The Learning Federation
Please refer to Conditions of use (This item contains non-TLF content.)

image icon Excerpt from an interview with Hazel Craig, 1997 - asset 3

Excerpt from an interview with Hazel Craig, 1997 - asset 3
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library


This is an excerpt (approximately 3 minutes) from a 1997 oral history interview with Hazel Craig, in which she relates her memories of Prime Minister John Curtin and his relationships with Generals Blamey and MacArthur. Craig worked as a stenographer in the Prime Minister's Department during the Second World War.

transcript iconA transcript is available for this resource.

Educational value

This resource is useful because it:

  • This asset reveals something of the character and personality of John Curtin (1885-1945, Prime Minister 1941-45) - Hazel Craig recalls how Curtin negotiated a careful path between two key players in the war effort in the Pacific, US General Douglas MacArthur and Australian General Thomas Blamey, to ensure Australia's best interests were served; Craig believed that, despite not being a military man, Curtin was able to make tough decisions and could placate such formidable characters as Blamey and MacArthur.
  • This asset suggests the important part the USA and MacArthur played in saving Australia from Japanese invasion in the Second World War - the USA came to Australia's aid in early 1942, when Australians feared invasion by Japan; US General Douglas MacArthur was appointed Supreme Commander of the South-West Pacific region, and Brisbane became the headquarters of the US military campaign as hundreds of thousands of US troops poured into Australia; using Australia as a base, US, Australian and other Allied troops gradually repelled the Japanese advance and, by late 1942, the threat of invasion had waned.
  • This asset refers to the tensions between Australian General Blamey and US General MacArthur - in March 1942, Blamey was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Military Forces and, under General MacArthur, became Commander of Allied Land Forces in the Pacific; Blamey was resented by many senior Australian officers and overshadowed by MacArthur, who developed a close relationship with Curtin; Blamey encountered numerous difficulties, and his removal of several senior Australian officers in New Guinea, under pressure from MacArthur, remains controversial.
  • This asset refers to General MacArthur (1880-1964) - after graduating from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1903, MacArthur had a long military career, serving in the First World War, becoming Superintendent of West Point (1919-22) and Chief of Staff of the US Army (1930-35) before being appointed Field Marshall in the Philippines Army; in the Second World War, MacArthur was appointed Commander of Allied forces in the South-West Pacific Area, and employed US and Australian forces to recover the Solomon Islands, New Guinea and the Philippines from Japanese occupation; MacArthur then served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Occupation Force in Japan.
  • This asset refers to General Blamey (1884-1951) - in the First World War, Blamey served at Gallipoli and in France, and was appointed Chief of Staff to Sir John Monash; in the Second World War, he commanded the Australian Imperial Force in the Middle East, and all of the Australian Army after Japan entered the War; he served Prime Ministers Robert Menzies and John Curtin, was a senior subordinate to the British Field Marshalls Wavell, Wilson and Auchinleck in the Middle East, and worked directly under General Douglas MacArthur in the South-West Pacific; Blamey represented Australia at the Japanese surrender in September 1945.