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Year 9 History
Australians at War
World War One
World War One (WW1, WWI, World war I) also known as the First World War or The Great
War, world war I was the first global conflict centred in Europe that began on 28th July 1914 and lasted until
11th November 1918. British war poet Siegfried Sassoon described it as ‘hell’s last horror’. More than 9
million combatants and 7 million civilians died and as many as 20 million were injured as a result of the war.
A casualty rate that was exacerbated by the technological and industrial sophistication of the weapons and a
tactical stalemate. It is one of the great human tragedies of the modern era.
The war was fought by all of the world’s economic great powers which were assembled in
two opposing alliances. The Allies (based on the Triple Entente of Great Britain, France and the Russian
Empire) and the Central Powers of Germany and Austria Hungary. These alliances were reorganised and
expanded as more nations entered the war. Italy, Japan and USA joined the Allies. The Ottoman Empire
and the Bulgarta joined the Central Powers. Ultimately 70 million military personnel were mobilised in one of
the largest wars in history.
WWI produced death and destruction unlike any previous military conflict. It began as a
European War but spread to the Middle East, the Far East, Africa, the Pacific Ocean and the waters around
South America. It involved troops not only from European powers but also from parts of their empires:
African colonies, Canada and Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, India and the Caribbean.
The immediate trigger for the war was the 28th June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz
Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary by Yugoslav nationalist Gavtrilo Princp in
Sarajevo. The assassination was a trigger for the European powers to honour their alliances and look after
their own interests. Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France,
leading Britain to declare war on Germany. The
empires fought to gain a bigger empire or to preserve the empire that they had.
After the German advance on Paris was halted, what became known as the Western Front
settled into a war of attrition, with a trench line that would change little until 1917. As the war continued it
became difficult to stop, as the idea of losing became unthinkable after so many resources had been
invested and there was so much suffering.
By the end of the war, four major imperial powers – the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian
and Ottoman empires- ceased to exist. The maps of Europe and Southwest Asia were redrawn, with several
independent states restored or created. During the Paris Peace conference at the end of the War the Big
Four ( Great Britain, France, Italy and the USA) imposed their terms on Germany in a number of treaties.
The League of Nations (a forerunner of the United Nations) was formed to prevent a repetition of such an
appalling conflict. This aim however failed with weakened states, renewed European nationalism and
German humiliation contributing to the rise of Fascism which led eventually to World War Two.
Year 9 Hist – Australians at War 1 Reading Activity
1. Write down the heading. ______________________________________________________________
2. Number the paragraphs.
3. Circle the metalanguage words : alliances, attrition, casualty , Central Powers, combatants, empires,
Fascism, imperial, nationalism, neutral, stalemate, treaties , trench, Triple Entente.
4. Write down the words you don’t know the meaning of or find difficult to spell.
5. Highlight 5 nouns. Highlight 5 verbs. Highlight 5 adjectives. Highlight 3 adverbs.
6. Write down 3 things you have learnt from reading this passage.
a. ___________________________________________________________________________________
b. ___________________________________________________________________________________
c. ___________________________________________________________________________________
7. Give another name for World War One. ___________________________________________________
8. When did it start and finish? ____________________________________________________________
9. How many years did it last? ____________________________________________________________
10. Who were the Allies?
11. Who were the Central Powers?
8.Why can it be described as the great tragedy of the 20th century?
____________________________________________________________________________________ _
Year9 Hist – Australians at War 2 Reading Activity
Put in the Capital letters! Remember place names of countries and beginnings of sentences.
where: parts of europe, asia, and africa, and in the atlantic, pacific and mediterranean oceans.
when: 1914–1918 (peace treaty signed in 1919)
why: world war i was a conflict between competing great power alliances. britain, france and russia were in an
alliance, as were germany and austria-hungary. the alliance system bound countries to act together if the
security of any one was threatened.
when the heir to the throne of austria-hungary was assassinated by serbian separatists, this system of
alliances was brought into action as governments started threatening each other and supporting their allies.
germany, facing a war on two fronts, invaded belgium to try and defeat the french quickly so that they could
concentrate on the more difficult task of fighting russia. this invasion of belgium brought in britain, which was
determined to stop german naval and commercial expansionism.
outline of the conflict: world war i was fought on three major ‘fronts’: the western front (northern france and
belgium), the eastern front (between russia and germany), and the supply lines of the atlantic ocean. there was
also conflict in german colonies in the pacific and in africa, between italy and austria, in the middle east and in
the eastern area of turkey.
australian involvement : “most of the men accepted into the australian imperial force (aif) in august 1914 were
sent first to egypt, not to europe as they had expected. they were to attack germany’s ally, turkey. after four and
a half months of training near cairo, the australians departed by ship for the gallipoli peninsula, together with
troops from nations including new zealand, britain and france. the australians landed on 25 april 1915 at what
became known as anzac cove, and they established a tenuous foothold on the steep slopes above the beach.
during the early days of the campaign, the allies tried to break through the turkish lines and the turks tried to
drive the allied troops off the peninsula. all attempts by both sides were unsuccessful, and the ensuing stalemate
continued for the remainder of 1915. on 19-20 december the troops were withdrawn.
after gallipoli, most of the soldiers and nurses in the aif were sent to the western front. when they arrived in
france, the war on the western front had long settled into a stalemate, with the opposing armies facing each other
from trench systems that extended across belgium and north-east france from the english channel to the swiss
border. the development of machine-guns and artillery favoured defence over attack.
