Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 October 2021
Australia’s war effort during the last two years of the Second World War has been the subject of considerable criticism, much of it ill-informed. Some historians have claimed that the operations in Bougainville and New Guinea were part of an ‘unnecessary war’. The British historian Sir Max Hastings went further when he claimed that ‘as the war advanced, grateful as were the Allies for Australia’s huge contribution towards feeding their soldiers, there was sourness about the limited contribution by this country of seven million people’. According to Hastings, the Australians were ‘bludgers’, claiming, for example, that the government cut the army’s size by 22 per cent because of the ‘unpopularity of military service’.