Homefront Australia Ww2

1 January 2017

Australian Homefront: Largest impacts came with the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942; Curtin spoke of it as an opening for the “Battle for Australia”, furthered with combing of Darwin 19 February which was put by Curtin as “Australia’ Dunkirk”, heralding the battle for Australia. The crisis generated both a determination to shift the country onto a new and unprecedented level of economic and military mobilization and a profound disillusionment with Britain. Total War. Political: •Main point: Australia looks to US – Curtin. (use Beaumont book) oEven before fall of Singapore, Curtin could see that there was very little to stop the Japanese advance and by turning away from Britain, it was a dramatic point in Australia’s foreign relations. “Look to America” since December 1941, encourage greater Aus-US cooperation that begun with Menzies. ?When Curtin declared war on Japan 8 Dec 1941 ‘my appeal to you is in the name of Australia, for Australia’. He wanted troops to return from the Middle East, opposing British PM Churchill.

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MacArthur gave new sense of hope to Australia “changed the popular belief of a nation” yet caused many disputes between commanders and diminished Aust role in New Guinea oA special War Cabinet was created after war was declared – initially composed of Prime Minister Menzies and five senior ministers •Various laws: Federal Government increased its powers over economy, security and civil liberties. Response to the threat of Japanese invasion/fall of Singapore. oNational Security Act 1947 – restricted civil liabilities, surveillance and internment of enemy aliens ?

Darwin bombings •Many Germans and Italian born people arrested and interned for being security risks. •1941-Japan entered the war -> all Japanese were interned. •Later many aliens were freed, but they had to register with the police – movements were restricted and watched. Their mail was also opened. •Many aliens felt no loyalty to their country of birth and protested against their treatment. (SOCIAL) ? June 1940- ten fascist and communist parties banned -> raids of headquarters occurred, meetings broken up and ocuments seized. ?Government banned Australian First Movement, which expressed fascist sentiments and wished to be independent from Britain and America. ?Australian people had less freedom to express criticism of government and war effort. Those who expressed these views in public or spread rumours were arrested. •Censorship important method of maintaining internal security. oDepartment of Information. Est. 1939 led by Calwell had the purpose of inform public about war and the government’s activities.

Imposed censorship, did not report incidents that would make the community feel anxious. Eg. bombing of Darwin, sinking of HMAS Sydney oNewspapers were banned from printing many stories. Eg. ‘Battle of Brisbane’ brawls between Australia and US troops in 1942 oPropaganda was used in the form of hate talks through mediums such as the radio ABC. oMail within Australia and from soldiers overseas was opened and information about matters such as ships’ names, troop movements and morale was cut out before the letter was delivered ?

Appearance of city streets, beaches and parklands changed. Search-lights, gun batteries and observation posts were set up on the tops of cliffs and buildings. Trenches and air-raids shelters were built on parklands and ovals. Public buildings air raid shelters and covered their windows Government announced nights of ‘blackouts’ and ‘brownouts’ (car and street lights were dimmed). Street and railway station signs were taken down. People in schools, factories and offices practiced air-raid drills.

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