On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, the pacific war started. A war that changed the world forever. The Japanese conquest of most of South-East Asia heralded the downfall of the mighty British, Dutch and French colonial empires in the Far-East. And it took nearly four years of hard fighting and two atom bombs to drive them back.
The oil-rich Dutch and British posessions in the “Malayan Barrier”, as some historians have called this area, were the real Japanese objective. A very large area that could only be effectively protected by a large fleet. And thus, as the US fleet was the largest in the Pacific, Pearl Harbor and the American fleet became the prime targets on this fateful day.
But the Japanese plan of attack asked for much more, such as an amphibious attack on the coast of Malaya and a bombing of the “impregnable fortress” Singapore
Here’s what I wrote in “A Rude Awakening”
The first Japanese bombs dropped on Singapore hit Raffles Place exactly at 04.20 the morning after the major’s declaration. There had been no warning, just a feeble air-raid alarm that nobody took seriously. Its wail was soon drowned out by thundering explosions, the dry rattle of falling masonry and the shattering crash of bursting and splintering window glass. The Japanese bombers then continued to their next target, helped by the city lights that remained switched on during the air raid, as no one in the power station could find the keys to turn them off.
On this day, we honour those who gave their lives on that fateful day.
Their sacrifice has ensured that we, of a later generation, could live in a world free of oppression.
May we never forget them!
Seven other authors and I have paid homage to the unsung heroes of December 7, 1941 in our anthology: