Interested in how World War II affected Australia? Here’s a free resource …

Pages from week-27-who-defended-australia

Jerry McBrien, now retired on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, just north of Brisbane, grew up in England at a time when World War 2 was recent and familiar history, and many people and the landscape still bore its scars. In his twenties he settled in Australia, where he worked in strategy and planning roles in the chemical and power industries. He now spends most of his time writing and lecturing on the history of the Second World War, particularly the War in the Pacific, which has been an interest since he arrived in Australia.

His ebook War in the Pacific: The First Six Months―Defending Australia chronicles the dramatic timeline of the war in the Pacific. His later research, delivered in his lectures, covers the week by week story of the war as it involved Australians and affected Australia.

The following notes, based on his recent lectures, are available as a FREE RESOURCE on his website – under ‘NOTES FROM RECENT LECTURES’.

The Japanese Assault on Timor

The Japanese Assault on Timor. The Loss of Sparrow Force and the Survival of the Independent Company. Covers the events leading up to the commitment of Sparrow force and the strategic struggles in the Australian Government at the time of the assault. Includes background on Japanese paratroop operations.

War in the Pacific 1943 – Week 27

Who Defended Australia?

War in the Pacific 1943 – Week 26

A look at some Allied decision making processes at the outbreak of war and in the development of weapons.

War in the Pacific 1943 – Week 25

Land Battles, Kokoda, Guadalcanal & Milne Bay – What we Know Now

War in the Pacific 1943 – Week 24

Land Battles in Malaya – What we Know Now

War in the Pacific 1943 – Week 23

Naval Surface Actions. The disasters and the occasional victory, what we now know.

War in the Pacific 1943 – Week 22

The Battle of Midway – What we Now Know and the Lives of a couple of actors in the carrier battles.

The Fall of France

The War in the West in May and June 1940 and the collapse of the Third Republic.

War in the Pacific 1943 – Week 21

What we know now ; the Sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse, the Attack on Lexington on 20 February and the Attacks on the Amphibious Force on 7 and 8 August.

War in the Pacific 1943 – Week 20

What we know now 1; the Attacks on Pearl Harbor and Sydney Harbour and the I Go counter offensive.

War in the Pacific 1943 – Week 19

The Japanese Air Forces strike back. The killing of Yamamoto. Failure in Burma. Allied Strategic Directives issued.

War in the Pacific 1943 – Week 18

The Allied Airforces and the US Navy smash the Japanese Navy at the Battle of the Bismark Sea and the Battle of Blackett Strait. The Air War continues. Allied strategy for the rest of 1943 is developed in Washington.

The Battles of Late October for Guadalcanal

The Outbreak of World War 2 in Europe

How did it come to this? The events leading up to the outbreak of World War 2.

In developing these lecture notes, Jerry’s aim has been to include enough of the wider war to put the Australian story into context. He covers the war on land, sea and in the air and the story of Australians as individuals in British forces as well as Australian units, along with the background to the political decision making, manpower issues and industrial policy that all played a role in Australia’s war effort.

The story is told in chronological order including only the information available at the time to emphasise the stress on decision makers confronted by multiple simultaneous challenges with very scarce and uncertain information.

Each PDF is based on the Powerpoint presentation used in his lectures. Each PDF contains extensive illustrations including maps, photographs, original documents, newspaper front pages and links to original video and reference material.

For more information and to access the free resources, go to

DISCLOSURE: I attend Jerry’s very interesting U3A lectures at the Sunshine Coast University campus each Tuesday afternoon.

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