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It's 70 years since Japanese bombers swooped on Darwin, in northern Australia, sinking Allied ships in the harbour and killing hundreds of people. For years the attack was rarely mentioned, but now the story is finally being told.
If 7 December 1941 is "a date that will live in infamy" for the United States, then 19 February 1942 is surely one that will join it in the annals of shame for Australia.
That was the day, just 10 weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when the same carrier-based Japanese force turned its attention to the small northern town of Darwin, with equally calamitous results.
But the world remembers one and barely recalls the other.
The seven-volume Official History of the Australian Army in World War II devotes only two pages to the attack on Darwin.
Yet in truth, Darwin was Australia's Pearl Harbor - a morning attack carried out on an unsuspecting population that ended with the deaths of hundreds of people and the sinking of numerous Allied ships.
But it's only now that the story of Darwin has been given the same kind of historical attention that's long been focused on the attack on Hawaii.
By the time the Japanese left, eight ships had been sunk - including the American destroyer, the USS Peary - 22 aircraft destroyed, dozens of buildings crushed and more than 240 people killed.
It was the worst wartime loss of life on Australian soil in the country's history.
Originally posted by petrus4
I know most of you are too mired in emotionalism to want to figure the logic behind this out; but in reality, the single most effective way you can honour any relatives you've had in any conflict within the last 100 years, is by forgetting about said conflicts entirely. Remembering past wars does not prevent future ones; it actually does the opposite.
Originally posted by isthisreallife
reply to post by Jace26
I've never seen a source--from a reliable study--saying that as much as 1,500 have been killed. Ever. The most I've ever heard is 400-500 and that's being pessimistic.
As for the importance, i never questioned that. I said that it was important. It was a major battle during World War II, just in retrospect of world affairs, Darwin isn't even in the same ballpark as Pearl.
Originally posted by isthisreallife
I think it's important to support the history of all of the world. Things like this get lost all the time, I guess history books are written by the most important, and most victorious...
That being said.
Darwin and Pearl Harbor are hardly similar... besides being surprise attacks by the Japanese Empire.
Darwin involved a fleet of repair ships, merchants ships and a few destroyers...
Pearl Harbor involved nearly the entire American Pacific Fleet and was one of the largest American bases in the world at the time.
Darwin was poorly defended, strategically abandoned and nearly unknown to many.
Pearl Harbor was one the most important, well defended and most strategic facilities in the American arsenal.
The attack on Pearl Harbor caused over 2,500 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries. The attack on Darwin killed ~250 people. At Darwin, a few small destroyers and a mediocre force of merchant vessels was sunk. At Pearl, some of the U.S Navy's most important and impressive vessels were damaged or destroyed. Not to mention the location of both. Hawaii is more than 4,000 miles from the Japanese mainland, while the Japanese had already occupied the Soloman Islands and Borneo, just a few hundred miles from Darwin.
I'm not saying I don't believe its not important, I'm just trying to put it in perspective.
....yet it has been all but forgotten about in the years since. It is great to see this important piece of Australian history finally come to light amongst the international community.
On one hand you are saying that they don't show caskets of dead soldiers on tv, which by the way isn't true, I can recall several times over the years of news showing returned soldier's caskets.