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HSC History Essay - Conflict in the Pacific

HSC History Essay - Conflict in the Pacific

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Published by Asha Forsyth
Modern history assessment essay, also question in HSC 2010 exam. Conflict in the pacific, question - Assess the impact of the war in the pacific on the Japanese and Australian home fronts.
Modern history assessment essay, also question in HSC 2010 exam. Conflict in the pacific, question - Assess the impact of the war in the pacific on the Japanese and Australian home fronts.

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Published by: Asha Forsyth on Oct 28, 2010
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History Essay – Assess the impact of the war in the pacific on the Japanese andAustralian home fronts.
Like any theatre of war, the impact of the Conflict in the Pacific was not exclusive tothe war fronts. Between December 1941 and August 1945, both Australia and Japancommenced in total war to sustain the war of attrition, and as a result, significant political, economic and social changes took place. And although revisionists such asThomas Haven claim both home front situations to be quite similar, the war in the pacific evidently affected Japan’s home front in a more severe way, leading to itsdefeat in August 1945.Effectively implementing total war required a capable government to organise thehome fronts and introduce sustainable war policies. Both Australia and Japan had polar opposite governments and this had differing effects on their home fronts. Japanhad abolished democracy in the 1930’s and passed the National Mobilisation Bill in1938, favouring a more militaristic government to succeed in the imminent conflictahead. Australia however, was not so equipped; with few armed forces and aneconomy unprepared to sustain war. Menzies’ National Security Act of 1939overcame this, increasing governmental control and achieving cohesion; somethingwhich would guarantee victory. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941 andthe Singapore in 1942, Curtin’s recent US alliance led Australia to enter the PacificWar, not only on the war front but the home front as well. Despite their differences,Japanese and Australian governments both recognised the threat of possible invasionand pushed for total war policies, including new recruitment and conscription policies.Based on differing home front societies, the reaction to conscription differed betweenJapan and Australia. In 1943, Curtin introduced ‘limited conscription’ to the CitizensMilitary Force; a repercussion of the desperate need for armed forces. This was metwith both controversy and dutiful acceptance throughout the Australian home front;who thought conscription was outdated from WW1. Japan however faced little homefront resistance, as conscription had long been part of their military. Japaneseindustrial labour conscription was also implemented, something Australia would later follow with the Reserved Occupations and Industrial Priorities act. Despite Japaneseconscription branching to education, historian Shillony argues that to compensate for Western seclusion, Japanese technical and scientific research was a priority.Regardless of similar conscription policies and effects, Japanese conscriptionencompassed more aspects on the home front; however Australian conscription wasfaced with social controversy.As a repercussion of the Pacific War, the home front economies of Japan andAustralia were both subsequently altered. However the Japanese economy, whichironically prompted expansion, suffered far greater from reliance on external success.During this time, American Historian Feary recognised this weakness and claimedrapid internal development was essential to evade national strife, this was incredibly perceptive of Feary. Japan’s rapid colonial expansion in 1941-42 beginning with thefall of Manchuria, allowed economic focus on matching US industrial and militarystrength. However without reinforced trade routes, the US sunk Japanese supplyships. This deemed stringent economic restriction necessary; having strong negativeeffects on Japanese society. In contrast, despite the Australian economy initially being
 
unprepared to sustain total war, former BHP general manager Essington Lewisorganised a war economy fed by Australian resources. By 1941, Australia’s munitionsindustry was booming, the federal government controlled tax and the economy wasreasonably self-sufficient. Both Japanese and Australian societies faced economicobstacles, but due to relative national stability Australia’s home front economy wasnot nearly as affected as a result of the war.Rations and restrictions were introduced on Japanese and Australian home fronts tocontrol economic instability and harness resources during the war. However, with animpaired economy, rationing and restrictions was more devastating on the Japanesehome front. As a result of the 1941 trade embargo, supply sabotage and multitudes of conscripted farmers, Japan implemented rationing in 1940. Inflation rose and anillegal black market formed. Fuel and metal were salvaged from the home fronts to produce munitions and military equipment. It seemed as though the war, contrary to previous assumption, was considerably disadvantaging the Japanese home front bymeans of rationing and restriction. Similarly, as a result of the 1940’s drought andthreat of Japanese submarine attack, Australia introduced rationing in 1942. For Australians on the home front, it was time to give up luxuries in order to sustain thetotal war effort. The ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign of 1942 encouraged personal produce, substitution was introduced and clothing was regulated. For both nations,austerity was admired and excess was shunned; it was a time of necessity over luxury.To boost morale, cover up military failures and reduce fear of invasion, both Japaneseand Australian governments used censorship and propaganda within their homefronts. Despite contrasting governmental systems, censorship on both home frontswas conducted at a relatively similar level. Japan had gained full control over themedia since the National Mobilisation Bill of 1938. Even after the Doolittle raid in1942, propaganda helped quash the fear of invasion. Any opposition was dealt with by means of terror through the
tokko
or ‘thought police’. Japanese propaganda wasalso used to instil enemy hatred throughout the home front, impacting on childhoodeducation, leisure activities and dress style. Similarly within Australia, TheDepartment of Information, headed by Arthur Caldwell, maintained tight controlthrough mass media censorship. Events such as the bombing of Darwin and thesinking of the HMAS Sydney were covered up so as not to diminish the publicssupport. Considering the vast differences, surprisingly censorship and propagandawithin both home fronts was relatively similar and effective.The Pacific war impacted on the role of home front women. However, due to thecontrasting cultures, equality and respect were more prevalent within Australia. In1941 the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) was created, allowing women’sdirect involvement in the war effort. The Manpower Commission of 1942 was similar to Japanese labour conscription; shifting able bodied males and replaced them withfemale labour. 1942 also saw the introduction of the Australian Women’s Land Army;replacing male farmers with women in order to boost troop numbers. The Women’sEmployment Board (WEB) was established soon after; however it could not totallyregulate equality, leading women to opt for higher paying jobs. Despite being in thesame situation, Japanese women on the home front did not receive as manyopportunities and freedom. Women supporting the workplace policy of 1943 andWomen’s Volunteer Labour Corps, found their civil liberties ignored and their wagestoo low against the inflated cost of living. Worse still, illness was ripe in factories and

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