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Did Britain Betray Australia

The ongoing debate whether Britain has betrayed Australia in February 1942 has been going since the fall of Singapore, until today very few would agree that the British betrayal is nothing more than a myth, that was invented by the Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, as he needed a distraction from domestic political issues (A. Meaher 2010).

Additionally until today, according to a new poll, the British are actually proud of the British Empire and its colonial past, after all the atrocities that was carried out by the British empire through history that some has resulted in the loss of life of up to one million people in a sectarian killings1 ;

Yes the British public are generally proud, as such giving consideration to the fact that British had a merciless and brutal colony in some parts of the world and merely cause Britain decided to surrender to Singapore after they have lost two of their capital ships and were stuck in the middle of an island (Singapore), as the Japanese were executing an ttack from the rear down the Malay Peninsula, led by the aggressive and innovative General Yamashita – the “Tiger of Malaya” given most of their guns were big naval that does not turn  around to address a rear attack, they had no option but to surrender and yet some Australianswould consider this as a betray.

Britain cares about Australia ( vice versa) as Australia fought alongside Britain and all its Allies in World War | notably at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire and the Western Front furthermore Australia has a big role in protecting Britain’s Pacific colonies from Imperial Japan as it did fight side by side with Britain and its allies again in World War || the two nations retain significant shared threads of cultural heritage, many of which are common to all English-speaking countries as English is the de facto language of both nations given Both legal systems are based on the common law as the Britons and Australians share a rich heritage of family ties, history, culture, language, sport and business.

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There is no need or reason to assume that Britain has betrayed Australia.

The mistaken belief that Britain has betrayed Australia has been ingrained in the minds of Australians for so long that the relationship between Britain and Australia got to a breaking point where Australia was going to start a war on Britain however what is worth mentioning is how did all this myth start and why it is considered a myth. According to an American scholar at Melbourne University (Augustine Meaher IV,

The Road to Singapore: The Myth of British Betrayal, Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2010) Who initially came to Australia in order to seek an area of study distinct from the American parochialism of US institutions. At that time the former Australian prime minister Paul Keating, needed a distraction from domestic political problems as he succeeded into justifying this idea by turning of the British betrayal to parochial historians.

Meaher then takes you through actual facts that dates back to 1919 when the admiral of fleet John Jellicoe cruised over New Zealand, he was clearly ordered to focus on how he could improve the navy and avoid any kind of discussion of the imperial naval defence.

However, at that particular time the Australian Deputy Prime Minister, William Watt, asked him to formulate an imperial strategy, he willingly agreed as such a British Empire Pacific Fleet based at Singapore and Sydney was proposed. Jellicoe suggested that his Pacific fleet should be 75 percent financed by the United Kingdom, 20 percent Australia and 5 percent New Zealand: 1
Partitioning of India 1947

Australia declined. They required a reserve based in Sydney: Australia declined. At this stage British government still expected Australia and New Zealand to contribute for the capital ships: Australia declined as such Britain was hesitant to build the much-needed naval base in Singapore but ended up building it anyway to which they called for contributions as New Zealand contributed and Australia declined.

Finally, Britain suggested that Australia should provide some troops for defence instead to which Australia also declined. In that perspective Australia and Australians were living on a fantasy that the base which they did not even fund would be able to support a fleet that they also did not even fund, no matter how many times the British government warned them if they manage to build the fleet to which they did not contribute, it might not be big enough to support and keep them safe and that it also could be running late to hold back raids on Australian territory.

Despite all what was being told to the Australian government in the 1937 Imperial Conference they kept on living in a fantasy no matter how many times the Royal Navy stated their opinion on their Naval Base at Singapore. Even if Japan captured Singapore, she could not absolutely rely on preventing operations in the Far East by the British Fleet [operating from Ceylon], despite the great difficulties which would be faced in such circumstances. (John, 1937)

In today’s modern world one would look back at the brutal history of the world in an emotional state with a sad watery eye but not according to the British who according to a new toll are generally proud of their colonial history in spite of the brutal atrocities that was brought by them.

This aforementioned argument would be worth mentioning in a kind of dialog of whether Britain betray the world, not Australia. This brings us to the rhetorical question of how they could have possibly betrayed Australia when they treated it with nothing but respect and they went on severely damaging other cultures and countries, the only come back to this question would be the fall of Singapore and surrender to Japan, it would not be called surrender or a fall if they had other options at that particular state and time. (November-December of 1941) when they have lost two of their capital ships (the battlecruiser Repulse and battleship Prince of .Wales.)

As they were stuck in the middle of Singapore which is an island and their defence was oriented towards the sea, Japan was aware of this fact as such it has executed an attack from the rear down the Malay Peninsula, led by the aggressive and innovative General Yamashita – the “Tiger of Malaya”.

