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World War II Re-explored

Some New Millenium Studies in the History of the Global Conflict

Edited By Jarosław Suchoples, Stephanie James and Barbara Törnquist-Plewa

This volume is a collection of thirty papers written by authors from around the world. The writers focus on topics related to their own research interests. As a result, readers obtain a worldwide perspective on World War II from academics working on nearly every continent, proving that World War II was, probably, the first ever truly global experience for humanity. Present are many and different perspectives on the war. Eighty years after the end of World War II, these academics share their knowledge and reflections about a gruesome, but still not very remote time. In the new millennium, their studies should remind readers that the ‘end of history’ has been an impossible illusion and warn that peace and stability in international relations are not a given.

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Australia – ‘a British Outpost’ – and War with Japan

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Some Newspaper Echoes of White Australia Policy Fears, 1941–1942

Everybody has heard of the ‘yellow peril.’ It is a euphemistic generalisation which nationally minded bogeymen used to label the Japanese. …The oracles have uttered the truth, and the ‘peril’ is upon us, dire and close at hand. We in Australia have been a little too contemptuous and not enough fearful of the Japs. …Their ant-like diligence and efficiency inspired us with qualms. …We sensed their cunning and ruthlessness, but fortified by our superior way of life and a natural pride of race swept away all subconscious fear. But it now must be realised that we are up against a Power supported by …an immense population of nearly a hundred million who are both fatalistic and fanaticists. These trends of character inspire them with deeds of recklessness and bravery that will be a good test of our own courage.1

Abstract: This chapter argues that Australia’s response to Japan’s military attacks at the end of 1941 and the beginning of 1942 resonated strongly with White Australia Policy fears of Asia in general, and anti-Japanese sentiment in particular. Using newspapers from across Australia, and focussing on the occurrence of ‘the yellow peril,’ a consistent nineteenth century theme in the British outpost, and related descriptions of Japanese physical appearance, reactions to both the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour, and the February 1942 bombing of Darwin, show the level of Australian national anxiety. Previous dependence on...

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