How did Australia's relationships with Britain and the US change during WWII?

Essay by leelingHigh School, 10th gradeA, February 2009

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World War II was the harbinger of change for Australia’s relationship with Great Britain and the United States of America.

In 1939, the early stages of WWII, Australia still saw itself as an element of the British Empire and still had a great loyalty to the mother country and believed in the concept of in the name of ‘King and Empire’. Australia had always been supportive in British interests and policies and also offered their support in previous wars such as WWI and the Boer War.

Although less enthusiastic in 1939, knowing the perils and pains of war, Australia declared its immediate support to Britain. Prime Minister Robert Menzies’ war declaration on 3rd of September 1939 states that Australia stands with Great Britain and will help them in their war effort with Germany; “There can be no doubt that where great Britain stands, there stands the people of the entire British World”.

Australian reinforcements for Britain were deployed into various regions to aid Britain in the fight against the Germans. Half the Australian Navy went to the Mediterranean, troops of the 6th, 7th and 9th divisions of the AIF were sent to the Middle East and 27000 Australians in the air force were involved in the Empire Air Training Scheme that provided air crews to fight in Britain. In this, there was an understanding where if Australia was in peril, Britain would in turn come to the nation’s aid.

Britain had doubts that Japan would begin to move and invade South-East Asia, but when this happened in 1941, the British Government yet again expressed doubts that Japan would continue south to invade Australia. In 1940, the British government issued a telegram to reassure the Australian government. The British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, stated that “if Japan set about...