No longer tied to Britain, Australia is still searching for its place in the world
World War II to the late s, Background to Australian foreign relations, Under Menzies' leadership Australia joined Britain and mobilised for war in Europe. Chifley lost office at the federal election, after his attempt to nationalise. Australia's changing relationships with Britain and the US. Caitlin lee, Year 9 Mandatory History. During WW2, Singapore was strategically. World War II and later regional conflicts further strained these relationships. our place in the British Empire defined our international relations for decades after.
Britain requested military assistance from Australia within a week of declaring war on Germany. However, the army was short of both equipment and manpower.
World War II to the late 1960s
The man appointed to command it was Major-General Blamey. He was a man with a direct way of dealing with people and he took badly any criticism of his style of leadership. Blamey had his supporters in the army, but there were also many who had not supported his appointment.
In Novemberthe government announced that the 6th Division would be sent overseas when their training had reached a certain standard of proficiency. Training abroad in terrain more European or North African would follow so that the 6th Division would hone their skills in a similar environment to one they would be fighting in. When Britain announced that they were concerned for the safety of the Suez Canal, it seemed logical that the 6th Division should be sent to Egypt to act as a deterrent to Italy.
From Egypt, they could transfer to France it required. The first troops left for what was then Palestine in January and over the next few months more brigades from the 6th Division followed. The rapid collapse of France in the spring of ensured that the 6th Division would not be transferring to Europe.
The European situation also led to the Australian government forming three new divisions the 7th, 8th and 9th Divisions.
Many in Australia simply assumed that the Australians would soon be involved in fighting major battles. After the Dunkirk evacuation, the Australian government started to re-focus on Australia itself. Many politicians rightly believed that the Axis victory in Europe would stimulate further Japanese aggression in the Far East and that Australia itself might be threatened. With so many of its army abroad, many felt that this would also stimulate Japanese aggression.
It was hoped that such a gesture would make it clear to the Japanese that any action by them would be met with an aggressive reaction. No such naval force was sent to Singapore. Another idea to stop Japanese aggression was to greatly increase the military power the Australians had in Malaya. This would require troops from the 6th Division to be removed from the Middle East and sent to the Far East.
However, at this time, Italy was expanding aggressively in the Mediterranean region and all the men from the 6th Division were needed where they were based. In Augustthe Australian government received an assurance from Winston Churchill that any threat to Australia or New Zealand would result in the Mediterranean Fleet being sent to the Far East immediately. They met in Singapore. They all agreed that the defence of Malaya was vital if any Japanese aggression was to be halted.
The Australians wanted the Indian Army to take the responsibility for defending Malaya while the Australians would provide a naval force for the region. It became obvious to many that Singapore had the potential to be an Achilles heel for the Allies.
International Relations - Vrroom
It would be an obvious target for the Japanese but its power had been built around the navy and not land and air defences. In lateits vulnerability to a land attack was a major fear for many, even if few thought that the Japanese could come down the Malayan Peninsula.
In Decemberan Australian brigade was sent to Malaya. The plan was that an Indian brigade should replace it in May They also fought in the Greek campaign and their stand at Thermopylae allowed a relatively successful Allied evacuation to take place.
The Australian 7th Division successfully occupied Vichy Syria. These recommended that as many personnel as possible should be sent back to Japan. These cables convinced many in the Australian government that an attack in the Far East was imminent. Clashes also occurred with senior British commanders in Singapore. It was not an act of escaping religious oppression, as in the case of America, or the founding of a new political order, as in France.
British Australia was the creation of an imperial decision. This meant that strong links to Britain, and the British monarchy, continued well into the 20th century.
Australia at War
There were occasional republicans who advocated a so-called independent Australia, particularly in the 19th century, but, if anything, enthusiasm for the British Empire increased in the first half of the 20th century.
Australians were Australians, but they were also British. This, of course, was probably true given that London attracted people from all over the empire and was cosmopolitan in a way that Australia was not. The early settlers were British in a very Australian way. Australianness was embedded in their Britishness; the two were not in conflict.
- How did Australia's relationships with Britain and the United States change during World War II?
- Australia–United Kingdom relations
In celebrating Australia Day they were celebrating themselves and their peculiar Australian way. Such celebrations could not be construed as indicating a desire to be rid of the monarchy or the empire. Moreover, Australians felt a great deal of solidarity with their British cousins.
The relationship with Britain and America | Australia Explained
Consider the following quote: Australians know that our future is linked with Britain, not only by ties of race and kinship, but because of hard, practical reasons. No, the speaker was not Robert Menzies but Ben Chifley in Witness the massively popular reception of the new monarch, Queen Elizabeth, when she visited Australia in The Queen and Prince Philip wave from the royal tram in InBritain was still taking Even in the s, a strong connection between Australia and Britain made a lot of sense.
The old relationship between Australia and Britain was changing, and Australia was turning its political allegiances more to the US and its trade to Asia. The shock of the post-war decline of the British Empire was also great for Australia.