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Australia's changing relationships with Britain and the US
Transcript of Australia's changing relationships with Britain and the US
Caitlin lee, Year 9 Mandatory History
WW2 brought many changes in relationships between countries. This can be seen through the evidently tense relationship between Britain and Australia. In contrast, the relationship between Australia and the United States of America strengthened as the USA provided loyal support in many battles fought by Australia. Throughout this presentation, primary and secondary sources will be analyzed to examine both of the changing relationships Australia had between Britain and the USA
During WW2, Singapore was strategically placed for the use of Britain and the Allied forces in South East Asia. This therefore meant that when Japan took over Singapore, Britain could no longer supply to both Australia and it's allies. As Singapore was the only barrier between Japan and Australia, it meant that Australia was in danger of being attacked. The fall of Singapore was defiantly influenced the relationship between Britain and Australia, as Britain had promised that Singapore would be well protected. As this promise was broken, and Australian's were forced to face the imminent threat of being invaded. This threat influenced Australia to not whole-heartedly trust Britain, as they once had before.
John Curtin and Winston Churchill
With the reality of an invasion, the Prime minister at the time- John Curtin- wanted Australian troops to help defend the country. He urged Winston Churchill to send troops back to help fight. Yet, even though a Japanese invasion was very close, Churchill refused to send them back, claiming there was other battles to fight. This was Britain first mistake, as this angered the Australians and tested their loyalty to the British Empire. Finally, after Churchill finally agreed to sending the troops home, he unnecessarily detoured the Australian troops to a battle in Africa. Finally, when the troops arrived home, the relationship between the two countries was damaged
Extract from Robert Menzies speech
"Fellow Australians, it is my melancholy duty to inform you officially, that in consequence of a persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her and that, as a result, Australia is also at war. No harder task can fall to the lot of a democratic leader than to make such an announcement."
The Fall of Singapore
From this extract of Menzies speech, we can see the disappointment both he and the Australian public acquired after the British let them down. This is because of the recent horrors that Australia witnessed from WW1. The public did not want to experience them again and therefore put trust in Britain to not declare war. This meant the loyal relationship between the two countries wavered for the first time.
Australia relationship with America
This primary Source shows us the close relationship between Australian (John Curtin) and American (Douglas Macarthur) showing a friendship that cannot be witnessed between Australia and Britain. This personal relationship between the two commanders shows us the strengthened relationships.
Australia relationship with the USA
During the war, Australia's supplies and rations were being sent to Britain and Britain's interest in Australia was slowly dimming. Slowly the strong relationship with Britain was being replaced with a relationship with the USA. The battle of the Coral Sea was a major turning point for this relationship. When America came to help with this devastating battle, instead of Britain, this relationship was secured. As well as political relations, the Australian public accepted American traditions. Radio broadcasts featured American news and sport and Australians were encouraged to welcome American soldiers into their homes.
Anderson, Maureen. Retroactive 2. 2nd ed. Milton, Qld.: John Wiley & Sons, 2005. Print.
"Relations with Britain and the United States of America, Australia and World War II, History, Year 9, NSW | Online Education Home Schooling Skwirk Australia." Skwirk. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2013. <http://www.skwirk.com.au/p-t_s-14_u-91_t-203/relations-with-britain-and-the-united-states-of-america/nsw/history/australia-and-world-war-ii>.
"Relations with Britain and the United States of America, Australia and World War II, History, Year 9, NSW | Online Education Home Schooling Skwirk Australia." Skwirk. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. <http://www.skwirk.com.au/p-t_s-14_u-91_t-203/relations-with-britain-and-the-united-states-of-america/nsw/history/australia-and-world-war-ii>.
"The fall of Singapore." History Learning Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2013. <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/fall_of_singapore.htm>.
"US naval power in the Pacific, Relations with Britain and the United States of America, Australia and World War II, History Year 9, NSW | Online Education Home Schooling Skwirk Australia."Skwirk. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2013. <http://www.skwirk.com.au/p-c_s-56_u-91_t-203_c-679/us-naval-power-in-the-pacific/nsw/us-naval-power-in-the-pacific/australia-and-world-war-ii/relations-with-britain-and-the-united-states-of-america>.
"World War II (1939-45) : The fall of Singapore -- Encyclopedia Britannica."Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2013. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/648813/World-War-II/53557/The-fall-of-Singapore>.
Battle of the Coral Sea
As shown in these 2 secondary sources, we can see that when the Japanese attacked, the American navy was first to respond to the attacks, taking the shortest route to help the Australians. This action strengthened the strengthened the relationship between the two countries.
As displayed in the numerous sources, we can tell that WW2 defiantly influenced the relationships between many countries. These countries included Australia, Britain and America. Because of numerous decisions made by Britain, the relationship between Australia and Britain slowly dissolved. In contrast, the relationship between America and Australia strengthened because of the loyal help America displayed. The nation gained favor from the Australian community for helping in times of crisis.