throughout 1916 and 1917 the australians and other allied forces repeatedly attempted attacks preceded by
massive artillery bombardments intended to cut barbed wire and destroy enemy defences. after these
bombardments, waves of attacking infantry emerged from the trenches into no man’s land and advanced
towards the enemy’s positions. the surviving germans, protected by deep and heavily reinforced bunkers,
were usually able to repel the attackers with machine-gun fire and artillery support from the rear. these
attacks often resulted in only limited territorial gains which were followed in turn by german counter-attacks.
although this style of warfare favoured the defenders, both sides sustained heavy losses.
major engagements involving the australian forces included fromelles on the somme (july 1916, where they
suffered 5533 casualties in 24 hours), bullecourt, messines and the four-month long campaign around ypres (or
ieper), known as the battle of passchendaele in 1917, and hamel, amiens, mont st quentin, peronne and the
hindenburg line in 1918.
unlike their counterparts in france and belgium, the australians who remained in the middle east fought a
mobile war against the ottoman empire (turkey) in conditions completely different from the mud and
stagnation of the western front. the light horsemen and their mounts had to survive extreme heat, harsh
terrain and water shortages. nevertheless, casualties were comparatively light, with 1394 australians killed or
wounded in three years of war. this campaign began in 1916 with australian troops participating in the
defence of the suez canal and the allied reconquest of the sinai peninsula. in the following year australian
and other allied troops advanced into palestine and captured gaza and jerusalem; by 1918 they had
occupied lebanon and syria. on 30 october 1918, turkey surrendered.
australians also served at sea. the royal australian navy (ran), under the command of the british navy,
made a significant contribution early in the war when hmas sydney destroyed the german raider emden
near cocos island in november 1914.
world war i was the first armed conflict in which aircraft were used; about 3000 australian airmen served in
the middle east and france with the australian flying corps (afc), mainly in observation capacities or
providing infantry support. australian women volunteered for service in auxiliary roles as cooks, nurses, drivers,
interpreters, munitions workers and farm workers. while the government welcomed the service of nurses, it
generally rejected offers from women in other professions to serve overseas. australian nurses served in egypt,
france, greece and india, often in trying conditions or close to the front, where they were exposed to shelling and
aerial bombardment.
statistics for australia, as for many nations, world war i remains the most costly conflict ever in terms of deaths
and casualties. from a population of fewer than five million, 300 000 men enlisted, of whom over 60 000 were
killed and 156 000 were wounded, gassed or taken prisoner.
1. You are a Turkish soldier at Gallipoli. Write a paragraphs outlining what you hate about Gallipoli.
The Turkish perspectiue
For the ordinary Turkish soldier it was very clear why they were fighting - enemies were attempting to defeat
them and to take their land. Like all attacking armies in World War I, the Turks suffered terribly from the
power of Allied machine guns, artillery and rifle fire. In addition, the Turkish soldiers faced the same
environmental hardships as the Anzacs, including the lack of water, the swarms of flies, the cold and the
heat. The Anzacs developed a grudging respect for the Turkish soldiers. During the major Turkish offensive
of May 1915, in which approximately 3000 Turkish soldiers died and 7000 were wounded, they incurred
roughly 10000 casualties, the Turks had shown great courage and determination in persisting with their
attacks. It is estimated that 100000 Turks were killed and
another 250 000 wounded in the Dardanelles campaign. These figures dwarf the losses incurred by the
Allied countries.
Year 9 Hist – Australians at War 3 Reading Activity
Living conditions at Gallipoli
Once the trench lines had been established and the stalemate developed, soldiers on both sides had to find
the best way of living on the ridges and gullies of Gallipoli. They faced a number of severe hardships.
The most pressing problem was to provide fresh drinking water to the troops. A little water could be found
on site in a few natural springs and by capturing rainwater. However, most of the water had to be brought in
by ship from nearby Imbros Island. It was piped to the large water tanks on the beaches from where soldiers
from each unit had to haul it up to the front line trenches by hand.
The food at Gallipoli was monotonous and unappetising. The soldiers existed on a diet of bully beef, hard
biscuits, jam and tea. Other items were occasionally supplied, such as onions, tinned milk and cheese, but
the latter was particularly unpopular with the soldiers in the hot summer months.
Hygiene and sanitation
The shortage of water meant that there was little hygiene. Soldiers had the equivalent of an eggcup of water
a day for washing and it was impossible to wash one's hands after visiting the latrines. The only time that
soldiers could bathe properly was in the sea, which was very risky because of Turkish shelling and sniper
fire. Also, it was difficult to find suitable locations to build latrines for the huge number of men among the
slopes of Gallipoli. It took some time before the army began to organise proper latrines. This meant that,
initially, soldiers had to find their own solutions to the problem.
A persistent theme in accounts of Gallipoli is the swarms of flies that descended on the soldiers in the
trenches. By all accounts they were everywhere, which isn't surprising when one considers the poor
hygiene, the dead bodies lying on the battlefields, the open latrines and the huge amount of garbage
(including food) left lying around. It is clear that they made life very unpleasant for soldiers and helped to
spread disease.
One result of the lack of hygiene and effective sanitation was the spread of disease. Diarrhoea became
commonplace among the soldiers - CEW Bean recorded more than 1200 soldiers being evacuated from
Anzac Cove in one week from July 21 because of dysentery. This was roughly 5 per cent of the entire force
and yet only the most severe cases would have been evacuated. Historian Patsy Adam-Smith estimates
that 70 per cent of all Anzacs were sick by this stage. Mostly, they suffered from the embarrassing
symptoms of diarrhoea while in the trenches and in their dugouts. It may be one reason why the attacks in
early August failed - the soldiers were severely weakened by disease and unable to muster the necessary
energy and strength to succeed.
