Book Chapter

World War 2 and post-war reconstruction, 1939–49

K Darian-Smith

The Cambridge History of Australia | Published : 2011


On 3 September 1939 Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced on national radio that it was his ‘melancholy duty’ to inform the Australian people that they were at war with Germany following its invasion of Poland. The Dominions of Canada and South Africa gave parliamentary consideration before they entered the conflict, in accordance with the Statute of Westminster of 1931, which granted Dominions the power to act independently from Britain. Concerns that the Statute might weaken ties with Britain delayed its ratification by Australia until 1942. Hence Menzies stated that Britain was at war with Germany and ‘as a result, Australia is also at war’. The entry into a second world war was greeted..

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