Introduction

On 7 December 1941, the Japanese navy attacked Pearl Harbour.  At the same time their army launched assaults on Malaya, Hong Kong and the Philippines; from there the Japanese armies swept across southeast Asia at an alarming rate.  When Singapore fell in February 1942 Australia lost an entire Australian division.  The Pacific War developed into a a conflict primarily fought by aircraft carriers, and by infantry in jungles and on Pacific Islands.

Grant, R, 2008, World War II: the events and their impact on real people, Dorling Kindersley, London

Library resources

On our shelves:

Library catalogue

The Library catalogue is a powerful searching tool. Use a basic keyword search to get quickly to some of the resources you will find on the shelves on World War II. Use keyword searching to help locate particular topics or aspects of the war.  Please note: This search will give you all the countries that participated in the Pacific campaigns in World War 2, not just Australia.

eReserve

From the Department of Veterans Affairs

Other Subject Guides

World War 2 (1939-1945) - Europe


Collection highlights

From the series Australians in the Pacific War, 1944-1945


Reference

On our shelves

General encyclopedia:

  • Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • The World Book

Subject encyclopedia:

Online encyclopedia:

  • Britannica Online *You will need your user name and password to use these resources.

 


eBooks

From Britannica eStax


Web resources

Australia:

To access newspapers of the time, that reported the Pacific campaign, visit the National Library of Australia's TROVE

 Japan:

 United States:

  • MacArthur Memorial. The MacArthur Memorial is a museum and research center dedicated to preserving and presenting the story of the life of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. The Memorial also pays tribute to the millions of men and women who served with General MacArthur in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.
  • War in the Pacific [U.S. History]

Battle of the Coral Sea

Introduction

This four-day World War II skirmish in May 1942 marked the first air-sea battle in history.  The Japanese were seeking to control the Coral Sea with an invasion of Port Morseby in southeast New Guinea, but were intercepted by Allied forces.  Rear Admiral Frank J. Fletcher commanded the  American task forces, which included two large aircraft carries and other ships, and a British-led cruiser force mounted surface opposition.

There were a number of missed opportunities as the carrier airmen learned their trade.  Air strikes from both sides either missed targets or found them only after using up their ordnance.  The American carrier Lexington came under heavy fire, with the loss of 216 crewmen.

Battle of Coral Sea, 2009, History. com, viewed May 17, 2018, http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/battle-of-coral-sea

 eReserve

 Web resources


Pearl Harbour

Introduction:

On the morning of 7 December 1941, 183 aircraft from the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbour on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The intention was to cause as much damage as possible to the US Pacific Fleet , before it could respond to other Japanese operations in the Pacific. They bombed hangers and aircraft on the island's airfields, while at the same time launching torpedoes against US warships moored in the harbour. 

A second attack on the same morning by another 170 Japanese aircraft resulted in the loss or damage of 18 warships, 188 aircraft destroyed and 2,403 American servicemen and women killed.

Crucially all three of the Pacific Fleet's aircraft carriers were not at Pearl Harbour during the attack and so escaped damage. The were to prove vital in the coming Pacific Campaign.

Kerrison, A 2018, 'What happened at Pearl Harbour', Imperial War Museum, viewed 18 May 2018, https://iwm.org.uk/history-what-happened-at-pearl-harbour

Library resources

On our shelves:

eBooks

From Britannica eStax

eReserve: 

  • McIntyre, C 1990, 'Pearl Harbor', in Battle at sea: World War II, Mallard Press, New York, pp. 56-64.

Web resources:


Papua New Guinea - Kokoda

Library resources

On our shelves

From the series Australians in the Pacific War

Collection highlight:

Audio Visual

Web resources


Prisoners of War (POWs)

Resources on Australian men and women held in Japanse POW camps.

