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Photo Essay: Australia in the Pacific WWII

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Australia in its short time as a nation had fought halfway across the world in Europe during World War I, however, it was the Second World War and specifically the Pacific theatre that brought war to our borders and cities for the first time. More than ever the brave contribution of our service men and women was needed to keep an imperial enemy from reaching our shores.

Australia in its short time as a nation had fought halfway across the world in Europe during World War I, however, it was the Second World War and specifically the Pacific theatre that brought war to our borders and cities for the first time. More than ever the brave contribution of our service men and women was needed to keep an imperial enemy from reaching our shores.

As part of the British Empire, Australia was among the first nations to declare war on Nazi Germany and between 1939 and 1945 nearly 1 million Australian men and women served in what was going to be World War II.

They fought in campaigns against the Axis powers across Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa. In 1941, The Japanese Imperial Navy attacked Pearl Harbour and advanced into south-east Asia. As a result, the Allied powers including Australia were at war with Japan as well.

Australian forces were key in preventing or slowing Japanese advance towards Australia in Malaya, Singapore, Borneo and New Guinea as well as the surrounding seas, with the bravery of those fighting on the Kokoda Track becoming legendary to Australians, much like Gallipoli in the First World War, as an example of overcoming adversity and the worst of odds.

During this period, the Australian mainland came under direct enemy attack for the first time in history, with Japanese bombing attacks on northern Australia and an attack on Sydney Harbour by Japanese midget submarines. At the time of German defeat and Japanese surrender, 39,000 Australians had lost their lives and another 30,000 had been taken prisoner.

Photo Essay: Australia in the Pacific WWII
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