Sandakan Death March

Topics: Battle of Singapore, World War II, Sandakan Death Marches Pages: 9 (3122 words) Published: September 19, 2013
ESSAY Word Count
1,943 words

The fall of Singapore occurred on the 15th of February 1942, when the Japanese army captured 85,000 Allied troops, including 15,000 Australians, which became a significant moment in Australian history, as well as being used to support the characteristics of the ANZAC legend. The fall of Singapore not only impacted the troops in Singapore at the time, but also impacted Australia and Britain in World War II by possibly endangering Australia’s safety. Many of the Allied troops that were captured during the fall of Singapore became prisoners of war, and endured harsh conditions, which have been used to support the characteristics of the ANZAC legend. There were three death marches between January and June 1945, when the surviving prisoners were sent from Sandakan towards Ranau. The ill treatment of these remaining prisoners has also been used to support the characteristics of the ANZAC legend. The fall of Singapore is a significant moment in Australian history, and the courage, resourcefulness, selflessness and ‘mateship’ shown by Australian prisoners of war supports characteristics of the ANZAC legend.

1 King, J 2011, Great Battles in Australian History, 2nd edn, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia. 2 Hope, DA 2011 Fall of Singapore service 15th Feb 2011, Singapore 1942, accessed 4 June 2013, <http://singaporeevacuation1942.blogspot.com.au/>.

1 King, J 2011, Great Battles in Australian History, 2nd edn, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia. 2 Hope, DA 2011 Fall of Singapore service 15th Feb 2011, Singapore 1942, accessed 4 June 2013, <http://singaporeevacuation1942.blogspot.com.au/>.

The fall of Singapore is the biggest military defeat in British and Australian history. 80,000 Allied troops surrendered to the Japanese army on the 15th of February 19421 when Japan attacked Singapore. When the Japanese defeated the British Empire and took 80,000 Allied troops prisoner1, it was a bigger shock to the West than the first Asian defeat of a European power in the Russo-Japanese war when Japanese defeated Russia in 1905. The construction of the naval base in Singapore in the 1920’s ensured that Singapore was a symbol of British power in South-East Asia. The British Empire was a superpower from 1091 to 1497, and included many countries, including India and Australia, that were willing to fight for the Empire, making the defeat of Britain in Singapore a significant moment in history. 50,000 out of the approximate 80,000 surrendered Allied troops became prisoners of war in the Malayan campaign1. The amount of soldiers that became prisoners of war as a result of the fall of Singapore supported many characteristics of the ANZAC legend, for example the famous characteristic of courage, which was portrayed through the number of prisoners of war that risked their life in camps standing up for what they believed in. According to incomplete statistics, over 50,000 people in Singapore were slaughtered when the Japanese attacked on the 15th of February 19422. The amount of people who died as a result of the fall of Singapore created a chance for the Japanese army to prove their power. The western world did not believe that the Japanese were as strong as they were at this time, which resulted in the fall of Singapore. The fall of Singapore was a significant moment in Australian history, as it changed the way that Australia saw the British Empire, and forced Australia to change their thoughts on their alliances.

The fall of Singapore was a significant moment in Australian history, as Australia was left undefended from an attack from Japan. Singapore was a major base for Royal Navy’s Far Eastern Fleet, and after Singapore was attacked, it left Australia vulnerable to an attack from the Japanese. The Japanese included many attacks throughout the fall of Singapore, including the Alexandra Hospital Massacre, where 200 wounded patients and staff were...
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