Australian History Essay - Contributions in World War 2

1753 Words Mar 1st, 2011 8 Pages
JJ Selwyn IV DJM
AUH ESSAY – WORLD WAR II

How significant a contribution did Australian troops make to the course and outcome of World War II?

During World War II, of the 7 million people who lived in Australia, 550 000 served overseas in the armed forces. While this was a high proportion of the population and they all fought bravely in battle, it still can not be said that their efforts made a significant contribution to the course and outcome of the war. In campaigns such as Tobruk and El Alamein in North Africa and, primarily, Papua New Guinea, the Australian troops gave a good account of themselves and made significant contributions to the battles in each of these areas. However, in comparison to battles in the European theatre of
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While this battle was not pivotal in the course of the war, it is still extremely clear that the Australian troops contributed greatly.

The next battle, in which there was significant Australian contribution, was in El Alamein, in the Mediterranean theatre of war. This was a battle which after the loss of Tobruk, halted and turned around the German forces which were advancing towards Egypt. After the battle Churchill said “Before El Alamein, we never had a victory, after El Alamein, we never had a defeat”. This campaign managed to destroy the Germans hopes of capturing Egypt.

The 1st battle of El Alamein, which included the Australian 9th division, took place between the 10th and 27th of July 1942. While Allie losses in this battle were greater than German losses, it stopped and exhausted the Germans and forced them to regroup before they tried to advance again. The 2nd and more decisive battle of El Alamein took place on the 23rd of October. By this time the Allied forces had brought together an vast reserve of men, approximately 220 000 troops, of which 32 000 were Australian. Having intercepted German plans, the Allied forces, commanded by Sir Bernard Law Montgomery, were able to anticipate the German movements and eventually defeat them, with the battle ending on the 5th November. While the Australian troops only made up 6% of Montgomery’s forces, the suffered 20% of the casualties, with 620

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