The impact of World War I on British Malaya: the battle of Penang, 1914

Asilatul Hanaa Abdullah, (2020) The impact of World War I on British Malaya: the battle of Penang, 1914. Jurnal Antarabangsa Kajian Asia Barat, 12 . pp. 61-75. ISSN 2229-8924


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The geographical location of World War I has also been strictly confined to Europe. Many have overlooked the facts that the war has spread geographically to other regions too, and battles have been fought outside of Europe. This paper is written to discuss, the impact of World War I on British Malaya: the Battle of Penang. The German Ship SMS Emden attacked and ambushed the port of Penang and sunk two Allies ships, a Russian protected cruiser the Zhemchug and French destroyer Mousquet. This paper aims to confer on the details of the battle to illustrate that the war itself is not confined to the border of Europe merely. It is important and of great values that shed new lights on the geographical location of the war itself. The Battle of Penang was hardly mentioned in any European nor have Malaysian textbooks, the battles and the heroes remained unsung. This paper aims at shedding new light on the geographical location of the battle, the battle itself and the effects of the battle directly and in directly to British Malaya and to the Great War generally. Among the immediate impacts of the battle was the citizens residing in the colonies started to questions British incompetence, this incompetency includes negligence of safety, and no proper system of safety maintenance, the overconfident harbor masters that ignored all his commanding officers instructions. A ship like SMS Emden could easily reduce the island of Penang into rubbles, and the attack occurred when civilian had feared that it was coming. Due to this incompetence the people of Penang were heavily traumatized, they for once have witnessed a battle on their own backyard. The British Colony Officers were heavily criticized surprisingly by one of their fellow Englishmen Reverend Cross. These criticisms were proven to have weight when SMS Emden continued its raids up to the Bay of Bengal in India. There was also prolonged impact of the war, after SMS Emden was destroyed in the Cocos Island by HMAS Sydney an Australian Cruiser. All German survivors were taken as prisoners of war. In early 1915 one of them Julius Lauterbach was taken as prisoner of war in Singapore, which is also a part of the British Malayan Colony, where he instigated Indian Sepoys Guard mutiny and successfully escaped during the course of the anarchy. In this paper I would be employing qualitative methods by consulting several firsthand sources in order to successfully elucidate and illuminates the details of this forgotten battle and its repercussions.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Battle of Penang; World War I; British Malaya
Journal:Jurnal Antarabangsa Kajian Asia Barat ; International Journal of West Asian Studies
ID Code:16226
Deposited By: ms aida -
Deposited On:16 Feb 2021 02:38
Last Modified:20 Feb 2021 17:30

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