Gerald Templer

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Person.png Gerald TemplerRdf-icon.png
Born11 September 1898
Died25 October 1979 (Age 81)

Field Marshal Sir Gerald Walter Robert Templer, KG, GCB, GCMG, KBE was a British military commander. He is best known for his allegedly key role in crushing resistance to British rule in Malaya between 1952 and 1954. "The jungle has been neutralised", he declared in a Time Magazine cover article in 1952.

Gerald Templer was the intellectual and administrative father of the Vietnam war. While the French were going down to defeat at Dien Bien Phu, and the Americans leading a UN crusade to stop Communism in South Korea, Gerald Templer was coining the phrase 'hearts and minds' to wage a successful counter-revolutionary war in Malaya. He combined a sophisticated propaganda campaign, social welfare programme, large - scale deportations, village re-location schemes, and jungle trained troops given helicopter mobility to contain, isolate, and then defeat the 5,000 or so Communist guerrillas.

Templer's success was hailed on the front covers of Time and Look magazine, promoted him to Chief of Staff and Field Marshal, and took him in 1960 to the palace of Prime Minister Diem of Vietnam, where he gave the Americans' first strong man in Saigon an intensive tutorial in how to apply the lessons of Malaya to the war against the Vietcong.

Back in London, Templer recommended a more permanent British involvement in the war, which led to the dispatch of Sir Robert Thompson's British Advisory Mission to Saigon from 1961 to 65.[1]

But some sources have questioned the judgement that the British were able to defeat the opposition by means of a 'hearts and minds' strategy.

When General Gerald Templer took over as high commissioner and director of opertions in February 1952, he inherited a situation where the initiative had already passed into the hands of the British'.[2]

Templer's strategy was, of course, not just a question of propaganda, but of propaganda backed up with extra-judicial killings and brutality.

'Templer admitted to the use of "killer squads"' in private. But 'as he told the colonial secretary Oliver Lyttleton, "I won't call them that, with a view to the questions you might have to answer"'.[3]

Iraq 1958

Templer was 'strongly in favour' of invading Iraq in 1958.[4]

Career

  • High Commissioner for Malaya (1952-54)[5]

Further Reading

  • Simon Smith 'General Templer and counter-insurgency in Malaya: hearts and minds, intelligence, and propaganda' Intelligence and National Security, Volume 16, Number 3, September 2001 , pp. 60-78(19).
  • Wikipedia Gerald Templer
  • Cloake, John Templer, tiger of Malaya : the life of field marshal Sir Gerald Templer, London, Harrap, 1985 ISBN 978-0245542046
  • Neillands, Robin A fighting retreat : the British Empire 1947-97, London, Hodder, 1997 ISBN 978-0340635209
  • Lapping, Brian End of Empire, 1985 ISBN 978-0312250713
  • Heathcote, Anthony The British Field Marshals 1736-1997, Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 1999 ISBN 0-85052-696-5
  • Ramakrishna, Kumar Emergency Propaganda: The Winning of Malayan Hearts and Minds 1948-1958, Curzon Press, Richmond, 2002 ISBN 978-0700715107

11 September 1898|25 October 1979|


References

  1. The Guardian (London) August 15, 1985, Books: A Brit who kidded the Americans they could win in Vietnam / Review of 'Templer, Tiger of Malaya' by John Cloake, BYLINE: By MARTIN WALKER
  2. John Newsinger, The Blood Never Dried: A People's History of the British Empire, London: Bookmarks, 2006, p.210
  3. John Newsinger, The Blood Never Dried: A People's History of the British Empire, London: Bookmarks, 2006, p.210
  4. John Newsinger, The Blood never dried: A People's History of the British Empire, London: Bookmarks, 2006, p.264
  5. Simon Smith 'General templer and counter-insurgency in Malaya: hearts and minds, intelligence, and propaganda' Intelligence and National Security, Volume 16, Number 3, September 2001 , pp. 60-78(19)
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