Malayan Emergency (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Political identity of postcolonial Malaya. Result: Elimination of Communist-led military forces in peninsular Malaya.
The Malayan Communist Party directed extensive guerrilla warfare activities against the Japanese during World War II. Its principal strategist was Chen Ping, an ethnic Chinese with ties in the international Communist movement. His forces received arms and training from the British, and at the Japanese surrender in August, 1945, the party controlled 4,000 armed guerrillas, 6,000 organized support personnel, and widespread caches of arms, ammunition, and supplies. After the war, the Communist Party emerged as the principal political organization of the ethnic Chinese population. In late 1945, food shortages, unemployment, and the return of a British colonial administration caused a wave of unrest that was compounded by assassinations and strikes. Britain’s preference for training ethnic Malays to administer postcolonial Malaya exacerbated traditional tensions between the Malay and Chinese populations.
When the formation of the quasi-independent Malayan Union was announced on February 1, 1948, the Communist Party, led by Chen, adopted a policy of using armed force to achieve Communist-led independence. The Malayan Communist guerrillas were organized into battalion-sized units, which in late February, 1948, initiated a series of assaults against Malay and...
(The entire section is 960 words.)
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