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How And Why Did Australia's Relationship With Britain Change As A Result Of World War 2?

1378 words - 6 pages

Australia entered WW2 because it still had strong ties with Britain, as it was regarded as a British Nation. Because Britain entered the war, and due to our alliance with them, we were bound by a treaty to enter it as well. When the British Government declared war, Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced that Australia was also at war. He declared this in his monumental speech via radio to the Australian population in 1939: "Fellow Australians, It is my melancholy duty to inform you officially that in consequence of a persistence by Germany and her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her and that, as a result, Australia is also at war.” The Australian public’s response to the announcement came as a shock to few, considering that the increased tension in Europe had been in the newspapers for quite some time. It was expected of the Australian population to show the same enthusiasm as they had shown with WWI, and those who had declared that Australians were eager to take part in the war were surprised at the lack of zeal as shown in the previous war, twenty-five years earlier. The long lines of men, eager to fight for their country were non-existent. A common thought was going through everyone’s heads: that more young people were about to die. Since there was a lack of volunteers for the AIF, Menzies introduced conscription.Between September 1939 and April 1940, there were no further attacks made by the German army. This period was known as the phoney war. Britain and its allies prepared themselves in case Germany made further moves. In this period neither Britain nor its allies made any attacks on Germany. Troops in the Second AIF were sent to Egypt to train for battle. After Germany attacked Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium and France, Britain and its allies knew that the phoney was over. Australia increased its production of weapons, the number of conscripts, control over the workforce and the number of troops overseas. Troops in the 6th and 7th division were sent to attack the Italians in upper Egypt, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in a place called Sidi Baranni. Within four days, the inadequately equipped and trained Italians were defeated, and 38,000 Italians were taken prisoner. Another 41,000 Italian troops were taken prisoner when the Allied troops moved west and defeated Bardia, discovering enormous stockpiles of weapons. As the troops moved west, Tobruk and Benghazi also fell to the Allies. Six hundred kilometres of North Africa had been taken out of the control of the Italians. Ten Italian divisions had been eliminated. More than 125,000 Italian troops and more than 1000 heavy artillery had been captured. Australians felt once again what it was like to fight, and just like their forefathers they gained a reputation of being tough and brave. Australian troops and British troops fought side by side and the bond of camaraderie between the troops was inseparable.On the 1st December...

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