Date of Award

12-10-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Ian C Fletcher

Second Advisor

Ghulam A Nadri

Abstract

ABSTRACT

This thesis analyzes and compares depictions of Singapore and British Malaya from the turn of the twentieth century to 1942, the year the colonial city and naval base fell to Japanese forces. While many studies have looked forward to decolonization after the fall of Singapore, this study looks back to the crucial decades before the Second World War. The primary sources for the study are selected articles and books by American and British journalists, travel writers, and world-affairs observers. These sources show a gradual shift in focus from Singapore as a thriving commercial hub and culturally diverse colonial city to a strategic naval base. The British, the Australians, the Dutch, and the Americans seemed to pin their hopes on the base as a counter to the rise of Japan. As the situation worsened before the end of 1941, the sources indicate the beginnings of a transition from British to American hegemony in Asia Pacific.

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