1. List the weapons of World War One in the order you think caused the most loss of life.
2. Why do you think World War one caused the greatest loss of life of all modern wars?
Yeare 9 Hist – Australians at War 4 Reading Activity
The process of industrialisation transformed the nature of battles between the time of the Battle of Waterloo in
1815 to World War I, 100 years later Instead of standing in clear sight of one another as at Waterloo, the new
weapons available meant that both sides had to dig trenches in the ground and any army that wished to attack
faced significant problems.
Machine guns
Machine guns came to dominate the battlefields of World War I. With high rates of fire the guns could mow
soldiers down as they advanced between the frontlines. For example, the German Maschinengewehr 08,
introduced in 1908, could fire 400 rounds a minute at a range of up to 2 kilometres. Lighter machine guns were
produced during the war, including the British Lewis Gun and the German Bergmann MPl8. Early versions
needed water to keep them cool and they often jammed.
Artillery pieces could fire hugely destructive shrapnel, high explosives or gas shells. For example, the French 75
mm field gun, introduced in 1898, could fire 7 kg shells over 7 kilometres at a sustained rate of l5 rounds per
minute. They were excellent defensive weapons since artillery units could blanket an area of trench being
attacked with their shells. Artillery bombardments caused 60 per cent of all Western Front casualties. Initially
bombardiers wounded/killed some of their own soldiers; by 1918, artillery f ire was more accurate.
The British developed mobile gun platforms that could advance across the muddy battlefields without being
stopped by rifle or machine-gun fire. For reasons of secrecy they were called 'tanks' and the name stuck. Tanks
were first used in 1916, but only became a key element in winning battles during 1918'
Chemical Weapons
Both sides used gas during the war - chemicals used included chlorine gas, mustard gas and phosgene. The
gases caused burns to soldiers' exposed skin and, when inhaled, to their bronchial tubes and lungs. Some gases
were heavier than air, so would settle in craters and trenches, causing injuries for days after an attack. Men
feared blindness and the slow and painful death gas could cause. Although they failed to have a significant
impact on battle outcomes, gas attacks lowered troop morale. They also initially had the problem that if the wind
changed the gas might blow
back to injure those who had fired. The development of gas shells to be used with artillery helped to overcome
this problem. Gas attacks became less effective with the development of improved protective devices.
A metal knife attached to the muzzle of a rifle. ln close combat, the bayonet was safer to use than a bullet that
might move through the enemy's body to hit one of the shooter's fellow soldiers. Soldiers feared bayonet wounds
so the bayonet did have psychological impact.
AII armies had grenadiers formed into bombing groups that let off grenades along enemy trenches in advance of
occupying them. For obvious reasons, grenadiers preferred grenades with timed fuses to percussion grenades
detonated when they hit something and so could explode prematurely. initially unsafe and unreliable, by 1917
the British 'Mills bomb, grenade had become a popular and effective means of destroying enemy pillboxes.
Flame throwers
The Germans used flame throwers from 1914 against soldiers in front-line trenches. The British and French later
similar weapons. Soldiers feared becoming victims of the flame thrower's burning fuel. It was effective as a shortrange
weapon, but the possibility of its cylinder exploding accidentally meant that it could also endanger its user.
In 1914, aeroplanes were a very new technology. By the end of the war, they were integral parts of major battle
plans. Initially, they were used for observation and reconnaissance, but later they were also used for bombing
enemy positions, attacking trenches and dropping supplies. The men who flew these fragile planes became
national heroes and their successes in shooting down their opponents were widely celebrated. Examples of such
'aces' include the German fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen (the so-called 'Red Baron), British Captain Alfred
Ball and Frenchman Reno Paul Fonck
Each infantryman carried a rifle, which was far more destructive than the muskets carried by soldiers in the
Napoleonic era.
6.Word match up.
• The process of limiting access to information
• information of a biased nature, used to
promote a point of view
• a person who is confined as a prisoner,
especially for political or military reasons.
• the production and consumption of goods and
services and the supply of money.
The War Precautions Act, passed by parliament on 29 October 1914, affected virtually every area of Australian
life. It gave enormous powers to the federal government, including censorship of the press and powers to punish
a wide variety of activities that, in the opinion of the government, would harm the war effort.
When the war started there were more than 1800 periodicals of various kinds published in Australia. The
Censor's staff worked hard to ensure that no information of any use to the enemy was published. Publishers who
broke the censorship laws could be fined and their journalists imprisoned.
The government also made great use of propaganda to persuade the Australian people to support the war. In
particular, posters were produced to encourage young men to volunteer for the AIF. The most effective posters
had simple messages, played on clear themes and aimed to provoke an immediate and strong emotional
reaction from the viewer.
Treatment of enemy
In the 1911 Census it was calculated that there were roughly 35 000 people of German and Austro-Hungarian
origin living in Australia. As war broke out, wild stories circulated of German spies, airships and submarines being
active in and around Australia. With the passing of the War Precautions Act, the federal government now had the
power to intern these enemy aliens.
Internment camps were created around Australia, including at Rottnest Island in Western Australia, Enoggera in
Queensland and Torrens Island in South Australia. However, this was costly so, in 1915, all the inmates were
moved to Holsworthy near Liverpool in New South Wales.
