A lecture by Professor Sir Christopher Bayly FBA, Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History and Fellow of St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge.
Much of the writing on the Second World War understandably concentrates on the European theatre and the U-Boat campaign in the Atlantic. However, events in Asia were equally dramatic and their consequences continue to reverberate up to the present day. This period saw the rise and fall of the Japanese Empire and the beginning of the end of the British, French and Dutch empires across Asia. In addition, the pressures of war exacerbated existing social conflicts in Asian societies: between Hindus and Muslims in soon-to-be independent India; between Chinese and Malay Muslims in Malaya and between 'tribal' groups and the lowland Burmese majority in Burma.
In his lecture, Professor Bayly will set out both the 'grand strategy' issues that informed these conflicts and will also consider the internal divisions which resulted in mass casualties and emigration. Without implying the existence of any simple historical connection, he will also consider how the events of the period 1936-1956 created the conditions for some of today's most pressing political and military problems in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Burma, Malaya and Singapore.
Professor Sir Christopher Bayly FBA is Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History and Fellow of St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge. He has specialised on the history of India and his publications include: Empire and Information (1996); The Birth of the Modern World: Global Connections and Comparisons, 1780-1914 (2004) and, with Tim Harper, Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-45 (2005) and Forgotten Wars (2006). He is currently working on Indian liberalism, 1800-1950.