Military history of Australia during World War II - Wikipedia
During WW2, Singapore was strategically placed for the use of Britain the close relationship between Australian (John Curtin) and American. For Australia it meant that the Second World War was finally over. A few Australians flew in the Battle of Britain in August and September, but the home, and when the United States assumed responsibility for the country's defence, " The battle of Berlin" Wartime 25 (); Robert Nichols, "The first kamikaze attack ?. Australia entered World War II on 3 September , following the government's acceptance of .. The Australian Government agreed to British and United States requests to temporarily retain the 9th Division in . about 10 percent of the main bomber force during the winter of –44, including during the Battle of Berlin.
Menzies resigned on 26 August after losing the confidence of his party and was replaced by Arthur Fadden from the Country Partywhich was the UAP's coalition partner. Fadden's government collapsed on 3 October and was replaced by an Australian Labor Party government under the leadership of John Curtin. The Australian force entered Lebanon on 8 June and advanced along the coast road and Litani River valley.
Although little resistance had been expected, the Vichy forces mounted a strong defence which made good use of the mountainous terrain. These changes enabled the Allies to overwhelm the French forces and the 7th Division entered Beirut on 12 July. The loss of Beirut and a British breakthrough in Syria led the Vichy commander to seek an armistice and the campaign ended on 13 July.
Following the outbreak of war in the Pacific most elements of the Corps, including the 6th and 7th Divisions, returned to Australia in early to counter the perceived Japanese threat to Australia. This operation ended in failure, and Nestor had to be scuttled on 16 June after being bombed the previous day.
After this operation, the three surviving destroyers returned to the Indian Ocean. The lead elements of the Division arrived at El Alamein on 6 July and the Division was assigned the most northerly section of the Commonwealth defensive line. Following this battle the division remained at the northern end of the El Alamein line and launched diversionary attacks during the Battle of Alam el Halfa in early September.
After a lengthy period of preparation, the Eighth Army launched its major offensive on 23 October. The 9th Division suffered a high number of casualties during this battle and did not take part in the pursuit of the retreating Axis forces. The corvettes also escorted convoys in the western Mediterranean before returning to the Eastern Fleet. The two Australian fighter bomber squadrons provided close air support to the Allied armies and attacked German supply lines until the end of the war.
This special duties squadron dropped men and supplies to guerrillas in Yugoslavia and attempted to supply the Polish Home Army during the Warsaw Uprising in The RAAF, including thousands of Australians posted to British units, made a significant contribution to the strategic bombing of Germany and efforts to safeguard Allied shipping in the Atlantic.
The other services made smaller contributions, with two Army brigades being briefly based in Britain in late and several of the RAN's warships serving in the Atlantic. An Australian Army forestry group served in Britain between and It was joined by No. These men were not concentrated in Australian units, and were instead often posted to the Commonwealth squadron with the greatest need for personnel where they became part of a multi-national bomber crew.
Five Australian heavy bomber squadrons No. The aircraft are painted with invasion stripes. Australians took part in all of Bomber Command's major offensives and suffered heavy losses during raids on German cities and targets in France.
In the view of Paul HasluckAustralia fought two wars between and Measures were taken to improve Australia's defences as war with Japan loomed inbut these proved inadequate.
In December the Australian Army in the Pacific comprised the 8th Division, most of which was stationed in Malaya, and eight partially trained and equipped divisions in Australia, including the 1st Armoured Division. United States Military units also arrived in Australia in great numbers before being deployed to New Guinea. The Allies moved onto the offensive in latewith the pace of advance accelerating in From the Australian military was mainly relegated to subsidiary roles, but continued to conduct large-scale operations until the end of the war.
Battle of Malaya and Battle of Singapore From the s Australia's defence planning was dominated by the so-called ' Singapore strategy '. This strategy involved the construction and defence of a major naval base at Singapore from which a large British fleet would respond to Japanese aggression in the region. To this end, a high proportion of Australian forces in Asia were concentrated in Malaya during and as the threat from Japan increased.
Italian green with the Axis. French colonies dark blue fought with the Allies until the Fall of France after which some supported Vichy and some the Free French. Portuguese brown and Spanish teal colonies remained neutral. Africa was a large continent whose geography gave it strategic importance during the war. North Africa was the scene of major campaigns against Italy and Germany; East Africa was the scene of a major campaign against Italy. The vast geography provided major transportation routes linking the United States to the Middle East and Mediterranean regions.
The sea route around South Africa was heavily used even though it added 40 days to voyages that had to avoid the dangerous Suez region. Lend Lease supplies to Russia often came this way. Internally, long-distance road and railroad connections facilitated the British war effort.
