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Playing down Australia and New Zealand’s role in the Great War is shameful

10 January 2014

4:08 PM

10 January 2014

4:08 PM

Back in the 1950s my grandmother wrote her memoirs of childhood in Edwardian London, a story that ends in the summer of 1914, when she was 14. In contrast to the image we’re given of cheering men skipping to war, she recalls her father in tears at the breakfast table, lamenting that the politicians had failed. He foresaw total disaster (optimism runs in the family). She then finds that her brother has joined up, not out of excitement or glory but because he’s ashamed not to be in uniform; he survived, although broken by shellshock, and his elder son was killed in the next war. It’s clear from her recollection that a world is ending, and all the assumptions and beliefs from that childhood now look alien.

One of the many consequences of the 1914-1945 disaster was the total cultural and moral defeat of western conservatism; it brought on the academic attacks on the nation-state, the social and cultural changes of the 1960s, the European dream, multiculturalism, high taxes and statism. The Great War and its even bigger sequel introduced everything conservatives hate about the modern world, which makes it so strange that many Tories justify the wisdom of our intervention.


Such are these changes that a century down the line the conflict is now being presented as part of Britain’s rich invented history of diversity; at the expense of the people we once would have called our kith and kin. Of course millions of soldiers from around the world did fight in both conflicts for the British Empire, which still lives on in the hearts of Britain’s new elite, repackaged as multiculturalism. But in terms of population the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian contribution to the Great War was far larger than that of the Asian or African colonies; the three old dominions lost 1.38%, 1.64% and 0.92% of their populations respectively, compared to 0.02% for India. To play down this fact in the name of community cohesion is shameful.

But then why does it not remotely surprise me? After the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, I began to fear that the commemoration of 1914-1918 would rather resemble one of those BBC idents, with African dancing troupes and people in wheelchairs playing basketball, accompanied by some Benjamin Zephaniah poems. And all of this for Belgium.

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Show comments
  • N Brainsby

    The caption to the photo states that the soldiers on guard are Australian, but the hats look like NZ Army lemon squeezers – if that is correct, surely The Spectator does not intend to add another insult to NZ soldiers!

  • Wessex Man

    I see that as we go down the comments it’s descending into farcial name calling and bitchy comments again. The fact is that millions died from all over the then British Empire fighting in a war that had to be fought. Why not just commemorate their bravery. I do hope that it’s not going to be turned into some sort of gaudy festival by Call me Dave.

    • HFC

      Sadly, Wessex Man, the ‘commemoration’ of WW1 will ensure that we must expect to be bombarded by continuous trite, tedious opinion and posturing for several years henceforward.

  • dbuck12

    “One of the many consequences of the 1914-1945 disaster was the total
    cultural and moral defeat of western conservatism; it brought on the
    academic attacks on the nation-state, the social and cultural changes of
    the 1960s, the European dream, multiculturalism, high taxes and statism.” Boy, that’s a huge burden for a three-decade period to bear. WWI & II “brought on the academic attacks on the nation-state”? Jeez, I did not know that.

    It’s not as if wars and as well revolts and social upheaval, have not been punctuating human history for millennia. Next you’ll tell me that the War of the Roses brought on the Beatles. Dan

  • MProblem

    Multiculturalism means that we aren’t allowed to have any history anymore.

  • andagain

    To play down this fact in the name of community cohesion is shameful.

    You haven’t given any evidence of this fact being “played down” in the first place.

  • David Prentice

    The Aussies and the Kiwis should be forgiven any bitterness. Significant, timely contributions to both world war efforts rewarded by being kicked out of the Common Market and being forced to jump through demeaning hoops at immigration. Meanwhile, as has been mentioned, almost the entire nation of Poland floods in, alongside half of Africa and Pakistan. Shameful, really.


    Australian Division at Alamein had 50% casualties. Monty chose them for the task because he knew what kind of men they were.

  • Jez

    And Rhodesia too!……. .er, oh yes. Best not bring that one up.

    With all respect to all who deserve it; we are now witnessing or being part of the grand plan with all the masks discarded.

    A bit like the lights on amber, having to put your foot down before the inevitable red light halts your journey.

    • terence patrick hewett

      And South Africa.

  • Span Ows

    I am hoping that this article and the DT report are cases of the modern MSM phenomena of ‘making stuff up’ to later shoot down (like the multitude of so called U turns that are no such thing)

  • paulus

    What a shameful use of statistics India had hundreds of times the population of all the dominions combined. Thats not to disparage the anglos as Im aware the canadians carried the day at the final battles of the War.

    Moreover, the question you ask.. why did the conservatives do it, there world would come to an end? the answer is straight forward, they had no choice. They had to advance to the guns or deny who they were. That is conservatism.

    • HookesLaw

      The Canadians and Australians were fine shock troops, an elite really. But the whole British and Empire army carried the day. And it was the British mastery of the concepts of modern warfare that was responsible. British mastery of artillery British mastery of the air British mastery of armoured warfare.

      The First World War had to be fought from the British perspective because Germany with the second biggest fleet in the World and with designs for hegemony over the whole of Europe had invaded Belgium and captured the channel ports. In doing so they committed significant atrocities. It is hard to see how we could not have become involved in a war.

      • paulus

        I dont doubt your analysis its as good as anyone else. I was only highlighting the fact that men walked into their little cottages with a stone hearth, fire ablazing, sitting down on a chair and telling their wives: I must go. How heart breaking that must been. Every woman and child is destitue and every man is dead, what a terrible choice to make.It must never be forgotten the sacrifices they made.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Actually, it is very easy to see how British involvement could and should have been avoided.

  • Graeme S

    There is nothing sadder than tramping through immigration at any of Britain,s large airports. Ozzies, Cannucks and Kiwis queue up with the flotsam whilst the vast amounts of Asian, Africans have British passports. FFS these people will never be British . India pulled its troops out of North Africa in 42 and didn’t fight until the Japs invaded India in 44 could wait to get out of dying for the Raj

    • mariandavid

      Utter idiocy: 80% of the troops fighting Japan from 1941 on were Indian not British and only a single Indian division was moved from North Africa to India and than not until 1943. And although it may offend your susceptibilities the Indian Army made a greater contribution to defeating Germany, Italy and Japan than the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Armies put together.

      • Span Ows

        You beat me to that bit however, be that as it may Graeme’s first two sentences chime with my own opinion. We made a serious mistake when we dumped our colonial brothers for the EU.

      • HookesLaw

        What is both amazing and disgusting is that 5 people can signal approval of such utter rubbish. And of course India was under british rule at the time. The rest of his screed was garbage as well.
        The sad truth which the usual suspects want to howl down is thbat these notions are bedded in simple racism. With every day that goes by such comments become more clear.

        • Span Ows

          Yes the simple racism that is a normal human trait.

