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Prepared for a series of cruises in the Asia-Pacific region 2006 and 2008


Taipei Okinawa Nagasaki Hiroshima Kobe Shimizu Tokyo
The Pacific in Recent Centuries The Pacific Ocean is larger than the entire land area of the planet and on its rim are several of the world’s most powerful countries. For centuries Christianity, Islam and Hinduism have mingled with Buddhism, Confucianism and Shintoism. Imperialist, democratic and communist regimes have competed for influence. And it is by no means ‘pacific’ …
The Road to War in the Pacific Was war inevitable or was it caused by Japan? Or, as many Japanese think, by the USA?
Infamy Was Pearl Harbour a dastardly attack or a brilliantly executed military operation?
Pearl Harbour to the Bomb A view of the Pacific War 1941-1945 (or 1937-1945?)
Hiroshima and Nagasaki Strategic necessity or needless barbarity? Did the Battle for Okinawa seal the fate of both cities? Were acceptable alternatives available to President Truman?

Tokyo Hakodate Vladivostok Sapporo Pusan
The Russo-Japanese War 1904-05 An Asian nation defeated a European power (for the first time) and changed the course of the 20th Century
Divine Wind: Kamikaze Mongol emperor Kublai Khan sought to dominate Japan in the 13th Century but was foiled by the Divine Wind. Its 1945 namesake failed, but defeat has brought great benefits to Japan
Giants of the Pacific War General MacArthur, Admiral Nimitz, Admiral Yamamoto, General Yamashita, President Roosevelt, Emperor Hirohito, General Slim
ANZAC Day 25 April It’s the anniversary of the 1915 landings at Gallipoli by, amongst others, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, when the ANZAC legend was born. But it was also important for the United States Marine Corps. How could that be?
Korea Old and New The first Korean kingdom may have been established about 2,300 B.C. Whatever, Korea has been around for much longer than some of the civilisations that seek to influence it. A brief history of Chosin – Land of Morning Calm
Boundary Between Two Worlds The River Imjin is part of the border between North and South Korea. Some 53 years after the Korean War, one side has prosperity and the other starvation. Can they achieve a destiny as a single nation?

May Pusan Cheju-Do Dalian Beijing Qingdao Shanghai
The Forgotten War The Korean War was a ruinous war and nearly a disaster for the USA and its allies. It flowed from the Yalta conference of Allied leaders in 1945 but was also a result of Cold War posturing, misjudgements and Communist aggression. It failed to grip the attention of most nations of the world but Australia remembers one of its battalions winning a United States Presidential Citation at the Battle of Kapyong
Inchon 1950: a MacArthur Triumph Against strong advice and a threatened hurricane MacArthur landed X Corps at Inchon. Because of tides of 29 feet the landings were spread over two high tides. It was a brilliant success, cutting supply lines of North Korean forces besieging Allied troops in the ‘Pusan Perimeter’
Pan Mun Jom and the DMZ The Korean War Truce Village has changed little since 1954. Switzerland and Sweden still have observers there but China, Poland and Czechoslovakia are long gone. Fifty years of stand-off – a useful situation, or nonsensical?
The Story of Manchuria Since the nomadic tribes of Manchu, the Mongols, and China’s Ming Dynasty until modern times – a military and political battleground
Sino-Japanese Conflict Japan victorious in 1895, more fighting in 1931, war from 1937, the Rape of Nanking in 1937-38

Shanghai Nanjing Yangtze River Putuo Shan Ningbo Amoy Hong Kong
China in Recent Years (at least since Confucius, 500 B.C.) A Chinese scholar once said the American Revolutionary War cannot not yet be evaluated because “it’s too soon to tell”. China’s historical footprint is very large and her future influence will certainly be immense
The Burma Road, Chennault’s Flying Tigers, and Vinegar Joe The USA committed men, money and materiel to support Nationalist China. Did this serve a useful purpose?
Three Gorges Massive and controversial, the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze will be the largest hydro-electric dam in the world, a mile wide and towering 575 feet above the world’s third largest river. Its construction will displace nearly 2 million people
Taiwan, China and the Rest of the Planet including the USA American containment of China and Communism is no longer an issue. However, avoiding a serious clash over Taiwan between the present superpower and the probable next superpower will be a major issue of the 21st Century

June Hong Kong Tacloban Cebu Bora Cay Manila
Mao Zedong and his Place in History He controlled about a thousand million people for over 25 years and was responsible for the deaths of probably more human beings than any other man in history. He may have been the most powerful person who ever lived. Although dead for 30 years he still casts a shadow around the world
The Philippines – the First Few Thousand Years Before the conquests by Spain, America and Japan the Philippine Islands were influenced by many cultures and creeds – in fact, since several thousand years B.C. It’s an interesting story …
Dark Days in the Philippines When the Japanese struck in December 1941 the US and Filipino forces led by General MacArthur were overwhelmed and surrendered after 5 months. Was defeat due to bad planning, bad luck, or bad management?
“I Shall Return” And Douglas MacArthur did return, in 1944. Some thought that recapture of the Philippines was a strategic necessity, others thought it due to MacArthur’s obsession with vindicating his failures of 1941-42. With the hindsight of 60 years - a look at some tactical and strategic issues
The Last Battle of the Battleships The Battle for Leyte Gulf in October 1944 was the last great naval engagement of World War II. Fought over an area larger than Texas, it involved more ships, aircraft and men than any other naval battle in history and was probably the last time in the history of warfare that battleships would fight each other. It finished the Imperial Japanese Navy as a fighting force but it could have fatally mauled the Allied invasion of the Philippines

Manila Hainan Hanoi Ha Long Bay Da Nang Saigon
Vietnam – Origins and the FIRST Indo-China War The story of Vietnam began 2,000 years before the arrival of American (and Australian) troops in the 1960s. The first war, against French colonisers, grew out of centuries of struggle against Chinese and European exploitation. The second war 1962-75 grew out of the first
TET – Myth and Reality The 1968 TET Offensive proved to be a turning point in the war. Despite almost catastrophic losses the Communists could now see victory ahead
Vietnam, the Australian Experience Sometimes not well-known by Europeans and Americans, the Aussie-Kiwi ANZAC involvement engendered the same debate, soul-searching and dissent that sears the community memory of the American people
30 Years On Three decades after the Communist victory it is becoming possible to evaluate the war – its causes and consequences, what was and what might have been, lessons learned and how the Asia-Pacific region was changed. The audience will have, no doubt, some differing points of view
ASEAN, Vietnam and the Pacific Community Most nations of South East Asia are becoming more prosperous and more confident. It can be enlightening to reflect upon their situation, diversity, prospects and relationships with the Western world

Saigon Brunei Sabah Bangkok
Brunei Darussalam In ancient times a powerful trading nation, followed by Spanish then British control, Japanese occupation, liberation by Australian forces, independence with vast riches from oil and gas. And no political parties? An intriguing economic, ethnic and religious landscape
The Mightiest Battleships? They sailed from Brunei to destruction by the US Pacific Fleet. Yamato and Musashi were probably the most powerful battleships ever built, but they never won glory in battle
Masters of the Seas Great battleships under sail or steam dominated the seas for centuries despite the cannon, the submarine and the torpedo. Aircraft carriers made them obsolescent in World War II and, post-war, missiles made them obsolete. A backward look at these magnificent war machines that have been consigned to history
Borneo A land of pristine jungles and orang-utans. A century of rule by an English family the White Rajahs of Sarawak. A brief appearance by the American Trading Company. Occupied by Japanese and liberated by Australians. A large island now shared between Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. Its history reads like a Hollywood script
March to Death In 1945, the Japanese held many Allied prisoners at Sandakan in what is now Sabah. About 2,000 British and Australian POW were forced to march to Ranau, some 260 km to the west. Only 6 survived. It’s not a happy story. “Lest we forget …”
Thailand – Sawadee The only South East Asian country never colonised, its people are gentle, enigmatic and close to nature. The Kingdom’s cultural, linguistic, political, religious and ethnic fabrics are unlike any other country in Asia

Bangkok Hua Hin Ko Samui Singapore Bali
“The largest capitulation in the history of British arms” So said Winston Churchill in 1942 when Singapore surrendered to a numerically inferior force led by the brilliant Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita. It was a defeat rivalling America’s in the Philippines
Malaysia from Colony to Independence After many years as a British colony and 4 years under Japanese occupation, Malaya (now Malaysia) could not become independent until the defeat of the 12-year Communist insurgency known as “The Malayan Emergency”
Special and Secret Australian commandos performed legendary feats of arms against Japanese invaders in Timor (the locale of current peace-keeping and nation-building operations). Z Special Commandos mounted daring raids on Japanese-held Singapore. The Australian Coastwatchers were praised by US Admiral Chester Nimitz: “The Coastwatchers saved Guadalcanal and Guadalcanal saved the Pacific”. (They also saved Lieutenant John F. Kennedy USN, who later became quite famous)
Tales of the Netherlands Few people know that in 1942 (before the Philippines surrender) a US artillery battalion was captured by the Japanese in the Netherlands East Indies, now Indonesia. The 2nd Battalion 131st Field Artillery spent the rest of the war in captivity and formed a bond with survivors of USS Houston, sunk in the Battle of the Sunda Strait. And in 1963-66 forces from Britain, Australia and New Zealand fought Indonesia in a little-known war called, by the Indonesians, Konfrontasi
Bali – Hindu Island in an Islamic Sea A beautiful island with charming and courteous people and a playground for Western tourists, Bali has had a tumultuous past and, since the 2002 terrorist bombings, faces an uncertain economic future

