How Did Ww2 Change Australia

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The changing foreign policy and alliances during World War 2 (1939-1945) saw Australia begin to shift its dependence from Britain to the United States of America (USA), due to threatening attacks from Japan, consequently impacting Australia’s participation in the war and the shaping of the nation’s policies and identity. As the Axis forces continued to advance with Japan at the forefront, threat toward Australia grew and the country questioned their connection with their ‘Mother Country’. Australia had to look elsewhere for protection, thus involving the USA, and forming a new alliance. This led to Australia both becoming a more independent country and significantly shaped the foreign policy and country’s national identity.

Early in the war,
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This alliance, however, was initially threatened by the USA and Britain’s protection of the ‘Germany First’ strategy. This strategy gave top priority to defeating Germany, regardless of any threat from Japan in the Pacific (Bowen J, 2009). This demonstrates that Australia was not a factor in the initial strategic discussions between the USA and Britain, and that the country was vulnerable if they did not form another alliance. Fortunately for Australia this opposition to alliance changed after the devastating attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii on the 7th of December 1941. This event changed America’s views on the ‘Germany First’ strategy, and Curtin’s hope of an equal effort to apply in the Pacific sector eventuated (Russell, 1993), with the USA appointing General Douglas Macarthur, Supreme Commander in the Pacific (Russell, 1993) .This indicates that the US became a guiding force to Australia as they worked together to defeat the Japanese. Prime Minister Curtin reinforced this with his landmark address on 27th December 1941, “Without any inhibitions of any kind, I make it quite clear that Australia looks to America, free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom” (Curtin J, 1941). With this, Australia realised they could form alliances with countries outside of …show more content…
Unfortunately, on the 5th of July 1945, Prime Minister Curtin died and he was unable to see the lasting legacy of his courageous leadership to form an alliance with the USA (World War, 2016). This alliance resulted in an agreement called ‘the Australia, New Zealand and United States Security Treaty’ (ANZUS) which was signed in 1951, and formally outlined the security relationship between these countries. Prior to the Second World War, Australia and New Zealand were part of the British Empire, however during the war these countries looked to the USA to ensure their security indicating a clear shift not only in the world superpower but in both countries now lessened relationship with their founding nation (Office of Historian, 2016). This indicates that this war developed Australia’s maturity as a nation, allowing the country to widen their alliances and develop policies. The Australian Government also committed to an immigration program that would change the demographics of Australia into the future (Australian Government, 2016). This demonstrates that World War 2 opened up Australia to a more diverse way of life, and shaped the country’s

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