It then became worse as most of their guns were big naval that does not turn around to address the rear attack that was performed on them. not to mention the shortage of water and food that existed on their ships as the Japanese went on taking over Southeast Asia and winning one battle after the other against the commonwealth.

Britain was sceptical about their fortified Naval Base in terms of protection and size but they were not doubtful at all in relation to their war strategy as they have found it impossible for tanks to operate in Malaya and so a few of their troops were equipped with heavy weapons, Japan proved them wrong and brought their light tanks2 and the commonwealth soldiers could not do anything about it but to surrender and yet Australians considered this as a betray.

More than 50 percent of Australians trace ancestry to the British Isles and giving the fact that they intermarry this number is just increasing annually rather than decreasing there are many more ties between Britain and Australia, commonwealth, military, history, culture, language, sport and business. Australia and Britain have a very health and warm 2 Light tanks type 95 Ha – Go ; Type 97 Chi – Ha

relationship that was built on respect and trust and there is no reason whatsoever this  relationship to end because of false acquisitions that was invented by politicians and rumours hat got spread, how could one country be considered to have betrayed the other, all of a sudden, when it has stood by it, side by side, through hardship and progression.

British and Australian soldiers stood side by side in the Third Battle of Ypres that was known that The Battle of Passchendaele that was a campaign of the First World War fought by the Allies against the German Empire. Britain has a big role in getting Australia established since the early colonial period of Australia’s history when the First Fleet of British ships arrived at Botany Bay in January 1788.

Australia today is a well-shaped-up country however through history and precisely in 1950s the United Kingdom was the number one destination for Australians who wished to travel abroad, furthermore from [1870 -1913] about 8 per cent of Britain’s total foreign investment went to Australia, this all could, this number added up and accumulated from the inbound investment has been in favour to Australia to help it become a very affluent nation.

This all could have been ruined because some drama-free politicians felt the urge to establish some, and this did not come to an end by politicians , it got escalated to writers also like David Day who wrote books like (The Great Betrayal, 1932) , (Reluctant Nation: Australia and the Allied Defeat of Japan,1942) and (Menzies & Churchill at war, 1941) these books that were proactive into assuring Australians that Britain did betray Australia as they had a big impact on shaping the minds of Australians into believing falsely and that David Day should be very grateful to politicians like Keating as he saved him from the enormous critical reception he would have received upon getting his book published.(Meaher,2010)

The assumption that Britain has betrayed Australia during the fall of Singapore and Surrender to Japan in February 1942 and the myth, that was invented by the Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, when he needed a distraction from domestic political issues through justifying the idea of betrayal and getting it ingrained into the minds of Australians and turning writers historians, and politicians against Britain , should not be believed for the absence of any adequate legitimate reason, given Australia did refuse to finance the fleet no matter how many times the British government notified them that if they manage to build the fleet to which Australia did not contribute to, it might not be big enough to support and keep them safe.

Additionally Singapore’s fall was inevitable as the British had no option but to surrender, given the rear attack Japan has executed down the Malay Peninsula, having into consideration that their guns were naval and could not be turned around to address a rear attack and that they thought it was ‘ impossible’ for tanks to operate in Malaya as such a few of their troops were equipped with heavy weapons, unfortunately Japan proved them wrong and apparently and used light tanks to get across to them.

Furthermore, Britain has been known for its notorious past colonies it held over the past and given the relationship between Britain and Australia has been in favour to each other as they stood side by side through history and they have a rich heritage that ties them to one another. The fall of Singapore was definitely one of the darkest periods in Australia’s history and Britain’s but hopefully this will take off the shade and reveal the misconception of considering this fall as betrayal.

Reference list:

  • Meaher, Augustine 2010, The Australian road to Singapore: the myth of British betrayal, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, Vic Davies, N. (2010). The Great Myth of Britain’s “Great Betrayal”. Quadrant Online XLIV, no.10 (2010), pp.1-6
  • Stone, J, 2016. British people are proud of colonialism and the British Empire, poll finds. The Independent, 19 January 2016.
  • Stevens, G, 2013. The United Kingdom and Australia: Shared History, Shared Outlook. Reserve bank of Australia, 18 October 2013.
  • Johnson, B, 2017. Boris Johnson: Britain to seek stronger ties with Australia after Brexit. The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 July 2017
  • Coatman, J, 1937. THE IMPERIAL CONFERENCE. Wiley Online Library. Volume 8, Issue 3, p (311-325)

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Did Britain Betray Australia. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/essay2-did-britain-betray-aus-21295-new-essay

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