Good Reading : April 2005
In September 1939, Prime Minister Robert Menzies declared it was his ‘melancholy duty to announce that Australia was at war’.This proclama- tion was greeted with a stunned silence from most Australians who remembered only too well the horrors of the First World War and the emptiness that fol- lowed.The next six years saw Australians involved in a very different war, with their own territory coming under enemy attack and thousands of men and women kept prisoners in appalling conditions. To commemorate the 60th anniver- sary of the signing of the peace treaty on 2 September, 1945, Richard Pelvin has compiled this beautifully illustrated book − a moving pictorial record of World War II. It is divided into two main parts: the war against Germany and Italy and the war against Japan. Second World War has over 500 rarely seen photos, historic maps, letters and diary entries from the Australian War Memorial archives. Its companion volume, the acclaimed ANZAC, is also very relevant this year as it is the 90th anniversary of the landing of the ANZACS at Gallipoli on 25 April, 1915. Both of these books put an intensely human face on the horrors of war. goodreading 47 Second World War: A Illustrated History 1939-1945 ANZAC: An Illustrated History 1924-1918 edited by Richard Pelvin and published by Hardie Grant, rrp $59.95 each. Typical of Montgomery’s style of command during WWII was thorough preparation before an assault. Before the second Battle of El Alamein, unit com- manders gather around a large sand map familiarising them- selves with the terrain over which they would fight. While the men were off fighting many women stepped in to fill the roles left vacant. This picture shows two members of the WRANS fire squad in Melbourne, 1943. A number of Italian army tanks were captured at Bardia during WWII. Armed by members of the 6th Australian Cavalry Regiment they were painted with the recognisable kangaroos on the turrets and hulls and they were then used against their former owners.