Australia's changing relationships with Britain and the US by Cat Ll on Prezi
The Union of Africa had dominion status and was largely self-governing, the other British possessions were ruled by the colonial office, usually with close ties to local chiefs and kings. France had extensive possessions in Africa, but they played a much smaller role in the war, since they were largely tied to Vichy France.
Portuguese holdings played a minor role. Italian holdings were the target of successful British military campaigns. The Belgian Congo, and two other Belgian colonies, were major exporters. In terms of numbers and wealth, the British -controlled the richest portions of Africa, and made extensive use not only of the geography, but the manpower, and the natural resources.
Civilian colonial officials made a special effort to upgrade the African infrastructure, promote agriculture, integrate colonial Africa with the world economy, and recruit over a half million soldiers. The Army set up the West Africa Command, which recruitedsoldiers. The Southern Command was the domain of South Africa. In addition smaller more localized commands were set up throughout the war.
As soon as the war began, newly created African units were set up, primarily by the Army. The new recruits were almost always volunteers, usually provided in close cooperation with local tribal leaders. During the war, military pay scales far exceeded what civilians natives could earn, especially when food, housing and clothing allowances are included.
The largest numbers were in construction units, called Pioneer Units, with over 82, soldiers. The RAF and Navy also did some recruiting. East Africa provided the largest number of men, over , chiefly from Kenya, Tanganyika, and Uganda. They did some fighting, a great deal of guard duty, and construction work. A special effort was made not to challenge white supremacy, certainly before the war, and to a large extent during the war itself.
Nevertheless, the soldiers were drilled and train to European standards, given strong doses of propaganda, and learn leadership and organizational skills that proved essential to the formation of nationalistic and independence movements after There were minor episodes of discontent, but nothing serious, among the natives.
The French army possessed some 2, tanks, but less than a third were concentrated in armoured units. The French air force, disrupted during the Popular Frontwas in any case antiquated, and 90 percent of the artillery dated from World War I.
The German plan of attack in the west, meanwhile, had evolved since the previous autumn. The concomitant risk was that Allied counterattacks might pinch off and destroy the armoured spearheads at a blow. The German offensive struck with devastating effect on May Within days the Dutch surrendered. By May 20, German tanks reached the coast at Abbeville and cut the Allied armies in two. For 17 years he had preached the necessity and beauty of war, believing that a neutral Italy would cease to be regarded as a Great Power and that he needed war in order to fulfill his expansionist fantasies and permit the full triumph of Fascism at home.
Yet in August he demanded from Germany 6, tons of coal, 2, tons of steeland 7, tons of oil before he could honour the Pact of Steel. In fact, war preparations under the corrupt and incompetent Fascists remained feeble, and during these months of nonbelligerence, Mussolini himself took sick and at times even considered joining the Allies.
- World War II
- Rebuilding the world after the second world war
On March 18 he met Hitler at the Brenner Pass and was told that the Germans did not need him to win the war but that he would be allowed to participate and thus escape second-rate status in the Mediterranean. That moment seemed to arrive in June With French defeat assured, Mussolini declared war on France and Britain on the 10th. With German forces streaming east and south, the French government fled on the 11th to Bordeaux and debated three courses of action: Churchill, concerned that the French fleet not fall into German hands, went so far as to offer Anglo-French political union on June Reynaud wanted to continue the war but was outvoted.
The French navy and air force were neutralized. In another meeting of dictators on the 18th, Hitler disappointed Mussolini with his talk of a mild peace lest French forces be driven to defect to Britain. Hitler at once toyed with the notion of winning the Vichy French to an active alliance, thrusting Mussolini farther into the background.
But the British Hurricanes and Spitfires were technically superior to all the German fighters except the Me, which was restricted in its range to the zone south of London.
The British radar screen and ground control network permitted British fighters to concentrate on each German attack. For 10 days the blitz continued night and day over London, the climax coming on the 15th when nearly 60 German planes were shot down.
Two days later Hitler granted that air superiority was not to be had and postponed Operation Sea Lion. Frustrated on sea and in the air, Hitler pondered how his overwhelming land power might be used to persuade Britain to call it quits.
To be sure, the Germans raised the prospect of an occupation of Gibraltar numerous times with Francobut the latter always found an excuse to remain neutral.
A Catholic authoritarianhe was also contemptuous of the neo-pagan Fascists. After their last meeting, Hitler confessed that he would rather have his teeth pulled than go through another bout with Franco. On July 7,Ciano visited Hitler seeking approval for an expansion of the war to Yugoslavia and Greece.
The Italian commander broke off the action after one hit on one of his battleships, whereupon the Fascist air force arrived to bomb indiscriminately friend and foe alike, doing little damage to either.
