What was Australia's involvement in World War 2?
January 14, 2017 5:54AM
Australian servicemen fought in campaigns against Germany and Italy in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa They fought against Japan in South-east Asia and in other parts of the Pacific. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) participated in operations against Italy after its entry into the war in June 1940. A few Australians flew in the Battle of Britain in August and September of the 1940, but the Australian Army was not engaged in combat until 1941, when the 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions joined Allied operations in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Answer Australia's relationship with Britain at the time was weak and Australia's involvement would strengthen the bond. Also the Australian prime minister Robert Menzies was pro-British and most Australians supported in his belief to help Britain.
Australia was in the war from the very beginning to the very end. Australian Prime Minister Menzies declared that Australia was at war with Germany on the same day that Great Britain did. Initially of course Australian personnel (Army, Air Force & Navy) were deployed in Europe, often under British command, but after Pearl Harbour and the fall of Singapore, Australians generally felt that the national priority was defending Australia against the oncoming Japanese, who were bombing towns in northern Australia, and seemed to be preparing an invasion. This change of focus became a point of sharp contention between the Australian and UK governments - Churchill did not want Australian forces switched from the war against Germany, but despite this, Prime Minister John Curtin withdrew a substantial force from North Africa to aid in Australia's defence. Subsequently, Australian troops inflicted the first significant defeat on the Japanese, driving them back to the northern coast of Papua New Guinea (immediately to Australia's north), and participating in other campaigns in SE Asia. Incidentally, US General MacArthur had his regional HQ in Brisbane, Australia. Another outstanding contribution from Australian troops was in the North African struggle against Rommel.