          • HookesLaw

            Even if that were true – is it a trait that should be tolerated? Indeed is it a trait that is wise to cultivate and encourage?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        The Indians played almost no effort in defeating Japan, as compared to the Oz. .

        And you don’t know much, if you’re claiming the Indians did more than Canada to defeat Germany and Italy. That wasn’t an Indian army on Juno Beach, lad.

        • mariandavid

          If you want to comment on a site like this check your facts – there were three Indian divisions and one Indian brigade fighting the Germans in Italy when one Canadian division landed in Normandy. In all the Indian Army – like the Canadians volunteers had twelve divisions in action when the Canadians had five. Oh and the Australians – equally good troops – had five divisions fighting the Japanese – less than half that of the Indians.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Sorry, but the fighting was required in 1941-2, and it was the Oz providing that, not the Indians. 1944-5 in Burma was like 1945 in Manchuria for the Sovs… it doesn’t really count, as Japan was already defeated in the significant theaters of consequence. Had the Indians provided the necessary push in a timely way, perhaps a proper effort might have been made through China, but it never was .The push came from elsewhere, and included the Oz. When it was nut-cutting time, they were there .

            You’re speaking of numbers like that’s supposed to mean something. It doesn’t. Not in Italy and not in Normandy. It’s quality and timing that counts, and the Indians didn’t provide much of either. I’m not blaming them, but the facts are those .

            • Makroon

              You are revealing yourself as a total fool, bereft of facts and full of bile for all and sundry – do yourself a favour and STFU !

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …I see the enraged socialists have made their appearance.

              • HookesLaw

                He exposes himself as an ignorant idiot and then retreats into his comfort zone of calling everyone socialists when found out.
                The reality is thatg the issue is used by the usual suspects to denegrate coloured people. As i say eleswhere this is a shameful and unfounded article by Mr West. Another one.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …including the site’s enraged socialist mascot .

                • HookesLaw

                  Given that four mule companies of the Indian Army Service Corps served in NW Europe in 1940 then Indians fought just about everywhere in WW2.
                  I guess their casualties and 31 Victoria Crosses speak for themselves.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …would that include the tens of thousands of Indians who fought for the Japanese? (which may have been to the Allies’ advantage, come to think of it)

                  How about all the Indian mutineers?

                  Does your enraged socialist version of history include all that, or are you including only the politically correct, whitewashed version?

                • HookesLaw

                  No it would not.
                  Thousands did fight for the Japanese (the so called Indian National Army) after the surrender at Singapore as alternative to imprisonment and thousands chose to go in to POW camps. About 75,000 prisoners were taken and on first mustering the INA was 16,000 strong. I think we are all familiar with the Indian nationalist /independence movement, but your attempts to belittle the Indian Army’s involvement in 2 world wars speaks volumes for your hatred of coloured people.

                  Do you want to remind us how for instance the French co-operated with the Nazis in say sending Jews to concentration camps? I think we all know whose side you would have been on.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I see you had to run off and educate yourself a bit, lad. Clearly, you didn’t know your politically correct version of history was so bizarrely incorrect. It’s good that you finally have a proper understanding of affairs now, although it surely won’t stick.

                  And lad, pointing out the facts of history is not “waaaaaycist”, no matter how much you enraged socialists shriek so.

                  And we all know who you enraged socialists want to send to concentration camps today, lad. First Leveson, and then the rest of your bizarre agenda.

                • Bonkim

                  ignore this troll – he is off his rocker; some in the Indian National Army also fought in Germany with the Wehrmacht – and they were fighting Indians on the Allied side. All that was hushed up so as not to demoralise the large numbers in the Indian forces.

                • Bonkim

                  The Free Indian Army led by Subhash Bose who defected to Germany and then Japan was formed by the Japanese POWs. Anyone would rise up given the opportunity to put down Imperialists.

                  That said India provided the largest contingent of manpower of any nation. Also don’t forget Indian Army was a volunteer force, and some of their regiments fierce fighters unlike the conscript Armies from other countries including Britain. Furthermore, Indian contribution to the war-effort in terms of civilian administration and war materials incalculable.

                  It is absurd to bicker about who fought better after a hundred years – all did their best and as part of the Empire all to be honoured. Ignore Viceroy’s Gin – he has drunk too much Gin.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, India did not provide the “largest contingent of manpower of any nation”. They had 2.4M, while China had over twice that, in total, of all stripes. The US had over 5 times that number. The Sovs closer to 10 times more. France had over twice as many (a rough calculation to make, considering the complexities of their involvement). The UK had nearly twice as many.

                  And let’s be clear. The Indian forces were of very poor quality. It was a jobs and welfare program, more than anything. The “all volunteer” business is bogus. Many “volunteered” rather than starve to death, as the Bengalis were made to do.

                  The meager contributions of the Indians were hardly “incalculable’. They were quite calculable, and not of war winning consequence in any way. Not that anybody should blame them. They merely wanted their colonial masters to leave, of any stripe. Why would they want to bother fighting? They just wanted their occupiers to go back where they came from.

                  It is never absurd to argue history, unless you’re a clueless numpty like you, lad.

                • Bonkim

                  No point discussing WW2 and performance of various Armies – I don’t have first hand experience/knowledge and neither have you – neither of us are war-historians; but going by your assertions – an empty vessel rings loud.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Again, there is always a point in discussing history, unless you’re a clueless numpty like you, lad.

                • Bonkim

                  only with someone knowledgeable and reliable.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …and as we determined above, that wouldn’t include a clueless numpty like you, lad.

                • Bonkim

                  Aye Gran-daddy – now go to sleep.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …well, yes, it’s likely just as well that you go to sleep, lad, as it’s a waste of time for you to be discussing history, clueless numpty that you are .

            • HookesLaw

              About half of the 80,000 who surrendered at Singapore were Indian. That hardly fits with your little fantasy story.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …it fits perfectly with my story, you socialist dolt.

                Numbers mean nothing, unless you’re an enraged socialist and need to spew socialist nostrums.

                • HookesLaw

                  Numbers mean nothing? You were only just talking about numbers.
                  Hysteric spewing of ‘socialist’ diatribes against all and sundry who disagree with you speaks volumes as does your regular attempts to belittle coloured people.
                  You are a creep. A red neck creep.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Numbers mean nothing, you socialist dolt, so you can stop spewing them any time now. If you understodd military affairs, which you don’t, you’d know that numbers mean nothing. It’s quality and timing that matter most, which is why Singapore fell to a far inferior (by numbers) force.

                  And you truly are a socialist dolt, as proven by your constant shrieking “waaaaycism” at anybody who points out that you’re a socialist dolt.

                • HookesLaw

                  YOU were talking about the Indian army not being around in 1941-42 when the numbers captured in Malaya show that it was around in significant numbers relative to all the other allied forces. (ie ‘the fighting was required in 1941-2, and it was the Oz providing that, not the Indians.’)

                  That those allied forces lost is a totally different issue and you fool no one by seeking to change the subject.

