Australia & World War 2
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Australia & World War II
Censorship is when parts of books, news, films, radio programs or internet articles are suppressed because they are deemed inappropriate on moral, political or military grounds. The Federal Government introduced censorship as they believed this would prevent misleading and untruthful stories from circulating, as this would weaken Australias morale. Many believed that by censoring the press and media, Australia would be equal with the countries it was fighting against. Australia introduced censorship of news on radio and newspapers within days of the declaration of war because Australia became fearful that other countries would invade its shores. The government could censor overseas communications made with telegraph, telephone and post.
Australia wanted to keep military confidence and tactics confidential and away from the enemy. This was necessary for preserving national security.
For the next 6 years, Australians were only told what the government wanted them to know. The government had the final say in anything that was to be published in newspapers or magazines, and what was to be heard on radio. The Government used media in an attempt to control the way in which war was reported and to manage the publics opinion by boosting morale. In some instances, the truth was distorted; reports would minimise the extent of damage or number of casualties.
Most of the information given to Australians was directly influenced by the Commonwealth Department of Information. They used what Australians read in the newspapers and heard on the radio to heighten the war effort.
People were warned not to gossip as the government did not want any false or exaggerated information to spread. Letters were heavily censored, and they could not include anything about ships, numbers, locations, movements and where troops were headed. Prime Minister Menzies main reason for censorship was that he wanted Australians to have freedom of thought and action which was consistent with the safety of Australia.
The government would threaten penalties on anyone who breached censorship. People recognised the role of censorship during that time of emergency, but many criticised the censorship of media as too extreme.
Rationing was introduced in World War II because of war conditions which necessitated Australians to ration clothing and food. Most goods were in short supply and substantial supplies of food and clothing were needed for the troops to continue fighting. Provisions were sent to Britain. These food parcels included tea, sugar, beef and pork.
The main reasons for clothing rationing were the apparent abnormal war conditions that involved decrease in imports and the reduction of labour available for the production of textiles and manufacturing of garments. The supply of garments was not enough even for civilian demand so clothing rationing seemed to be the only practical way to distribute clothing equally. Rationing of clothing by coupons was introduced in June, 1942 and covered apparel such as headwear, footwear, hand knitting wool, etc.
In addition to the controls already exercised by the Rationing Commission, other commodities such as petrol, tobacco and liquor were also rationed.
The rationing system is a system where the quantity and types of goods that people buy are restricted. The government issued food ration books to every household each year, and goods like tea, sugar, meat, butter and clothing could only be bought if the right coupons were presented. Australians were asked to give up luxuries and comfortable habits. In 1944, meat was in such short supply that it was cut down to one to two kilograms per person each week.
Items that were not rationed included sausages, canned meats, poultry, rabbits, fish, bacon and ham.
The government introduced conscription during World War II in 1941 without a referendum. Australia decided conscription was necessary to defend Australia after war broke out in Europe. Australia already had a militia of approximately 80000 who were immediately called up to fight. In 1939, at the start of World War II, it became compulsory for all unmarried men aged 21 to have military training. These men were to only fight within Australia. As the seriousness of war increased, the terms for conscription constantly changed. In 1941, when possibility of war increased significantly with Japan, any male turning 18 would have to register for possible service. Later in 1942, conscription was introduced effectively. All men aged 18-35 and single men aged 35-45 were required to join the CMF.
After the fall of Singapore, these men were called up into the army. The men were given one to three months of training in Papua New Guinea, and their main objective was to stop Japan from advancing into Australian territory.
At the time, Australia had two armies:
A second AIF made up of volunteers.