Military history of Australia during World War II
Frustrated in the Balkans and at sea, Mussolini ordered his Libyan army to cross the Western desert and conquer Egypt. This adventure soon turned to disaster.
In Germany signed a pact with Romania for oil and arms transfers. On November 8, General Alexandros Papagos counterattacked, and within a month the Greeks had turned the tables, occupying one-third of Albania.
Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas refused to let the British into Greece for fear of provoking the Germans; indeed, he hoped to drive Italy out of the Balkans before German help might arrive, and to induce Yugoslavia and Turkey to make common cause with Greece against the Fascists. Ribbentrop still hoped to persuade him that Britain could be induced to relent through diplomacyand his last achievement was the Tripartite or Axis Pact between Germany, Italy, and Japan on September 27, Presumably, this alliance would deflect U.
But London stood firm, and Hitler grew impatient to get on with his real chore of seizing a Ukrainian empire for the German master race. Though Stalin had meticulously observed his pact with Hitler, their rivalry in the Balkans strained relations. Conquest of the U. On December 18 he ordered the army to prepare Operation Barbarossa by May 15, German troops entered Romania on January 7,and Bulgaria on February Mussolini made Badoglio a scapegoat and in November issued the first of his pitiful appeals to Hitler to bail him out.
At their Berghof meeting on January 20,Hitler informed Mussolini of his plans to invade Greece. The death of Metaxas in the following days, in turn, led the Greeks to accept a British expeditionary force. Accordingly, Hitler pressured Yugoslavia to permit the passage of German troops, but air force officers in Belgrade staged a coup on March 27 and signed a treaty with Moscow. Furious over such defiance, Hitler ordered a Blitzkrieg for April 6 that broke Yugoslav resistance in five days and overran Greece by the 22nd.
Crete then succumbed to a spectacular German airborne assault May 20— This did not overly perturb Hitler, who promised his generals victory within a month and denied the need to prepare for cold-weather warfare in Russia. But some generals were skeptical of Blitzkrieg in the vastness of Russia, while others debated whether to force narrow spearheads deep into Russia, emulating the campaign in France, or fight classic battles of envelopment close to the frontier.
In the spring of the Wehrmacht assembled 4, men—the greatest invasion force in history—including 50 Finnish and Romanian and German divisions armed with 3, tanks. They faced a Red Army of some 4, men and perhaps 15, tanks.
German success depended heavily on surprise, but preparations of such magnitude could scarcely be hidden. Stalin may also have dismissed the warnings as attempts to poison his relations with Germany. The Germans struck on June 22,along a 2,mile-front. Three army groups drove deep into the Soviet Union, occupying vast territories and capturing huge numbers of Soviet troops.
But gradually the momentum deserted the invaders. Many myths surround the campaign. It is said that the Germans were wrong in making for Moscow like Napoleon. But Moscow was of far more military value in than in ; it was the hub of Soviet railroads, communications, and government, and its capture might have crippled the Soviet effort to reinforce the front from the Asian hinterland or have undermined the Communist regime.
British Empire in World War II
It is also said that winter defeated the Germans. But they would have had ample time to reach Moscow before winter had they not wasted almost two months in diversions and debate. It is also said that the size of the Soviet Union made swift German victory impossible. But the endless Russian plain actually aided the panzer armies by giving them limitless room to maneuver and form the huge pockets that cost the Red Army 2, men in the first six months.
By December the German invasion of the U. The entry into the war of the United States that same month made German defeat virtually certain—and also brought to a close the last purely European war. Origins of American belligerence From neutrality to active aid The outbreak of war brought a swift change of mood to the United States.
While isolationism was still widespread, the vast majority of Americans were sympathetic to Britain, and Roosevelt did not follow Wilson in asking Americans to be neutral in thought as well as deed.
Instead he set out to lead public opinion and gradually expand his ability to aid the Allies. On September 21,his brilliant speech to Congress laid the groundwork for passage of the Pittman Bill, which became law on November 4 and repealed the arms embargo on belligerent nations.
Only once did Roosevelt make a feint at mediation: But the fall of France pushed the pace of U.
World War II | Facts, Summary, Combatants, & Causes | dayline.info
On May 15, Churchill sought to capitalize on the shifting sentiment with an emergency request for 40 or 50 overage destroyers with which to counter German U-boats. The next step in U. We must be the great arsenal of democracy. Unknown to the public, Roosevelt authorized joint U.
The two countries also collaborated on how to meet the U-boat menace. American Admiral Harold R. The German invasion of the Soviet Union posed the problem of whether to extend lend-lease to the U. Aid to the Soviet Union began in July, and a formal agreement followed on August 2. But the initial supplies were too meagre to affect the battles of