Today we have a diversion from the narrative the podcast has been following lately. When Japan conquered Southeast Asia in early 1942, it gained access to the Indian Ocean, and the Japanese ventured into that ocean afterwards. This episode will look at what followed: the invasion of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, the bombing of Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), and a battle between the British, French and Japanese for Madagascar. Although this area is not in Southeast Asia per se, I believe you will find the stories interesting, because they are really obscure to those people who don't live around the Indian Ocean. That includes the host; I did not hear any of this in school! Now listen and enjoy.

During World War II, the Japanese had an Indian nationalist on their side, Subhas Chandra Bose, and after they conquered the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, they put Bose in charge of them. This picture was taken during the first and only time he visited the islands, at the end of 1943. Bose saw the islands as the first province of a future independent Indian state, but in reality he was nothing more than a Japanese puppet.

This map shows three of the places in the Indian Ocean that will be discussed in Episode 43. The place I called Ceylon in the narrative has been called Sri Lanka since 1972. The Maldives, Andamans and Nicobars are flyspeck islands; you will have to look closely to see the dots marking them. Madagascar is off the left edge of the map, near Mozambique and South Africa.

Here is the only map I could find for Madagascar in World War II. Unfortunately I just broke one of my own rules. In the recording I used the present-day name of Antananarivo for the capital, while the map uses the old French name of Tananarive. I should have known better!
Source: Simon Goodenough, "War Maps (World War II from September 1939 to August 1945, Air Sea and Land, Battle by Battle: World War II from September 1939 to August 1945, Air, Sea, and Land, Battle by Battle)", ISBN-10: 0312051786, St. Martin's Press, 1982.

Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free!

Support this podcast!