n Journal for Contemporary History - Die stryd teen Nippon : Suid-Afrika en Japan, 1941-1945




Much has been written about South Africa's role during World War II, with special reference to the role played by the Union Defence Forces (UDF) in Abyssinia (today Ethiopia), North Africa and Italy, but the country's role in the struggle against Japan has not received much attention. For four years the Union of South Africa was indeed officially at war with Japan. Sixty years after the conflict ended, it is the purpose of this article to shed some light on South Africa's role in the war against Japan (1941-5), in an effort to identify the implications for South Africa (both military and on the home front) of Japan's entry into the war; and to ascertain the extent and nature of South Africa's contribution to the Allied war effort in the bloody struggle against Nippon. The state of the UDF in December 1941 and developments on the South African home front (1941-5) are discussed, as well as the Madagascar campaign, the Japanese submarine campaign in the Indian Ocean, and the role played by South African naval vessels in the Far East.


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