Term IV

Topic 4 Australia and WWII

Rising Sun

Focus Questions

Why was Australia involved in World War II?

. What were some of the experiences of Australians as a result of their involvement in the war?

What was the impact of the war on the Australian home front?How did Australia's relationship with

Britain and the USA change during WWII?

Note : Focus questions are what we will learn in this topic.

You will not be expected to answer these right away.

BUT when you are doing revision you should be able to answer them


Topics from Syllabus -( a Summary of what we will learn about : )

1) Australia’s involvement in WWII

Explain the reasons for Australia's involvement in WWII

Identify the places where Australians fought in WWII

2) The experiences of Australians serving in WWII

With particular emphasis on Kokoda

3) Describe the experiences of Australians serving in WWII,

With emphasis on New Guinea

4) The impact of the war on Australian civilians with a particular emphasis on

The Japanese submarine atack on Sydney

Explain the impact of the war on Australian civilians with a particular emphasis on the sub attack

5) Wartime Government controls -including
  • conscription

  • manpower controls

  • rationing

  • Censorship

  • describe the controls on civilian life imposed by the wartime government

  • outline the arguments for and against such controls in wartime

  • the changing roles of Australian women in WWII

    6) Explain how and why Australia’s relationship with Britain and the USA changed
during WWII

for a hard copy of this term's topics open :
Union Jack
Where did the Australians fight in WWII?

  • Australia joined with the United Kingdom in declaring war on September 3, 1939 on Germany.
  • New Zealand did so also, preferring to send a separate l etter to demonstrate independence.
  • New Zealand and Australian units served in North Africa, Italy, and Greece and rendered good service.
  • When the Japanese attacked around Asia and the Pacific in December 1941, the
overseas units were rushed home as part of the agreement Australia and New Zealand
signed with England at the start of the war.

  • Some were sent to Singapore, where they were surrendered on Feb 17 1942
  • 2 days later the Japanese bombed Darwin, sinking 26 ships"

Australia and WWII
Military forces compared to population
UK 12.4% US 12.7% NZ 18.4% AU 14.4%
As for military deaths/population
UK 5.2% US 2.5% NZ 4.1% AU 4%

From http://www.worldwar2database.com/html/australia.htm
WWII multimedia data base – very good information for each year of the war
Also you can get a hard copy at
For just about everything connected with WWII see Australian War Memorial Encyclopedia

Task 1 :
a)Copy the above information into your books.
b) Make a timeline for the years 1939-1945 for Australian
involvement in WWII.
Stars and Stripes

Explain how and why Australia’s relationship with Britain
and the USA changed during WWII
Read Curtin speech carefully .
If you need your own hard copy open
Note the text highlighted.
Take your time, this is not an easy task.
( I have divided it into 4 sections for you after some students said it was hard to understand.)

If you like you can actually HEAR the speech at this site http://john.curtin.edu.au/audio/00434.html from the Curtin
University Library

John Curtin's speech to America, 14 March 1942

part i)

"Men and women of the United States:

I speak to you from Australia. I speak from a united people to a united people, and my speech is aimed to serve
all the people of the nations united in the struggle to save mankind.
On the great waters of the Pacific Ocean war now breathes its bloody steam. From the skies of the Pacific
pours down a deathly hail. In the countless islands of the Pacific the tide of war flows madly.

For you in America; for us in Australia, it is flowing badly. Let methen address you as comrades in this war
and tell you a little of Australia and Australians. I am not speaking to your Government.
We have long been admirers of Mr Roosevelt and have the greatest confidence that he understands fully
the critical situation in the Pacific and that America will go right out to meet it. For all that America has done,
both before and after entering the war, we have the greatest admiration and gratitude.

It is to the people of America I am now speaking; to you who are, or will be, fighting; to you who are sweating
in factories and workshops to turn out the vital munitions of war; to all of you who are making sacrifices in one
way or another to provide the enormous resources required for our great task. I speak to you at a time when

the loss of Java and the splendid resistance of the gallant Dutch together give us a feeling of both sadness
and pride. Japan has moved one step further in her speedy march south; but the fight of
the Dutch and Indonesians in Java has shown that a brave, freedom-loving people are more than a match for
yellow aggressor given even a shadow below equality in striking and fighting weapons.

But facts are stern things. We, the allied nations, were unready. Japan, behind her wall of secrecy,

had prepared for war on a scale of which neither we nor you had knowledge. We have all made mistakes,
we have all been too slow; we have all shown weakness - all the allied nations.
This is not the time to wrangle about who has been most to blame. Now
our eyes are open.

part ii)

The Australian Government has fought for its people. We never regarded the Pacific as a
segment of the
great struggle
. We did not insist that it was the primary theatre of war, but we did say, and events have so far,
unhappily, proved us right, that the loss of the Pacific can be disastrous. Who among us, contemplating the future
on that day in December last when Japan
struck like an assassin at Pearl Harbour at Manila, at Wake and Guam,
would have hazarded a guess that by March the enemy would be astride all the south-west Pacific
except General MacArthur's gallant men, andAustralia and New Zealand.

But that is the case. And, realising very swiftly that it would be the case, the Australian
Government sought a full and proper recognition of the part the Pacific was playing in the general strategic
disposition of the world's warring forces. It was, therefore, but natural that, within twenty days after Japan's first treacherous blow, I said on behalf of the Australian Government that
we looked to America as the paramount
factor on the democracies' side of the Pacific.
There is no belittling of the Old Country in this outlook.
Britain has fought and won in the air the tremendous
Battle of Britain.

Britain has fought, and with your strong help, has won, the equally vital
Battle of the Atlantic. She has a
paramount obligation to supply
all possible help to Russia. She cannot, at the same time, go all out in the Pacific.
We Australians, with New Zealand, represent Great Britain here in the Pacific -
we are her sons - and on us the
responsibility falls. I pledge to you my word we will not fail. You, as I have said, must be our leader.
We will pull knee to knee with you for every ounce of our weight.

We looked to America, among other things,
for counsel and advice, and therefore it was our wish that the
Pacific War Council should be located at Washington. It is a matter of some regret to us that, even now, after
95 days of Japan's staggering advance south, ever south, we have not obtained first-hand contact with America.
Therefore, we propose sending to you our
Minister for External Affairs (Dr H.V. Evatt), who is no stranger to
your country, so that we may benefit from his discussions with your authorities. Dr Evatt's wife, who will accompany
him, was born in the United States.

Dr Evatt
will not go to you as a mendicant.
He will go to you as the representative of a people as firmly determined to hold and hit back at the enemy as
courageously as those people from whose loins we spring... those people who withstood the
disaster of
Dunkirk, the fury of Goering's blitz, the shattering blows of the Battle of the Atlantic.

He will go to tell you that we are fighting mad; that our people have a government that is governing with orders and
not with weak-kneed suggestions; that we Australians are a people who, while somewhat inexperienced
and uncertain as to what war on their own soil may mean, are nevertheless ready for anything, and will trade
punches, giving odds if needs be, until we rock the enemy back on his heels.

part iii)

We are then, committed, heart and soul, to total warfare. How far, you may ask me, have we progressed along
that road? I may answer you this way.

Out of every ten men in Australia four are wholly engaged in war as members of the fighting forces
or making the monitions and equipment to fight with.
The other six, besides feeding and clothing the whole ten and their families, have to produce the food and
wool and metals
which Britain needs for her very existence. We are not, of course, stopping at four out of ten.
We had over three when Japan challenged our life and liberty.

The proportion is now growing every day. On the one hand we are ruthlessly
cutting out unessential
so as to free men and women for war work; and on the other, mobilizing woman-power to the
to supplement the men. From four out of ten devoted to war, we shall pass to five and six out of ten.
We have no limit. We have no qualms here. There is
no fifth column in this country.
We are all the
one race - the English speaking race.
We will not yield easily a yard of our soil. We have great space here and tree by tree, village by village, and town
by town we will fall back if we must.

That will occur only if we lack the means of meeting the enemy with parity in materials and machines. For, remember,
we are
the Anzac breed. Our men stormed Gallipoli; they swept through the Libyan Desert; they were the
'Rats' of Tobruk; they were the men who fought under 'bitter, sarcastic, pugnacious Gordon Bennett' down
Malaya and were still fighting when the
surrender of Singapore came.
These men gave of their best in
Greece and Crete; they will give more than their best on their own soil, when their
hearths and homes lie under enemy threat.

Our air force are in the
Kingsford-Smith tradition. You have, no doubt, met quite a lot of them in Canada;
the Nazis have come to know them over Hamburg and Berlin and in paratroop landings in France.
Our naval forces silently do their share on the seven seas. I am not boasting to you. But were I to say less I would
not be paying proper due to a band of men who have been tested in the
crucible of world wars and hallmarked as
pure metal.
Our fighting forces and born attackers; we will hit the enemy wherever we can, as often as we can,
and the extent of it will be measured only by the weapons in our hands.

Dr Evatt will tell you that Australia is a nation stripped for war. Our minds are set of attack rather than defence.
We believe in fact that attack is the best defence; here in the Pacific it is the only defence.
We know it means risks, but
'safety first' is the devil's catchword today. Business interests in Australia and
submitting with good grace to
iron control to drastic elimination of profits.
Our great labour
unions are accepting the suspension of rights and privileges which have been sacred for two
generations, and are submitting to an equally iron control of the activities of their members. It is now 'work or
fight' for every one in Australia.
The Australian Government has so shaped its policy that there will be a place for every citizen in the country.

part iv)

are three means of service - in the fighting forces; in the labour forces; in the essential industries.
For the first time in the history of this country a
complete call-up, or draft, as you refer to it in America, has
been made. I say to you, as a comfort to our friends and a stiff warning to our enemies, that only
the infirm remain
outside the compass of our war plans
We fight with what we have and what we have is our all. We fight for the
same free institutions that you enjoy.
We fight so that, in the words of
Lincoln, 'government of the people, for the people, by the people, shall not
perish from the earth'

Our legislature is elected the same as is yours; and we will fight for it, and for the right to have it, just as you will
fight to keep the Capitol at Washington the meeting place of freely-elected men and women representative of
a free people.
But I give you this warning: Australia is the
last bastion between the West Coast of America and the
. If Australia goes, the Americas are wide open. It is said that the Japanese will by-pass Australia and
that they can be met and routed in India.

I say to you that the saving of Australia is the saving of America's west coast. If you believe anything to the contrary
then you delude yourselves. Be assured of the calibre of our national character. This war may see the end of much
that we have painfully and slowly built in our 150 years of existence.
But even though all of it go, there will still be Australians fighting on Australian soil until the turning point be reached,
and we will advance over blackened ruins, through blasted and fire-swepted cities, across scorched plains, until we
drivethe enemy into the sea. I give you the pledge of my country.

There will always be an Australian Government and there will always be an Australian people.
We are too strong in our hearts; our spirit is too high; the justice of our cause throbs too deeply in our being
for that high purpose to be overcome. I may be looking down a
vista of weary months; of soul-shaking reverses; of
grim struggle; of back-breaking work.

But as surely as I sit here talking to you across the war-tossed Pacific Ocean I see our flag; I see
Old Glory;
I see the proud banner of the
heroic Chinese; I see the standard of the valiant Dutch.
And I see them flying high in the wind of liberty over a Pacific from which aggression has been wiped out;
over peoples restored to freedom; and flying triumphant as the
glorified symbols of united nations strong
in will and in power to achieve decency and dignity, unyielding to evil in any form."

Task 2
Now open this file to do the activity based on this speech.
There are
55 questions .
Take your time and space this task over time .
Do not attempt it in one go.
If there are any you cannot do yourself,note them for the discussion next History lesson.
The questions are based on the text in blue.
They are NOT linked to any internet sites.

the Japanese submarine attack on Sydney
explain the impact of the war on Australian civilians with a particular
emphasis on the sub attack

read the following text carefully :

The Japanese Sub attack on Sydney and Newcastle

Sydney harbour, attack on,
night raid by three Japanese midget submarines which, on 31 May 1942, tried to torpedo Allied
warships in this large natural harbour in south-east Australia. The alarm was raised after one of the midget submarines became
tangled in anti-torpedo netting and scuttled itself.
The US cruiser Chicago fired at another, but her shells only caused damage ashore. After firing its torpedoes—one was a dud, the
other hit an accommodation ship, killing nineteen seamen—this submarine disappeared, and the two-man crew of the third committed
suicide after being hunted for some hours. The Japanese submarines which had transported the midgets shelled Sydney and
Newcastle, and sank three merchantmen,
before departing. One midget submarine was exhibited around Australia in 1942 as a boost to public morale when Australian
troops were fighting on
the Kokoda trail during the New Guinea campaign.

from The Oxford Companion to World War II

the sub aftermath

wreckage salvaged

also see and

One sub, made from the remains of two involved in the Sydney attack resides in the war memorial at Canberra.
The conning tower and part hull of one of these resides in the Garden Island Museum, Sydney. These parts were
from the sub depth-charged in Taylors Bay (this one sank the Kuttabul) and the one which was scuttled by its crew when
caught in sub nets near Taronga Park.
This sub did not get into the harbour. A third sub entered and exited the harbour and was lost at sea, without firing a torpedo.
The crew of the Taylor Bay sub shot themselves.
In recently released war secrets 176..... yes one hundred and seventy six Merchant vessels alone were sunk off the east coast
of Australia by Japanese submarines during ww2. This info is the official version of the Sydney attack....however.... 3 mother
subs were used to transport the minisubs to Sydney
......and one aircraft. the mother subs also shelled Sydney suburbs......two of the mother subs carried 3 mini subs each...the third
carried one sub and one plane.

2006 Discovery of Sub Wreck

The recent discovery of Japanese Sub wrecks

In November 2006, a Japanese midget submarine involved in a daring raid on Sydney harbour in the heart of the nation's
biggest city was found off the beach of the Pacific east coast.
The sub is believed to be the tomb of its two-man crew, who disappeared after their May 1942 mission killed 19 Australian
and two British sailors in a torpedo attack on the Australian ship HMAS Kuttabul.
Bracketing a deadly Japanese air raid on the northern city of Darwin in February 1942, they heightened fears of invasion.
"The Japanese sub attack was significant as Sydney was so far away from the main theatre and the Japanese were able to
come this far south and launch an attack on our largest city," says Australian National University's David Horner.
"You've got to remember Australia had a population of seven million people in World War II, so we felt very vulnerable.
There was a real legitimate concern in early 1942 that Australia might be invaded," Horner told AFP.
The midget sub was one of three that slipped into the harbour on the night of May 31 1942 after being launched from a
fleet of larger submarines offshore.
Two of the midget vessels were spotted and attacked, leading the two-man crews to commit suicide, Australian national archives
record. But the third sub, M24, managed to fire two torpedoes at the US heavy cruiser USS Chicago, one of which exploded
beneath the HMAS Kuttabul.
The submarine then slipped out of the harbour, its mission complete, but historians long argued about whether it managed to
make a complete escape.
The mystery was solved when a group of amateur divers discovered the vessel upright on the seabed in deep water about five
kilometres (3.1 miles) off Sydney's northern beaches.
"The submarine is of international historical significance and is presumed to still contain the remains of its commander and
navigator, Sub-Lieutenant Katsuhisa Ban and Petty Officer Memoru Ashibe," the government said.
The authorities decided the bodies would remain undisturbed on the seabed in their craft, which has been declared protected
under Australia's Historic Shipwrecks Act.
As for the midget submarine, speculation would suggest it either arrived late for its rendezvous with the mother sub after carrying
out its deadly raid or ran out of power on the way, Stevens said.
The wreck has been declared protected and has not been entered to establish exactly what happened.
But navy divers collected sand from the site to present to Japanese relatives who joined their former enemies at an emotional
ceremony honouring the two sailors over their wartime graves in August last year.

If you want to SEE the subs in action -check out the animation in this site Animation of Midget subs

Use the information above and your own knowledge to do these activities.

Task 3 :

You are a resident of Sydney in May 1942.
Choose your age,occupation ,address, family etc .If you want any help don't hesitate to ask .
Write a series of (3) letters to a relative or friend about the events concerning the Sub attack.

Task 4 :
Present day.
Your grandchildren are visiting you. You like them. You are fit,healthy and lucid.
One of them is doing a school project on the 1942 sub attack. This child (your favourite) wants to ask
you about what you remember,what you did and your thoughts at the time(as a primary source) .
Provide the script or interview for this discussion.
You are cheap,this will save you the cost of buying an expensive Christmas present.
(200 words minimum .)

have a look at Midget Submarine attack on Sydney which is quite up to date ,even referring to
the 60 Minutes
segment on the diver's discovery which went to air on 26 November 2006.
(available to view at channel 9 site)



Kokoda -"Rising Sun" Emblem

For Kokoda see
Kokoda painting

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels
transporting wounded diggers

one of the best maps is at

also try Kokoda Trail

The above will be very useful to do the set Activity on Kokoda

open Using the above information ,your own knowledge and the data in the documents
to attempt the next tasks.
Also from the HTA is an excellent document
here is the introduction :

"Australia Remembers 1945-1995


Australians in Papua

After rapid successes in the early months of the war, the Japanese Naval General Staff wanted to move into
Eastern New Guinea, and down the Solomons and New Hebrides to New Caledonia, Fiji and Samoa. Admiral Yamamoto and the staff of the Combined Fleet considered Japan's first priority was the destruction of the
American Pacific Fleet and instead proposed the seizure of Midway as a preliminary step to the invasion on
The Naval General Staff opposition to Yamamoto's Midway operation promptly vanished on 18 April after the
Doolittle raid on Tokyo. The Port Moresby thrust had proceeded too far to be called off by the time the order
was given for the Midway operation leaving the Japanese with two concurrent strategies which were destined to overextend their forces.

TASK 5 :
Use TWO different colours-one for the Australians or one for the Japanese and place the
corresponding number on your maps.

TASK 6 :
a) Make up a newspaper headline (for the date specified) based on each situation.
b) Choose THREE of the headlines from part a and write the whole story.

You must have a banner for the paper (either Sydney Morning Herald; Daily Telegraph or
Asahi Shimbun) headline,
introductory sentences, and then the rest of the story. You may use photos or maps if required.
See me if you have any problems


Wartime Controls
for wartime rations see

for petrol rationing see

for wartime censorship see


A site that is excellent for the Home Front is


some restrictions included :

· the reduction of the Christmas - New Year holiday period to three days;
· the restriction of weekday sporting events;
· blackouts and brownouts in cities and coastal areas;
· daylight saving;
· increased call-ups of the Militia;
· the issue of personal identity cards;
· increased enlistment of women into the auxiliary forces;
· regulations allowing strikers to be drafted into the Army or into the Army Labour Corps;
· the fixing of profit margins in industry;
· restrictions on the costs allowed for building or renovations;
· the setting of some women's pay rates at near-male levels;
· internment of members of the Australia First organisation;
· controls on the cost of dresses;
· the rationing of clothing, footwear, tea, butter and sugar;
· the banning of the Communist Party, and the Australia First Movement for opposition to the war;
· the formation of a Women's Land Army;
· the pegging of prices; and
· the prosecution of about one thousand conscientious objectors, and the imprisoning of some of them.

Task 7
You are the Official Government Spokesman for Wartime Restrictions.
This list in green was yours.
Explain to the Prime Minister why each of them are necessary.
Use full sentences,the PM has hearing problem.
(I just made that up)

Task 8
Write a series of 4 wartime letters
a) One from a parent to a son serving overseas describing conditions at home.
Mention some aspects of your daily life-especially changes in society
(women in the workforce and rationing.)
b) Another from the son at the front line.
c) For both letters submitted to the government censor show the final versions that eventually reached
the senders.

Women in WWII
See http://www.teacheroz.com/WWIIHomefront.htm the most comprehensive site on
women in WWII with lots of varied information

Rosie the Riveter

Units of Australian Soldiers

Division (military), a unit typically consisting of between 10,000 to 20,000 troops
A regiment is a military unit, composed of variable numbers of battalions – commanded by a Colonel.

A brigade is a military unit that is typically composed of two to five regiments or battalions, depending on the era and
nationality of a given army.

A battalion is a military unit of around 500-1500 men usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically
commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel. Several battalions are grouped to form a regiment or a brigade.

A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 75-200 soldiers. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons .
Several companies are grouped to form a battalion or regiment, the latter of which is sometimes formed by several battalions.

A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two to four sections or squads and containing about 30 to 50 soldiers.
Platoons are organised into a
company, which typically consists of three, four or five platoons.
A platoon is typically the smallest military unit led by a commissioned officer
the platoon leader or platoon commander, usually a lieutenant.
He is usually assisted by a senior non-commissioned officer — the platoon sergeant.

The Australian Army, is structured in a similar way to the British Army, with divisions and brigades as the main formations,
subdivided into regiments and battalions.

The main tactical formation is the battlegroup, formed around the HQ of either an infantry battalion or armoured regiment.
The Australian Army is currently capable of fielding up to nine battlegroups .

In WWII ,the 2nd AIF's main strength consisted of five divisions: the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th, and the 1st Armoured Division.
Divisions numbered 1st to 5th were Militia divisions, as were the 10th through 12th and the 2nd and 3rd Armoured Divisions.
As a result of the ban on foreign service, during World War I and World War II, all-volunteer Australian Imperial Forces were
formed for overseas deployment. CMF units were sometimes scorned by AIF soldiers as "chocolate soldiers" or "chockos",
because "they would melt under the pressure" of military operations; or in an alternative version of the story of the origin of this term,
as a result of the 1930s' uniforms of Militia soldiers, these soldiers were considered by AIF volunteers and some civilians as soldiers
only for show like the soldiers in garish 19th century dress uniforms shown on tins of chocolates that were commonly sold in Australia
in the 1930s, hence the name "chocolate-tin soldiers" for Militia members.

Nevertheless, some Militia units distinguished themselves in action against the Empire of Japan during the Pacific War, and suffered extremely high casualties. In mid-1942 Militia units fought in two significant battles, both in New Guinea, which was then an Australian territory. The exploits of the young and poorly trained soldiers of the 39th (Militia) Battalion during the rearguard action on the
Kokoda Track remain celebrated to this day, as is the contribution of the 7th Brigade at the Battle of Milne Bay.
Later in the war, the law was changed to allow the transfer of Militia units to the 2nd AIF; of these Militia units, 65% of their personnel
had volunteered for overseas service. Another change allowed Militia units to serve anywhere south of the Equator in
South-East Asia. Consequently they also saw action against Japanese forces in the Dutch East Indies.

General Ranks of the Australian Army
General (GEN)
Lieutenant General (LTGEN)
Major General (MAJGEN)

Senior Officer Ranks of the Australian Army
Brigadier (BRIG)
Colonel (COL)

Field Grade Officer Ranks of the Australian Army
Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL)
Major (MAJ)

Company Grade Officer Ranks of the Australian Army
Captain (CAPT)
Lieutenant (LT)
Second Lieutenant (2LT)

Australia in World War Two
a list of WWII sites
Australian War Memorial
Australian War Museum Encyclopaedia

Remembering 1942~ conference Australian War Museum
Rendcombian Society Newsletter 1998
and Coastwatcher Evans Naval Historical Centre US
2004 Nicole Dombrowski

Zealand Military Imposters formerly CPMH Coalition of Patriots for Military Honour