The fight to win the war was more than a question of securing Allied help. It was also a question of bringing Australians together, of giving them faith in their own abilities and strength. To do this, John Curtin had to foster a sense of national pride based on a strong sense of a national community working together to achieve a common end.
reaches South - Always South" , Government Notice, Courier Mail,
This wasn't always easy. Australia had barely emerged from the Great Depression which had left deep social
divisions. Many people had suffered enormous hardships and the war effort required them to put the nation before themselves. While John Curtin tried to provide an example in the way he lived his own life, he had other challenges to meet as well. As a socialist, he had always argued for the right to strike and yet he faced difficult problems with some unions. He also had to find ways in which government could locate the resources it needed for the war effort while minimising profiteering from the war. And yet he managed to balance all of these competing pressures and get the Australian people behind the war effort.
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library, Records of the Curtin family, Liberty Bonds - double decker buses in Sydney depicting Churchill and John Curtin (n.d.), JCPML 00139/130.
Wearing the sugar bag suit in a Melbourne Street. Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, negative number 013237.
RIGHT MAN FOR THE TIME
"For six years
he shivered on the brink" , Sydney Sun, November 1941.