"Pacific War historian James Bowen argues that the national war memorial belongs to the people of Australia and not just to its bureaucrats. It is sacred ground. It is not a university campus. It should not be used as a platform from which its staff can express offensive, insulting, and strongly challenged personal views that lack sound historical foundation and are likely to cause deep offence to those who respect the wartime leadership of Prime Minister John Curtin and to diminish the achievements and sacrifices of those who died defending Australia from Japanese military aggression at places such as Sydney, Darwin, Broome, Rabaul, Timor, Ambon, Coral Sea, Kokoda, Milne Bay, the Beachheads, Wau, and Guadalcanal." See the chapter "Challenging a denial of the Japanese threat to Australia in 1942 promoted by Dr Peter Stanley".

"It seems to be that Australians want to believe that they were part of a war, that the war came close; that it mattered...Set against the prosaic reality, the desire is poignant and rather pathetic."
In this insulting comment, Dr Peter Stanley, former senior historian at the Australian War Memorial speaks dismissively of Japan's deadly attacks on Australia in 1942 in his essay "Threat made manifest" (2005).

" It is time that Australians stopped kidding themselves that their country faced an actual invasion threat and looked seriously at their role in the Allied war effort".
Dr Peter Stanley exposes his ignorance of Japan's plans to force Australia's surrender in 1942, and exposes his failure to understand the dynamics of the Pacific War. From his essay: "He's (not) coming South - the invasion that wasn't" (2002).

"Now, we are told, the Australian Militia and AIF who met and defeated the Japanese in Papua were the men who saved Australia".
Dr Peter Stanley scales new heights of offensiveness when in "Threat made manifest" he dismisses the grave threat that Japanese occupation of Port Moresby would pose for Australia and the achievement of the heavily outnumbered Australians who defeated the Japanese on the Kokoda Track.
See "He was coming South-to compel Australia's surrender to Japan".

"The Battle for Australia..promotes relatively unimportant events close to Australia over important events far away.."
Perhaps reflecting his English birth and English view of World War II, Dr Peter Stanley dismisses the Battle of the Coral Sea, and the Kokoda and Guadalcanal campaigns as "relatively unimportant" despite the historical fact that the fate of Australia hung in the balance during these battles. This extract is from his paper
"Was there a Battle for Australia" (2006).

"John Curtin, Australia's prime minister since October 1941, warned the Australian people that 'the fall of Singapore opens the battle for Australia'. 'Battle for Australia' committees have recently appropriated this phrase, seeking to redefine Australia's war around the idea of a deliverance from a Japanese threat." Emphasis added.
In another deeply offensive statement, Dr Peter Stanley rejects the traditional and historically correct view that Australia's war in 1942 involved "deliverance from a Japanese threat". It was more than "a Japanese threat"; it was a grave Japanese threat that persisted throughout 1942 and into the first months of 1943. From "Threat made manifest".

" 2006 we cannot continue to talk about Japanese plans or intentions to invade Australia in 1942 when there is no evidence for such plans, and much evidence to show that none was planned."
In his paper
"Was there a Battle for Australia" (2006), Dr Peter Stanley ignores the finding of leading Japan scholar Professor Henry Frei that the Japanese Navy was planning to invade Australia until early March 1942 when the Navy plan was subsumed under a Japanese Army plan to compel Australia's surrender.

" ..the attack-on-Australia option was dead by the end of January 1942, before the fall of Singapore."
Dr Peter Stanley appears unable to appreciate that this quote from
"Was there a Battle for Australia" (2006) contradicts the preceding statement where he falsely claims there was no Japanese planning to invade Australia in 1942.

"In fact, of course, there was no (Japanese) invasion; there was never going to be an invasion".
Both statements by Dr Peter Stanley, former senior historian at the Australian War Memorial, are wrong. Japanese troops landed on Australian soil at Buna and Gona on 21 July 1942. It appears to have escaped the notice of Dr Stanley that the Kokoda Campaign was fought entirely on Australian soil in 1942. Unlike the Territory of New Guinea, Papua was never a League of Nations Mandate. Australia exercised full sovereignty over Papua from 1906 when it was ceded to Australia by Britain until it achieved independence from Australia in 1975. Japan's planning to compel Australia's surrender in 1942 (Operation FS) did not preclude invasion by force of arms. From "Threat made manifest".

".. there was no invasion plan. The Japanese never planned to make to make Australia part of its Co-Prosperity Sphere."
From a speech by Dr Peter Stanley at the AWM conference "Remembering 1942". Again, Dr Peter Stanley is wrong about historical facts. His denials of Japan's hostile plans for Australia in 1942 are refuted by the distinguished historian and Japan scholar, Professor Henry Frei. See the chapter "Japan's hostile plans for Australia after surrender."

