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Crisis of command : Australian generalship and the Japanese threat, 1941-1943

CollectionsANU Press Titles (1965-1991)
Title: Crisis of command : Australian generalship and the Japanese threat, 1941-1943
Author(s): Horner, D. M.
Date published: 1978
Publisher: Canberra : Australian National University Press
How good or bod was the performance of Australian military commanders in World War II? Controversy over this has continued ever since the end of the war. Australia entered the war with seriously deficient defence planning. The armed services were inadequately trained and had little equipment. Australia's strategic assessments were deficient or inaccurate. It is against this background that the achievements and failures of the commanders are assessed in the Papua New Guinea campaigns - bloody battles fought against a determined enemy in a savagely difficult terrain. Great as these difficulties were that commanders in Papua New Guinea faced worse ones from Australia: General MacArthur, the supreme commander, ignorant of the conditions under which the troops were fighting, continually interfered with the command of General Blarney, the Australian Commander-in-Chief. He played a significant role in relieving Generals Powell and Allen of their commands. His actions were supported by the Australian Prime Minister, John Curtin, who was equally ignorant of the conditions under which the battles were being fought and who was convinced that MacArthur was always right. This book draws on material never before available, including diaries and correspondence of both civilian and military participants, to present a challenging interpretation of Australian military history that is outstandingly significant.


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