A Chronology of Australian Armed Forces at War 1939-45

By Bruce T. Swain | Go to book overview

Author's note

I am not sure that 'author' is the correct word; 'compiler' is probably more correct, as I have copied freely from the numerous works listed in the Bibliography. In some cases the extracts are verbatim, but in most the words are my own precis.

This work was first compiled in 1995 under the auspices of 'Australia Remembers 1945–1995', as an expansion of the 'This Week in the War' feature I was producing for a local newspaper. Subsequent to my completing my second compilation, Tobruk Diary, I expanded it somewhat when I realised I had not covered the Siege of Tobruk (and the Battle of El Alamein) in as much detail as the campaigns in the Southwest Pacific.

It was subsequently further expanded, on the advice of Dr David Horner, by covering the Syrian campaign in greater detail, and including the deliberations, decisions, and so on, at the various levels of 'high command' in both the government and the armed forces.

I make no apologies for including instances of Japanese atrocities, as they are mentioned in the context in which they were encountered—on the Kokoda Track, at Milne Bay, and in Borneo. It was not until the war was over, however, that we learned the full extent of these atrocities—especially the brutality, sadism and starvation to which prisoners of war were subjected. What certain Germans did during the Holocaust still receives publicity, so I see no reason not to mention what the Japanese did during the Pacific War.

I do not mean to offend: I mean only to tell the truth, and what I have told here is only a very small part of the truth.

The emphasis is on the Australian Armed Forces, and the campaigns in which our men and women fought. Other significant events of World War II are mentioned only if they directly affected Australia, or are of particular interest.

Bruce T. Swain Hervey Bay 2000

-xix-

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