Australia Post-War Analysis

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The accuracy of White’s comments was seen in 1943 onwards, as “the necessities for cooperation” ceased to be so pressing with the turn of the tide of war in both Europe and the Pacific. Curtin’s government moved away from America and back to Britain once again. As Australia began to seem more secure, its government began to consider the shape of the post-war world and its associated challenges and started to see America as less of a partner in war than, in peace, potentially isolationist diplomatically and an economic adversary. Johnson observed both these fears in March 1943. He noted that, after American intervention in the First World War, “we withdrew into ourselves. They [Australians] fear that we will withdraw once more into ourselves after this war.” Economically, the war had accelerated Australia’s industrialisation, “which, under the conditions existing prior to 1938, would probably not have been reached for another fifty years” but that post-war, it risked having no market for its industrial output.
Australia’s fears were compounded by the fact that, despite Australia’s essential “Britishness,” Anglo-Australian relations lacked geopolitical harmony. British prioritisation, as
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as to the apparent British view of Empire strategy in the immediate future. The events of the past two months have thrown into contrasting relief the two fundamental elements in Australian affairs – the strong ties that bind us to Britain, and our distinct nationhood, vis-a-vis our Pacific neighbours especially. Australian life is like the Australian penny. It has the King’s head on the one side, and the kangaroo on the other. Under the liberal doctrine that transformed Empire into Commonwealth, and under the protection of British sea control in the Pacific, it has been our fortune that these two elements should be complementary, never fundamentally antithetic. Our fate now is that they should appear

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