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Arc of ContainmentBritain, the United States, and Anticommunism in Southeast Asia$
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Wen-Qing Ngoei

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501716409

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501716409.001.0001

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Darkest Moment

Darkest Moment

The Fall of Singapore, “Chinese Penetration,” and the Domino Theory

(p.17) Chapter 1 Darkest Moment
Arc of Containment

Wen-Qing Ngoei

Cornell University Press

This chapter treats Japan’s conquest of Southeast Asia as a window to the longer history of Anglo-American perceptions of the region’s interconnectedness. Japanese victories fuelled what would become the domino logic, entwining race with the struggle for ascendancy in the region, preparing the way for U.S. Cold War fixations with the perceived threat from China and its diaspora to Southeast Asia. At base, the domino theory in U.S. policy toward the region arose from apocalyptic visions of China using its diasporic links across Southeast Asia to repeat Imperial Japan’s shocking wartime triumphs over the colonial powers, the most notable of these being the fall of British-controlled Singapore in 1942.

Keywords:   Regional interconnectedness, China, Diasporic links, Cold War, Domino Theory, Fall of Singapore, Southeast Asia, Imperial Japan

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