1929-1941 1945-1949

Hong Kong 1941-1945

The Battle of Hong Kong . Japanese troops had occupied Guangzhou (Canton) in 1938. The Japanese raid on Pearl Harbour (Dec. 7th 1941) was followede by a Japanese declaration of war on the U.S. and Britain. The Battle of Hong Kong lasted from Dec. 8th to Dec. 25th 1941. British and Canadian forces suffered c.4,500 dead, the Japanese forces c.700; 8,500 British and Canadian soldiers were taken prisoner.

Administration . Rensuke Isogai was the first Japanese governor general (1942-1944). Throughout the Japanese administration, Hong Kong was placed under martial law. The Japanese reorganized the administrative division of the colony and leased territory into 18 districts.

Resistance . The Dongjiang guerilla force in 1941-1942 extended the area of her activity from Guangdong Province into the New Territories. Other guerilla groups active in Hong Kong included the Guangdong Renmin Kangri (People's Anti-Japanese Guerilla Force) and the Gangjiu Dadui (Hong Kong-Kowloon Battalion) (Liu).

The Economy . From the establishment of Japanese occupation until the end of the war, the Japanese closed off Hong Kong from the mainland. The Hong Kong Dollar was replaced by the Japanese military Yen; the Japanese government applied fixed exchange rates favorable to them. The city experienced inflation. There was a general shortage of goods; food was rationed; the rationing was abolished in 1944. The land of non-essential institutions was converted into rice fields. Many died of starvation, or of infectious diseases like tuberculosis.

Social History . As Hong Kong experienced severe food shortage, the Japanese resettled the unemployed in mainland China, in the process reducing the population of Hong Kong from 1.6 million to 0.6 million. The population of Hong Kong lived in fear of Japanese brutality.

Cultural History . The Japanese demolished Kowloon Walled City, as they needed stones to construct facilities at Kai Tak airport.

Toward the end of the War . Hong Kong was exposed to American air raids. Air Raid Precaution Tunnels had been constructed by the British administration in 1940-1941.

Article Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong, Battle of Hong Kong, Rensuke Isogai, Kowloon Walled City, Kai Tak International Airport, from Wikipedia
A Case of Self-Delusion. Part 1 : From Colonialism to Confusion, by Henry C.K. Liu
Biography of Xiao Hong, from Books and Writers
Life in Hong Kong's ARP Tunnels, from Batgung
DOCUMENTS Hong Kong Administrators, from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon), scroll down for Hong Kong
Historical Population Statistics : Hong Kong, from Population Statistics (Jan Lahmeyer)
Padre Laite' Diary, posted by Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association
Hong Kong 1941, speech by D. Wilson, 2005
Hong Kong 1945, from Hillman WW II Scrapbook
Case No.33 : Trial of General Hisakasu and Five Others. U.S. Military Commission, Shanghai, Aug.-Sept. 1946, posted by Web Genocide Documentation Centre (S.D. Stein)
REFERENCE Frank Welsh, A Borrowed Place, The History of Hong Kong, NY : Kodansha 1993
Hong Kong 9 to 25 December 1941, in : Jasper H. Stembridge, The Oxford War Atlas Volume II, 1 September 1941 to 1 January 1943, Oxford : UP 1943 [G]
Article : Hong Kong, in : Statesman's Year Book 1943 pp.103-107 [G]
Article : British Empire, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1945 pp.125-126, 1946 pp.147-149 [G]
Article : Hong Kong, in : Americana Annual 1943 pp.348-349, 1944 p.324, 1945 pp.345-346, 1946 p.352 [G]
Article : Hong Kong, in : New International Year Book 1941 pp.263-264, 1942 pp.306-307, 1943 p.266, 1944 pp.277-278 [G]
Article : Hong Kong, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1941 p.242, 1942 pp.214-215, 1943 p.216, 1946 p.211 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 8th 2007, last revised on June 17th 2008

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz