Asked in World War 2Australia in WW2
How and why did Australia's relationship with Britain and the US change during World War 2?
February 06, 2017 1:51AM
Australia and Britain were very close, mainly due to the fact that Britain founded Australia, and Australia considered them their "mother country". However in World War 2, the relationship started to change, and it started with the British Prime Minister Churchill diverting Australia's 6th and 7th Divisions to reinforce their own troops in Burma when Australia needed them for their defense due to the Japanese advance. This was done without consultation, but eventually, Australian Prime Minister Curtin, managed to get the troops back. This caused some of the changes between Australia and Great Britain. Another reason is because Britain could not help Australia when they needed them most, even when Australia helped Britain when they needed it. This caused PM Curtin to publicly appeal to the US for military assistance, and this was done on 27 December, 1941 (I think). The US came immediately, as they were also eager to drive back the Japanese who bombed Pearl Harbour. The US commander Douglas MacArthur arrived in March the next year and became Supreme Commander of all Allied Forces in the South-West Pacific, and Australia became his headquarters for command. The US military assistance was vital in driving back the Japanese, and they were considered as saviors by Australians. However, as time wore on, the relationship began to sour, with Australian commanders resenting MacArthur's arrogant manner and the way he deployed Australian troops and undervalued their efforts. Sometimes, fights would occur, which occasionally became serious, resulting with deaths. However, the US did help Australia drive the Japanese back and win the war. The original relationship between Britain and Australia resumed, but with Australia being more cautious and independent.
Ever since WWI, Australia's relationship with its traditional ally and mother country Britain had been waning. The senseless slaughter of the ANZAC's at Galipoli is credited to the 'birth' of the new Australian nation and spirit. Australians decided that their troops would never be put in complete control of the British ever again. So Australia (still closely tied with Britain because it was a colony) went in search for a new 'mother' nation. The Americans were the answer. America (A growing world power) and Australia announced that it would now work as closely with the Americans as possible. Despite all this when WW2 broke out the Australian soldiers were still sent off to help the British fight 'their war' and were not allowed to withdraw when the troops were needed to defend their own country. The big transfer of 'mother' nations came when the Japanese began to expand further and further into south east Asia, and threatening Australia. The Australian PM appealed to the US President directly and gave the message that Australia would be at Americas 'beck-and-call' as long as they helped fight the Japanese, prevent invasion of Australia and free south east Asia. With the bombing of Pearl Harbour America not only entered the war but sent huge numbers of army units to the south pacific to help fight off the Japanese. The alliance of the US and Australia began during WW1 but really took off during ww2 and both countries are still closely aligned today.
Britain's Prime Minister Churchill, without the consultation with Australia's prime minister Curtin commanded Australian troops to fight in the middle east for Britain's defenses.
Also because Britain in the end was having enough trouble of her own dealing with Nazi Germany, Australia realised she could not rely on Britain anymore and turned to the US.
Britain is Australians mother country; Australia looked up to Britain for everything. When War was declared by Britain the prime minister of Australia also declared war. �It is my melancholy duty to inform you officially that in consequence of persistence by Germany and her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her and that, as a result, Australia is also at war.� When Australia needed its troops at Australia because Japan was attacking they got them back. Australia looked to Britain for help but they said no and this is were America came in. Australia's relationships during WW2 undertook serious changes that still affect us today. Australia stopped looking to Britain for the support it used to and started looking to America. American and Australian troops disliked each other but worked together on that battle field. The Americans were brought into the war due to Pearl Harbour and Australia formed a relationship with them almost immediately. I think that this downfall in Australian and Britain's friendship wasn't smart because even though Australia is still in the commonwealth and ruled by the queen, we still look to America and our allies with America rather than Britain.
Australia had always depended on a great power for protection and that power had always been Britain, the Mother Country. Now Britain was fighting for its own survival against Germany and the Nazis. Britain's Empire in the far East was falling to Japan. So instead of focusing on Britain for protection, Australia's interests shifted to America. John Curtin (Australia's PM at the time) soon realized that the US alone has the power and capacity to assist Australia if ever there was an invasion from Japan, which was foreseen. Also the fact that Britain did not come to Australia's aid when they were under attack weakened their relationship somewhat. Australia was just a minion of the "Mother Country" to be protected at all costs.
This is just my opinion, but here goes. the ANZACS was part of the commonwealth and her military served at the pleasure of the King, under "British Officers" In WW1 the Aussies felt their men were used as cannon fodder (which they were) and they could see the same thing happening again They thought the Brits had left their men to die in SE Asia. The opinion of most Australians is that the British will fight to the last Australian. And by the way they were no better treated by the Americans. They have been sorely treated from the time of Galipoli until now.
Australia's relationship between England and the USA endured a critical turning point as a result of the war. When the war broke out in 1939, Australia considered itself apart of the British Empire, and has always supported Britain's interests. So in 1939 when WW11 broke out, Australia declared its support for Britain and troops of the 6th, 7th and 9th battalion were sent to the Middle East, 27000 Australians in the air force were involved in the Empire Air Training Scheme that provided air crews to fight in Britain, and half the Australian navy went to the Mediterranean to assist the war effort. There was always the mutual agreement that if support was required in Australia, Britain would immediately come to her aid. The reality was that when Australia was attacked in 1942, Britain failed to keep their promise to Australia and did not provide support or aid. Australia became aware that they were both vulnerable and alone, and since the British government had neither the will nor power to support Austria, the Australian government turned to the USA. The realisation that the British empire had failed to support Australia was an important turning point in Australia's relationship with Britain. The USA did come to Australia's aid in 1942 but the motive was very much in America's self interest. Given the danger of Japanese advances form the North and the failure of Britain's support, the Australian government had little choice but to comply with the US military plans and strategy. Britain was no longer considered as Australia's protector and provider but instead America resumed the role. WW11 marked the beginning for Australia's relationship with America that would be further demonstrated through Australia's support to the USA in future wars.
Note: The war against Germany and Italy is commonly referred to as the "European theater", however, reference to this war against Germany and Italy (and other nations) also includes actions in North Africa and the Middle East.
Australian relations at the beginning of WWII were much the same as they had been in WWI. Australia still felt the need to support Britain as a 'mother' country and in 1939 went to war for her. Men joined the war effort such as to support Britain and to enforce Australia in her own right. During WWII Australian's believed that they were safe: both because of the facts that the country is so secluded and because in Singapore stood a British naval force that would act as a front line between Australia and any impending attack from Japan. The fall of Singapore to the Japanese Army in 1942 is considered to be Britain's worst defeat in WWII. The fall of Singapore was not only a humiliation to Britain but it also worked as a shock to Australia. Australia felt the full force of WWII for the first time as the Japanese threat was on their borders. Australia felt the loss of Singapore severely as it had been a major defense between them and Britain. In 1941 after Pearl Harbour but before the fall of Singapore PM Curtin of Australia made a powerful appeal. This appeal however was not directed to Britain but to America. "Without any inhibition of any kind, i make it clear that Australia looks to America, free of any pangs of the traditional kinship with Britain..." He went on to say that he had plan which involved America as a keystone. The Sydney Morning herald published in 1942: "Australia is the last bastion between Japan and America. If Australia goes, America is wide open..." In some opinions 'Britain would fight to the last Australia. In others 'Britain had left Australians to die in Singapore'. Whatever the reason whether the British had too much on their plate or they just felt that Australians would always look up to them, when Australia was in the open, Britain was not there to help. As a result of this Australia turned to America for aid. Australia complied with American plans and strategy to fight Japan. In the end it was not Britain we turned to for help but America, and this was a major step towards our position with them today.
Australia's alliance with Britain and the USA changed during the World War 2. Winston Churchill wanted to send the troops to Burma, to fight and protect the land for Britain, whilst John Curtin wished to send the troops to South East Asia to fight and protect Australia, and to prevent the arrival of the Japanese coming into Australian Territory. He established that Australia would be better-off to protect their own country, and America would assist them in protecting their country.
