Australia's involvment in the Pacific War

Discussions on WW2 in the Pacific and the Sino-Japanese War.
varjag
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Post by varjag » 28 May 2006 13:21

James - I feel honoured to be the Bullseye of your excellent and verbose response. The
subject of this thread - is 'Australias involvment in the Pacific War'. Three years ago - at the
start of this thread I wrote.......

" Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2003 12:04 pm


The Desert Fox wrote:
A place to hopefully read and write about Australia's more exstensive involvment in the pacific war.


Thanks Marcus
regards the Desert Fox

Australias extensive involvement in 'the Pacific War'.....I'll probably make a lot of enemies by saying it - but apart from some tenacious action that halted the Japanese in New Guinea, it was a non-event. So was the British 'help' in 1945. The Pacific war, was a US show to 99,5 %."
Not unlike a number of countries....that belatedly claim honours in the victory (like the Danish Resistance...the Polish
Underground and the Ukranian Guerillas...) Australians have been breastfed a legend that they contributed to the defeat
of Japan. The simple truth - is that Australians were mere 'spear-bearers' in a Hollywood epic...rgds, Varjag

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edward_n_kelly
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Post by edward_n_kelly » 29 May 2006 03:11

And to add insult to injury - Mac would not have preceded in his moves to the Philippines without Australian agreement or involvement.

US forces in SWPA (and prior to the realignment those operating in the Solomons under South Pacific Area) would not have had access to anything near the supplies of equipment, food and other commodities supplied or repaired by Australia under reverse Lend-Lease. This would have either curtailed Mac's operations or it would have required much additional shipping space.

US forces paid many millions of pounds (that was Australian currency of the time) during this period (meaning Australia had one of the smallest debts under Lend-Lease of all of the participants....).

Edward

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Australia's involvement in the Pacific War

Post by JamesNo1 » 29 May 2006 03:18

As I expected, varjag's response makes no attempt to grapple with the historical facts of 1942 when Australia made significant contributions to shaping the course and outcome of the Pacific War. Never mind, I write history for those who are genuinely interested in historical truth.

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Post by Graeme Sydney » 29 May 2006 11:31

varjag wrote:Australias extensive involvement in 'the Pacific War'.....I'll probably make a lot of enemies by saying it - but apart from some tenacious action that halted the Japanese in New Guinea, it was a non-event. So was the British 'help' in 1945. The Pacific war, was a US show to 99,5 %."


????????????

How did you arrive at that 99.5% A personnal gussimate? or was it little more scientific (historically objective data, number killed, ships sunk, sq klms captured, or ....)?

I suppose the Chinese contribution was in that .5% and insignificant as well.


varjag wrote:Australians have been breastfed a legend that they contributed to the defeat
of Japan. The simple truth - is that Australians were mere 'spear-bearers' in a Hollywood epic...rgds, Varjag


Now there's a highly objective and historically agrued assessment ("legend", "breastfed", "mere 'spear-bearers' " )

Although I wouldn't want to be seen agrueing for the opposite, I think your assertions are laughable.

Cheers, Graeme.

varjag
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Post by varjag » 29 May 2006 12:12

Graeme Sydney wrote:
varjag wrote:Australias extensive involvement in 'the Pacific War'.....I'll probably make a lot of enemies by saying it - but apart from some tenacious action that halted the Japanese in New Guinea, it was a non-event. So was the British 'help' in 1945. The Pacific war, was a US show to 99,5 %."


????????????

How did you arrive at that 99.5% A personnal gussimate? or was it little more scientific (historically objective data, number killed, ships sunk, sq klms captured, or ....)?

I suppose the Chinese contribution was in that .5% and insignificant as well.


varjag wrote:Australians have been breastfed a legend that they contributed to the defeat
of Japan. The simple truth - is that Australians were mere 'spear-bearers' in a Hollywood epic...rgds, Varjag


Now there's a highly objective and historically agrued assessment ("legend", "breastfed", "mere 'spear-bearers' " )

Although I wouldn't want to be seen agrueing for the opposite, I think your assertions are laughable.

Cheers, Graeme.


