John Curtin Research Paper

Submitted By Rush00
Words: 753
Pages: 4

John Curtin (Prime Minister of Australia during WWII) is regarded by many as one of our greatest Australians. The decisions he made in office impacted greatly on the safety of Australia and Australians during the time. His leadership helped us grow as a country in our own right and develop international relationships. His choices were difficult, and some people opposed them, but in the end, his persistency and hard work paid off. Curtin managed to protect Australia from the Japanese invasion, “introduced the ever-controversial issue of conscription”, bought home Australian troops from the United Kingdom and the Middle East and turned an American General into an ally. Not something an average Prime Minister could or would do.

Until WWII, Australia was very much aligned in its decisions and policies with that of the United Kingdom’s government. But with the threat of Japan invading, and becoming an increasing threat, Curtin broke ranks with Winston Churchill (the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister). Instead of assisting the Mother Country, he put his focus into protecting Australia and its people. This immediately drew flames from Churchill, but in the end, Curtin did what was right, and protected this nation. To further secure the nations safety, Curtin looked to Theodore Roosevelt (President of the United States) at this time, saying, “Without any inhibitions of any kind, I make it quite clear that Australia looks to America free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom.” Upon hearing this statement from Curtin, Churchill was enraged and believed that Australians were betraying him.

One of Curtin’s more controversial policies was the enforcing of conscription. It was controversial both personally and politically for Curtin. During WWI he was sent to jail for three days for his adamant beliefs in anti-conscription. But as the United Kingdom sent Australia’s top troops, the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) to fight in the Middle East and the front line for the Mother Country, Curtin had no choice but to conscript Australians in order to keep his own country safe, the Commonwealth Military Force(CMF). The CMF could only serve in and around Australia and its territories. As the War escalated and concerns grew for Australia’s safety, Curtin was forced to join the CMF and the AIF. After the Japanese took over the Philippines, Curtin requested that Churchill send Australian troops were home, not to Burma. But Churchill had other ideas, persuading Roosevelt to coax Curtin into listening to the idea of Burma. But the ever-headstrong Curtin stubbornly bought home the soldiers. After Singapore was lost, Curtin warned that the war on Australia was about to begin. He was right, as four days later the Japanese bombed Darwin. The Japanese then left Australia alone, as Australia had more power behind them from the American military, which could only spell disaster for the Japanese if