The Australian Economy
During the war, Britain was prepared to pay high prices for wheat, wool and other agricultural commodities
exported from Australia. The only problem was finding enough ships to transport the goods to Britain. Despite the
shortage of ships, Australian farmers did relatively well. Similarly, some Australian manufacturers benefited from
the disruption to European industries. By 1918, more than 400 products that were previously imported were being
made in Australia. One of these
was the painkiller Aspro, developed by George Nicholas in Melbourne to replace the products that had previously
been imported from Germany.
There was also large investment in certain key industries that enabled Australia to build large industrial plants for
the first time. For example, in 1915, BHP opened its first steelworks in Newcastle.
However, while some did well, ordinary workers did not. Prices rose and wages fell in real terms. Working class
families struggled badly, particularly if the husband had joined the AIF. As a result, many Labor Members of
Parliament began to question the priorities of the Hughes government. They asked for a greater focus on
Australian workers, rather than on the war effort. There were a growing number of strikes, particularly in New
South Wales, to protest falling wages and stricter working conditions. The largest strike was in 1917 when nearly
80000 tram and railway workers went on strike in New South Wales against new working rules. Eventually the
strikers, including a young Ben Chifley (who went on to become Prime Minister in 1945), were forced back to
However, the bitterness among workers caused by events such as this lived on.
1. Write down the heading. ______________________________________________________________
2. Number the paragraphs.
3. Write down the words you don’t know the meaning of or find difficult to spell.
4. Highlight 5 nouns. Highlight 5 verbs. Highlight 5 adjectives. Highlight 3 adverbs.
5. Write down 3 things you have learnt from reading this passage.
a. ___________________________________________________________________________________
b. ___________________________________________________________________________________
c. ___________________________________________________________________________________
Year 9 Hist – Australians at War 5 Reading Activity
Just before dawn, on that first Anzac Day 84 years ago,
the boats carrying the 1500 men who would make the
first landing were moving through darkness towards
these shores. All was silent, save for whispers of
apprehension and the splash of oars.
Ahead of them, two searchlights briefly pencilled the sky,
then disappeared. Still silence. The leading boats
touched the beach.
The first Anzacs leaped out. A yellow beacon flared to the
south and a single shot was heard. Then several more.
And as the boats further out came in, the fire broke upon
them from the heights above us. The
silence and the waiting were over. And the key, as one of
the Anzacs was later to say, ‘was being turned in the lock
of hell’.
All the demons of war were let loose as the day wore on.
Some men died in the boats and on the beaches – many
more in the bitter fighting up on the ridges – through
scrub and ravines towards the third ridge. There were the
sounds of gun fire and of bombs. And of the screams of
combat, of suffering and of death. And occasionally
through it all, so we are told, there came the voices of
young soldiers singing: ‘Australia will be there’. And, in at
least one instance, ‘This bit of the world belongs to us’.
By the evening, 16,000 men of the Australian and New
Zealand Army Corps had landed here; of them some
2000 were dead or seriously wounded. And the Turkish
defenders had forced the advance back to the second
ridge – from which position, despite some small gains at
huge cost, nothing essentially changed over the next
eight months.
There are now no living Anzacs who were here on that
first day. The last survivor, Ted Matthews, an Australian
signaller, died in December 1997. There are only a few
remaining of the Anzacs who subsequently served here
during the Gallipoli campaign.
The last New Zealander, Doug Dibley, a stretcher-bearer,
died a little more than fifteen months ago. The fourth last
Australian, Frank Isaacs, died in Perth only this month.
So few left who experienced – who can personally recall
– the long months of stalemate, of attack and counterattack on pieces of hillside that were given soldiers’
names – Plugge’s Plateau (behind us), Quinn’s Post,
Ridge, Johnston’s Jolly. Yet the story of those months,
and of all that they involve, lives in our national histories
and collective memories.
For Anzac is not merely about loss. It is about courage,
and endurance, and duty, and love of country, and
mateship, and good humour and the survival of a sense
of self-worth and decency in the face of dreadful odds.
These were qualities and values the pioneers had
discovered in themselves in what were, for Europeans,
the new lands of Australia and New Zealand. They were
tested here and on
the ancient battlefields of Europe for the first time in the
Great War. They were not found wanting.
Speech by Sir William Deane: The Anzac Legend and
Spirit. Address on the occasion of the Dawn Service,
Anzac Cove, Sunday, 25 April 1999.
Year 9 Hist – Australians at War 6 Reading activity
This was not the Anzacs’ bloodiest campaign of that war.
The casualties in France overwhelmed those of Gallipoli.
But it was the first. And it was heroic even in failure. And
what makes it unique is that it was here the people of our
countries – Australia and New Zealand – found their
nationhood. ‘Before the war who ever heard of Anzac,’
said their Commander-in-Chief, the British General Sir Ian
Hamilton. ‘Hereafter’, he added, ‘who will ever forget it?’
The campaign failed, but the men were not defeated.
There is a crucial difference. In a triumph of daring and
initiative, over 35,000 Anzacs were evacuated during
eleven December nights, with barely a casualty. With their
boots muffled, the last of them came down from the
heights to the beaches on 20 December, and into the
boats that took them in darkness and silence back to the
waiting ships.
But their dead – our dead – remained behind. Here on the
other side of the world from the lands they loved: over
2,700 New Zealanders and over 8,100 Australians. For
many who were leaving that was the unbearable tragedy.
In words which I quoted at Ted Matthews’ funeral, one of
them wrote:
‘Not only muffled is our tread/To cheat the foe,
We fear to rouse our honoured dead/To hear us go.
