In 1939, what would go on to become World war II began as Germany invaded Poland resulting in Britain and France declaring war on Germany. The move was not totally unexpected and throughout the 1930's tensions were running high between various countries around the world. Not only was Germany planning to expand through Europe by means of military conquest but so was Italy. Meanwhile Japan were intending to conquest Asia and the Pacific. Australia's involvement came fairly early on and as soon as Britain declared war, Australia stood up in support of the British Empire. Throughout the war over a million Australian took part, either overseas or as part of operations based at home and this included both men and women. Of this million, 32,429 died and 66,563 were wounded. 20 men were awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. (Returned Services League, 2007)
The war against Germany and Italy resulted in Australian's fighting all over Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa. Simultaneously they were fighting the Japanese in South-east Asia and the Pacific as well as protecting the Australian mainland. This was the first time that the mainland had come under direct attack as the north-west was targeted by Japanese aircraft bombers and Sydney harbour targeted by submarines. Although willing and ready to show their support where needed, Australia was not particularly well prepared for war. The Royal Australian Navy was the first to get involved in Italy and this was followed by the Royal Australian Air Force in the Battle of Britain. The Army entered into combat in the Mediterranean and North Africa. When Darwin was bombed in 1942 the RAN returned to defend the mainland and army and RAAF presence increased. During this time women were permitted to take on war work and became more actively involved as nurses and doctors but also as members of the military in air, navy and army. 30,000 Australian became POW's with well over half of these captured by the Japanese, who treated them terribly leading to the deaths of over 30 percent of those captured. Germany surrendered in May 1945 but for Australia World War II wasn't over until the Japanese surrendered in August 1945.
This coin named
Remembrance, was not only issued for general circulation but was also included in the 2005 Six Coin Year Sets, which in this particular year celebrated 60 years since the end of World War II. There were three of the sets released by the Royal Australian Mint, each with a different finish, which were an