Library resources:

On our shelves:

Collection highlights

You may also be interested in this book about the 1500 civilians captured by the Japanese.  They spent the war interned in harsh, prison-like camps throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

  • Twomey, Christiana 2007, Australia's forgotten prisoners: civilians interned by the Japanese in World War Two, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Victoria.

eReserve

From the Department of Veterans Affairs

Official publication

  • Nippon very sorry - many men must die: Submission to the United Nations Commission of Human Rights (ESOSOC Resolution 1503) Donated to St Patrick's College, 16th April 1999, by National Malaya and Borneo Veterans Association.

Fiction

  • Flanagan, R, 2013, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Vintage Books, Sydney. Twelve years in the writing, The Narrow Road is a culmination of themes and ideas that Richard Flanagan had long wanted to write about. His father, Archie, was one of Dunlop's Thousand, "that now near-mythical group" as Flanagan describes them, who manned the Thai-Burma death railway.

Web resources:


Bombing of Broome and Darwin

Library resources:

Collection highlight:

  • Forrest, P & S, 2001, Federation frontline: a people's history of World War II in the Northern Territory, Centenary of Federation Northern Territory, Darwin.

 eReserve:

  • Mackay, I 1982, 'The bombing of Darwin', in Great Australian disasters, Rigby Publishers, Adelaide, pp. 148-154.

Web resources:

Broome

Darwin

 


Japanese in Sydney Harbour

Library resources 

eReserve:

From the series Australia Under Attack:

Web resources:

 


Hiroshima

The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945. This resulted in the death of 100,000 men, women and children. Many hundreds of thousands more died of their terrible injuries later, or slowly perished from radiation-related sickness.

'There was nothing I could do to help in this hell on earth, so I simply clasped both hands together tightly in front of may face and made my way out of Hiroshima ...'

Flight Navigator Takenhiko Ena, a Kamikaze pilot who returned home through the atom-bombed city after his plane ditched into the sea. [Ham, P, 2011, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, HarperCollins, Sydney]

Library resources:

On our shelves

eBooks

From Britannica eStax:

Collection highlights

  • Hersey, J, 1946, Hiroshima, Penguin Modern Classics, London. John Hersey wrote his book only one year after the bombing of Hiroshima. Told through accounts of six men and women who survived against the odds stacked against them. Forty years later he Hiroshimareturned to Japan to disover how these same six people had struggled with the catastrophe and often with crippling disease. The result is a devasting picture of the long-term affects of one very small bomb. [Book cover]
  • Hersey, J, 1946, Hiroshima, Pengiun Special 1946, London. On the 70th anniversary Penguin reissued this 'this classic piece of journalism ... a defining moment of the nuclear age.'
  • Ham, P, 2011, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, HarperCollins, Sydney. Paul Ham used diaries, contemporary accounts and official papers to give a gripping account of the events that led to the bombing, and the harrowing testimony to their destructive power. Through the eyes of 80 survivors, he reminds us that the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were full of ordinary people - who without warning, became the world's first atomic casualties.
  • Ham, P, ed, Edwards, D, trans., 2013, Yoko's diary: the life of a young girl in Hiroshima during WWII, HarperCollins, Sydney. In her diary, Yoko provides an account of that time - when conditions were so poor that children as young as twelve were forced to work in industry; when fierce battles raged in the Pacific, and children like Yoke believed victory was near.
  • Rummel, J, 1992, Robert Oppenheimer: dark prince, Facts on File, New York. This book chronicles the life and work of the man who spearheaded the Manhattan Project - one of the most controversial scientific enterprises of the 20th century - which led to the development of the atomic bomb.

eReserve

Audio Visual Resources

Web resources

 


Nagasaki

On August 9 1945, a second atomic bomb was dropped. The target this time was Nagaskai.

Library resources

On our shelves:

Many of our books on Hiroshima will also have sections or chapters devoted to Nagasaki. Two of these are:

  • Grant, R.G., 1997, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Wayland, Hove, East Sussex
  • Ham, Paul, 2011, Hiroshima and and Nagasaki, HarperCollins, Sydney

Collection highlight

The following book, published in 2015, is said to do for "Nagasaki what John Hersey did for Hiroshima: (J. W. Dower)

  • Southard, S, 2015, Nagasaki: life aftr nuclear war, Viking, New York

 

Web resources