Sleep sound, old friends – the keenest smart
Which, more than failure, wounds the heart,
Is thus to leave you – thus to part.’
Yet we are not apart. While this is Turkish land, it has
become a sacred site of our nations. And we are united
with those young Anzacs who were left here so long ago.
Not only while we are here, honouring them and all that
they bequeathed us. But also – constantly – in their and
our homelands so far away. For there as well as here,
their spirit walks abroad. To challenge, to guide and to
inspire. For as long as we remember. For as long as our
nations endure.
No one can express all that this day means to us
Australians and New Zealanders. It is, said Australia’s
great historian Manning Clark, ‘about something too deep
for words’. But in the stillness of the early dawn, and in the
silence that will settle once more along this shoreline, we
feel it in the quiet of our hearts. The sense of great
sadness. Of loss. Of gratitude. Of honour. Of national
identity. Of our past. Of the spirit, the depth, the meaning,
the very essence of our nations. And of the human values
which those first Anzacs – and those who came after them
– embodied and which we, their heirs, must cherish and
pass to the future.
May they rest with God
1. What do you think are the main ideas in the speech?
2. What makes this speech sound different to the
language we use in our everyday lives?
3. What types of feelings and atmosphere does it create
for you?
4. Where was this speech given and at what time?
5. How might the time and location influence the content
of the speech?
6. If you were at Gallipoli listening to the speech, what
might you see around you, what might you feel and
think about?
7. What personal qualities of the Australian servicemen
and women did Sir William Deane identify?
8. Explain what you think Sir William Deane means by
the Anzac legend or spirit.
Year 9 Hist- Australia At War 7 Reading Activity. Put in the Capital letters
where europe, north africa, asia, middle east, atlantic and pacific oceans, mediterranean area
when 1939–1945
why germany had resented the loss of territories and wealth after its defeat in 1918. under its nazi
government it seized back lost territory during the 1930s. its invasion of poland to grab land and resources
pushed britain and france into a situation where its expansion had to be stopped.
outline of the conflict the war began with the german invasion of poland in september 1939. the allies
declared war against germany, but little then happened. in 1940, however, the germans overran most of
western europe with their blitzkreig (‘lightning war’), and began bombing britain as a prelude to its invasion.
the war also extended to an eastern front when germany invaded russia in june 1941.
in december 1941 japan entered the war, and invaded most of asia and much of the pacific area. this
brought the united states of america into the war. in may 1945 germany surrendered, and in august the
united states dropped atomic bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki, bringing about japan’s surrender.
australian involvement the royal australian navy (ran) participated in operations against italy after its entry
into the war in june 1940. a small number of australians flew in the battle of britain in august and september
of the same year, but the australian army was not engaged in combat until 1941, when the 6th, 7th and 9th
divisions joined allied operations in the mediterranean and north africa.
following early successes against italian forces, the australians and other allied forces suffered defeat at the
hands of the germans in greece, crete and north africa. in june and july 1941 australians participated in the
successful allied invasion of syria, a mandate of france and ally of the vichy (pro-german) government. up
to 14 000 australians held out against repeated german attacks in the libyan port of tobruk, where they were
besieged between april and august 1941. after being relieved at tobruk, the 6th and 7th divisions
departed from the mediterranean theatre for the war against japan. the 9th division remained to play an
important role in the allied victory at el alamein in october 1942 before it, too, left for the pacific. (by the end
of 1942 the only australians remaining in the mediterranean theatre were airmen serving either with no. 3
squadron royal australian air force (raaf) or in the royal air force.)
japan entered the war in december 1941 and swiftly achieved a series of victories which resulted in the
occupation of most of south-east asia and large areas of the pacific by the end of march 1942. singapore
fell in february, with the loss by death or capture of an entire australian division. after the bombing of darwin
that same month, all ran ships in the mediterranean theatre, as well as the 6th and 7th divisions, returned to
defend australia.
in march 1942, after the defeat of the netherlands east indies, japan’s southward advance began to lose
strength, easing australian fears that an invasion was imminent. the threat of invasion receded further as the
allies won a series of decisive battles: in the coral sea, at midway, on imita ridge and the kokoda track, and
at milne bay and buna.
further allied victories against the japanese followed in 1943. australian troops were mainly engaged in land
battles in new guinea, the defeat of the japanese at wau and clearing japanese soldiers from the huon
peninsula—australia’s largest and most complex offensive of the war, not completed until april 1944. the
australian army also began a new series of campaigns in 1944 against isolated japanese garrisons stretching
from borneo to bougainville; this involved more australian troops than were used at any other time in the
war. australian troops were still fighting in borneo when the war ended in august 1945.
while australia’s major effort from 1942 onwards was directed at defeating japan, thousands of australians
continued to serve with the raaf in europe and the middle east. even though more australian airmen fought
against the japanese, losses among those flying against germany were far higher. australians were
particularly prominent in bomber command’s offensive against occupied europe. some 3500 australians
were killed in this campaign, making it the costliest of the war.
in world war ii over 39 000 australians gave their lives, and 30 000 australian servicemen and servicewomen
were taken prisoner. two-thirds of those taken prisoner were captured by the japanese during their advance
through south-east asia in the first few weeks of 1942. while those who became prisoners of the germans had
a strong chance of returning home at the end of the war, one-third of prisoners of the japanese died in
nurses had gone overseas with the aif in 1940, but during the early years of the war women were generally
unable to make a significant contribution to the war effort in any official capacity. labour shortages forced
the government to allow women to take a more active role in war work, and in february 1941 the raaf
received cabinet approval to establish the women’s auxiliary australian air force (waaaf). at the same time,
the navy also began employing female telegraphists, a breakthrough that eventually led to the
establishment of
the women’s royal australian naval service (wrans) in april 1941. the australian women’s army service (awas)
was established in october 1941 with the aim of releasing men from certain military duties in base units in
australia for assignment with fighting units overseas. outside the armed services, the australian women’s land
army (awla) was established to encourage women to work in rural industries; other women in urban areas
took up employment in industries such as munitions production.
statistics almost a million australians, both men and women, served in world war ii. over 39 000 australian
servicemen and women died as a result of the combat, including 8296 as prisoners of war.
