), was a period of guerrilla warfare between Commonwealth forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA). The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of the psychological tactic deployed by the British, in helping prevent the communist insurrection in Malaya. Through this investigation, I hope to validate the hypothesis that the “hearts and minds” tactic was indeed a major factor in the failure of the communist insurrection, by utilizing historical evidence and articles from books and other sources. Summary of Evidence

The Malayan Emergency was considered to have been caused by poor economic conditions, when Malaya was left in ruins after the Japanese Occupation. The poor conditions resulted in strikes, nationalism started to stir in Malaya, and the seeds of rebellion were sown.

The Malayan Government eventually called for a discussion of terms with the MCP, in 1955, which fell through. The Emergency was only declared to be over in 31 July 1960, when Chin Peng fled from south Thailand to Beijing.

Several factors contributed to the failure of the communist insurrection. Psychological tactics involved relocating the people to better areas and trying to satisfy them. The British had a strong military, allowing them to station guards around the villages, keeping people in and communists out. The economic boom in Malaya allowed for an improvement in the economy, more jobs and higher salaries, due to a need for raw materials, like rubber, from Malaya. People began to lead more comfortable lives, and the communists lost the support of the people.

Evaluation of Sources

Richard Stubbs, Eastern University Press by Marshall Cavendish, “Hearts and Minds in Guerrilla Warfare: The Malayan Emergency (1948-1960)”, Oxford University Press 1989. This book is written by Richard Stubbs, a Canadian historian. This book is about the various factors which caused the failure of the Emergency and focuses on the psychological tactics used by the British. The source is valuable as it provides an objective view of the Malayan Emergency and reveals the attitudes of the western world toward the Emergency. The limitation of this source is that it only states that the strategies used “provided the people with a new life more attractive than the old”, and does not show that all the people were happy with relocation, or go into detail regarding the needs and thoughts of the people.

Brian Stewart, C.M.G, M.C.S., “Smashing Terrorism in the Malayan Emergency: The Vital Contributions of the Police”, Pelanduk Publications (M) Sdn Bhd This book is written by Brian Stewart, a British historian, and contains anecdotes of soldiers who participated in combat. It provides a personal look into the soldiers’ experience during the Emergency. The purpose of this source is to give a more personal account of the events which occurred, and show the peoples’ feelings toward the Emergency. This source is valuable as provides insight into the thoughts of the people toward the government and events that occurred. This aids my investigation by providing information and first-hand accounts of significant events. The limitation to the source is that it is “a book of reminiscences and anecdotes by people during the Emergency”, however, some recounts were provided by family members instead of the soldiers themselves, placing the credibility of the account in question, as the family members may not have participated in the events of...
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