Modern Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies: Guerrillas and Their Opponents since 1750

By Ian F. W. Beckett | Go to book overview

5

FORMATIVE EXPERIENCES

As indicated earlier, the Japanese occupation of much of South-east Asia in 1941-42 proved the catalyst for growing nationalism on the part of the indigenous populations. In Malaya, the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies and French Indo-China, therefore, the returning colonial powers faced significant challenges to restoring their authority, particularly when communists began to exploit the appeal of nationalism. In the Philippines between 1946 and 1954, Indo-China between the same years and in Malaya between 1948 and 1960, the United States, France and Britain, respectively encountered Maoist-style insurgency campaigns. The Dutch faced a similar, but non-communist, insurgency in the East Indies between 1947 and 1949. In each case, the armed forces had to find solutions to politically motivated insurgency quite unlike the colonial campaigning of the past. While the British and the Americans succeeded, the French and the Dutch did not.

Partly the success of the British in Malaya and of American advisers in the Philippines can be attributed to lessons learned during the Second World War, but also to the lessons already being assimilated from two other on-going politically motivated insurgencies in Palestine and Greece. The campaign waged against the British authorities in Palestine by Jewish insurgent and terrorist groups between 1944 and 1948, and the more limited British participation in the Greek Civil War between 1944 and 1947, were highly formative experiences for the British army Similarly some Americans also derived lessons from their role in Greece.

In the case of Palestine, the roots of insurgency lay in the belief on the part of the Jews that the British had breached past pledges to keep open Palestine by attempting to restrict Jewish immigration. In reality the British faced an intractable problem in trying to juggle Jewish and Arab interests in Palestine, which had been established as a British mandated territory by the League of Nations in 1922. The Jewish population had been about 85,000 in 1914 but, with increasing, and often illegal, immigration, it had reached 700,000 by the end of the Second World War, compared with an Arab population of about 1.3 million.

During the Second World War, the British received assistance from the

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Modern Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies: Guerrillas and Their Opponents since 1750
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • 1 - The Roots of Insurgency 1
  • 2 - The Roots of Counter-Insurgency 24
  • 3 - Resistance and the Partisan 55
  • 4 - Mao Tse-Tung and Revolutionary Warfare 70
  • Further Reading 85
  • 5 - Formative Experiences 86
  • Further Reading 118
  • 6 - 'Wars of National Liberation'? 121
  • Further Reading 148
  • 7 - The Transition to Urban Insurgency 151
  • 8 - Insurgency and the Superpowers 183
  • 9 - Forward to the Past 217
  • Index 253
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