Robert Menzies’ 1941 Diary
‘Death around the corner’
In 1941 Prime Minister Robert Menzies went to London to secure Australia’s defence position. He went to plead for reinforcements to defend Australia in the coming war with Japan, to seek assistance in the overnight industrialisation of the Australian economy the government had set in motion, and to argue for Australia’s interests in British global strategy. He travelled via the British stronghold at Singapore and visits to Australia’s troops serving in the Middle East.
Menzies’ diary of his trip to London in 1941 is a candid record of decision-making in foreign and military policy, including his doubts over the leadership style of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. There is no known equivalent in Australian political history, and the diary would undoubtedly have been political dynamite if it had fallen into the wrong hands during the war.
Extracts from the diary are reproduced on the following pages courtesy of the Menzies Family and the National Library of Australia.
The original diary is held by the National Library of Australia and was published in full by the Library under the title Dark and Hurrying Days in 1993, edited by Allan Martin and Patsy Hardy.