In the Western European Theatre of World War II, air power became crucial throughout the war. Superior
German aircraft, aided by ongoing introduction of design and technology innovations, allowed the German
armies to overrun Western Europe with great speed in 1940, largely assisted by lack of Allied aircraft numbers.
The world's first operational jet fighter, the Me sserschmitt262 could reach speeds of up to 800 kilometres
per hour. In the design stages in 1939, it did not see active service until the final stages of the European war.
After the defeat of Germany, Allied powers made extensive use of the jet technologies to develop new aircraft
The backbone of Britain's air defences in World War II, were the Spitfires and Hurricane,. These two
single-seated fighter planes played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain and were used throughout World War II
by the British and their allies, Mass-produced on American assembly lines, the B-29 was mainly used in the later
stages of the war against Japan. Its long range, enormous bomb load and ability to fly at high altitude made it a
powerful weapon.
During the war the Germans produced various Glide bomb weapons, which were the first smart bombs;
the V-1 flying bomb, which was the first cruise missile weapon; and the V-2 rocket, the first ballistic missile
Developed by Germany, the V-2 rocket was used in 1944 and 1945 mainly against England. This rocket
carried a l-ton warhead and travelled at supersonic speed. The rockets could not be intercepted once launched
and they caused heavy loss of civilian life. As a technology, rocketry continues to influence the nature of warfare
in the 21st century with the use of cruise missiles in the war against Iraq highlighting their effectiveness.
Naval warfare changed dramatically during World War II, with the ascent of the aircraft carrier to the
premier vessel of the fleet, and the impact of increasingly capable submarines on the course of the war. The
development of new ships during the war was somewhat limited due to the protracted time period needed for
production, but important developments were often retrofitted to older vessels.
The German U-boats were used primarily for stopping/destroying the resources from the United States
and Canada coming across the Atlantic. Submarines were critical in the Pacific Ocean as well as in the Atlantic
Ocean. Advances in submarine technology included the snorkel.
Development of aircraft carriers really
commenced in the 1920s because it was recognised that air cover was essential for the survival of naval forces.
Used most extensively by the Japanese and Americans in the Pacific War, aircraft carriers today can
transport and maintain hundreds of aircraft on what is effectively a floating air base.
Japanese defences against Allied submarines were ineffective. Much of the merchant fleet of the Empire
of Japan, needed to supply its scattered forces and bring supplies such as petroleum and food back to the
Japanese Archipelago, were sunk. This kept them from training adequate replacements for their lost aircrews
and even forced the navy to be based near its oil supply. Among the warships sunk by submarines was the war's
largest aircraft carrier, the Shinano
While used in the final years of World War I, the tank became one of the strike weapons of World War II.
Tanks were innovatively used by the Germans in their blitzkrieg campaigns, and the Allied powers quickly
adjusted the way they used these mobile
mounted and armoured gun platforms to employ similar tactics to the Germans.
Many countries during the interwar years worked on the development of their own system for long-range
detection of aircraft and ships. It was, however, the British, in the Battle of
Britain, who first showed just how important an early warning system was in modern warfare.
Draw the new weapons of WWII
Technology played a crucial role in determining the outcome of World War II. Much of it was developed during
the interwar years of the 1920s and 1930s, some were developed in response to valuable lessons learned
during the war, and some were beginning to be developed as the war ended.
Effects on Warfare
Almost all types of technology were customized, although major developments were:
• Weaponry: ships, vehicles, aircraft, artillery, rocketry, small arms; and biological, chemical, and atomic
• Logistical support: vehicles necessary for transporting soldiers and supplies, such as trains, trucks, ships, and
• Communications and intelligence: devices used for navigation, communication, remote sensing, and
• Medicine: surgical innovations, chemical medicines, and techniques
• Industry: the technologies employed at factories and production/distribution centres.
Year 9 His- Australia At War 8 – Nature of Warfare - Overview
19. ____________
20. ____________
21. ____________
22. ___________
23. ____________
24. ____________
25. ____________
26. ____________
27. ____________
28. ____________
29. ____________
30. ____________
31. ___________
32. ____________
33. ____________
34. ____________
35. ____________
36 ____________
37. ____________
Extract from Peter Fitzsimons’ bok Kokoda, p 84
Australiens in the territory panicked, convinced that the bombing was
simply the classic Japanese softeneng up of defence before an
imminent invasion. The roads leading out of Darwin were clogged with
refugees, som of whom were deserting soldiers. Such was the
certainty that an invasion was occurring that, before fleeing, meny
people burnt their hoses and sheds to deny the Japanese any
succour, and the mowd was very grim
15. ____________
16. ____________
17. ____________
18. ____________
Prime minister john Curtiy speaking shortly after the bombing
In this first battle on Australian soel it will be a source of pride to the
public to know that the armed ferces and the civilians comported
themselwes with the gallantry that is traditional in the people of our
Extract from the Brisbane courier mail, 21 February 1942e
Darwin was bombed twice yesterday by Japanese warplanes. Ninetty
three bombers, with fighter escorts, took part in the rads, the first on
the mainland of Australie.
