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1942 - Australia’s greatest peril

By: Bob Wurth (580.14/35938)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan ISBN: 9781405038607

1942 was the year of Australia’s greatest peril as the nation awaited invasion from Japan. Darwin was devastated by bombing, Australian ships were torpedoed within sight of our coast, midget Japanese submarines attacked shipping in Sydney Harbour, and Japanese forces on their inexorable march south invaded New Guinea and islands to Australia’s near north. This is the true story of the genuine and imminent threat to Australia in that fateful year.

On the beautiful Inland Sea of Japan – heartland of the Imperial Japanese Navy – and in frenetic wartime Tokyo, radical and passionate staff officers and their illogical admirals debated the invasion of an almost defenceless nation. The Imperial Japanese Army, meanwhile, opposed the attack, foreseeing a looming military quagmire, Behind the scenes, Australian, British and American defence chiefs all but dismissed the chances of holding Darwin and the north. Australia’s fate hung in the balance.

1942 is a story of desperate bravery and criminal stupidity. Most of all, it is the story of Australians left high and dry in those first few months of 1942, under the looming shadow of invasion, and the steps that an inexperienced leader, John Curtin, took to help save this country in its darkest days.

September 2008


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