Down Under

As the tattered British empire hobbled down the dark alleys of 1941, Australian troops were committed to protecting the motherland, not the home country. Churchill actually suggested that Prime Minister Menzies join his War Cabinet.

Menzies compatriots back in Australia were less than pleased with his willingness to kowtow to Churchill and he was forced to step down. In October, 1941, John Curtin took up the reins of power in Canberra. Within two months, Australia was at war with Japan.

Pearl Harbor shattered the illusion of invulnerability embedded in the psyche of Americans and Australians. The oceans were no longer big enough to keep the enemy at bay. Aircraft carriers, long-range bombers and submarines had changed the nature of war. As the Japanese carriers steamed out to attack the naval base in Hawaii, the Japanese army island moved south, toward Australia.

When Australians woke to the news of Pearl Harbor…

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