KEY WEST LOU / GLORY AND DISGRACE
My blog today one of historical significance. I publish it because there is much to be learned from history. History teaches.
The good is always be remembered, the bad forgotten. Forgotten with lessons that should be recalled as a constant reminder of what not to do.
Before delving into the lesson recalling blog planned for today, I am compelled to briefly comment on the recent carnage in Texas. Two events on the same day. One in Allen, the other Brownsville. One by gun, the other by an SUV.
Texans are killers at heart. Remind me of the Old West when it comes to death by gun shot wounds.
Texas has had more shooting deaths in recent years than any other State. Only a handful have done the shooting. The rest of the populace has suffered. And complain!
My problem is most Texans bear responsibility. Their guns the ballot box. They have voted and revoted basically the same Republicans into office. I find it hard to understand.
The solution is new laws limiting guns, not making it easier for people to possess. Ergo the cure is the ballot box. Texans, use it properly the next time around.
I wrote the following blog 8/15/14. It bears repeating.
GLORY AND DISGRACE
The first year of Great Britain’s participation in World War II was marked with glory and disgrace. The glory of the highest type. The disgrace the worst imaginable.
Two battles were involved. The Air Battle for Britain and the Fall of Singapore.
The Air Battle for Britain is recognized as memorable. A high point in British history. Englishmen fighting bravely against overwhelming odds.
The air battle began on July 10, 1940 and ended on October 31, 1940. A mere three and a half months. Germany bombed England relentlessly during that time frame. Hitler was of the opinion he could bomb the Brits into submission. He ordered Britain to be bombed every day.
Initially, the bombing was of airfields, infrastructure, and factories. A month into the bombings, Hitler decided to terrorize the English people. He bombed the cities.
London was especially targeted.
Germany had significantly more planes and experienced pilots than Britain. By the thousands. The Brits were defended by RAF volunteers. Primarily young men dedicated to defeating the German onslaught.
Hitler considered his Luftwaffe superior. Defeat never entered his mind. Defeated he and Germany were, however. By young fighter and bomber pilots . Ill experienced at the start of the battle. Seasoned warriors in less than four months. The young pilots went up to defend their country several times a day every day.
Hitler became so frustrated with his losses that he ordered the raids on England to stop on October 31. He was not going to lose one more plane over England. He ordered the Luftwaffe to Russia.
Churchill labeled the British victory in words that most everyone is familiar with to this day: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
Glory can be fleeting. It was in the case of Great Britain. One year later, Singapore fell to the Japanese.
A loss in and of itself is not significant. It is the way one loses. Great Britain threw in the towel in Singapore basically without firing one bullet.
On February 15, 1942, the British commander surrendered the 130,000 troops under his command to the Japanese. The British commander was unaware at the time that the Japanese only had a few thousand troops on the island and the Japanese were very low on ammunition.
The British commander gave up Singapore without a fight. A battle never occurred. That is why the time in Singapore’s history is referred to as the Fall of Singapore, rather than the Battle for Singapore. It marked the end of the British Empire. It is known in history as the day the Empire died. The day the British empire fell apart.
Why no battle? A number of reasons.
The 130,000 troops under British command consisted of British, Indian and Australian troops. None wanted to fight. The British were living in another world. Even their military prowess. It was Victorian in nature. From another time. The Brits were also overconfident.
They considered themselves superior to the little yellow man. One prominent English civil servant in Singapore wanted to know whether it would take more than a day to throw the little men off the island. The soldiers themselves were overconfident. They were of the opinion the Japanese would never make it to shore. They would die in the water.
Great Britain had poured a ton of money in 1938 into fortifying and upgrading Singapore’s defenses. No one would be able to penetrate or take Singapore. The story is similar to the French Marginal Line. Singapore was also a large naval base.
The Brits expected an attack from the sea. The Japanese did not come in by the sea. They came in through the back door. The Malayan Peninsula. Through the streaming jungles on foot. No heavy motorized equipment. They stole bicycles to move forward when they reached Singapore.
The Japanese were ruthless along the way. They took no prisoners.
There were some approaching Japanese vessels. Two of Britain’s best ships went out to meet and destroy the enemy two days before
Singapore surrendered. The battleship Prince of Wales and cruiser Repulse. Both were sunk.
Britain was still plagued by World War I where it lost a generation of its young men. Britain was reluctant to lose more.
It is assumed this affected the mentality of the British generals, also.
Forty thousand Indian troops were a part of the 130,000 under British command. India had been clashing with Britain for years for independence.
Britain would not bend an inch to give them any type independence.
The Indians refused to fight. In fact after the surrender, 30,000 joined the Japanese forces and fought with them the rest of the war.
Some of them became guards at the POW camp established to keep the British troops.
The Australians were not much better. One third of the Australians deserted before the Japanese even set foot on Singapore.
The Australian commander, Lt. General Gordon Bennett, did not desert. He did leave his men, however. To avoid capture, he hopped a small boat with a couple of other officers and made his way to Australia.
The Australians were upset because the Brits did not treat them as equals. They were white as the British were.
However, the British considered and treated the Australians as lower type whites.
The British were fond of social clubs. Places where British were welcome. One was Raffles. The Australians were not welcome at the British social clubs.
They were forced to socialize at Indian and Chinese clubs.
Churchill and the British cabinet in several wires ordered the British commanders on Singapore to stand and fight to the death. The words went unheeded.
The British commander surrendered with out even firing a shot.
The British Empire was no more.[livemarket market_name="KONK Life LiveMarket" limit=3 category=“” show_signup=0 show_more=0]