Home front: Second World War

During the Second World War Australians at home did not suffer the miseries and privations that many civilian populations in other parts of the world had to endure, but the war did have a profound impact on the Australian home front. The nation experienced attacks on its own soil for the first time and the Australian people faced fear and uncertainty as Japan advanced in the Pacific. The Government implemented a wide range of measures in preparedness for the situation of “total war” and national security. The urgent need was to increase available manpower for the services and munitions production. On the grounds of national danger, resources were increasingly marshalled under government control and civilians accepted the surrender of many of their individual rights.

People on the home front were expected to make economic and social sacrifices for the war effort. The Curtin Government launched a campaign of “Austerity” in August 1942 and home-front propaganda pushed the concept of “equality of sacrifice”. People were expected to work harder and avoid luxuries and waste. Despite the difficulties and hardships experienced on the home front, many Australians remember this time for its sense of unity, a time when people worked hard and pulled together.

Last updated: