What was the impact of Japan’s victory over the British Imperial Army in Hong Kong and Singapore in 1942 on indigenous people yearning for freedom in European colonies in Asia and Africa?
Posted on March 16th, 2018

Derek Gould, studied at The University of Hong Kong Courtesy quora.com

Japan’s victories in the Pacific War demolished the myth of white superiority even more so than its victory over the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, because Russia was then in decline while Britain in 1941 was still an world imperial power.

Related to the Japanese victory was Britain’s undertaking to grant independence to India if they would support Britain in the fight against Japan and the other Axis powers.

One consequence of the war was a decline in the number of Britons available or prepared to work in the overseas colonies, coupled with the realisation that post-war Britain could no longer afford to run an empire.

Once British colonial officials started being replaced by locals, the latter acquired skills to run the colonies by themselves and moves towards independence accelerated.

The Netherlands never had the opportunity to resume full colonial administration over the Dutch East Indies because the Indonesia National Revolution immediately followed the end of the war.

USA relinquished sovereignty over The Philippines in 1946.

French colonies in Indo-China nominally gained independence as Japanese puppet states during the war, contemporaneously with Ho Chi Minh’s anti-colonial liberation movement. Vietnam declared independence when Japan was defeated, but real independence for Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam did not come until French colonial forces had been defeated by the Viet Minh in 1954.

Being neutral, Portuguese colonies were unaffected by the war and did not gain independence until Portugal withdrew from empire in 1975 and finally returned Macau to China in 1999.

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