Political History of Singapore 1945-1965

About Project

This was one of the first two oral history projects undertaken by the then Oral History Unit after it was established in 1979. The aim was to interview political leaders on the rise of politics in the period after World War II to independence.

Topics covered include:
(i) Japanese occupation and its aftermath;
(ii) the rise of anti-colonial movements;
(iii) trade unionism;
(iv) the development of political parties such as the Progressive Party, Democratic Party, Liberal Socialist Party, Labour Front, United Malays National Organisation, Singapore Alliance Party, People's Action Party and Barisan Socialis;
(v) the 1950s and 1960s riots and social unrest;
(vi) the mass arrests/detentions of alleged communists and pro-leftists, such as under Operation Coldstore; the conduct of General Elections;
(vii) the merger and separation of Singapore with and from Malaysia;
(viii) the Indonesian Confrontation (Konfrontasi).

As a whole, these interviews cover the political development of Singapore which culminated in independence in 1965. Views from across the political spectrum are included, giving us multiple perspectives to this tumultuous period of Singapore's political history.

Names of Interviewees in Political History of Singapore 1945-1965

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