AUSTRALIA: Feeling the Crunch

The sense of crisis was staggering. The Australians had seen it coming—Singapore's fall and the inevitable sequel, the Japanese air attack on the Australian mainland (see p. 16). But it had happened dizzily fast. Seeing it coming and feeling the crunch of its presence were two different things. Sweat poured from the national pores; and beneath the sweat there was a sudden profound shift in the nation's war thinking, a lurching adjustment to the fact that the waking nightmare was no dream.

Ill with gastritis, Prime Minister John Curtin got up from a hospital...

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