Story: Second World War

Oil tanks burning in Darwin, February 1942

Oil tanks burning in Darwin, February 1942

On 19 February 1942 the Japanese attacked Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory. Eight ships in the harbour were sunk and at least 250 people were killed. Following the Japanese capture of the British base of Singapore four days earlier and the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the previous December, anxiety about Japan's advances in the Pacific heightened. New Zealanders feared that they might be the next target.

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Australian War Memorial
Reference: 132532
Photograph by J. Morlet

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How to cite this page:

Ian McGibbon, 'Second World War - Japan enters the war', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 16 July 2024)

Story by Ian McGibbon, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 1 May 2016