THE GREAT BETRAYAL: BRITAIN, AUSTRALIA & THE ONSET OF THE PACIFIC WAR 1939-42.

Day, David.


£25.00




1st US ed., 1989. X + 388 pp., frontis., + photo-ills. D.j., 21 x 15cm. A little discolouring to d.j., o/w Nr.FINE. In the early days of World War II the bond between Great Britain and Australia fell tragically at odds. In 1939 an agreement was reached: if Australia would send troops to the Northern Hemisphere to defend Britain from the Germans, Britain would in turn hold Singapore and protect Australia's long and vulnerable coastline from the Japanese. Australia kept its part of the bargain but Britain did not. Following Pearl Harbour in 1941, Australia found themselves alone in their part of the world. Not only did Singapore fall with dismaying ease and speed to the Japanese, but also Britain's oft-repeated promise to defend the Dominion came to naught. Furthermore, Churchill tried to restrict American forces in the Pacific and even delay the return of Australian troops needed for Australia's defence. In the end the survival of Australia had nothing to do with Britain but with the fortuitous American naval victories of the Coral Sea and Midway Island in 1942 and the consequent Japanese decision to postpone an early invasion. On another level this book examines the persistence of a colonial attitude with Australia, one that handicapped the country's ability to defend itself, and Australia's change of dependency as it began to look towards America rather than Britain.


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