                  Are all rednecks so stupid?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …yes, a socialist dolt would be prone to consider a meekly surrendering force as of consequence to a war effort. Particularly ironic since that surrendering force produced so many turncoats.

                  Like I say, you’re truly a socialist dolt .

                  And a socialist dolt like you truly dishonors those who were fighting the Japanese in 1941-2… the Oz .

                • Fergus Pickering

                  He is also a foreigner, it appears.

            • mariandavid

              Again – sheer ignorance – who could possibly have written the nonsense you are repeating? I know you hate details but – in 1941 Australia had just two brigades facing the Japanese in Malaya. They performed badly, as did the six Indian brigades there (though no one as bad as the utterly cowardly Australian general in charge). In the following years there were rarely more than two or three Australian divisions in action at any one time in the Pacific, all fighting with exemplary bravery – but compared with ten or so Indian divisions doing the same.
              Oh and the greatest defeat the Japanese Army ever experienced was in Burma in 1944 – by Indians, Africans, British and Chinese in that order (of course the Americans took care of the Japanese Navy with some Australian help) . No push indeed.
              Where this stuff you are spouting comes from I do not know – what I do know is that it bears no resemblance to history – rather to nationalistic mythology.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …and the 2 Oz brigades in Malaya obviously provided as much as whichever amount of numbers of soon-to-turncoat Indians provided in Malaya, eh lad? So much for your Indian buds contributions, then .

                The Oz fought on land, on the water and in the sky, in campaigns in New Guinea and in the Solomons, immediately in 1942, while the Indians did… er… nothing. As mentioned, numbers mean nothing.

                No, lad, I’ll reinforce a previous point. The Japanese themselves would tell you that the greatest defeat the Japanese Army ever experience was in Okinawa. You may want to review that, as clearly you haven’t.

                And you may also want to revisit your notes about the order of battle in Burma, by the way. You will find that that campaign hinged on American airpower, both strategic and tactical, and would not have been possible without it, in addition to the American ground forces that you have somehow excluded from your ramblings.

                I get it that you want to double down on your previous misguided statements, but history is quite clear on all this, lad. I have no beef with any nation or individual, other than those who twist up history to suit their own prejudices .

                • mariandavid

                  You really, really have to stop watching movies for your source in history. In Burma the US had exactly ONE regiment for ONE year of fighting and yes their air was important but so was that of the Aussies the US Navy and whatever.
                  And as for relative importance you really should listen to experts and veterans and not blather.
                  You claim to have no beef with any nation and no prejudice and somehow (perhaps because they are brown) you manage to ignore the largest volunteer fighting force the world has ever seen, one that had more divisions fighting the Germans and more fighting the Japanese at the same time than any “white” nation other than the Americans, British and Russians.
                  “The Indian’s did nothing —— what an incredibly dumb, biased, stupid thing to say.” It is unbelievable that such ignorance appear in the Spectator of all places.
                  Oh and the Japanese never said that about Okinawa – they said it about Imphal, the Philippines and Manchuria 1945. Another Hollywood myth.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Actually, lad, I’d say most of what you’re spewing comes out of movies. It’s historically obtuse, certainly. And it’s insulting to the Oz, Canadians and Kiwis, who actually made a significant and timely contribution to the war effort against Japan and the Axis, but who you’ve insulted by degrading these contributions as less than the Indians’.

                  As mentioned, American airpower was the critical factor in the (late in the war) Burma campaign, and not your Indian buds, who did basically nothing from 1941 until 1944, in terms of defeating the Japanese Empire. Now, if your Indian buds had made it a point to strike into China in 1942, that American airpower might have come available much sooner, and the Japanese Empire might have struck some critical blows far earlier than historical, and from that Burmese theater. But your Indian buds had no such inclinations, and so basically a separate peace was struck, however informal, for nearly 3 years (well, besides Wingate’s efforts, fully utilized by Londonistan propagandists, but of little real military value). The Japanese Burma occupiers themselves got bored to tears and finally went on the offensive, likely being embarrassed that so many other Japanese were fighting and dying elsewhere, while they weren’t. The Indians weren’t so embarrassed, as we know. The were more than glad to sit safe, and eat the 3 squares per day, which put them better off than the Bengalis for sure.

                  I don’t blame the Indians, mind you. They were occupied by a colonial empire, and why would they want to war against another colonial empire? That made little sense, from their perspective. If anything, many of them turned coat, so as to war against their existing colonial masters. You won’t find the Australians, Canadians and NZers turning coat much in this era, lad. They fought the Japanese, instantly and to the last, let’s be clear. That’s who you’re insulting here… those stalwarts.

                  Again, lad, numbers don’t matter. You can blather as many numbers as you’d like, and they don’t matter. Quality and timing are what counts, and the Indians forces provided precious little of either. The Oz, Canadians and NZers provided plenty of both.

                  The Japanese barely knew where Imphal was, lad. It was a minor bit of hair pulling, not remotely comparable to Okinawa, which they knew of quite well. In fact, and at risk of insulting those who were involved there, I’d wager that a plurality of historians view the entire Burma campaign as a near non-contributor to the defeat of Imperial Japan, particularly as it was waged so late in the war, after the once fearsome Japanese spear had been blunted, and they were so far from home, at the end of a nearly non-existent logistical train decimated by constant years of air and sea pressure (not originating from India, in case you weren’t aware, and judging by your posts, you’re not). All of this similar to Manchuria, by the way .

                  Just to let you know, lad, the amphibious assault of Okinawa was probably a larger operation than the invasion of Normandy, and it took place at very long range, meaning local air support wasn’t nearly as user friendly as in Normandy. The campaign was a pure amphibious operation all the way through, not just on Day 1, as air support had to come mostly from the sea. And the follow on battles in Okinawa were every bit as ferocious as in the hedgerows, right up until the end. That battle’s outcome let the Japanese warlords know that they were going to go down, make no mistake. It was the greatest land defeat the Japanese Army ever endured, and the most consequential.

                  The Philippines was a major naval defeat for the Japanese Empire, lad, not a major land defeat, although it was a significant land operation. Land battles are different than naval battles. Please make a note of that. The Indians didn’t participate in those naval or land battles, just to make that clear as well for you.

                  I’ll let you read through the Sov invasion of Manchuria and make of it what you will, lad. It was a racetrack event, not a military campaign. The Japanese Empire was well defeated at that point. The hard land fighting was over before the Sovs got in (same as with the Indians in Burma, come to think of it) .

