Moving on to part two, what we discussed last time was a sort of high-paced run through the pre-War period of Australian operations. We were totally siphoned onto Britain at that point, desperate to be considered just More Of Britain, and it showed in our political rhetoric, too. We started ‘bleaching’ the land, kicking out our slave population and quietly waiting for the aboriginals to just die out, as we assumed they would in the face of the natural brilliance of our Whiteness.
When World War I rolled around we got involved in a very enthusiastic but terribly unuseful way. For those not remembering the event, essentially we travelled halfway across the world to dig ditches, then sit in them until someone dropped a bomb on us. This began a long and glorious tradition of Becoming Disillusioned By Other People’s Wars, a pattern we would continue to the present day. We never let this disillusionment stop us from getting our stupid arses involved in a war though.
After and during World War I, Billy Hughes was Prime Minister, which meant that when we sent a delegation to Versailles to discuss what may have been one of the most important treaties in world history, rather than send an elder statesman with an understanding of decorum and the world, we sent a half-deaf racist midget. While America and England didn’t want the racial equality proposal in the Treaty that Japan had wanted, they knew they couldn’t say so without being seen as rivals to Japan. Since those two countries were sensible, they each time directed Japan to speak to Australia about it – and by ‘Australia’ they meant ‘colossal asshole, Billy Hughes.’
Billy made fun of their accents, pretended he couldn’t hear them, claimed their translators couldn’t speak English, and made ‘ching ching chong wong’ jokes in front of them, showing the Japanese that not only were we blocking their political aims in levelling the playing field for global trade, but we were being total dicks about it, too. When the time came to pass the vote, Hoover, America’s representative, said that it should be unanimous, and therefore, the minority protesting the Equal Rights vote won. This minority rule was such a great idea they still practice it in America, to this day.
Having thoroughly pissed in the world’s tea, Billy Hughes came back and we all set about the important task of trying to build a postwar economy while still giving deferntial treatment to Britain, which worked out fine for us until the Great Depression hit and suddenly nobody was buying our wheat, wool, iron and lumber at the rates we needed them to. Unemployment spiked to 33%, and Britain, who had been buying our goods at a cheaper and cheaper rate as we tried to sustain ourselves, started to demand we repay loans we had asked for. We pointed out that we’d been loyal and helpful and that the only real issue was the repayment schedule. Britain, who were at this point, still a superpower, decided that what they should do is send out a British consultant to fix the Australian economy. This is because, as I may have mentioned, superpowers act like dicks. Sir Otto Niemeyer was sent out by Britain, but they claimed we’d asked for him – a claim that the local press contested. He wasn’t a government official, either – he was a Bank of England employee, and when he arrived, he told us that what we needed to do was take a cut in our standards of living and repay all our loans.
We asked Sir Otto what exactly England had done with all the preferential treatment we’d given them so far, and pointed out that a third of our population was unemployed and living in shanty towns, which sort of shoots the ‘standard of living’ problem in the arse, to which he responded that Britain had provided Australia with white people – the sole reason for its financial success. I’m sure Broken Hill Proprietry would love to know that, they could make a fortune digging coal out of white people.
When Otto was gone and our economy began its slow recovery – no thanks to the austerity measures, thanks, asshole – we began to question just why we put up with the way England treated us. This mindset fostered a little resentment and began the conversation in Australia about maybe pulling our tongue out of England’s arsehole, whereupon World War 2 broke out.
World War 2 sucked for everyone involved, but one of our greatest fears was that we were a population of some fourteen million people with a border some 130,000 kilometers. Effectively, every single person in Australia had to guard a hundred meters of the coastline, and some of the babies and toddlers would do a shitty job of it. Japan was getting shitty at China, and after the Rape of Nanking, we realised that maybe, just maybe, it would have been a good idea to have some allies who weren’t on the other side of the fucking planet. Without a navy to defend ourselves and without an air force to support anyone else’s navy, our policy was to sit on our asses, terrified out of our goddamned minds, and imagine what the Japanese would do to us if they got here while we waited for England to decide it was worth their time to protect a colony who had never been anything but a loyal supplier and supporter. Hell, we declared war on Germany the day England did, without consulting parliament, because that’s how Menzies rolled.
“Don’t worry,” said Churchill, “The British base in Singapore will protect Australia.”
Then Singapore fell.
“I’m sorry, what were you asking?” Churchill said. “I’m dreadfully sorry, my jowls are in the way. Good day!” And then he went back to the important business of imagining machinegunning his enemies in Parliament. Because he was the Prime Minister of a superpower, and as I may have mentioned, Superpowers act like dicks.
(Note that throughout this period of history, we’re still saying black people can’t so much as visit, and most of our terror of Japan was that we had no idea what their aims and goals are, beyond that we’d pissed them off at Versailles – so it wasn’t like we weren’t dicks as well.)
Anyway, Japan was under an embargo preventing it to have access to iron, and they wanted iron to keep building bits of iron to stick into other people, maybe some people had survived Nanking, so they decided to swing on over to an island with a lot of embargo’d iron and unbargo it. This place called Pearl Harbour?
After America got involved in the war, they fielded troops in both the European and Pacific theatre, which was super important to us because we weren’t anywhere near Europe. America sent troops over here, who mostly ate our chocolate and flirted with our girls, which annoyed us a lot, and we didn’t let their black soldiers get off the boat (because again, we were also dicks). America made it clear that they didn’t give a shit about us as a country, but we were a good place to refuel, so, hey, sit tight and shut up. What ensued was the final stages of World War 2, in which America fielded the biggest army (if you ignore all the bigger armies), suffered the most (if you ignore the people who suffered more), and saved the day (if you ignore that they really just saved Britain), while Australia began a proud tradition of Becoming Disillusioned By Other People’s Wars and swore to never do that again. See also, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iraq again.
That was Part Two, which followed Part One, which suggests that the last of these will be Part Three, but who knows, I may get surprising.