World War Two: Pacific Region
In the centuries leading up to the outbreak of World War 2 Malaya, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Timor occupied strategic positions astride the strategic South East Asian trade routes. By the outbreak of war in the 1940s Britain was a predominant power and influence in the region. The entire area was a major source of valuable raw materials such as rubber, oil, tin, and timber. These materials were valuable assets to whatever nation controlled them and in the early 1940s it was Japan that wanted to wrest that control.