* World War II -- American defense of Australia

World War II: Australia--Mrs. Roosevelt Visit (September 1943)

Australia World War II
Figure 1.--Herewe see Nrs. Roosevelt in Sydney. The press caption read, "Fiest Lady Meets Admniral's Children: This pohoto, just released in the United States, shiws Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt talking with three children of Admiral Muirhead-Gould during his recent visit to Sydney, Australia. The children saluted Mrs. Roosevelt when they finally met her, she quixkly returned the salute then said., 'Lets shake hands. I';m better at that.' Mrs. Rooseveklt has since returned to Washington." The photograph was dated September 28, 1943..

The United States did not have diplomatic relations with Australia until World War II (1940). Before this, issues were addressed through the British Givernment. After Peral Harbor and the fall of Singapore, the defense of Australia fell largely on the United States. Unlike America, Australia was in real danger during the War. And at a low point in the Allied suituation, the precious carriers oif the American Pacific flkeet shiwed up in the Coral sea to defend Australia (May 1942). The secuyrity situation had chabged dramatically (1943). And soon Mrs Roosevelt showed up to emphazize the American commitment to Australia. The U.S. War Department opposed the idea of the First lady's trip to the South Pacific. Even so, the First Lady undertook a grueling, 5-week tour of the South Pacific for Red Cross in (August-September 1943). She had 17 stops, including Bora Bora, Fiji, Samoa, New Caledonia, Christmas Island, Guadalcanal, New Zealand, and Australia. She repotedly spoke some estimated 400,000 people. Admiral William F. 'Bull' Halsey, U.S. commander in the South Pacific, noted for his gruffness, opposed her visit. He said that he had a war to fight, and no time to waste welcoming a visiting 'do-gooder'. When Mrs. Roosevelt showed up and went to work, meeting with wounded men, he changed his opiniond. Mrs. Roosevelt reached Australia (Septembrr 1943). She eaffirming the strength of the Australian-American partnership at the highest levels of the Australian leadership. Sge planed a Famous Pin Oak. Mrs. Roosevelt made it irrefutable that the United States would stand by Australia come what may. She put a emphasisd on visting wounded soldiers. She made a apoint to recognizing the war work Australian women were doing. She stated during a Sydney event, "Perhaps here is the germ of an idea that in the postwar period women will be encouraged to participate in all activities of citizenship." She was a huge success. On the way home she insusted on visiting Guadalcanal and Adm. Halsey made it possible.


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Created: 9:21 AM 10/4/2020
Last updated: 9:21 AM 10/4/2020