Skip navigation

World War II

World War II began on 1 September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland without warning. By the evening of 3 September, Britain and France were at war with Germany, and within a week, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa had also joined the war.

Every major world power at the time became involved, and by the end of the war in 1945 more than 60 million people had lost their lives. At the end of the war much of Europe and large parts of Asia lay in ruin.

What were the major events of World War II?

An Interview with Warwick Johanson

Warwick Johanson

Warwick Johanson paints the picture of Australia under siege, the mobilisation of resources and the community during World War II.

Watch the video

What sacrifices did people make during World War II?

An Interview with Alfred Maskell

Alfred Maskell

Recommended for Year 9 to Year 11. Alfred was a despatch rider during World War II. He served in Malaya and was captured by the Japanese to become a prisoner of war.

Watch the video

How do some retell the tale?

An Interview with Brigadier Keith Rossi

Keith Rossi

Keith served in World War II and later in Vietnam. In this story he gives a light-hearted account of how young men often lied about their ages in order to enlist in the army.

Watch the video

How do we deal with unanswered questions about war?

The Lost Soldier

Kenny Saunders

Ken talks candidly about his family's involvement in World War I and World War II.

Watch the video

What were the social impacts of World War II?

Battle for Australia

Jean King

Jean describes her experience of World War II as both a wife of a serviceman and a mother of two small children. She talks about the strain on her own life and on that of other families.

Watch the video

What were some of the personal impacts of World War II?

Memories of a Mate

Ivor White

In 1940 Ivor had no thoughts of joining the army, but as Australian troops were defeated in several battles he decided to join up.

Watch the video

What is the impact of war on the next generation?

Sins of the Father

Carolyn Scott

Recommended for Year 9, 10, 11. Caro explains the secondary impact of war on the wives and children of returned servicemen.

Watch the video