Sir Paul Hasluck Books

The Government and the People 1939-1945

Australia in the second world war published in two volumes 1939-1941 and 1942-1945 by the Australian War Memorial 1952 and 1970.
by Paul Hasluck

Publication Details:
Australian War Memorial, 1952 & 1970
Hardback 644 pp & 771 pp
ISBN: n/a & n/a

Cover notes: Volume 1
"This, the first of two volumes dealing with political and social events in Australia during the 1939-45 war, carries the story down to the entry of Japan into the war.

Early chapters review at length the development of Australian ideas on defence and foreign policy in the period between the war 1914-18 and 1939 and recount the measures taken in Australia in preparation for the war. The stage is set for a study of wartime political events by a close examination of the ideas and attitudes in the various political groups in Australia.

The various factors that shaped decisions regarding Australian expeditionary forces and the building up of Australian war industry and the circumstances of political strife in which those decisions were made are recounted. Interwoven with this narration is an account of the various social changes that were taking place and the way in which popular opinion was affected by the changing fortunes of war, so that the volume tells not only of the Government, but also of the people of Australia.

The machinery of government is examined with constructive comment in a chapter 'Wartime Administration', which will be of outstanding benefit to specialists in this field.

The volume draws on a wide range of official records and the liberal quotations from documents will make it valuable as a source book as well as narrative."

Cover notes: Volume 2
"This, is the second of two volumes on political events in Australia during the 1939-45 war.

The narrative in this volume extends from the entry of Japan into the war until surrender in August 1945. Thus it covers the period when Australia stood in greatest danger and when the Australian war effort reached its peak.

During all except the last few months of this period John Curtin was Prime Minister of Australia, and, in large part, the history is a record of his wartime administration and provides the background for the study of his leadership in crisis.

During this period, too, the United States of America became an ally and American forces were based in Australia. Besides dealing with the immediate problems arising from these facts, the Australian Government also found itself faced with the special difficulty of being one of the smaller nations in a global war for which the strategy was determined by the three great powers, and in which the allocation of forces and materials was decided by the inter-Allied bodies on which Australia was not directly represented.

At the same time there were domestic, political, social and industrial problems at home. The study of a nation attempting to mobilise a total war effort both to ensure its own survival and to contribute to a common case reveals both sources of strength and causes of weakness."

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