Britain, Southeast Asia and the Onset of the Pacific War by Nicholas Tarling

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By Nicholas Tarling

This publication describes British coverage in Southeast Asia within the early years of worldwide struggle II. With its army energy directed opposed to Germany, Britain drew on diplomatic assets to take care of its energy within the quarter and to restrict the japanese probability. The booklet specializes in Britain's kinfolk with the United States, Dutch India, the Philippines, French Indo-China and Thailand. Nicholas Tarling's large research of British documents, and documentary fabric at the international rules of different states makes this a tremendous reinterpretation of the origins of the Pacific conflict.

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107 Beyond a visit to Netherlands India by the Air Adviser to the Government of Burma,108 no more had been done when the European war broke out in September. The Philippines The US had recruited itself to the ranks of the colonial powers in East Asia by acquiring the Philippines through purchase and conquest. To that extent it had become a supporter of the status quo rather than a challenger. But how firm a supporter was it? The islands had been acquired amid criticism at home. During World War I, the Jones Act promised independence when a stable government was established.

The Dutch would destroy the Borneo oil wells if there was a danger they would fall to Japan. ' The solution to this paradox was NETHERLANDS INDIA 27 that they rely upon having allies in any war with Japan, and particularly upon ourselves. This does not say however that they have the slightest wish to have such a contingency mentioned, indeed they would be insulted at the suggestion. As in Europe they take up the attitude that they are a neutral country and will not discuss their defence with anyone.

We are ... G. '. 'We have to play for time, and to avoid clashes', Sir Robert Vansittart, the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, concluded. '22 This qualified optimism diminished in the succeeding months. The Abyssinian crisis was followed by the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, and no new naval treaty replaced the Washington treaty the Japanese had abrogated. But there was some hope of a rapprochement with Japan in May 1937. The Foreign Office produced a memorandum on British policy in the Far East.

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