Australia's relationship with Britain changed for various reasons. Australia at the time had little people and we were not a very powerful country. With little economic statues (after the Great Depression) and little men to fight for war, Australia wasn't very strong to fight for war and protect there own country. Britain was one of the most powerful and richest countries with headquarters all over the world including Singapore. Because Britain to Australia was known as the mother country, when Britain decided to go to war so did Australia as they felt it was there duty and had to be loyal. Britain became self fish and 100s of 1000's of men were over fighting in the Mediterranean and Middle East to support Britain and their country, and Australia had no one supporting the home front. After Japan entering the war and bombing pearl harbour invading Indonesia, Papua, New Guinea etc and Australia being there next target, Britain head quarters in Singapore falling, things for Australia were heating up. the prime minister began to realise we need a better allies, USA was not involved until pearl harbour was bombed and then after discussion USA and Australia joined forces and Australia demanded all their troops from Europe and Britain to return home and fight for their country. This is how and why the relationship with Britain ceased and USA's grew bigger with us.
Australia's relationship with Britain and America changed in ww2 as before ww2, Australia was very loyal to its mother country of Britain. It always went to Britain's help, like the ANZACS in ww1. The same thing happened in ww2. When Churchill asked for men from Menzies, Australia gave. But our national security was undermined when the Japanese were taking over the Pacific. They quickly took China, Burma, Thailand, Indo-China and the Malay Peninsula. This caused worry back home which increased when the British warships, the Repulse and the Prince of Wales were sunk off the Malay coast on the 10th December 1941. This was a major blow for Britain's naval strength in the region and Singapore's defenses. Due to its lack of security in the region, Australia looked to America for help on the 27th December 1941. Curtin said,I make it quite clear that Australia looks to America free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the UK. This said, Singapore fell on the 15th February 1942 with the biggest mass surrender of all time. (85000 Allied troops including 15000 Australians)
Britain was Australian Mother country, Australia looked up to Britain for everything. When Britain declared they were going into war, naturally Prime minister of Australia also declared war." It is my melancholy duty to inform you officially that in consequence of persistence by Germany and her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her and that, as a result, Australia is also at war" Australia was a weak country with little people and were suffering after the depression, they needed Britain. Australia soon needed help itself, they were threatened by the Japanese. They turned to Britain for help, but their mother country didn't help at all. Prime Minister John Curtin ordered the Australian troops who had completed action in the middle east to return to Australia. Winston Churchill had no part of it, he wanted the Australian troops to continue assisting with England's defeat of Germany. It was obvious that Britain could no longer help Australia and so they were on their own. Australia was still closely tied with Britain because it was a colon but they had no choice other then to look for a new 'mother' nation. Australia then made a decision that still affects today, Australia decided to turn to America for the help they needed. At first the change to mother nations went well. The Australian solders got on with the American soldiers, but not for long. The American Governor General started to become very biased towards the American soldiers. The Australian soldiers soon started to resent the Americans as they got many more rights, and the Australian girls found that the American men were interesting and paid more attention to them. They were described as "over paid, over sexed and over here". Not only did the American soldiers get more rights, but when an Australian soldier did do something great they weren't rewarded for there bravery and skills.
During the war Australia looked to USA when threatened with invasion since USA would suffer greatly from Australia's invasion and Britain was too busy in Europe. This alliance with the USA made Australia less Dependant on Britain. After the war Australia became more independent since it was less dependent on Britain.