Four raiders were broght down. Damage to property was
considerable. There were some casualtees. Details are not yet available.
The first attack was made at 10.50 am by 72 twinengined bombers,
and lasted an hour. It was concentrated on the town and chipping in
the harbour. There were some casualties and some damage was don
to service installations. The cecond raid was made in the afternoon by
21 bombirs.
Last night the prim minister, Mr Curtin, said, “though information did
not disclose details of casualties, it must be obvious thet we have
suffered…we must face this test with fortitude and fight grimlee and
unflinchingly. Australian forces and civilians konducted themselves with
gallantry. Darwin had been bombed, but not conquired.”
1. _____________
2. _____________
3. _____________
4. _____________
5. _____________
6. _____________
7. _____________
8. _____________
9. _____________
10. ____________
11. ____________
12. ____________
13. ____________
14. ____________
The bombng of Darwin
On 19 February 1942, Darwin was bombed. Estimates very but it would
seam the town was attacked by about 90 Japanese planes. The aim of
the Japanece was to cripple the air base and end Darwin's ability to be
used as a base for acsions against their advance through the east
indies. The two Japanese raids on that day did considerable damag.
Eight chips were now at the bottom of the harbour, the main RAAF
airfield had bene heavily damaged, 23 planes had been destroyed
and their was major damage to buildings. 243 Australians died during
the atacks.
This was not to be Darwin's only taste of war. It would be attackd
another 64 times. Other towns in Australia's far north were alqo attacked
such as brome, Katherinne, derby and Wingham.
Consider theis three versions of the events of the bombing of Darwin.
Year 9 Hist – Australian at War 9 Reading Activity Find the spelling mistakes
Year 9 Hist – Australia at War 10 Reading Activity. Put in Capital letters, full stops and commas and
correct spelling mistakes.
midget submarine attack on sydney harbour
in late may and early june 1942 a group of five japanese submarines made a series of
attacks on sydney and the nearby port of newcastle
on the night of may 31 three midget submarines entered sydney harbour one was/were
caught in a boom net placed across the harbour while the other two followed the manly ferry into the
harbour one of the midget subs fired a torpedo at a small royal australian navy ship kuttabul killing 21
sydney harbour defense during world war ii barbed wire was/were placed on sydney’s
beaches to stop a land invasion and a boom net was/were placed across sydney harbour to prevent
enemy submarines from entering the net had gates to allow vessels to enter and leave the harbour
the anti-submarine vessel hmas yandra patrolled near the harbour entrance and a similar
vessel hmas bingera was/were on stand-by at the naval anchorage in woolloomooloo the minesweepers
hmas goonambee and hmas samuel benbow was/were located in watson's bay six channel patrol boats
armed with depth charges and four unarmed auxiliary patrol boats was/were also on duty in
the vicinity of the boom gates
the midget submarine attack
at about 430pm on may 31 1942 the three midget submarines was/were launched one
was/were detected by harbour defenses at about 800pm but was/were not precisely located until it
became entangled in the net a channel patrol boat dropped three depth charges that failed to explode
due to a lack of water depth before another patrol boat was/were able to launch its own depth charges
the midget sub’s two crew members
lieutenant kenshi chuma and petty officer takeshi ohmori blew up themselves and the sub
to avoid capture at 948pm a second midget sub entered the harbour and headed west towards the
sydney harbour bridge it was/were also detected and a general alarm was/were sounded at 1027pm
the second sub entered the harbour and was/were detected by a patrol boat which dropped six depth
charges near or on it these caused serious damage to the sub and the crew of lieutenant keiu matsuo and
petty officer masao tsuzuku committed suicide with their handguns to avoid capture
by this time the waters of the inner harbour was/were well-illuminated by searchlights and
a third midget sub was/were spotted by allied personnel who then fired upon it the midget submarine's
crew sub-lieutenant katsuhisa ban and petty officer namori ashibe returned fire with two torpedoes one
torpedo ran ashore on garden island without exploding the other struck the harbour bed
beneath the ship kuttabul where it exploded sinking the ship and killing 21 sailors the third midget sub
then disappeared with its crew before it could reunite with the larger japanese submarines from which it
had been launched it has never been found and is believed to have sunk somewhere near or in sydney
the raid was/were the first time that sydney had been attacked by enemy military forces
and is the only such attack to have ever taken place although the raid lacked the psychological impact of
the air raids on darwin several weeks earlier and it failed to sink any major warships it nevertheless
represented a symbolic victory for japan the bodies of four of the japanese submariners was/were
recovered the japanese seamen was/were cremated with full military honours and their ashes was/were
returned to their families in japan by way of a neutral country
two of the japanese midget submarines was/were raised and used to construct a
composite midget submarine this submarine toured australia during the war and is now on display at the
australian war memorial.
Year 9 Hist – Australians at War 11 Reading Activity
Prisoners of War
Few Japanese soldiers allowed themselves to be taken prisoner, choosing to fight to the death or
commit suicide rather than be captured. This way of thinking left the Japanese unprepared for the large
number of Allied soldiers who became their prisoners after the surrender of Singapore. A total of 130
22 000 Australians. Of these,
000 Allied soldiers were imprisoned by the Japanese, including over
one in three died from starvation, work, punishments or diseases for which there were no medicines to
Many Allied prisoners were detained at Singapore in the Changi prison, which was a modern
facility but not large enough for the large number of prisoners. Allied prisoners were also sent to
camps in Japan, Burma, Manchuria and Formosa.
Camps were encircled with barbed wire or high wooden fencing and those who attempted
escape would be executed in front of other prisoners. In some camps the Japanese also executed ten
other prisoners as well. For obvious reasons, escape attempts from Japanese camps were rare.
From Changi, prisoners were sent by train to work on the Thai-Burma Railway (The Death
Railway) which the Japanese planned to use as a supply route for an attack on India and other countries
in the vicinity. Many prisoners died while working on the railway from tropical diseases, as well as
starvation and exhaustion. Soldiers that were too ill or exhausted to work were shot by the Japanese.
An estimated 16 000 prisoners died during the construction of the Thai-Burma Railway.
Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop
Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop was an Australian surgeon. In 1939 he joined the Australian Army
Medical Corps. Dunlop was sent to Israel, Egypt and Greece. He also worked at Tobruk and was then
sent to Java, in Indonesia.
In March 1942, the hospital in Indonesia where Dunlop worked was captured by the Japanese.
Dunlop was made a prisoner of war (POW). At first he was sent to Changi. Later he was sent to a prison
camp in Thailand.
Conditions in the Thai camp were very harsh. The Japanese forced the POWs to work on the
Thai–Burma railway. The prisoners were weak and didn’t have the right tools to build a railway.
What did Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop do?
● Dunlop constantly protected other prisoners.
Prisoners often suffered from diseases such as malaria and beriberi. Dunlop did his best to keep
sick prisoners alive, but he had limited medical supplies.
Dunlop operated on wounded prisoners. Often, the only light he had was from kerosene lamps.
● As an army medical officer, Dunlop decided which prisoners were fit enough to work.
Why is Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop remembered?
Dunlop is remembered because he was a respected officer, and a talented surgeon who showed
great courage. An example of Dunlop’s courage was his saving of the life of another POW called Bill
Griffiths. The Japanese were going to kill Griffiths but Dunlop stood in front of the Japanese bayonets
and refused to move until the Japanese promised not to kill him.
Sir Edward always worked extremely hard. The nickname ‘Weary’ comes from a play on words.
‘Dunlop’, Sir Edward’s surname, is also a brand of car tyres. ‘Tyre’ sounds like ‘tire’, meaning ‘needing
to rest’. Weary also means tired, or needing to rest. This is an example of traditional Australian humour.
1. Why were Japanese POW camps horrendous?
2. Why did the Japanese treat the POWs so badly?
2. Why do we remember Weary Dunlop?
Attitudes 800000 aeroplanes clothing manufacturing retail transport workforce armed accountancy
farming factories
During World War II, Australia had about _ _ _ _ _ _ men in the a_ _ _ _ services. This
created a huge shortage of l_ _ _ _ _, so women became involved in industries like m_ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _, transport and f_ _ _ _ _ _.
Women’s involvement in the w_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ during World War I had changed a_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ to
women in the workplace. Women were becoming more involved in r_ _ _ _ _ and office work, and
by 1939, it was the accepted thing for a girl leaving school to find a job.
During the war, women were most commonly employed in:
• manufacturing industries making food, c_ _ _ _ _ _ _ and machines
• shops and retail
• government offices and in t_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ like buses or trains
• banks
• insurance and a_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
• munitions and _ _ _ _ _ _ _s producing ships and a_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
advertisements control experienced rationing manpowered’ previously employment constitution
participate affected minister wartime employment services periods reinforced agricultural clothing
resources enormous
Year 9 Hist: Australia At War 12 Reading Activity
Australian Government Controls on the Home front 1939-45
On 9 September 1939, the National Security Act became law. The Act e_________ the
Australian Government to invoke compulsory clauses of the Defence Act and to c _________
areas that it was not able to control under the existing C______________. New laws and
regulations were required to help win the war and they a__________ many areas of the day-to-day
life of ordinary Australians lives.
Men and women were ‘m_____________ (ordered) into essential industries with many
women entering the work force taking on jobs p ____________ only available to men. For the first
time women were recruited into the three armed s __________ in non-medical auxiliary roles.
Despite their importance in the war effort, female s__________ were far lower than those of their
male counterparts. Although many of their jobs d_____________ at the end of the war, the new
freedoms many women had e_____________ during the war years exposed them to wider and
more varied e____________ opportunities. This increase in wartime production meant that
Australia experienced almost full e____________ during the war years.
Civilians, as well as the troops both at home and o__________, needed to be fed. New
regulations were imposed on Australian men, women and c__________ in order to cope with the
huge demands placed on both a______________ producers and manufacturers. Petrol rationing
was introduced in 1940 and, in 1942, Prime M__________ John Curtin introduced personal
identity cards and ration books for clothing and food.
The new r___________ regulations included food items such as meat, tea, butter and sugar
as well as c__________ and footwear. Prices were pegged and daylight saving and shorter
holiday p_________ were introduced to boost production hours. Power blackouts and ‘brownouts’,
standard w_________ air raid precautions in cities and coastal areas, also saved precious
The Australian Government also introduced a National Savings Campaign to raise the
e__________ sums of money necessary to fund the war. Intensive publicity campaigns
e____________ Australians to donate to the new war loans funds and to p _____________ in
whatever work they could do to assist the war effort. A________________ and articles in
newspapers and magazines and government-sponsored radio programs all r____________ and
encouraged the new wartime lifestyle but it was the rationing of so many c __________ goods that
really forced Australians to practise thriftiness in their everyday lives.