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Turning young civilians into regular soldiers

Australia was not the only country to debate the issue of conscription. This Movietone newsreel from the late 1930s shows Great Britain considering the merits of conscripting young men into the armed services.

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Weather and war: the Kokoda Trail, 1942

The Kokoda Campaign was tough. The terrain was steep, the vegetation dense and the enemy close at hand and unseen. And then there was the weather! In this clip from the Weather Quarter, find out how the weather in the winter of 1942 influenced the outcome of one of Australia's most challenging military operations.

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What Australia wants is alliance with Britain!

In this Movietone clip from the 1930s, former Prime Minister William 'Billy' Hughes argues that Australia must maintain 'unity and strength' with the British Empire.

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Bravery under fire: Australian war nurses

Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) nurses were ordered to leave Singapore in the days before the city fell to Japanese forces, a critical phase in World War II. The ship on which the nurses travelled came under fire and many were killed while attending to wounded soldiers and passengers. In this newsreel, listen to ...

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Rations and coupon shopping

Discover what it was like to go shopping in Australia during World War II. See how people in the 1940s had to live with restrictions on how much they could buy (rationing). Find out how rationing was an attempt to make the distribution of necessary goods, such as food and clothing, equal for everybody.

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The road to the fall of Singapore, 1939-42

Imagine a situation in which your country's safety was based on a myth. From September 1939, Britain and Australia were at war with Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, Japan had been invading China since 1932. Discover why Australians believed that, if Japan threatened Australia, our country could not be invaded because Singapore ...

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John le Carré: the Berlin Wall

Imagine the impact of a wall built to divide a city in two: on one side communist East Berlin, on the other the democratic West. Acclaimed spy writer John le Carré witnessed the construction of the Berlin Wall, an icon of the Cold War. Listen to his recollections of this extraordinary event in modern history.

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Greece honours Australian war veterans

Did you know that during World War II Australians played a key role in the unsuccessful struggle to save Greece from invasion by Nazi Germany? This clip from the ABC's Victorian news reports on a ceremony in which Greek Government representatives honoured Australian veterans of that ill-fated battle fought in 1941.

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Survivors of the sinking of HMAS Perth, 1942

Discover what happened to the sailors aboard the Royal Australian Navy's light cruiser HMAS Perth when it was torpedoed during a battle in the Sunda Strait on 28 February 1942 and sank shortly after midnight on 1 March. This program was broadcast on Anzac Day 2013. Watch and listen as three Perth survivors recall their ...

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Australian Women's Land Army

Have you heard of the Australian Women's Land Army? See if you can find out more about this inspiring organisation and about the work they performed during World War II.

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Lest we forget

Poppies are a significant part of Remembrance Day observations. As a symbol of respect and gratitude, people place poppies at memorials for people whose lives were ended in wars. In this clip, older Australians and young children pay their respects to those who didn’t survive their wartime service. ________________________________________ ...

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Headlines Through History

How have big events in Australian history been reported in newspapers and magazines? Newspapers and magazines inform, manipulate, frustrate and entertain us. In them we can find the heroes and villains of the day, fact and opinion, and the aspirations of previous generations of Australians. Before the internet, newspapers ...

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The beginning of the end

What was Jewish life like in Europe before World War II and how did the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party change this? Learn more about this tragic period directly from the artefacts and voices of Melbourne Holocaust survivors.

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Conscription in the 20th century

This collection examines the history of conscription in Australia, with a particular focus on the conscription debate in World War One and during the Vietnam War.

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Ghettos: the struggle to live

The Nazis established hundreds of ghettos, mainly in Eastern Europe, to isolate the Jews from the rest of the population and to control them more effectively. In the ghettos, Jews were forced to work for the Germans as slave labourers. What was life like in these over-crowded ghettos? Many died due to harsh conditions, ...

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'Country Town', 1943

This is a film about life, work and leisure in an English country town in 1943 and the changes brought about by World War II. Narrated by an actor in the role of the town's newspaper editor, the film discusses how food control and rationing have changed the markets and developed people's sense of interdependence; describes ...

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London 1942

This is a film about the effects of the World War II on London and Londoners in 1942. It shows London as the organising hub of the 20 Allied nations at war, with new life and growing strength arising amid the ruins of the Blitz. Londoners are seen serving in the Home Guard and the civilian defence, fire-watching, growing ...

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British News No 3

This is a British News newsreel showing scenes of war and war-related activities in June and July 1940, before and after the French surrender and armistice of 22 and 25 June, during World War II (1939-45). It contains nine segments: Man That Fortress; Canadian Destroyers in England; Irish Unity; B.E.F. Reequipped; Royalty ...

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British News No 2

This is a British News newsreel showing scenes of war and war-related activities from June 1940, in the weeks and days immediately before the fall of France during World War II. It contains 10 segments: Made in Australia; Indian Troops in Britain; The Queen Visits the Wounded; Royal Investiture; More Tanks; The Courage ...

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British News No 1

This is a British News newsreel showing scenes of war and war-related activities from June 1940, in the days after the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk in World War II (1939-45). It contains five segments: King sees Sunday Arms Speed-up; River Plate Heroes in South Africa; Comforts for Our Men ...