Australia's relationship stayed strong with Britain throughout the war, their friendship didn't fail, although there were some points where Australian soldiers thought it was all for nothing
After war broke out in Europe and the Middle-East, in September 1939, Britain (and her colonies) declared war on Germany, thus bringing Australia into the war. At the time, Australia saw Britain as its major source of Protection and security, and decided to respect the ties of Kinship it had with Britain, consequently entering the second world war. However when the Japanese attacked the US naval base, Pearl Harbour(Hawaii), on the 7th December 1941, the war was extended to the Pacific. On February 15th 1942, Britain's naval base, in Singapore, was also attacked by the Japanese. This left Australia vulnerable, and John Curtin, the Australian Prime Minister, turned to the USA for help. The USA were already fighting in the Pacific, and accepted Curtin's plea for help. US troops began to arrive in Australia, influencing Australia's culture, and triggered the change in how Australian society saw itself - as an extension of Great Britain, to 'true-blue' Australian. Sydney and Newcastle were next to be attacked by Japanese migit Submarines in May 1942, but after the defeat of the Japanese in the Battle of Mid-way (Papua New Guinea), the tables were soon turned on the Japanese, soon bringing the American and Australian troops, (under command of the US general MacArthur) to victory, and ending the Japanese threat of invasion to Australia, (or so they thought that was their plan at the time, but that matter is still being debated today). After originally having only strong ties with Britain, during WW1, Australia looked more towards the United States of America for assistance in WW2, extending its links of kinship, marketing and trade, to around the world. I've missed out some stuff... but o'well
Australia's relationship with Britain changed for various reasons. Australia at the time had little people and we were not a very powerful country. with little economic statues (after the Great Depression) and little men to fight for war, Australia wasn't very strong to fight for war and protect there own country. Britain was one of the most powerful and richest countries with headquarters all over the world including Singapore.Because Britain to Australia was known as the mother country, when Britain decided to go to war so did Australia as they felt it was there duty and had to be loyal. Britain became self fish and 100s of 1000's of men were over fighting in the Mediterranean and middle east to support Britain and their country, and Australia had no one supporting the home front. After japan entering the war and bombing pearl harbour invading Indonesia papua new guinea etc and Australia being there next target, and Britain head quarters in Singapore falling things for Australia were heating up. and the prime minister began to realise we need a better ally .USA was not involved until pearl harbour was bombed and then after discussion USA and Australia joined forces and Australia demanded all their troops from Europe and Britain to return home and fight for their country.This is how and why the relationship with Britain ceased and USA's grew bigger with us.
Here's a few contributing facts to the change in attitude towards England during the second world war. Australia, as a former English colony was still very 'English' had always relied on England to protect the country from invaders. With a powerfully manned English outpost in Singapore, Australia always hada a feeling of safety and never worried about building up a powerful defence force. During the war English forces were stretched thin and when the threat of invasion from the powerful Japanese loomed over the Country their was a sudden feeling of vulnerability, which was escalated to an almost intense fear when two of the strongest English Naval Vessels were sunk off the coast of Singapore by an overwhelming Japanese force. With the Germans wreaking havoc in Europe, and now Japan over running the Pacific, the defenseless nation of Australia felt it was time to develop a sense of independence, and started enlistment for a second AIF (Australian Imperial Forces) division.
Australia's relationships during WW2 undertook serious changes that still affect us today. Australia stopped looking to Britain for the support it used to and started looking to America. American and Australian troops disliked each other but worked together on that battle field. The Americans were brought into the war due to Pearl Harbour and Australia formed a relationship with them almost immediately.
Australia was a self governing dominion within the British Empire. As such it depended on Britain for its defense and came to Britain's aid when the war broke out. In 1940 and 1941 Britain was committing virtually every resource it had and every one it could gather from the Empire, to fighting Germany. Australia was sending all the troops it could spare to be used in that fight. Most of them were in North Africa. Suddenly Japan attacked in the Pacific. Britain had no additional strength to use to meet her obligations to defend Australia. Much of Australia's strength was on the other side of the world. The United States stepped forward and assumed the responsibility of providing for Australia's defense. Although Australia remained a British Dominion, it came under the protection of the United States. Naturally its relations with both of those countries changed significantly.
After the fall of Singapore the Australian people and army didn't look to Britain for it's defense anymore. The Australians felt that they had been betrayed by the British, instead they looked to the yanks for help and after the successful defense of New Guinea, Australia and Yankee relations improved even though there were constant fights between the American and Australian army (most notably the Battle of Brisbane and Battle of Fremantle).
How Did Australia's relationship with England and the USA change during World War II?
At the beginning of World War 2 Australia's links with Britain were close but this wasn't the case at the end of the war, Australia had looked towards America for its own safety as Britain had proven that they weren't powerful as they use to be, the fall of Singapore being an example that effected Australia's links with Britain as they surrounded without even trying to fight back.
