John Curtin – Declaration of war on Japan

Excerpt from ABC radio broadcast of the Prime Minister's address to the nation

Title: John Curtin – Declaration of war on Japan
Subtitle: Excerpt from ABC radio broadcast of the Prime Minister's address to the nation
Date: 8 December 1941
Content creator: Prime Minister John Curtin
Notes: For a complete transcript of Joseph Curtin's declaration of war on Japan see the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library
Keywords: wars, political speeches, politicians, national security, international relations, Second World War, Japan
Record creator: Australian Broadcasting Commission, Head Office – Radio Archives
Reference: C102, 1552510
Copyright notice: Reproduced with the permission of the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

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Host: Ladies and gentlemen, the Prime Minister.

John Curtin: Men and women of Australia, we are at war with Japan. That has happened because, in the first instance, Japanese naval and air forces launched an unprovoked attack on British and United States territory; because our vital interests are imperilled and because the rights of free people in the whole Pacific are assailed. As a result, the Australian Government this afternoon took the necessary steps which will mean that a state of war exists between Australia and Japan. Tomorrow, in common with the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the Netherlands East Indies governments, the Australian Government will formally and solemnly declare the state of war it has striven so sincerely and strenuously to avoid.

Throughout the whole affair, and despite discouragement, the Australian Government and its representatives abroad struggled hard to prevent a breakdown of discussions. Australia encouraged the United States to retain the diplomatic initiative on behalf of the democratic powers. We did not want war in the Pacific. The Australian Government has repeatedly made it clear – as have the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States and the Netherlands East Indies – that if war came to the Pacific it would be of Japan's making.


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