Singapore has a long history of being colonized by the British. Though it did not play a major role in World War I, it was militarized under the Allied Forces in World War II. As a nation with flourishing trade, natural resources and ability to satisfy military and industry needs, Singapore became a major target for the Axis forces.
After the Pacific War began, Japan went to war against British ruled Singapore and took it over for 3 years. Post the fall of the Axis forces, Singapore went into anarchy even as the British troops left the nation. Soon after Singapore had to deal with major sedition against its ruling party and the British finally left Singapore, allowing the nation to rule itself.
Singapore then had a failing economy and its government took matters into its own hand in a dictatorial form. Singapore’s decision to merge with Malaysia resulted in racial tension which ultimately led to separation and an independent Singapore by 1965.
By the time Singapore gained complete independence, the nation had high unemployment, civil unrest and a general lack of natural resources. The formation of the Economic Development Board greatly helped Singapore gain economic stability and ipso facto social and political stability, to the present state where it is one of the biggest emerging markets.