                • mariandavid

                  Enough – I never criticized the Australian war effort nor, as a Canadian, would I the Canadian one. It is you, lad (whatever that means) who minimized the Indian for some perverted reason of your own. Incidentally I know that ‘numbers’ are abhorrent to your way of thinking, perhaps because they border on fact, but just to retain a perspective the Japanese assigned five and then ten divisions (225,000 front line troops) to Burma (presumably because it was as you say a ‘minor piece of hair pulling’ – in contrast to the attack towards Australia – the Kokoda trail, a mere two reduced regiments (4,000), to Guadacanal one and a half divisions (30,000) etc. And eventually to the entire New Guinea, Solomons area about seven (sources differ).
                  Yes and you are right that the Indians only attacked once from 1943-1944 but there was a good reason. The Indian Army job was to hold India, which they did, while at the same time helping to fight Germany and Italy. The Australians at their peak had three superb divisions fighting from 1941-1942; the Indians six divisions from 1940-1945. And military experts consider one of these – the 4th Indian – to be among, if not the very, best fighting unit in all the Allied Armies – only the 2nd New Zealand and the 1st American being comparable.
                  But I suppose, firm as you are in your embedded belief in the inferiority of the brown soldier, such facts are irrelevant. And that being obviously the case I have no further desire or intent to carry on with this futile discussion. Have a pleasant and informative new year.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No further desire? Sorry, laddie, but you haven’t had ANY desire to discuss anything intelligently.

                  No, lad, it was you who minimized the Oz, Canadians and NZers, “for some perverted reason of your own” as you put it:

                  “And although it may offend your susceptibilities the Indian Army made a greater contribution to defeating Germany, Italy and Japan than the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Armies put together.”

                  Your thoroughly wrongheaded and insulting lie is being answered with facts, and you’re whimpering about it. But you did make a perverse and insulting lie, so stop whining at the response to it. It’s deserved. You lied about and insulted valiant soldiers.

                  Imphal was a minor bit of hair pulling, lad. It was you that wrongheadedly and insultingly compared it to Okinawa, one of the largest and most decisive battles of the war. (By the way, Imphal is a lesson in military and command incompetence, on both sides, but particularly on the Allies’ side. You might want to study on it, and clearly you haven’t.)

                  New Guinea and Guadalcanal occurred in 1941-42, lad, when the Japanese Empire required confronting. That was when it mattered that the Oz stood firm. Your Indian buddies were nowhere to be found, other than in a POW camp preparing to turncoat. It would be only after a 3 year separate peace that they actually stirred themselves to gingerly move against the Japanese Empire, and only then with massive US support, against a weakened enemy, who was only interested in retreat.

                  Hold India was their job, you say? Pretty easy task, when the Japanese didn’t attack until 3 years later, after being bored to tears. I guess those 3 square meals per day were all the Indians were interested in, because defending India was no challenge to anybody.

                  Nobody anywhere would compare the Indians efforts against the Germans and Italians against the Oz, Canadians and Kiwis, lad. And to repeat, that wasn’t an Indian army on Juno beach. Nobody would have dared trust them for the real work. And spare me the “military experts” business about some Indian division or another being “the best”. That’s bogus, and let’s have the link if you can document that bogus statement.

                  Good of you to let the mask slip though, and state that it’s about skin pigmentation with you. I was pretty sure it was, like the above few whiners, but always best that you racists expose yourselves. We who study history, and only history, absent your nutty skin pigmentation agenda, are able to review these matters in an uncluttered way.

                  And those who died fighting the empire of Japan, when it counted, when it helped shorten the war and save others’ lives, should not be insulted by you nutty types and your nutty racial agenda. Cease your slanders, lad. They’re disgusting.

                • mariandavid

                  OK: I grant you got me going despite my fervent wish to stop:
                  Well you got me to make one last, probably useless reply by referencing a quotation.

                  1: I stand by my reference. Note I said ‘Armies’ – the Indians had no navy or air force worth mentioning and the Dominions – Canada in particular raised large and formidable forces. Indeed by the end of the war Canada had the third largest navy in the world and manned (as did Australia) many of the bombers pounding Germany, but:

                  2: Canada had a maximum of five divisions and two armoured brigades in action. However from mid 1940 to mid 1943 there were NO Canadian army units fighting anywhere (remember your crack about the Indians hanging around doing nothing?); the Australians had four regular and several militia divisions, of which one fought the Italians in early 1941, two the Germans in Greece, one the French in Syria and one (the 9th) the Germans almost non-stop from mid 1941-late 1942 (am going into this in detail to make you understand just how useful the Aussies really were). In the Pacific one was lost in 1942 and for the rest of the war two (or the equivalent of two) fought off and on for the rest of the year, finishing with the attack by the 7th and 9th on Borneo in 1945. The New Zealanders were superb – but only one division fought continuously, from 1941-1945 almost non-stop (my opinion is that this, not the 4th Indian, was the best – it had no ‘off-days, the Indians did).

                  In contrast the Indians defeated the Italians in Egypt in 1940 with one division, the same in Eritrea with two in 1941, finishing up as I said with four fighting the Germans the rest of the war. In the Pacific two fought and were lost in Malaya, a third in Burma. Then over the next two years three held the border of India and in 1944 another nine (just to check me – I know you love facts – the 5th, 7th, 17th, 19th, 20th, 23rd, 25th, 26th, 36th) fought the Japanese in Burma.

                  Oh and I forgot – there were also a lot of Indians in the famous Chindits – unless of course you think the Gurkhas are not Indians.

                  I believe (I am sure you are not) I have made my point on the armies.

                  3: I know a lot about Imphal – you are right- lots of blunders but still in the end the most catastrophic defeat the Japanese Army had yet suffered.

                  4. On the 4th Indian (from Wikpedia so you can check) “The fame of this Division will surely go down as one of the greatest fighting formations in military history, to be spoken of with such as The Tenth Legion, The Light Division of the Peninsular War and Napoleon’s Old Guard”. Though as I say I would grant higher credit still to the 2nd New Zealand and on its good days in Europe the 9th Australian.

                  5.”””New Guinea and Guadalcanal occurred in 1941-42, lad, when the Japanese Empire required confronting. That was when it mattered that the Oz stood firm.””
                  Um – you do realize I hope that this was the same time as the Indians, Australians, British and Colonials were fighting – I assume you mean by this ‘stood firm’ in Malaya and Burma? There was just one difference – Japanese took those areas seriously, committing the strongest forces – but.
                  – I hate to tell you and shatter all those myths but the Japanese never had any intention of taking Australia – all they committed were two units – the reduced strength 141st and 144th Regiments against Port Moresby and about the same into the Solomons.
                  7. What does offend me is that you imply that I disparage the Dominions. I live in one – you twit – and I have never said anything to criticize their troops except to group two Australian brigades together with the Indian brigades in Malaya as performing poorly. What troubles me is that for some bizarre, some personal prejudice, you fail to recognize that Indian soldiers, or for that matter African soldiers are just as worthy of respect as those from Britain or its Dominions. They were and furthermore they fought in greater numbers and sometimes with equal or greater effect than their brothers from the Dominions.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  “. . . the Indians had no navy or air force worth mentioning”

                  Not large maybe but certainly worth mentioning. The Indian Air Force served with distinction but almost total obscurity during the Burma campaign. Small detachments of Indian pilots also flew with RAF squadrons.

