For Australia’s government, military, and people, the conflict with Japan that lasted from December 1941 to August 1945 was by far the most significant part of the Second World War. During those years Australian and Commonwealth forces, alongside those of the United States, battled the Japanese military on land, at sea, and in the air in a series of ferocious and bloody encounters. Japan achieved great military success early in its war against the US and its allies; at its peak the Japanese empire encompassed large areas of East and South East Asia and the Pacific. As a result of their sweeping early victories, Japanese forces captured roughly 320,000 prisoners, of whom 140,000 were Allied soldiers. The rest were civilians in areas that Japanese forces occupied....
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