What ho, colonials!
I seem to have roused the anger of some of my Australian readers. They seem almost as loathe to accept objective criticism as the backwoodsmen of Munster. Perhaps they ought to toddle down to their local bookshop - still no Amazon in the colonies? - and purchase a copy of Sir Max Hastings's brilliant "Retribution: The Battle for Japan 1944-5". Sir Max is one of the world's most eminent military historians and a cracking chap to boot:
AUSTRALIAN soldiers refused orders to attack and were on the point of open mutiny in the final year of World War II, according to a new book by noted British journalist and historian Sir Max Hastings.
In Nemesis � The Battle for Japan 1944-45, Hastings writes that "the last year of the war proved the most inglorious of Australia's history as a fighting nation."
Hastings accused Australian soldiers of disobeying orders to attack, saying many soldiers were "embittered" and even on the edge of open mutiny.
He said regular volunteer troops felt bitter towards those who did not volunteer to serve and scorned conscript militia sent to New Guinea and Bougainville.
He points out that the number of Australian dead was fewer than the number of prisoners captured in Malaya and Singapore who died, and only slightly more than the number of US Marines killed on Iwo Jima.
"It seemed perverse that, having won so much honour far away in the Mediterranean, Australia's share of the Pacific War ended in rancour and anticlimax," he says.
I think that says it all, chums. And that's just the battle for Japan remember. The less said about Singapore, the better.
Now listen here, Australians, no one is saying that your chaps were all cowards or that you weren't damned good sports for fighting alongside the Mother Country. Rather, I am suggesting that there is a strain of Australian culture - mostly the fault of the convicts and those hideous Fenian types whom you imported in excessive numbers and have since permitted far too much influence - which tends towards yellow bellied behaviour and selfishness. Thus, whilst you have some cracking specimens from good, honest, Anglo-Saxon stock - say, Robert Menzies - you also, I'm afraid, have some frankly vile types such as the Lizard of Oz, Paul Keating. Worse, after very sensibly keeping the two breeds apart for most of your history, you have (since about the 1960s) permitted them to mix and inter-marry. It's a most regrettable development.
You'd also have a bit more credibility if you stuck your chaps into harm's way in Afghanistan instead of confining them to base where they spend most of their time attending discos and drinking beer with fat German "soldiers" from the Bundeswehr.