                  I respectfully point you towards ‘The Eagle Strikes’ by Sqn Ldr Rana T S Chhina, subtitled ‘The Royal Indian Air Force 1932-1950’.

                  On another point, I am quite unable to reconcile my own studies of the Burma campaign, which include correspondence with veterans on both sides and Japanese primary source materials, with the assertion made here that the Japanese Army, atrophied, put up no fierce resistance.

                • mariandavid

                  Apologies – my words without intention sounded derogatory. My primary source for the Indian Air Force is the three volumes by Christopher Shores et al entitled ‘Bloody Shambles’ and ‘Air War for Burma’ which cover the Indian Air Force in action. Certainly by the end of the war some IAF squadrons were qualified to fly some of the most advanced aircraft in the theatre.
                  And as for the Japanese Army – I do not think any army in the world ever (well maybe the Sacred Band of Thebes!) literally fought to the last man in the way that the Japanese did. The Allies were extremely fortunate that the implacable infantry of the Japanese lacked the heavy support – medium artillery, tanks, motorized engineers – which characterized western armies. For example in Burma that 10 division strong Japanese army I alluded to elsewhere had only one tank battalion and four medium artillery battalions in support – in contrast the Indian 14th Army had four tank battalions and even more artillery. As a result once Slim broke out into open terrain they were inevitably outmatched (but still fought to the end).

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Well, the Japanese had started to surrender in 1944, something they had refused to do in 1941-43, so it’s not accurate to say that Slim fought the same enemy, in terms of character.

                • mariandavid

                  Serious question – serious reply. It is not the date that seems to affect the surrender rate but rather the quality and type of those that surrendered.
                  The US noted that almost all the prisoners they took up until 1945 were from Korea or Okinawa. Also by then the Japanese were hastily raising new battalions which they formed into infantry brigades not divisions and these were certainly less effective. One expert (writing in this case on the Nonmohan fight between Russia and Japan in 1939) thought that the ‘never surrender’ syndrome was closely tied in with the ‘samurai spirit’ inculcated at great length into army (and of course naval) recruits all through their two years of so of training and, obviously when the war started. But when they began to hastily drag recruits from the streets and shove them into uniform everything changed.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You’re mistaken that US prisoners taken prior to 1945 were Korean, and I’ve never seen that noted. And Okinawa is and was part of Japan, lad. Very few Koreans fought outside Manchuoko, to my knowledge. Although there’d be one extraordinary story of a Korean soldier who was captured by the Japanese, then captured by the Sovs in that sharp border war, then captured by the Germans, and then ultimately served on Rommel’s Atlantic wall. Go figure.

                  It wasn’t the origin of recruits that changed matters in 1944-5. It was blockade induced starvation and the breakdown of propaganda control of the military, particularly those at long distances from home, as in Burma. Prior to that, they didn’t often retreat or surrender, and if they tried, the Americans, Oz and others didn’t often take surrenders (to their own intelligence detriment, it should be noted) .

                • mariandavid

                  I am not an expert on this – hence my reference to someone who was. But I believe that your phrase: “‘You’re mistaken that US prisoners taken prior to 1945 were Korean, and I’ve never seen that noted.”” is in fact incorrect.
                  Just one example – when the US Marines attacked Tarawa in 1943 they took prisoners – but (almost) all of them were Koreans. That because it was the norm for the Japanese Army when they formed construction regiments to appoint a few Japanese officers and sergeants and then forcibly enroll Koreans as the workers. I think that there were between 1,000 and 1,500 on Tarawa. I doubt that they did much fighting – that was done by the Naval Special Landing Force – but they looked like Japanese so they were shot as such.
                  You are right about the breakdown of propaganda but not of where it happened. This was not a function of distance but of access: So places like Java, Sumatra, Burma, Malaya, Borneo etc were fine as they had overland or safe communications to the homeland. The areas where there was problems were the isolated islands, New Guinea etc – areas where US navy submarines made travel, supplies and support difficult to get.
                  I read recently that some members of the Australian 7th and 9th Divisions that invaded Borneo in 1945 thought that the Japanese they fought were more determined even in 1945 than those in New Guinea two years earlier.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Nobody is referencing Japanese slave labor in any of this, lad. You really need to stop blathering.

                  Okinawa had no “overland” communications to the homeland, and that was the fiercest fighting of the war. Burma had all the “overland” access you claim as advantageous to good propaganda, as did Manchuria, and yet late in the war when offensive operations were finally executed there, they went through the Japanese like a white hot knife through pre-softened butter.

                  You see, when others have pre-softened the butter, it helps the recently hired chefs and makes their job far easier. And news of the the pre-softening tends to get around, after a few years, and it’s hard to keep the pre-softening news out of the people’s ears, even with a determined propaganda effort.

                  And a little starvation never hurts, too. The pre-softened butter chefs have nothing to cook. They start surrendering. They don’t want white hot knives to start going through them, in other words.

                  But always remember who did the pre-softening, lad. It wasn’t your 3 squares per day for 3 years eating Indian buds.

                • mariandavid

                  Sorry – I have no idea what you are talking about here. We were addressing the rate of surrender, not the fierceness of fighting. Incidentally there are very few people who would agree with you that Okinawa saw the “fiercest fighting of the war: Among many others Stalingrad, Kursk, Cassino – and even if you were just talking about the war against Japan – , Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Peleliu, Kohima spring to mind in terms of both sides taking a high proportion of their front line strength as losses.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Of course you know what I’m talking about, lad, as you admit in your second sentence.

                  Yes, there are many people who would agree that Okinawa saw the fiercest fighting of the war, and although I was speaking specifically of the war against the Japanese empire, Okinawa would certainly be comparable to Stalingrad, Kursk and Cassino in terms of savagery, as it was here where the Japanese suicide attacks were first concentrated. But it’s good you’re finally learning the scale of the major battles fought, in relation to each other, rather than blathering about your Indian buds, who fought in so few of them.

                  Kohima was a minor bit of hair pulling and command incompetence and poor performance, as we discussed earlier re Imphal, so it’s not comparable to Okinawa. In the island campaigns you referenced, there was no room for strategic depth, and the actions while ferocious, did not present the sustained savagery of Okinawa. Kursk would be the closest in terms of overall battlefield footprint, nothing much else in the Japanese war was comparable. But as the Japanese had many years to prepare that layered defensive footprint, as opposed to the short time the Sovs had at Kursk, Okinawa’s savagery would be expected.

                  That Okinawa savagery might have been avoided, and those Japanese defenses left unbuilt and unprepared, but that would have required a push from India into Burma and a thrust made through China… and your Indian buds were indifferent to the conflict and never bothered with that, as we know. So Okinawa was what it was, and others had to bear the burden, as throughout that conflict.

