The Underrated Enemy: Britain's War with Japan, December 1941-May 1942

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9780718306632: The Underrated Enemy: Britain's War with Japan, December 1941-May 1942
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During the five months from early December 1941 until early May 1942 the British suffered a series of defeats unequalled in their modern history. Unequalled partly because they occurred over a huge area and were suffered alike by all three of the armed services and partly because disaster followed disaster with scarcely a single ray of light to brighten the gloom. As Adrian Stewart comments, 'The onslaught was the more stunning because the British had long been convinced that Japan was not a foe to be feared.' In this admirable survey, the author traces what happened in those five months, giving not only the British but also the Japanese side of events, thus demonstrating how it was that, often with inferior numbers, the underrated enemy swept all before them. Covering the air force, military and naval actions, he shows how disasters such as the loss of 'Prince of Wales' and 'Repulse', the fall of Singapore, the Malayan Campaign, the fall of Rangoon and finally the retreat from Burma led to a loss of face and influence in erstwhile British colonies that was never to be rewon, even when two years later the British determinedly fought their way back to Burma. Unlike many previous writers, Adrian Stewart argues that the principal blame lay not with the British serviceman, nor his commanders, nor the disadvantages faced by the British fighting in the Far East. The main cause was the skill and determination of the Japanese forces - factors which had been underestimated before the war. Such complacency towards potential threats provides a lesson for the present - and a warning for the future.

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Stewart, Adrian
Published by William Kimber (1987)
ISBN 10: 0718306635 ISBN 13: 9780718306632
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