"In the euphoria of victory early in 1942 some visionary middle-ranking naval staff officers in Tokyo proposed that Japan should go further. In February and March they proposed that Australia should be invaded, in order to forestall it being used as a base for an Allied counteroffensive (which of course it became). The plans got no further than some acrimonious discussions. The Army dismissed the idea as 'gibberish', knowing that troops sent further south would weaken Japan in China and in Manchuria against a Soviet threat. Not only did the Japanese army condemn the plan, but the Navy General Staff also deprecated it, unable to spare the million tons of shipping the invasion would have consumed. By mid-March the proposal lapsed....This conclusion is supported by all the scholarship, notably the late and much missed Henry Frei, whose "Japan's Southward Advance and Australia" documents the debate and its conclusion from Japanese official and private sources."The italic emphasis is mine.
This extract is from Dr Peter Stanley's first paper
"He's (not) coming South: the invasion that wasn't"(2002). Five significant historical errors have been italicised in this single paragraph. The "conclusion" misrepresents the work of the distinguished Japan scholar, Professor Henry Frei. The historical errors are noted and explained in the chapter "Proving that the Australian War Memorial is promoting a false history of 1942".


"Curtin did not save Australia from any real threat."
This offensive claim by Dr Peter Stanley is shown to be nonsense in the chapter "Defending the character and leadership of Prime Minister John Curtin from unjustified slurs". The quote is from Dr Stanley's essay: "He's (not) coming South - the invasion that wasn't" (2002)

"Curtin is hailed as the 'Saviour of Australia'. He saved Australia from a threat that was never real, and he knew it. Curtin was an inspiring leader, but he was also a good politician. He knew that banging the invasion drum did no harm, and that the Japanese invasion threat served to motivate the nation."
This ridiculous and offensive claim is drawn from Dr Peter Stanley's introductory speech to the "Remembering 1942" conference at the Australian War Memorial, 2002.

"I'm arguing that there was in fact no invasion plan, that the Curtin government exaggerated the threat, and that the enduring consequence of its deception was to skew our understanding of the reality of the invasion crisis of 1942."
Dr Peter Stanley, former senior historian at the Australian War Memorial, speaks dismissively of the Japanese threat to Australia in 1942 and falsely impugns the character and leadership of wartime Prime Minister John Curtin.
From Dr Stanley's essay: "He's (not) coming South - the invasion that wasn't" (2002)

"What explains Curtin's anxiety?..An actual danger of invasion had never existed...Why did Curtin continue to bang the invasion drum?...a deeper answer seems to lurk in Curtin's psyche...that he was unable to accept the reality."
Dr Peter Stanley raises another bizarre possibility, namely, that pressure of wartime leadership may have caused Curtin to become irrational and led to his exaggeration of the threat from Japan in 1942.
From: "He's (not) coming South - the invasion that wasn't" (2002)


"..there was no 'Battle for Australia' as such."
In this quote from his latest paper "Was there a Battle for Australia" (2006), Dr Peter Stanley reveals his total ignorance of Japanese and American Pacific war strategies in 1942.
The Battle for Australia is explained in the chapter "What was the Battle for Australia 1942-43".

"Those who advance this idea (the Battle for Australia) argue that from the outbreak of war with Japan, Australia was the objective of the Japanese advance.."
As the person who first defined the concept and scope of a Battle for Australia in 1997, I can describe as utter nonsense this claim made by Dr Peter Stanley in his latest fanciful paper "Was there a Battle for Australia" (2006). Japan's hostile plans for Australia are explained in the chapter "Proving that the Australian War Memorial is promoting a false history of 1942".

"..the (Battle for Australia) idea conflates several different Japanese initiatives into a grand plan aimed at Australia.
For those who may not be familiar with bureaucratic jargon, "conflates" simply means "blends". In his latest paper "Was there a Battle for Australia" (2006),Dr Peter Stanley appears to be unaware that the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Kokoda Campaign, and the Guadalcanal Campaign were all initiated by the Japanese to implement "Operation FS",and Operation FS was indeed a "grand plan" intended to sever Australia's lifeline to the United States and compel Australia's surrender to Japan.

"I agree- that 'historians need to resist participating in the concoction of large, inspiriting narratives'..."
In this quote from his latest paper "Was there a Battle for Australia" (2006),Dr Stanley appears to give full support to the sceptical postmodern approach to Australian history that tends to denigrate the Anzacs and the Kokoda achievement..