Scorched Earth: Australia's Secret Plan for Total War Under Japanese Invasion in World War II

Author(s): Sue Rosen

Military History

In 1942 the threat of Japanese invasion hung over Australia. The men were away overseas, fighting on other fronts, and civilians were left unprotected at home. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Japanese advance south, Prime Minister Curtin ordered state governments to prepare. From January 1942, a team frantically pulled together secret plans for a 'scorched earth' strategy. The goal was to prevent the Japanese from seizing resources for their war machine as they landed, and capturing Australians as slaves as they had done in Malaya and elsewhere in Asia. From draining domestic water tanks to sinking dinghies and burning crops, from training special citizen squads to evacuating coastal towns, 'Total war, total citizen collaboration' was the motto. Today these plans vividly evoke the fraught atmosphere of the year Australia was threatened with invasion. After the war these top secret plans were forgotten. This is the first time they have ever been made public. 'This is a treasure trove, a gold mine, a Christmas-every-day cornucopia of rich Australian history...' Peter Grose, author of An Awkward Truth and A Very Rude Awakening.


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Sue Rosen is a historian and heritage consultant. She is the author of several books including Bankstown: A sense of identity, and We Never Had a Hotbed of Crime! Life in twentieth-century South Sydney.

Preface Timeline Abbreviations Table of Organisation Introduction: 1942-Imperilled Australia! 1. Total War-and Total Citizen Collaboration 2. The Scorched Earth Code 3. The General Citizen Code 4. The General Industry Code 5. Jetties and Wharves 6. Watercraft 7. Petroleum, Oil and Lubricant Supplies 8. Motor Transport 9. Motor Repair Equipment 10. Coal Mines 11. Public Utility Services 12. Organisation of Scorched Earth Support Squads Glossary Notes Acknowledgements

General Fields

  • : 9781925575149
  • : Allen & Unwin
  • : Allen & Unwin
  • : 0.412769
  • : September 2017
  • : 234mm X 153mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : June 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Sue Rosen
  • : Paperback
  • : Main
  • : English
  • : 940.541294
  • : General Adult
  • : 288
  • : 8pp colour, 8pp b&w plates