CAN KOKODA BE SEEN AS A SIGNIFICANT BATTLE FOR AUSTRALIANS?
The Kokoda battle was a four-month struggle beginning in July 1942 (About the Kokoda Track: 1942 and Today 2017). This battle was fought by two opposing sides, the Japanese and Australians (BBC - Primary History - World War 2 - World at War 2014). Kokoda is seen as a significant battle for many Australians for multiple reasons. Initially, the Kokoda battle protected Australian borders from the Japanese, although this theory is now rejected. Furthermore, this battle considerably boosted Australian morale because against all odds the Australians were victorious. But on the other hand, Kokoda’s importance may have been exaggerated; historians have theorised over two other battles which could also be important for Australians. These factors support the hypothesis that Kokoda can be seen as a significant battle for many Australians although there are many viewpoints that can be taken.
Initially, the Kokoda battle is significant to Australians as it protected its borders from the Japanese. Chan N states that the Kokoda battle “saved Australia”, this was because the Japanese strategy was to take over Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea because it had an airstrip to bring in supplies and meant easy access to Australia, this may have resulted in an invasion of the mainland (Darlington, R et al. History Alive 10). This caused great angst as it was the first-time Australia had been under direct threat.
On the 2 January, the Sydney Morning Herald warned in its editorial:
“It is not too soon for the Australian Government to plan and prepare this people for a
scorched earth policy, guerrilla fighting and all else that total war entails”
Quoted in: (Invasion 1942? Australia and the Japanese Threat 1992)
Although the Australian population was preparing for a brutal battle on the mainland, this theory is now rejected as the Japanese were found to be under supplied and had a shortage of men prepared to initiate a new battle (Bombing of Darwin - Fact Sheet 2017). In saying this the Kokoda battle is still seen as significant as it protected the Australian borders from the Japanese because it stopped them from capturing an easy access point to invade Australian mainland at any point in time.
The Kokoda battle also boosted Australian morale when it was at its lowest. Australian pride dropped as they were under a direct threat of Japan. This morale was then...