Second World War Defining Moments, 1939–1945
Investigation 4: Australia and the world
4.3 1942 Prisoners of the Emperor: The fall of Singapore
One catastrophic event during the Second World War that affected Australia’s international relationships was the fall of Singapore.
1. Why do you think Australia traditionally relied on Britain for external defence?
2. Which nation was seen as Australia’s greatest threat? Why?
3. Why did Britain see this country as a threat?
4. How was the British naval base at Singapore supposed to provide Australia with security?
5. What support and what opposition did this base have in Australia?
6. What commitment did Australia make to Singapore in 1941?
7. How was the defence of Singapore inadequate?
8. How did the Japanese take Singapore?
9. What were the consequences for Australian and other Allied troops?
10. What were the consequences for Australia’s future defence policy?
11. Now complete this sentence:
12. Here is a cartoon about the consequences of the fall of Singapore by Australian cartoonist Norman Lindsay. Look at it closely and complete the table below.
|a) Who is in the cartoon?|
|b) What are the figures doing/saying?|
|c) How are they drawn (e.g. sympathetically, critically)?|
|d) What is the attitude or tone of the cartoon?|
|e) What is the message or meaning of this cartoon?|
|f) Does it accurately reflect the historical reality of the time?|
|g) Do you think it would have been an effective cartoon at the time?|
|h) Is it is a useful primary source to help you understand the period? Why?|
|i) What does it tell you about Australians’ knowledge of the fate of prisoners of war who were held by Japan after Singapore?|