Almost half a century ago, the Australian National University's TB Millar penned a seminal book on Australian defence policy in the lead up to the Vietnam War. Today, Australia's defence forces are returning from long conflicts overseas, while the rise of China and the economic integration in the Indo-Pacific presents a complex mix of challenges and opportunities.
This book relates the development of Anglo-Australian-New Zealand relations during and immediately after the second world war to the role of the United States in the South-west Pacific. Based on the results of comprehensive multi-archival research, the book highlights the extent of American-Commonwealth rivalry in the region and following the crisis of late 1941 and early 1942 demonstrates how the reforging of imperial links was shaped by the expansion of American power in Pacific areas south of the equator. It provides an important and timely reassessment of the economic, political and strategic factors that led Britain, Australia and New Zealand to conclude that the postwar affairs of the South-west Pacific should be dominated by the British Empire.
Just a fortnight before Christmas, 1871, a young man, twenty-four years of age, returned home to his dinner about eight o'clock in the evening. He was married, and with him and his wife lived his wife's sister. At that somewhat late hour he walked in among the two young women, and another much older woman who was preparing the table for dinner. The wife and the wife's sister each had a child in her lap, the elder having seen some fifteen months of its existence, and the younger three months. "He has been out since seven, and I don't think he's had a mouthful," the wife had just said. "Oh, Harry, you must be half starved," she exclaimed, jumping up to greet him, and throwing her arm round his bare neck.
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