Journal of the Australian War Memorial - Issue 29


Journal of the Australian War Memorial

November 1996


The civilians who joined up, 1939-45

Mark Johnston

The civilian backgrounds of the men who joined the Australian Army during the Second World War have received little systematic attention. The object of this article is to offer new evidence which will help to fill some of the gaps, especially in our knowledge of the civilian occupations, age, height, education, measured intellectual ability and motives of the men who joined up between 1939 and 1945. It concludes by offering a tentative image of the 'typical recruit'.

Australian-Dutch defence cooperation, 1940-1941
Herman Bussemaker

This article traces the development of defence contacts between the Australian and Dutch governments in the early years of the Second World War and, in particular, seeks to explain how the Dutch government in exile reversed its traditional diplomatic policy of neutrality and accepted defence agreements whereby Australia took over the defence of the eastern part of the Netherlands East Indies. It shows how a strong system of defence co-operation against Japan had been established by the latter part of 1941. The main reasons for these changes were the German takeover of Holland and the growing realisation by both the Dutch and Australian governments that they had common interests in south-east Asia. The article makes use of sources in Dutch archives not easily accessible to Australian researchers without the help of translators.

"We are the women who mourn our dead":
Australian civilian women's poetic responses to the First World War

Jacqueline Manuel

The literature inspired by the First World War has been extensively studied, but the war-related poetry of non-combatants, particularly women writers, has been relatively neglected. In this article Jacqueline Manuel reviews a sample of the poetry written by Australian women in response to the First World War. She particularly considers their more private utterances and examines the ways in which women's lives were altered by the war and how they came to terms with the departure, absence and loss of loved ones.

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