Australia and Ww2 Essay

1340 WordsOct 13, 20136 Pages
Australia & World War 2 Henry S HIST 398 August 6 2013 A Brief History Although the first documented discovery of Australia was by the Dutch in the early 17th century it was the British who sought to colonize in the late 18th century. The Dutch had felt there was little trade value with the natives and had disregarded it . The first colonies formed were intended to be convict states – where Britain could send undesirables. . As many as 165,000 convicts were brought to Australia . Free colonies soon followed and they began self-governing during the gold rushes of the early 19th century as the population boomed. British crown still provided hegemonic law up until the formation of the Federation of Australia in 1901. This new government was modeled after Britain’s tried and tested Constitutional Monarchy and would continue to recognize the British monarch. Declaration of War The Australian government reacted to WWII the same way they did for WWI. That is to say Australia was at war as a result of Britain’s declaration of war. It was considered a matter of duty as a dominion of the British Empire, and the people even felt obligated because of their ancestry. The 1933 census put the total population at around 6.6 million listing 99% of the population as of British descent, 87% of which were natural born Australians . Unlike WWI, the reaction to war was more somber than enthusiastic. This is evident in Prime Minister Robert Menzie’s Declaration of War speech when he begins by stating, “It is my melancholy duty to inform you officially... ” The speech is short at only 138 words, and has a gloomy feel when heard. Military Participation Australian forces fought in both the European and the Pacific theatres. They contributed in two main ways in the former: fighting in the Mediterranean and assisting in the defense of Britain. Australian Imperial

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