                • mariandavid

                  I agree with a lot of that – though are not Alamein, Tunisia, Cassino, Gustav Line and others – major battles? And there were lot’s of Indians in all of them.

                  As for your repeated “”push from India into Burma”” – it seems logical. The reasons why it was not done were:
                  – the time needed, not to defeat the Japs, but to build the roads that could reach China overland
                  – but the obvious answer is why not take Rangoon from which roads and railways ran to China instead? Answer – overland took too long – again roads from India to Burma (eventually took 18 months to build) – and by sea was out. Reason – the Combined Chiefs of Staff would not allow landing craft and ships to be sent to the Indian Ocean from Europe. There were lots in the Pacific but Admiral King hated the Limeys and worked hard to block transfer.
                  The only solution was an overland attack once communications were in (a diversionary attack against the Arakan went in earlier), planned for mid 1944.
                  To be honest I do not think reaching China would have made the slightest difference – by 1943 the Japanese dominated the various Chinese armies and it any attempt had been made would simply and easily have blocked the passes across the Shan Mountains. Remember that when the US set up B-29 bases in China in 1944 the Japanese simply advanced and drove them out.
                  This however will cheer you up: There was also the issue of the morale of the Indian Army troops there after a series of defeats so London was hesitant to order a major attack. Mind you morale was pretty low among the British troops as well and really only improved after Slim was made army commander.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  They were secondary theater battles that your Indian buds had a small part in, they occurred after and often loooooong after the Japanese were being confronted by others, in primary theaters, nearby your Indian buds’ backyard, wherein your Indian buds were laying around the shanty enjoying the 3 square meals per day, or turncoating and helping the enemy. Plus, your buds’ role in those secondary battles was not distinguished, despite your (unsupported) assertions to the contrary.

                  There was a Burma road built, long before the Japanese invaded Burma, lad. It merely had to be supported with troops, you know, who would fight like the Canadians, Oz and Kiwis you’re insulting. Your Indian buds wanted no parts of that dirty work, so they laid around and enjoyed the 3 square meals, or turncoated to the… etc. It was a lack of will to fight. Hey, I don’t blame them, as I’d be hesitant to fight for my colonial masters as well. But that doesn’t give charlatans like you call to invent your own version of history, that they did something. They didn’t. And as previously mentioned, Wingate’s actions were purely a propaganda effort with no strategic value. They don’t count as anything of value, other than in deceiving Londonistaners.

                  The landing craft were in use by those who were attacking. It wasn’t a question of “blocking”. They were being used by attacking forces, not those who were sitting around eating the 3 squares per day and … etc.

                  The Japanese drove back the B-29’s because your Indian buds were sitting around eating 3 meals per day and … etc. Those bombers would have had a massive effect, as they did later on from the Marianas, but your Indian buds weren’t interested in confronting the Japanese, as we know, no matter your fantasies. Air forces require ground support. The risk was taken by the Americans, and the effort failed because others refused to put up anything, including your buds.

                  There was no attack for 3 years, and it wasn’t because of “low morale”. It was because your Indian buds were enjoying 3 square meals… etc, and refused to sacrifice, while others were fighting and dying, to save others’ lives later on.

                  Nothing you say cheers me up, lad. You’re a charlatan, and you’ve slandered the honored dead. Again, please withdraw your slanders.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Relative to the Japanese resistance in 1941-43 (and indeed, in the mid and late 30’s in places, Nanking comes to mind), when and where others confronted the Japanese, Burma was much further down the scale of “fierceness”, and “atrophied” is the proper descriptive here.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I thought we were finished with you, but apparently not.

                  1. I don’t stand by your reference, and consider it an insult to the Canadians, Oz and Nzers, who provided more and more timely than the Indians.<————–period

                  2. Canada was called upon to provide life support to Great Britain early on, and provide maritime and naval forces. You're drawing on some technicality in claiming Indian ground forces were more contributory at this time, but let's be clear, that maritime and naval action was far more necessary at that time than anything the Indians did, and I'd include anything they did in Africa and the Mideast, particularly against the Italians. Those activities at that time would have to be weighted similarly to late war Burma and Manchuria, as strategically of much lesser value than actions elsewhere and earlier on, as in the North Atlantic. I've spoken my piece about late war Burma, and you needn't detail your position any further. It was a sideshow to the defeat of (an atrophied) Imperial Japan, and occurred far too late to have made a strategic contribution to that effort.

                  3. No, Imphal was a non factor in the strategic war, and was not "the most catastrophic defeat the Japanese Army had yet suffered". Guadalcanal had occurred many years earlier, lad, remember, not to mention the necessary actions in New Guinea and the Solomons, which facilitated the strategic defeat of Imperial Japan. I'll leave out the other defeats more consequential, and merely point out the ones occurring while your Indian buds were luxuriating and enjoying their 3 squares per day.

                  4. Let's be careful of using quotes like that. Not checking, but I'll guess and say that was Wavell speaking . If so, there were political reasons those words were said, to say no more. I'd ask that you provide unbiased and disinterested sources to back your claim about the historically faceless force you're celebrating.

                  5. If the Japanese took seriously the taking of Burma and Malaya, they needn't have, as we know historically. And they didn't, as they knew the situation there, via the Brit mistakes and German cleverness. And much of that disaster was due to these Indians you're talking up. And lad, New Guinea and Guadalcanal occurred loooooong after your Indian buds had surrendered, not at "the same time" as you're claiming. Whatever the Japanese sent against Port Moresby and the Solomons, it was contested, lad. That would be in contrast to your Indian buds' rolling over and turncoating, almost immediately. That's the entire discussion here. Your buds did nothing then, even as you're praising them, and thus you're besmirching those who did something. It's an unspeakable insult, but you seem to be managing to speak it. It's truly disgusting.

                  7. You twit, it is you that insulted the Canadians, Oz and Kiwis, and you did it because of skin pigmentation, a most bizarre driver for sure. I don't care where you live. The historically obtuse and racialist can live anywhere.

                  Just to set you straight, as you seem to like to play with numbers, let's play with some that matter. India mobilized 2.4 million, of which 36,000 were killed. Canada, little Canada, all of 11 million in population as I recall, mobilized nearly 1 million, of which 40,000 were killed. The Oz put up nearly 3/4 million, of which 30,000 were killed. The NZers put up 150,000, of which 12,000 were killed (and the Saffer numbers would be similar to these). All of these Canadian, Oz and NZers were quality forces, and produced far beyond the low quality Indian forces, and when it mattered. That wasn't an Indian army at Juno beach, lad.

