On Our Doorstep

In 1942 Australia faced the threat of invasion by the Japanese. This is what happened.

‘I can’t understand the mentality of the Australian people. One day they are in a panic about the war and the next they want more race meetings.’
– John Curtin

By March 1942, the Japanese had steamrolled through Malaya, laid siege to Singapore, and bombed Darwin with the same ferocity they had dealt Pearl Harbor. Nothing could stop them. Their next step was inevitable, surely: the invasion and occupation of Australia.

Meanwhile, as Australian prime minister John Curtin was battling with Winston Churchill to get troops back from overseas to defend their homeland, he was also positioning to ensure the United States would be there with us to fend off the approaching enemy.

And at home, people pitched in as best they could and in any way to frustrate the invader. They all played their part, torn between ‘she’ll be right’ and near panic.

On Our Doorstep is the story of how Australia and Australians – the government, the military and the people – prepared to face this calamity, and the events that persuaded them of its probability. In the end, Japan found it had stretched itself beyond the reliability of its supply line, but had it ever intended to invade Australia?



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