r Man: 1917 - 1945

Full text Prime Minister


On 29th October, 1944, Mr. Curtin broadcast over the national network. Mr. Curtin said -

"Men and Women of Australia,

“To-night the leaders of the political parties of Australia again join in putting to you the vital necessity to fill and over-subscribe the Second Victory Loan. You will recall that, regardless of whatever political divergencies there may be between us in the Commonwealth Parliament, we three men spoke to you a few weeks ago about what was involved in this loan and separately, yet unitedly, made the same case. We said that the requirements of war, coupled with the maintenance of a stable internal economy, demanded that the full amount should be loaned to the nation. The case put to you then was simple, yet so vital; clear, yet so transcending in its importance.

"In the intervening period until now, it is apparent that a hard core of thinking Australians have been impressed by the validity of that case but that a large number of others have not realized what is at stake. It is, therefore, the duty of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), the Leader of the Country party (Mr. Fadden) and myself to re-state that case so that, on the eve of the closing of the loan, a response will be evoked which will enable a full subscription to be obtained.

“You have been told of what is expected of Australia in the war against Japan and what that will entail in man-power and resources; you have read of the immensity of the forces gathered in an endeavour to bring the Japanese fleet into a decisive battle; you are aware of the staggering task involved in taking the offensive in stricken China; you have been told of the magnitude of the British forces that will come to this theatre; examples have been quoted to you of the unparalleled tasks involved in moving men and resources across the vast distances of the Pacific battle-front. All that, and more, must have built for you a picture so breath-taking in its breadth and scope that any complacent thought of ‘it won't be very long now before the war is over’ should have been banished from your mind. As head of the Government, it is not possible for me to fill in the details of that picture to any greater extent without profiting the enemy, but it is clearly my duty to say to you that they are details which, by their impact upon your way of life, will far surpass anything experienced when this nation had to mount itself for defence, for survival as a free people.

“It is true that the enemy no longer can look down the glorious vistas of victory over prostrate democracies. It is true that free men and women are emerging from the black misery of enslavement and that government of themselves by themselves is being re-established. It is true that the United Nations have now a strength in fighting power and resources beyond even the capacity of the statistician to compute.

“But it is also true that in the Pacific the United Nations have to find their way to the heart of a strong Japan - fed from the booty of conquered territories - across distances and by means never before attempted in the history of military strategy. That involves for the civilian population of Australia - this organic base in the Battle of the Pacific - a superimposition upon the war effort of the past years of a new strain and it also means, because of the very magnitude of the military problem, a time factor which does not enable me to promise a swift and early ending to the struggle. To do otherwise would but mislead you. What the head of the Australian Government, whoever he might be, cannot evade at this stage in the conflict with the enemy is the clear responsibility to point to the hardness of the way, to the stern fact that the way will not be bloodless, and to tell his people that nothing they do must cause the shedding of one drop of blood unnecessarily, nor keep the fighting men for an hour longer than can be avoided in the places where death and disease lurk.

“We are coming to closer and more deadly grips with the enemy. Let us, also, come to grips with ourselves. Lot us make a new re-dedication of all that we are and all that we have so that we may put victory first. As an earnest of that, I ask that Australia set a new record for money and subscribers to the Second Victory Loan. That new record will give to war the needs of war. It will be the answer of Australian civilians to our ruthless and reckless enemies,"