                  You see, standing up to the fascists, in a timely way, and in striking directly at Berlin and Tokyo, or as near to that as possible, was what mattered. That's what saved others' lives. Your Indian buds had no interest in striking out against Tokyo, for the most part. They were indifferent. The Oz in particular weren't so, and it's time you quit your despicable insults against such as these, who were there when it mattered, and for the sake of others:


                • mariandavid

                  Had almost enough of this parade of nationalistic pride, though I am pleased that at last you are using facts rather than just opinion, even if only dragged from Wikpedia.
                  Just to repeat – you started all this by referring to Indian soldiers alone and their failure to be on Juno Beach (unlikely since they are not Canadians – but then). With that in mind – probably the Indian Army lost some 35,000 men (no one really knows as the record keeping was sloppier than, for example, the exemplary system of Australia, and no one knows how many died of non-combat causes). Now lets compare and to save time – just with Canada. You quoted 40,000 killed – correct but that was the total loss. The Canadian Army lost a little more than half of that – almost 23,000. In other words much closer in proportion (note that the 2.4 million mobilized, One other point: Professional and serious military historians tend to pay little attention to figures like ‘total mobilised’ since that does not define the type of troops that are created. In the case of the Indian Army (as many outsiders regarded them as a convenient source of cheap labour) a very high proportion of the men were in pioneer, labour and construction units – indeed so backward was the Indian infrastructure that the military ran and operated huge chunks of the transport and even factories (a bit like the Chinese Army today).
                  It is the New Zealand losses that really stand out – a very large proportion from just one division. A superb performer but also unlucky at Greece, Crete, 1st Alamein and Cassino. An amazing performance to maintain its high standards after such losses.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You’re the one with “nationalistic” pride at stake, lad, with your constant bleating, wrongheaded bleating, about the (inferior) contributions of your Indian buds, as compared to the Oz, Canadians and Kiwis. Cease your insults, if you’ve “had enough” being called out as a slanderer, lad. Oh, and my draggings didn’t arise from Wikipedia, lad, but from Jordan and Weist. In fact, those 2 have taken issue with much of what you’ve blathered in here in your posts, but I’m not disputing it with you, simply because you’re only using that blathering to cloud the issue presented by your disgusting insults. But suffice to say you’re misleading or wrong, with much of your alleged orders of battle blatherings.

                  Your slanders are not just nationalistic, lad, they’re racist, as you openly stated above. You’re concerned with skin pigmentation, as you so stated. This is equally despicable.

                  Slice and dice the numbers all you like, lad. Little pipsqueak Canada provided more than your Indian buds, and more where and when required. That’s what makes your insults so disgusting.

                  You’re right about the “total mobilized”. Canada’s mobilized were fully trained and equipped, particularly after they arrived in theater. India’s were not properly trained and equipped, as many of the mobilized were part of a social welfare program, not a military. You’re making my point, in other words.

                  You can end this discussion by withdrawing your slanders and insults, lad.

                • mariandavid

                  This is so funny – I’ve written books on both the Canadian and Indian Armies and am Canadian so I love this ‘insult Canadian business’.
                  Though it will cheer you up to know you are right about one thing – all the Dominions and India started the war with eager but untrained troops: for example it took several months before the 2nd New Zealand was allowed to face the Germans and Italians after arrival.
                  And Canada was even worse – when the 1st Canadian Division arrived in Britain in 1939 it had either none or Great War equipment. The 4th Indian Division was an exception – like all Indian divisions of the period it was about 2/5ths British and took with it all the newish equipment found in India. Later Indian (and Australian) divisions were in bad shape – for example Australian ‘tank’ regiments were still using trucks and carriers as late as 1941.
                  Hope that helps.
                  Oh – and being a claimed expert (you would no doubt not agree) I checked out the Indian casualty figures – your source is using the same one as Wikepedia, mine is based on the grave records of the Commonwealth Graves Commission. I prefer the latter but it is a choice. Mind you the whole figure thing is a bit meaningless – a high killed rate may mean poor medical care (Russia or China) or no surrender (Japan) or not counted (often prisoner of war deaths are not counted as ‘military’). For that reason most people prefer ‘casualties’ as a better test than killed.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  As mentioned previously, lad, it doesn’t matter where you live. You can still be a despicable, racist slanderer, and you are. Oh, and it doesn’t matter that you’re a 3rd rate academic doing 2nd rate research, either (as long as you do it on your own time and nobody else has to pay for the rot).

                  Nothing you say cheers me up, lad. It’s mostly wrongheaded, and I really am stunned that you actually find yourself fit to discuss these topics. You are truly ignorant of so much of them.

                  I see you’ve given up trying to support this alleged brilliant but faceless division you claim is so historically spectacular. Good thing. And lad, the Americans protected Canada (and the Oz, come to find out), and there was no need for a standing army. The colonial occupiers in India had need for a standing army, simply because they had a restive population too shoot, as necessary. You’re not making any point here. None.

                  No, my source isn’t using Wikipedia. You used Wikipedia, and came up with an incorrect figure. The correct figure isn’t provided by the graves commission, which includes all the venereal diseased, among other things, as you likely won’t have picked up in your Wiki twit research.

                  Killed means killed, lad. Most people prefer to reference killed, wounded and missing. You really need to stop blathering nonsense.

                  It’s amusing that now you’re whimpering “figures are meaningless”. You have not command of the facts, the figures, the history, the weighting of the conflict, or much of anything else . Why don’t you just withdraw your despicable slander, and withdraw from this discussion. You’re not fit to participate in it, in any event.

                • mariandavid

                  Here we go again: Someone who objects to your claim that the Indians did nothing is a racist slanderer – do you even realize how utterly, contemptuously dumb that remark is.
                  Oh and as a final touch – the reason why ‘experts’ use the Graves Commission numbers is because it uses the same system for all countries – so you can compare you see? And I loved your reference to venereal disease – wonder why the Graves Commission is used? Because some countries (delicate creatures that they were and I wonder if you can guess which? ) reported venereal and indeed many disease deaths as combat deaths so throwing off any accurate comparisons.
                  Anyway – has been a lovely few days. Am now off to something important and valuable. Have a great new year.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  So moving the goalposts, are you? That’s what you types do when you can’t support your blusterous blather, no doubt.

                  But to fix the goalposts where they belong, let’s repeat your despicable and slanderous lie, lad, which triggered this discussion:

                  “And although it may offend your susceptibilities the Indian Army made a greater contribution to defeating Germany, Italy and Japan than the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Armies put together.”

                  You have been challenged on your slanderous lie, and you have comprehensively failed to support it. Further, you have been exposed at every turn as ignorant and uninformed on the subject matter, yet you have yet to withdraw your slander. And you had the temerity to shriek that anybody who challenged you was a racist, meaning that it is you that is the racist. Your despicable ways are compounding themselves, lad.

                  The reason experts reference actual battle casualties is that they want to compare battle casualties. The reason you Wikipedia twits use Wikipedia and “graves commissions” is that you want to cover your tracks because you are untutored and have to find some way to cover your tracks, when exposed as ignorant of the subject matter, thus exposing your blathering blusters.

