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The Significance of Kokoda

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The significance of Kokoda for Australian’s can be seen in many different ways. In a strategic sense and also in a symbolic sense. Firstly, the Kokoda Campaign saved Australia from possible invasion, or more precisely from being isolated from the United States of America . Secondly, Kokoda was the battle that lead to victory in the Second World War, as well as to improvement of Australia’s post-war practices and military operations.

Symbolically, the Kokoda Track will be remembered when Australia’s think of the Second World War, just like when you think of the First World War, the landing at Gallipoli looms large, both have captured the Australian imagination. Each year five thousand Australians take up the mentally and physically challenging task of walking the Kokoda Track. Another symbolic reason why the Kokoda Track is significant is because it boasted our Australian pride. The battle was fought extremely well against all odds. The amazing feats performed by Australian soldiers lead to the growth of the Australian nation.

Without the Kokoda victory, Australia would be much worse off than it is today. These key points demonstrate why Kokoda was the most significant battle fought by Australians in the Second World War. The battle of Kokoda saved Australia from the threat of invasion, of if not, definitely from being isolated and possibly forced into surrender, just like the Fall of Singapore. At the time it was a genuine belief that Japan would invade Australia. Because Australia had already been threatened already, in multiple ways; through the bombing of Darwin, Broome and Townsville, as well as the Japanese penetration of Sydney Harbour.

Australian citizens were extremely anxious for their safety. This is so because even if the Japanese had not invaded at the time of their Pacific Battles, Australian would still have been in constant danger, because Port Moresby was an extremely important tactical position because it had an airfield. Since it was so close to Australia, it could be used as a base for an amphibious operation, such as sending of armies across sea to invade land. Japan had also recently launched amphibious operations in other countries of the same distance from Port Moresby to North Queensland.

Showing, quite clearly that Australia’s saving of Port Moresby, due to Kokoda, was of the highest significance in the protecting of the home country. “…in relation to the direct security of the nation, no Australians have fought more important battles than those who have struggled through the Papua’s Owen Stanley Range during August and September 1942” . However the most probable Japanese plan was to detach Australia from the US and in theory bring them under the Japanese control. They believed Australia to be a threat, given it was an ally of America.

Instead of direct invasion, they would attempt to pressure Australia into surrender. This plan was known as ‘Operation FS’. They would most certainly would have held an important strategic position after winning Kokoda, if they did not invade. The Kokoda triumph boosted the Australian morale and spirit. Australians fought tremendously well in the harsh and unforgiving circumstances, without the help of Britain. They could no longer rely on Britain to protect them, because the circumstances of surrendering of Singapore, the British Navy in Singapore became Japans.

The grit and determination to maintain our security throughout the Kokoda campaign, was a distinct demonstration of nationalism. It built our national pride, and made the people of Australia realise that they’re a single unit that could stand by themselves. The courage and valour displayed in Kokoda, was supreme significance to the making of the Australia nation. Thus, being why today so many young and old Australians, pay their respects and walk the mentally and physically challenging Kokoda Track .

To achieve a certain goal through a long-term plan is known as a strategy. Japan’s military strategy from December 1941 to mid-1942, to advance to occupy locations of strategic importance, either resource rich areas, or places that would allow them to better defend their gains, was an aggressive one. As the Kokoda fighting began in July 1942 , the scheme of both sides was in transition. The Japanese felt it was time to defend their gains, and halt the fighting and advancing. But the Allies were thinking differently.

Having massive amount troops, ships, aircraft and supplies in New Zealand and Australia, they made the decision to launch a counterattack to defend and retake some of the islands that were occupied by the Japanese. Papua had no particular resource that they desired, but it was a useful link in the chain of defences of the newly conquered area of Japan. So because Japan was quickly gaining new lands closer to Australia, posing a threat to Australia’s safety, the battle of Kokoda was the most important Australian-fought victory, in terms of winning the war.

The campaign helped to shape Australia’s post-war training practices and military operations. Although it was not they first victory against Japan, it allowed the allies to make thrust forward through ‘island hopping’ and ultimately win the war. Kokoda was the battle that ended Japan’s dominance and permitted the Allies to go on the offence. Australia greatly learned from their Kokoda experience, and subsequently improved their strategic thinking. They learned to not purely rely on naval defences, and realised that they cannot just let other countries dot the fighting. …the modern Australian professional army was born and developed in the jungles of New Guinea” .

Kokoda was the most significant battle fought by Australians in the Second World War. The campaign saved Australia from being isolated from the USA and possibly invaded by Japan. Also, Kokoda boosted Australian pride. When the achievements of Australia soldiers were later revealed, the Australian public realised how great their nation actually was. It is also significant because of the way it improved and shaped Australia after the war. For these reasons, there can be no doubt in Kokoda was significant to Australia’s, then and now.



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