I thank you for your assessment. I do realise - that my opinion raises a few hairs in Australia. But I ask you all to try and
think 'outside the square'....If Australia had not existed - would Japan have won? Or merely extended it's 'life' by a few
months? Australias main contribution, was being where it was and what it was - a supply base for the American war against
Japan. AS for the Chinese 'contribution' - it was even more laughable than Australias...The KMT-regime used practically all of
the equipment it got from the US - to fight Mao's communists. As for the gazillions of $$$$$ they got as 'loans' - almost all
were promptly returned to the US of A - in deposits to Chiang's in-laws banking empire in America. Ever heard of the Soong Dynasti? - the richest family in China...and important merchant bankers in the US....Cheers, Varjag

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Post by Silent 7th » 29 May 2006 15:23

It can be argued that 'if Australia hadnt existed' MacArther would still be driving a PT boat in circles having none but Japanese occupied islands to land on.
However, to treat the post with more respect than its due, I offer the thought that sans the Australian early warning system Henderson Field would almost certainly have been shut down. Thus the outcome at Guardalcanal would very likely be not that we comfortably contemplate today.
Although limited in size that Australian contribution was pivotable and suficiently significant to rise above 'bit player' status.
On another point,
It was suggested that had Moresby fallen Milne Bay would've barred naval passage. Surely no serious student of the period could think otherwise than that the fall of Moresby would lead to the end of Milne Bay extremely quickly.
I'm with James on this one.
Australia was invaded. One publicity seaking Canberra historian's distortions cant change that fact one iota.

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Pips
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Post by Pips » 29 May 2006 22:24

This is such an excellent topic, and to be sure a very emotive one as well.

Varjag is right in saying that Australia's involvement in the Pacific was small. I don't think anyone would argue tha fact. It was small, we were a tiny nation then, just 7 million people.

But it was a KEY contribution to the whole Pacific effort, and came at the most CRITICAL time of the war. After late 1943 we did drop into a backwater of both land actions and planning, which was always going to happen against an expansionist dominate power like America. But that shouldn't in any way detract from our contribution in the early years.

If one needs an analogy compare the Australian effort (as a base and action on New Guinea) with that of the UK in the Battle Of Britain. Both were pivotal defensive actions that kept the Allies in the War. If either had failed the war would have (possibly) have ended at the negotiating table (worst case), or cost many many more lives and carried on much longer.

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Post by Graeme Sydney » 30 May 2006 12:12

varjag wrote:- that my opinion raises a few hairs in Australia. .


Your opinion or assertion does not raise any hair in Australia but rather derision and laughter. Not because it is a nationalistic challenging concept to deal with but rather because you don’t support it with any objective historical data or facts.

varjag wrote:But I ask you all to try and
think 'outside the square'....If Australia had not existed - would Japan have won? Or merely extended it's 'life' by a few
months? Australias main contribution, was being where it was and what it was - a supply base for the American war against
Japan. .


This is just sad convoluted logic that does not contribute to the debate.


varjag wrote: AS for the Chinese 'contribution' - it was even more laughable than Australias...The KMT-regime used practically all of
the equipment it got from the US - to fight Mao's communists. As for the gazillions of $$$$$ they got as 'loans' - almost all
were promptly returned to the US of A - in deposits to Chiang's in-laws banking empire in America. Ever heard of the Soong Dynasti? - the richest family in China...and important merchant bankers in the US....Cheers, Varjag


True as this may be it does not constitute an argument that China’s contribution to the defeat of Japan was neither small nor insignificant. It may have been less then it could have been but these historical facts you parade do not prove that it was insignificant or ineffectual. How many IJA divisions were tried up in China by occupation and by the fighting?

Cheers, Graeme.

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Post by varjag » 30 May 2006 12:41

Graeme - I thank you for your opinion. All I have tried to do - is to put Australias contribution to
the Pacific war - in a more realistic light - than that which prevails in Australia today. With few
exceptions - that seed seems to has 'fallen on the bedrock' - as I perhaps expected. At least in this
forum. Perhaps in the future - a less chauvinistic Australia may embrace opinions more congruent
with mine? As for China - Japan was unable to supply, even the few divisions - it sent into the Pacific.
The war in China - between KMT and the Japanese - was mostly a 'phoney war' - with Japanese troops
'living off the land' - which was impossible in the Pacific. I rest my case....cheers, Varjag

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Post by Silent 7th » 30 May 2006 13:40

You have never put a case, to 'rest'.
The most you've done is throw demeaning adjectives (chauvenist) at those you seek to denigrate.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 30 May 2006 14:18

Let's keep this debate civil and recognise that views can differ.Australians have died for this right.

