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Defending the realmThe politics of Britains small wars since 1945$
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Aaron Edwards

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719084416

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719084416.001.0001

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Winning ‘hearts and minds’? From imperialism to independence in Malaya

Winning ‘hearts and minds’? From imperialism to independence in Malaya

(p.60) 2 Winning ‘hearts and minds’? From imperialism to independence in Malaya
Defending the realm

Aaron Edwards

Manchester University Press

Malaya is often lauded as Britain's model counter-insurgency campaign in the post-war period. But what was the army's actual role in the Malaya campaign? Why did the Briggs plan fail? What made Templer's strategy succeed? Did the term ‘hearts and minds’ actually relate to a more coercive strategy than previously thought? In countering Communist insurgents several senior British officers considered the campaign to be an integral part of a much broader confrontation with the Soviet Union, wherein the latter became the vanguard for spreading the tentacles of communism across the world. Communist subversion in the Cold War preoccupied some of the most distinguished minds at the time, including Sir Robert Thompson, and drove them to consider a range of options for defeating insurgency it with other instruments of national power such as socio-economic development, an effective judicial system, and the strategic use of military force. This chapter also investigates the nature of the relationship between Prime Minister Winston Churchill, his Colonial Secretary Oliver Lyttelton and prominent military commanders Bernard Montgomery, John Harding and Gerald Templer, asking how crucial political support in London was to ensuring a successful outcome to the Malayan Emergency.

Keywords:   Communism, Insurgency, Robert Thompson, Briggs Plan, Gerald Templer, Intelligence

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