John Curtin made a new years speech about Australia looking towards America as he believed that Britain wouldn't be able to defend Australia if they were under attack so he decided to make Australia's links with America stronger. Curtin had arguments with Churchill the Prime minister of Britain about bringing Australia's troops back form the Middle East as Churchill moved them there without even asking Curtin. Churchill apologized and sent the troops back to Australia's mainland to defend as what Curtin wanted, this weakening the links between Australia and Britain more.
With America by our sides Australian fought the Pacific War together, after the war America, New Zealand and Australia singed a mutual defense agreement.
Can I just add, that the relationship was not between England and such forth, it was between Britain. The Scot's and the Irish had a great deal to play in the British empire - Going as far as Glasgow being known as the "Second City of the Empire". Also, the founding of Britain was due to the Scottish king inheriting the English throne.
During WW2, Australia was fighting away from home. Then the allies started to attack Asia and the Pacific region. When this happened, Australia realized that Britain was losing its touch. Australia realized that if anything was to happen to them, Britain would not be able to protect them, thus drifting away.
Meanwhile, America was not involved in the war. when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the US was drawn into the war, so Australia and America worked together, and formed a close friendship.
After the bombing in of the British base in Singapore, Australia slightly lost trust in Britain and Britain was busy, so Australia went to US for help. The United States agreed because the location of Australia could also benefit them during the war and they could help protect Australia.
Australia's relationship with Britain changed because Australia was becoming a independent country and they were to fend for themselves. America was one of the most powerful countries, and still is, which meant that they had major influence over all the other countries.
The biggest change was the difference in perceived threat between Germany and Japan. Germany was bombing England, Japan had bombed Darwin. If you're Australian you want to repel the Japanese, if you're English you want to repel the Germans. Generally, the UK was in the 'driver's seat' in the relationship between the UK and Australia and England's obvious bias to fight the Germans first obviously caused some resentment in Australia (at least until the threat against Australia subsided).
Australia had troops in Europe fighting for the British Empire. Due to the threat of invasion from Japan Australia wanted assistance and troops sent home to ensure that the threat of invasion did not eventuate. Britain denied this request however America offered assistance and thus General McAuthor came to Australia and since then Australia has had close political ties with America.
The shortest answer is to say that Australia felt very 'let down' by Britain in WWII. Australia had sent, loyally, troops to almost every engagement of the British including the Boer War and WWI, and it was always expected that in return Britain and its supreme navy would protect Australia in time of need (the country being too vast and population too small to mount any reasonable self-defense at that time). With the fall of Singapore in WWII to the Imperial Japanese Army, the British presence in Asia and the Pacific was over. With Britain unable to spare troops from the European theater, and unwilling even to allow Australian troops in the Middle East to return to defend Australia, the spirit in Australia turned from one of support for Britain to disappointment in Britain. But focusing on the immediate need which was to prevent Japanese invasion of Australia, Australians also recognized the urgent need then to find an alternative Big Brother to protect them. In came the US with their massive forces in the Pacific. From that time until now, the US relationship has been the mainstay of Australian defense policy, hoping as earlier with Britain that if ever an enemy chose to attack Australia, the US would help out. In the meantime the price Australia pays for this 'insurance' is to send troops to most of the US' main military actions such as Iraq. So the change in WWII was a truly dramatic change in direction in defense reliance.
Britain was taking on Hitler, such a small country taking on the biggest threat at the time and Australia expected Britain to send over British troops (even though they were 100% tied up taking on Nazi Germany) and risk loosing Britain's war to help them. If Britain wasn't taking on the biggest threat at the time, then they would have helped Australia like agreed. Alongside taking on Germany, Britain was taking on Italy and the Soviet Union
Germany had taken over (or allied to), Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, France, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Egypt, Malta, Japan. Britain was taking them on, yet Australia became annoyed because Britain did what they did and effectively helped win the war.
Relations should not have gone sour simply because Britain was fighting in their own war. Sure Australia helped out Britain, but the difference was at anytime Australia was helping Britain, they weren't in their own major war at the time.