Chifley victory speech

Running time
5 min 55 sec

'The war is over' victory speech

Audio Transcript

Fellow citizens, the war is over. 

The Japanese Government has accepted the terms of surrender imposed by the Allied Nations and hostilities will now cease. The reply by the Japanese Government to the Note sent by Britain, the United States, the USSR and China, has been received and accepted by the Allied Nations.

At this moment let us offer thanks to God.

 Let us remember those whose lives were given that we may enjoy this glorious moment and may look forward to a peace which they have won for us.Let us remember those whose thoughts, with proud sorrow, turn towards gallant, loved ones who will not come back. On behalf of the people and the Government of Australia I offer humble thanks to the fighting men of the United Nations whose gallantry, sacrifice and devotion to duty have brought us to victory.  Nothing can fully repay the debt we owe them nor can history record in adequate terms their deeds from the black days that followed September 1939 and December 1941, until this moment. 

We owe, too, a great debt to those men and women who performed miracles of production, in secondary and primary industries so that the battle of supply could be won and a massive effort achieved. Materials, money and resources have been poured out so that the fighting men would not go short.  Australia's part, comparatively, in terms of fighting forces and supplies, ranks high and the Australian people may be justly proud of everything they have done.

I am sure that you would like me to convey to the commanders of the fighting forces the warmest thanks for their skill, efficiency and great devotion.  Especially do I mention General Douglas MacArthur with whom we have so much in common and with whom we shared the dangers when Australia was threatened with invasion.

In your name I offer to the leaders of the United Nations our congratulations and thanks.  We join with the United States in a common regret that their inspiring leader, the late Mr Roosevelt did not live to see this day.   We thank his successor, President Truman, for the work he has done. Australians too will feel their happiness tinged with sorrow that another man who gave his all was not spared to be with us today, that man was John Curtin. To Mr Churchill, Generalissimo Stalin and Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek go the unstinted thanks of free people everywhere for what they have done for the common cause.  Especially do we honour Mr Churchill, with whom in the dark days - to use his own words - we had the honour to stand alone against aggression.

And now our men and women will come home; our fighting men with battle honours thick upon them from every theatre of war.  Australians stopped the Japanese in their drive south, just as they helped start the first march towards ultimate victory in North Africa. Australians fought in the battles of the air everywhere and Australian seamen covered every ocean. They are coming home to a peace, which has to be won.  The United Nations charter for a world organisation is the hope of the world and Australia has pledged the same activity in making it successful as she showed in the framing of it.

Here in Australia there is much to be done.  The Australian Government, which stood steadfast during the dread days of the war, will give all that it has to working and planning to ensure that the peace will be a real thing. I ask that the State governments and all sections of the community should co-operate in facing the task and solving the problems that are ahead. Let us join together in the march of our nation to future greatness.

You are aware of what has been arranged for the celebration of this great victory and deliverance, and in the name of the Commonwealth Government, I invite you to join in the thanksgiving services arranged for, truly,this is a time to give thanks to God, and to those men against whose sacrifice for us there is no comparison.

Good day to you fellow citizens.

Prime Minister Ben Chifley announcing the end of the war against Japan, 15 August 1945. [V-P Announcement: Segment No. 179490 in Prime Ministers of Australia: A Compilation of speeches and interviews. Screensound Australia, National Screen and Sound Collection, Screensound Title No: 214438]

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