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.
Main point: Australia looks to US – Curtin.
(use Beaumont book)
Even 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. o
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 o
A 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. o
National Security Act 1947 – restricted civil liabilities, surveillance and internment of enemy aliens
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...
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