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THE EXHIBITION

This is a permanent World War Two exhibition presented by the National Archives of Singapore at the historic Former Ford Factory. This was the place where the British forces surrendered unconditionally to the Imperial Japanese Army on 15 February 1942. The exhibition presents the events and memories surrounding the British surrender, the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, and the legacies of the war. Through oral history accounts, archival records and published materials, the exhibition highlights the diverse experiences of people in Singapore during this crucial time in our history.

INTRODUCTION

This section tells the history of the Ford Factory and sets the scene in prewar Singapore. Learn how the building evolved through the years, from its start as Ford Motor Company's first motorcar assembly plant in Southeast Asia in 1941 to being gazetted as a national monument in 2006.

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VICINITY OF FORD FACTORY

See the interactive table which features a model of the original Ford Factory on top of a 1950s aerial photograph. Visitors are able to view the factory in its former glory and learn more about the surrounding area.

FALL OF SINGAPORE

On 15 February 1942, the British forces surrendered to the Japanese in the boardroom of Ford Motor Factory. Described by Winston Churchill as the 'worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history', this section highlights the events leading up to that fateful moment.


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THREE PERSPECTIVES

Gain fresh perspectives on the fall of Singapore through three intertwining narratives on Japanese aggression, British defences and how civilians in Singapore were caught up in the larger forces of imperial struggle and war.

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SURRENDER ROOM

Step back in time in the boardroom of Ford Motor Factory where Lieutenant-General Arthur E. Percival of the British forces surrendered on 15 February 1942. Through the use of archival footages and records, visitors are able to witness the events leading up to the surrender.

BECOMING SYONAN

After the British surrender, Singapore was renamed Syonan-to, or 'Light of the South'. The Japanese Occupation was a period of suffering and unfulfilled promises. Through the personal items and oral history recollections on display, find out about the diverse wartime experiences and the different ways people responded to these challenges.

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Sook Ching

Three days after the British surrender of Singapore, the Japanese carried out a mass screening of the Chinese community to sieve out suspected anti-Japanese elements, marking the beginning of a fearful period of state-sanctioned violence. Through oral history accounts, learn about the harrowing experiences of those who were screened and escaped the killings.

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Nipponisation

Learn about the grandiose promise of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and the daily lives of ordinary people, who tried to get by under trying conditions by resisting their oppressors.

LEGACIES OF WAR

On 5 September 1945, the British returned to Singapore, to relief and rejoicing amongst the locals. However, the wartime experience and the British Military Administration's shortcomings left the locals with a less than rosy view of the British.

The legacies of the war manifested on various levels: the British grand plans for decolonisation; the social challenges of postwar reconstruction; the people's political awakening. The exhibition ends on a contemplative note on how we remember the war and its enduring legacies.

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Political Awakening

One of the most immediate legacies of war and occupation was the political awakening of the people. Some believed in working with the British on decolonisation, while others believed in more radical approaches such as communism.

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Remembering The War and Occupation

How do we remember the war and occupation today? Through oral histories and artefacts, reflect on the legacies of war and occupation in Singapore.