Graeme Sydney
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Post by Graeme Sydney » 31 May 2006 00:53

varjag wrote:Graeme - I thank you for your opinion. All I have tried to do - is to put Australias contribution to
the Pacific war - in a more realistic light - than that which prevails in Australia today. With few
exceptions - that seed seems to has 'fallen on the bedrock' - as I perhaps expected. At least in this
forum. Perhaps in the future - a less chauvinistic Australia may embrace opinions more congruent
with mine? As for China - Japan was unable to supply, even the few divisions - it sent into the Pacific.
The war in China - between KMT and the Japanese - was mostly a 'phoney war' - with Japanese troops
'living off the land' - which was impossible in the Pacific. I rest my case....cheers, Varjag


Take another look at my replies - I haven't offered opinion I’ve been specific in saying that you have made assertions without backing them up with facts or data.

I'm not been chauvinistic, I've said "I wouldn't want to be seen arguing for the opposite", that is, I don't argue that Australia made some invaluable war winning contribution.

If you are accusing Australia generally of been chauvinistic and uninformed or mislead by "breastfeed legend" I don't think you could be further from the truth if you tried. I notice that you give Australia as your location. You must be aware that Australia celebrates three 'military' days each year; Anzac Day, Armistice Day and the Battle of the Coral Sea (with Long Tan seeking in).

It has been common practice that during most Battle of the Coral Sea celebrations that somewhere in Australia that there will a visiting US war ship, yanks and oz servicemen marching together and politians speaking recognizing America contribution and thanking them for saving Australia.

This recognition of the importance of America was plain to see in 1942 with Curtain kowtowing to Macarthur and has been ongoing. Remember ‘all the way with LBJ’ – an American election slogan that became an Australian foreign policy.

If you look at Australia’s foreign policy for the last 60years you will notice the preoccupation of Australia to align and ingratiate ourselves with the US. This is such a notable and obvious issue it is also an ongoing public debate of some passion. I don’t think this would have been policy if Australians were believing that we had defeated the Japanese in ’42-‘45.

I think I have and Australia has a realistic grip on our performance and importance in WW2 in general and in the defeat on Japan. If you want to argue specifics look through this thread. There are many excellent post of the specfic Australian military, strategic and economic contributions to the defeat of Japan.

varjag wrote:with Japanese troops
'living off the land' - which was impossible in the Pacific. I rest my case....cheers, Varjag


'living off the land' or otherwise there was still 1.5 million IJA in china in ’45 (from memory). Better there then the Philippines or spread across the island of the pacific. !.5 million IJA been tried down in China made a significant and material contribution to the defeat of Japan.

And by the way, I think the IJA in the pacific did a pretty good job of living off the minimum of resources including living off the land.

I think your attempts to belittle Australia's contributions to the defeat of Japan is incorrect and unsupported by Historical facts.

Cheers, Graeme.

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Barry Graham
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"On Shaggy Ridge" by Phillip Bradley

Post by Barry Graham » 30 Jun 2006 03:31

"On Shaggy Ridge" by Phillip Bradley - published by Oxford University Press, 2004.

I have just read this book which is a detailed account of the 7th Division's excursions in the Ramu Valley and the campaign in the Finisterre Ranges.
The book draws on the recollections of over 100 Australian and several Japanese veterans who lived through the desperate fighting in the valley and along the razor back.
The text is supported with excellent maps and photographs of the region then and now.
The Australians, many veterans of the Middle East, Kokoda and the northern beach-heads tackle a determined enemy defending impossible terrain.
Every movement and attack is described in detail based on the experience of the troops that were there.
Recommended to anyone interested in the history of the AIF in the New Guinea campaigns.

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Post by Geddy » 16 Jul 2006 04:07

Varjag you seems to have opinions but no facts in this area. Are you aware that the Japanese were first defeated in battle by Australian at Milne Bay, think of the consequences if Australian Army (as opposed to Militia) had not arrived in New Guinea. These alone were highy influential and significant events.
I know you may have a problem being accepted in Australia but if you want to argue this point please give us some facts.

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Post by varjag » 16 Jul 2006 13:02

Geddy wrote:Varjag you seems to have opinions but no facts in this area. Are you aware that the Japanese were first defeated in battle by Australian at Milne Bay, think of the consequences if Australian Army (as opposed to Militia) had not arrived in New Guinea. These alone were highy influential and significant events.
I know you may have a problem being accepted in Australia but if you want to argue this point please give us some facts.

I already have - argued my point.
If I surrender and admit that - short of the Atom Bomb - Australias contribution was essential, crucial and DECISIVE.
Will you be happy then? Cheers, Varjag

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