1942, the Pacific War, and the defence of New Zealand : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Defence and Strategic Studies at Massey University, New Zealand
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During 1941-1942 New Zealand expended vast amounts of capital and labour building in-depth defences against the perceived invasion threat from Japan that today is often regarded, especially by academic historians, as non-existent. This thesis looks closely at the background of such a Japanese threat and the subsequent realities. It examines the failures of the existing, indeed traditional political alliance with the British ‘family of nations’ and its associated myths against the Realpolitik of New Zealand’s enforced absorption into the new American power block. The origins of today’s opinions are teased out to examine their realities and the drivers of the New Zealand government’s actions at the time are reviewed. These actions along with the experience, perceptions and, above all, the circumstantial knowledge that formed the opinions drove the decisions to act are established. The conclusion of this thesis is the threat to New Zealand of being raided, isolated, even possibly invaded, was geopolitically and militarily real at the time. The margins by which any of these possibilities were avoided were narrow.
World War, 1939-1945, History, New Zealand, Pacific Area