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Australian History

December 9, 1941 – Australia formally declares war on Japan

John Curtin

John Curtin

On the morning of 7 December 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack on the Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii.

This one act changed the direction of World War II. Despite the success of the Japanese in their aim of crippling the US navy, the attack pushed the US into WWII.

An hour after the attack, Australian Prime Minister John Curtin declared that “from one hour ago, Australia has been at war with the Japanese Empire”.

Two days later, on 9 December 1941, at 11:15 am, Australian time (8:15 pm, December 8, American E.S.T.), war was formally declared. In part of his speech, John Curtin stated:

“The Australian Government … did not want war in the Pacific. The Australian Government has repeatedly made it clear, as have the Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the Netherlands East Indies, that if war came to the Pacific it would be of Japan’s making. Japan has now made war.”

With that declaration came Australia’s involvement in the war on Japan.

About Craig Hill

Social Justice Campaigner. Business and Education Consultant. Former Business/ESL Teacher. Lived in China and USA. Dealing with disability. My articles have been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and many other international publications.


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