How did World War II impact Australia? List the long term and short term effects.

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Australia was geographically close to Japan and its territories.  Japan occupied what are today Indonesia and the Philippines.  Both are located to the north of Australia.  This proximity made attacks on Australian soil by the Japanese feasible.  

Sydney Harbour was attacked by torpedoes from submarines in 1942.  Air raids by the Japanese in the northern part of Australia occurred nearly one hundred times during World War II.  The city of Darwin was attacked by bombers in 1942, and resulted in approximately two hundred deaths.  These attacks caused fear and anxiety among many Australians.  In addition to this fear, Australians lived with the daily realities of war.  Nearly one million Australians served in the armed forces during the war.  There was some rationing in Australia, though not as much as in Great Britain.

The Australians did not suffer as many attacks as expected despite their proximity to Japan.  After the war ended, the Australian government decided that the nation should be better prepared just in case war were to come again.  They desired a population increase to help build up a larger military.  They also wanted to rebuild and improve their military after the war.

In order to increase the population, the government encouraged increased immigration.  The post-war economy of Australia was much stronger than that of Great Britain, so new immigrants found jobs easily.