Australia entered World War II on 3 September 1939. On 14 September Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced that 40,000 members of the Militia would be called up for training and a 20,000-strong expeditionary force, designated the Second Australian Imperial Force, would be formed for overseas service. From there, Australians fought across numerous theatres of war, contributing to the war effort across the globe. Read through the resources below to learn more.
As part of the British Empire, Australia was among the first nations to declare war on Nazi Germany and between 1939 and 1945 nearly one million Australian men and women served in what was going to be World War II. Read through this website to learn more.
After Great Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, Australia raised a volunteer force, the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF), and sent the 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions of the AIF overseas to support Britain. Despite long-held fears that Japan would enter the war on the side of the Germans, the Australian government also sent Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircrews and a number of Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships to fight for Britain. During the years 1939-1941, Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen fought the Germans, Italians and Vichy French in Europe, Egypt, Libya, Syria, the Lebanon, Greece, Crete and the Mediterranean.
When Japan entered the war in Malaya on 7/8 December 1941, the 8th Division AIF, together with a few Australian ships and aircraft, were there with other British Empire forces. In early 1942, the 6th and 7th Divisions from the Middle East together with RAN ships were ordered back to Australia to fight the Japanese in the Pacific. The 9th Division stayed in North Africa until early 1943 while many Australian airmen serving in both the RAAF and the Royal Air Force (RAF) remained to fight in Europe. Read through this website to learn more about Australia's role in World War II.
Almost a million Australians, both men and women, served in the Second World War. They fought in campaigns against Germany and Italy in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, as well as against Japan in south-east Asia and other parts of the Pacific. Read through this website to learn more.
The figures in the table hereunder represent gross enlistments of war service personnel, plus permanent personnel at the beginning of the war, plus gross enlistments in the permanent forces. Particulars for the Navy and Air Force are as at 31st December, 1945, and for the Army as at 28th February, 1946. The term "gross enlistments" indicates that no deductions have been made because of discharges, dead, deserters, etc.
The Second World War was the first time Australians were conscripted to fight overseas. In November 1939 Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced that the existing reserve force, the Citizen Military Forces (CMF) or militia, would be bolstered by conscription. Read through this website to learn more.
This article looks at the role that industry in Australia played in the defeat of the Japanese.
Australia, by declaration, entered the conflict now known as World War 2 on 3 September 1939 – on the same day, and in unity with, Great Britain. Together with New Zealand, Australia was one of only two non-European nations to enter the war from its outset, and both countries remained actively involved when the documents of formal surrender were signed on 2 September 1945 - one day short of six long years of conflict. Read through this website to learn more.
The commemorative publication is part of a series; A Bitter Fate. It explores theatres of war and campaigns during the Second World War. The publication concentrates on Australia’s involvement in the Malaya and Singapore campaign. The campaign lasted from December 1941 to February 1942. The Allied forces then surrendered in Singapore.
This publication is a part of the series; Australians in the Pacific War. It briefly shares the history of Australia's defence against the Japanese from 1939-1945.
This publication is the first of a two-volume series, it focuses on the air attacks on Australia's northern coastline.