                  Maybe you will stay withdrawn this time, lad. Let’s hope so. It is not helpful for you to slander the honored dead. It is despicable.

                • mariandavid

                  This is probably boring everyone who reads it to death but in the sheer excitement of seeing you use figures forgot to check those you gave. An easy primary source is Wikepedia. The correct Indian total is 87,000 not the 40,000 you quoted from Wiki.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, I quoted Jordan and Weist, and I realize you ahistorical twits prefer using Wikipedia and cartoon data, but the serious don’t work like you twits. J-W’s number is 36,000 and not your Wiki sourced 87,000 figure, and not the 40,000 figure you fantasized me saying.

                  It’s 36,000 per Jordan and Weist. Write them and complain if you disagree. Ask them about Okinawa too, while you’re at it. You might learn something. You definitely need to do so.

      • Colonel Mustard

        I think you mean 80% of the troops in SEAC (Burma) rather than 80% fighting the Japanese per se which would have overlooked the China and Pacific theatres. Certainly the Indian Army divisions fought magnificently during the recapture of Burma, as did the African divisions, contributing to the greatest defeat on land that the Japanese Army ever suffered. But the operations if not existence of both tend to be sadly forgotten in our popular history, like the Indian pilots of the Royal Flying Corps.

        • mariandavid

          You are correct of course: I should have specified SEAC and I had overlooked the three African divisions that fought in Burma.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          The Japanese themselves might tell you that the loss of Okinawa was the greatest defeat on land that the Japanese Army ever suffered. They certainly contested that ground savagely, unlike in Burma and Manchuria, grounds taken only after a significant atrophying of Japanese capabilities there, over a multi year lag period.

          • crosscop

            I consider Japan’s biggest land defeat to have been the destruction of the Kwantung Army in Manchuria by the Soviets in the closing stages of the war. An army of 600,000 men smashed by the Red Army.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Similar to late 1944-45 Burma, the Japanese army in late 1945 Manchuria was severely atrophied, and incapable of putting up much of a fight, even if it wanted to (and it was only at these late dates that Japanese surrenders began to occur, and the suicidal defenses seen earlier began to fall off).

              If the Burma and Manchuria offensives had occurred in 1942, I’d agree with you. They didn’t.

              Now, in Okinawa, the Japanese army did put up a fight, a savage resistance unlike what occurred in those other theaters.

    • Graeme S

      26 VC awarded to Gurkha regiments …. of the number of VC awarded to other Indian regiments 14 where British officers. India certainly made a contribution to the defeat of the Axis is WW2 however not in proportion to the numbers deployed. Indian Government lobbied extensively to have Indian troops return home. Canada had bigger Army than France fighting in Europe, fought more battles and was one of the most professional armies that ever fought ….
      There are undoubtedly some remarkable episodes where India troops fought tooth and nail and there sacrifice should not go un-praised, However there are some shocking episodes of mutiny and cruelty to British Serviceman whilst fighting fro the Japs

  • Makroon

    IMO, the biggest distortion of modern British accounts of the 14-18 war, is the sneering belittlement of the French sacrifice, (from which they had not nearly recovered by 1939). Anyone contemplating visiting the battlefields should certainly visit Verdun.
    Of course, the Canadians, in particular, seemed to have been pitched into the toughest assaults, proving themselves as tough and courageous assault troops. And their memorials are appropriately, probably the best.

    • HookesLaw

      French officers were brave but they treated their troops with contempt. Their losses in the first 3 months of the war were horrendous and it kept on going until the French army mutinied in 1917. This left the British and Empire Army the main fighting force in 1917-18. By 1919 the American Army would have been enormous of course, but in 1918 you only need to look at the losses to see who was doing the fighting.

      • Makroon

        The French army mutinied after Verdun where they took horrendous losses (higher than the Somme), basically collapsed as a fighting force, but stopped the Germans in their tracks.

    • Daniel Maris

      There may have been a reason: I suspect the Canadians brought up on milk, butter, cheese, steak, chicken and vegetables were far, far fitter than our troops. Most of ours were comparatively mostly weaklings before the welfare state intervened during WW2.

      • Makroon

        Correct this time Maris. I believe the average height of Brit soldiers was about 5′ 4” with overall poor health standards. God bless them.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          If you check the photographs from the 1940’s, you’ll find they towered over their Japanese captors, who had beaten them like a rented mule.

          I think you’ll find that ironically enough, a certain herd of donkeys was the reason for those defeats, and those of the previous war, not “poor health”.

  • RavenRandom

    Back then the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand were very much closer than today. Their contribution should never be played down. I wish we had federated with them back in the late nineteenth century then forgotten all about continental Europe.

  • ADW

    You’ve answered your own question Ed. The elites view “community cohesion” far more highly than truth, the opinions of the majority (let alone the majority of the working class). For them it is no answer to complain about historical accuracy, what they care about is preserving their rainbow nation fantasy. Everything else is not so much subordinate as non-existent.

    • HookesLaw

      No – Mr West’s article is based on a load of rubbish, more incite-full than insightful.
      And the usual suspects leaping in to salivate their nasty opinions is just as bad.

  • HookesLaw

    The original article in the ever odious Telegraph is a load of baloney as is the follow up by the infantile Mr West. I think Mr West should be ashamed of jumping on a nasty band wagon but then again when we read garbage like, ‘makes it so strange that many Tories justify the wisdom of our intervention’ , we should not be surprised.

    This article marks a new low even for Mr West and the Spectator.

    The article linked to is forced to end, despite all its unattributed diatribe, as follows –
    ‘However, a spokesman denied accusations of a “whitewash”, adding: “The UK will
    be commemorating the huge contribution and sacrifices made by members of
    Armed Forces from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and other Commonwealth
    countries and Allies in a wide range of centenary events throughout the
    2014-2018 period.
    “Helen Grant, Minister with responsibility for the First World War
    commemorations recently met the High Commissioners from New Zealand and
    Australia to discuss our plans. We are clear that Britain could not have
    prevailed without the contribution of our Commonwealth partners and our
    plans for the centenary will fully reflect that.”

    The ANZAC and Canadian forces were among the most elite on the Western Front. We should be as proud of their contribution as any others. And clearly there is no plot not to commemorate them, that would be absurd.

    Just as its right not to perpetuate the myths of WW1 its also right to recognise the truth. And one of those truths is that which involves India. One and a half million volunteer soldiers from the Indian continent served in WW1, 850,000 overseas. Of these 72,000 (5%) died – 50,000 (3%) were killed in action – of which 7,000 died on the Western Front.
    Lets not forget that WW1 was not all Somme and Flanders. Notwithstanding this the first Indian troops arrived in France in September 1914. Indians played a part in WW1 and like Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders it should not be forgotten.

  • XH558

    The relentless contempt in which the Conservative Party holds its core vote manifests itself at every opportunity.

  • George Igler

    …Or indeed the enthronement of Justin Welby?