How did your country’s relationship with other countries change during World War II?

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Rochelle Banta
Emma Lagorio
Jordan Gillespie
Cassie Logan
Kestrel Ray
Angus MacRae
Chris Meares
Robert Pitrans
Angus Brasher

When WWII began in September 1939 Australia's sense of security was fading. Loyalty to the mother country (Britain) was deteriorating and was forming towards the United States of America as the U.S were also at war with the Japanese due to the Pearl Harbour bombing at this point in time (December 1941). This was was mainly due to the fact that the British were fighting for their own survival against Nazi Germany and its empire (the Third Reich) and the east was falling to the Japanese empire (The Empire of the Rising Sun). When the supposed 'Fortress of Singapore' fell to the Japanese empire in February 1942 (with 130,000 Australian and English troops surrendering), Australia realised that the British Empire would no longer be able to aid them. John Curtin (Prime Minister at the time) realised this, and when ordered by Churchill to provide fuel for British navy ships, Curtin disobeyed the order and caused tenson between the two allies, which was a contributing factor to Australia turning to America's power instead. But during this in 1941 after the Pearl Harbour attacks the Australian Prime Minister, John Curtin, had already made the official appeal for support to the US, instead of the former supportive ally Great Britain.

*Australias relationship's with other countries changed dramatically during the war years, in particular between America and Australia, and England and Australia.

The international bond between Australia and England suffered a major decline in trust and reliance. This is only due to one event in particular. This event was the fall of the 'Fortress of Singapore.'

Before WWII (specifically, the invention of decent planes and paratroopers/ Fulchumjager/ commandos) Singapore was thought to be a 'city fortress' as there was only one way in and one way out: the bay. Due to the fact that Singapore was surrounded by difficult terrain such as mountains, it became difficult to get tanks or trucks in. It was easy to defend because there were a minimal amount of places for an invader to infiltrate the city. This led to a colony of the commonwealth to be in the way of the Japanese push for the south, and it was thought to be unbeatable hereby damaging enemy morale and boosting that of the allies. However during the year of 1941 the 'fortress' of Singapore fell into the hands of the empire of the rising sun, and with the surrender of 130 000 Allied troops. After this event it
demonstrated to the world that the Japanese Army was a force to be reckoned with, Australia and its people felt that they could no longer depend on their several hundred year alliance with Britain. Australia then began to feel alone in the war of the Pacific.
The U.S had an unspoken alliance with Australia, however it had never been fully exercised previously in history. This did not prevent the two nations from joining to fight the common enemy. It was easy for politicians from both Australia and America to identify that it was a well made alliance, as both countries were close, and both were primarily English speaking.
As a result of this, it is easy to see how Australia's international relationships dramatically changed during the war years.

Here is a funny and helpful youtube clip that basically explains world war II but throughout it there are parts where he discusses changing relationships between countries:
-World War II (crash course history episode 38)

WW2 newspaper comic
a common stereotype/propaganda that was used during the war
Near the beginning of World War II, the United States of America was fairly neutral towards many countries, which included Germany. However, after several German submarines had been attacking Greenland, our president at the time (Franklin Roosevelt) decided that enough was enough, and chose to step in. In order to protect the Greenland’s shipping from Germany’s attacks, we created bases there, and warned the Germans to cease the assaults. Regardless of the warnings, Germany continued to harm Greenland. By this time, it is easy to see how the United States relations became worse with Germany. Certainly the most obvious example of the tension between America and Germany was is 1941, when the Germans officially declared war on our country.

Another one of the countries that the United States stayed fairly neutral to, was France. The French and American relationship grew even stronger after the removal of Napoleon, and so when President Rosevelt heard news of the French declaring war over Germany for invading Poland, he stepped in as an ally. The United States sent military men and money for the French to fight back against the Germans because they were at a disadvantage of Germany's large military. Although the French fought the battle and lost (1940), the help of the United States further brought the relationship of the United States and the French closer. It was only after the war that the ideas of the French and United States did not quite add up, and problems began to occur.

During World War II, Australian prime minister, Curtin, called for military help from the United States after their mother country, Great Britain, abandoned them to Japanese advancements. Eager to exact revenge on them after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. gladly came and defended them. Afterwards, Australians saw Americans as their saviors. U.S. commander Douglas McArthur became the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, and he established its headquarters in Australia. They later became resentful of McArthur’s arrogant behavior toward their troops, and occasionally fights would break out between the men. Regardless of all the turmoil, the U.S. helped them push back the Japanese, and win the war.
*From the Austraian Chris Meares (regaurding the above)- I proberbly wouldn't use the term saviours as much as something such as allies or newfound superpower. This is because the Australians faught too, its just that they had no chance due to the disproportianate numbers. :)*

One country at odds with the United States in World War II was Italy. Before the war, Italy and the United States had good relationship. When Italy wasn’t united, the United States had good relations with all three of the main powers: The Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and the Papal States. The United States maintained good relations with after their unification (or Risorgimento) in 1861, into the Kingdom of Italy. Italy was one of the Axis powers, signing the Pact of Steel on May 22nd, 1939, with Germany, and then the Tripartite Pact (Axis Alliance) with Japan and Germany in September of 1940, after they started the war in June (once the fall of France was apparent). In signing the alliance, they also declared war on the Allies (including the United States). The United States then assisted in the taking of Sicily in 1943, thus taking Italy out of the war. Friendly relations between the United States and Italy resumed in 1944, after the formation of the Republic of Italy, and have been maintained ever since, making World War II the only time that Italy and the United States have been at odds.

One of the most important countries that the United States related to in World War Two was Japan. Initially, it was the US's relationship with Japan that started the war for them. Before the war, Japan thought that the US felt a sense of superiority toward them, and felt underestimated. Really, though, they were growing weary of Japan's exponential military growth. Japan was heavily reliant on oil imports from the US. The two countries snapped when communications were cut, Japan struck the US, followed by US's strike on them. This returned mutual consent on the balance of power, and now Japan is much more independent when it comes to other countries. Japan is one of the US's best allies today, getting much better, and even positive after the war.