Peter Stanley

Invading Australia

Japanese Battle For Australia

An invasion has been a long-feared issue by Australians. The White Australians are an outpost of the empire for whom an invasion seemed most imminent. In just one year – 1942, Darwin had been bombed, in Sydney Harbour, submarines saw torpedoing ships. Not just there, the same thing was happening in Kokoda Trail where the Australian Militiamen were at. 

As the years went by, Australians began to put more and more of their energies into celebrating Anzac Day – honouring the lives of war heroes. In fact, an attempt was made at creating another public holiday majorly to commemorate the soldiers lost during the ‘Battle for Australia’.  But all that aside, it is no longer news that the casualties a country will suffer is most likely from an invasion – even if only close to being a success. So, the question is, how close was Australia to being invaded? 

Invading Australia perfectly avails a thorough examination of this state of unabated expectations for Australians while providing a comprehensive insight to what really happened. 

The writer, Peter Stanley, argues that a popular concept called ‘Battle for Australia’ is mistaken. As his premise, he claimed that the actions during the time did not in any way form one single campaign targeted against Australia. He added that not one of the historians he knows believes there was ever something called ‘Battle for Australia’. 

In his speech in 2006, he talked about the invalidity of the concept – by claiming that the events that happened prior to the time were so loosely related. In his words paraphrased, the ‘Battle for Australia’ was plainly a movement that came up out of the desire to link the terrible losses of 1942 to something. And as such, the Japanese had not and did not later launch any coordinated campaign targeted at Australia. Although he spoke on the use of the phrase turned mantra as wartime propaganda but nothing more. 

The opinion raised by Dr Peter Stanley in his book raises quite a number of controversial issues, however. The crux of the idea he tries to sell is that the Japanese High Command suspended all of their plans to invade Australia in March 1942 and that this was achieved by force.

Also, he opined that there was little chance if at all there is any for any battle whatsoever to be directed at Australia as a country. He took little account of that, the clash between the Japanese and the Allied Strategic War Plans caused the fracas that had the potential of leading to an invasion of Australia. 

Japan’s Operations at the time were more subtle than Peter Stanley might have thought.  Japan’s strategy was to simply isolate Australia from the United States and leaving them with no other option than to surrender. It was more of psychological warfare and intensified blockade on the part of Japan. And it was proving rather effective. 

Anyway, this does not totally cancel the depth of research put into the book written by Peter Stanley. It just implies that there are reviews that counter his arguments for the omission of certain authoritative historical sources that might have guided him.