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World War II profoundly changed every country in the world. The world war polarised into East and West, Russia and the United States, communist and capitalist. There was a climate of fear and tension in the post-World War II world.

After World War II, Australia was faced with many challenges. There was, as in many countries in the West, a fear of the spread of communism. As Australia drew closer ties with the United States, Australia participated in many wars overseas, such as Vietnam. The strain of overseas wars and the fear of communism highlighted many tensions within Australian society. Australia experienced an era of protest as different social groups campaigned for more rights and equality. Protest groups met varied successes.

Australia faced change both internationally and domestically. Challenges faced by the Australian people and the Commonwealth government have helped shape modern Australia.

Politics after World War II

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Robert Menzies became Prime Minister twice in Australian history, first in 1939, then again in 1944. As Prime Minister, Menzies announced the declaration of war against Germany in 1939. Menzies resigned at the beginning of World War II and was succeeded by John Curtin. After World War II, Menzies returned to the prime ministership at the head of the Liberal Party. Menzies presided over an extended period of economic prosperity in Australia, retiring in 1966.

During World War II, Australia faced the threat of a Japanese invasion. After World War II ended, a new enemy threatened to invade Australia: the communists. Many Australian prime ministers had recognised the need for Australia to populate or perish.

When Menzies became prime minister, a policy of mass immigration was developed. The majority of migrants moved to Australia from north-western Europe. Immigrants were able to boost Australia’s population and put the government’s invasion fears at ease. There was, however, great fear of communists within Australian society.

So, do you want how WWII impacted the world or how it affected Australia, spelled with a capital “A?”

Australia sent many young men to their deaths in Europe in the war. Tea oil production was a high priority and supply never met demand. It was used as a antiseptic. Also, I’m sure that the usual shortages affected that country as it did the rest of the world.

The impact of the Second World War on Australia was:

1. Made Australia realise that we could not rely on Britain for our defence – Australia had to follow a more independent foreign and defence policy.

2. Alliance with the United States – the failure of Britain to defend singapore or provide for defence of Australia from Japan made Australia realise that the United States was more capable of defending the pacific. Australia later entered an alliance in 1950 ‘ANZUS’

3. To defend Australia, we needed a much larger population. One of the catch cry’s of the day ‘Populate or Perish’ – Australia opened up our borders to Immigrants to non-English speaking backgrounds.

4. For the first time Australia realised just how important Asia would be for our defence and economics. Instead of looking just to Britain, we began to realise that Austrlalia was not as isolated as we first thought. While Japan was our enemy, we begin to realise the importance of Japan to our future trade.


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