On 8 December 1941, the government of the United Kingdom declared war on the Empire of Japan, following the Japanese attacks on Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong. The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Anthony Eden, was in transit to Moscow at the time, so Prime Minister Winston Churchill was in charge of the Foreign Office. The text of his letter to the Japanese Ambassador was as follows:
On the evening of December 7th His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom learned that Japanese forces without previous warning either in the form of a declaration of war or of an ultimatum with a conditional declaration of war had attempted a landing on the coast of Malaya and bombed Singapore and Hong Kong.
In view of these wanton acts of unprovoked aggression committed in flagrant violation of International Law and particularly of Article I of the Third Hague Convention relative to the opening of hostilities, to which both Japan and the United Kingdom are parties, His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo has been instructed to inform the Imperial Japanese Government in the name of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom that a state of war exists between our two countries.
I have the honour to be, with high consideration,
- Your obedient servant,
- Winston S. Churchill
Of the letter, Churchill later wrote: "Some people did not like this ceremonial style. But after all when you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
The Treaty of Nanking (Nanjing) was a peace treaty which ended the First Opium War (1839–1842) between the United Kingdom and China on 29 August 1842. It was the first of what the Chinese later called the unequal treaties.
The Atlantic Charter was a statement issued on 14 August 1941 that set out American and British goals for the period following the end of World War II.
The Hull note, officially the Outline of Proposed Basis for Agreement Between the United States and Japan, was the final proposal delivered to the Empire of Japan by the United States of America before the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Japanese declaration of war. The note was delivered on November 26, 1941, and is named for Secretary of State Cordell Hull. It was the culmination of a series of events leading to the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was considered by the Japanese as an ultimatum for Japan to withdraw from China and other occupied territories, and was perceived by the Japanese Government at the time and many historians around the world as a casus belli.
The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was the name given to the campaigns of the Pacific War in Burma, Ceylon, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indochina, Malaya and Singapore. Conflict in this theatre began when the Empire of Japan invaded French Indochina in September 1940 and rose to a new level following the raid on Pearl Harbor, and simultaneous attacks on Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaya on 7 and 8 December 1941. The main landing at Singora on the east side of the Isthmus of Kra preceded the bombing of Pearl Harbor by several hours. Action in the theatre officially ended on 9 September 1945.
Sir Andrew Caldecott was a British colonial administrator.
Sir Franklin Charles Gimson was a British colonial administrator, who served in Ceylon from 1914 to 1941, and later as Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong and Governor of Singapore.
Chinese-United Kingdom relations, more commonly known as British–Chinese relations, Anglo-Chinese relations and Sino-British relations, refers to the interstate relations between China and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom and China were on opposing sides of the Cold War. Both countries are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
The Japanese invasion of Thailand occurred on 8 December 1941. It was briefly fought between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Empire of Japan. Despite fierce fighting in Southern Thailand, the fighting lasted only five hours before ending in a ceasefire. Thailand and Japan then formed an alliance, making Thailand part of the Axis' alliance until the end of World War II.
The following events occurred in December 1941:
The Churchill war ministry was the United Kingdom's coalition government for most of the Second World War from 10 May 1940 to 23 May 1945. It was led by Winston Churchill, who was appointed Prime Minister by King George VI following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain in the aftermath of the Norway Debate.
In the Commonwealth of Nations, a high commissioner is the senior diplomat in charge of the diplomatic mission of one Commonwealth government to another. Instead of an embassy, the diplomatic mission is generally called a high commission.
The declaration of war by the Empire of Japan on the United States and the British Empire was published on December 8, 1941, an hour after Japanese forces started an attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor and attacks on British forces in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The declaration of war was printed on the front page of all Japanese newspapers' evening editions on December 8. The document was subsequently printed again on the eighth day of each month throughout the war, to re-affirm the resolve for the war.
When the United Kingdom declared war on Nazi Germany at the outset of World War II it controlled to varying degrees numerous crown colonies, protectorates and the Indian Empire. It also maintained unique political ties to four semi-independent Dominions—Australia, Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand—as part of the Commonwealth. In 1939 the British Empire was a global power, with direct or de facto political and economic control of 25% of the world's population, and 30% of its land mass.
British Hong Kong was a colony and British Dependent Territory of the United Kingdom from 1841 to 1997, apart from a brief period under Japanese occupation from 1941 to 1945. The colonial period began with the occupation of Hong Kong Island in 1841 during the First Opium War. The island was ceded by Qing dynasty in the aftermath of the war in 1842 and established as a Crown colony in 1843. The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War and was further extended when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898.
On December 8, 1941, the United States Congress declared war on the Empire of Japan in response to that country's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor the prior day. It was formulated an hour after the Infamy Speech of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Japan had sent a message to their embassy in Washington, but because of problems in decoding and typing out the very long message – the high-security level assigned to the declaration meant that only personnel with very high clearances could decode it, which slowed down the process – it was not delivered to the U.S. Secretary of State until after the Pearl Harbor attack. Following the U.S. declaration, Japan's allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the United States, bringing the United States fully into World War II.
The Singapore strategy was a naval defence policy of the British Empire that evolved in a series of war plans from 1919 to 1941. It aimed to deter aggression by the Empire of Japan by providing for a base for a fleet of the Royal Navy in the Far East, able to intercept and defeat a Japanese force heading south towards India or Australia. To be effective it required a well-equipped base; Singapore, at the eastern end of the Strait of Malacca, was chosen in 1919 as the location of this base; work continued on this naval base and its defences over the next two decades.
The diplomatic history of World War II includes the major foreign policies and interactions inside the opposing coalitions, the Allies of World War II and the Axis powers. The military history of the war is covered at World War II. The prewar diplomacy is covered in Causes of World War II and International relations (1919–1939).
The following is a timeline of the first premiership of Winston Churchill, who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the bulk of World War II. His speeches and radio broadcasts helped inspire British resistance, especially during the difficult days of 1940–41 when the British Commonwealth and Empire stood almost alone in its active opposition to Nazi Germany. He led Britain as Prime Minister until victory over Nazi Germany had been secured. for the general history see Timeline of the United Kingdom home front during World War II.
Winston S. Churchill: The Second World War (vol.3): the Grand Alliance. (1950) ISBN 0-395-41057-6
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