Bali Komodo Sulawesi Baubau Darwin
Australia Under Attack In 1942 Australia was seriously threatened by Japan’s onslaught in the Pacific. An air raid on Darwin, February 1942, was almost as big as that on Pearl Harbour and the first of over 60 raids on northern Australia. The nation looked to America …
Timor Leste Apart from the dramas of 1942, East Timor has been of compelling regional (and United Nations) interest for years. It was colonised by the Portuguese for 400 years then conquered by Japan 1942-1945 and occupied by Indonesia in 1975. In 1999 its people voted for independence and Australia led an international force to halt Indonesian reprisals. It’s the world’s newest nation, with an uncertain road to maturity
Separated by a Common Language The ship is approaching Down Under. You should not assume that Aussie English and Yank English are always interchangeable. “How yer goin’, cobber, you old bastard?” “Stick it in the boot” “She’ll be apples – just chuck a yewy” Let’s have a short introduction to a foreign language
Territory in the North Darwin is called a ‘frontier town’ but it’s not really. It’s pretty modern, rebuilt after a devastating cyclone (i.e. hurricane) in 1974. But Australia’s Northern Territory, self-governing but not yet a state, is a real frontier place. It’s lush and green and tropical, with vast national parks and only 200,000 people, one third of whom are indigenous. And big - twice as big as Texas!

Darwin Thursday Island Great Barrier Reef Lizard Island Port Douglas Townsville Hamilton Island Laguna Brisbane Newcastle Sydney
The Battle of the Coral Sea 1942 Fought off the coasts of North Queensland and Papua, it was arguably a Japanese tactical victory but an Allied strategic victory. It was the first naval battle in history in which the opposing ships did not see each other. It established favourable conditions for the decisive Battle of Midway a month later
Decisive Battles of 1942 Besides Coral Sea and Midway, America’s Guadalcanal Campaign and Australia’s Battle of Milne Bay and Kokoda Track Campaign were crucial to eventual Allied success in the Pacific. They were all inter-related
The Great Barrier Reef Acclaimed as one of the world’s great natural treasures, it’s on the World Heritage List. The ship’s route will take it all along the Reef area. Let’s examine the continuing (and sometimes acrimonious) debate about the preservation and future of the Reef
“Oversexed, Overpaid, and Over Here” A million Americans in Australia during World War II. To some Australians, a memorable experience - to others, a cultural catastrophe. Let’s look back and separate myth from reality
The Opera House Story Although it is now one of the most recognisable buildings in the world its construction was controversial, expensive and argued about for decades. There was much inspired vision and a good deal of petty stupidity. It’s an interesting tale …
Old Sydney Town Australia is a young nation but an ancient land. Its aboriginal peoples have been here for over 40,000 years. The British settled Terra Australis as a penal colony in the 1780s largely because in the 1770s those rebellious Americans had become difficult. So in 1788, with 568 male and 191 female convicts plus 265 marines and families and officials, modern Australia began – a blessing unforeseen by Thomas Jefferson and friends when they said “We hold these truths to be self-evident …”

Sydney Melbourne Devonport Hobart Milford Sound Doubtful Fiord Stewart Island Dunedin Akaroa
Old Melbourne Town From 1835 to 1851 it was a ‘wild west’ town, living rough and opposed to convicts (only 1,750 of whom went there) but after separation from the Colony of New South Wales - and the discovery of gold near Ballarat - the place flourished. By the 1880s it was the fastest growing city in the British Empire
Convict Stock Tasmania was originally named Van Diemen’s Land and for the first 10 years of white settlement it had more convicts than free settlers. By the 1850s over 70,000 felons had been transported there from Britain. This is now a matter of considerable pride to their descendants (who include some of the Australian lecturers in The History Team)
A Curious Relationship For over a century the friendship between Australia and New Zealand has been nurtured on the battlefield but it disappears on the sporting field. A look at the ANZAC Tradition
Great Explorers of the Pacific Discoverers like Ferdinand Magellan, Luis Torres, Abel Tasman, James Cook and Antoine D’Entrecasteaux have left their names on history and places around the Pacific. They were intrepid adventurers and their stories are inspiring
The Sunken Gold of Auckland In 1940 the New Zealand Royal Mail ship Niagara, carrying 580 bars of gold, sank in a German minefield in the approach to Auckland Harbour. Each bar weighed 400 ounces – a total of about 8 tons – and they were bound for Fort Knox USA. Although below conventional diving depth all but 5 bars were recovered and it’s a tale of determination and technology
Maori and Pakeha New Zealand’s Maori sailed in canoes from somewhere in Polynesia perhaps 800 years ago. The country’s pakeha – citizens of non-Maori (and predominantly Caucasian) descent - have been there for barely two centuries. How they both developed, and are still developing, a multi-cultural society helps to explain modern Kiwi people and politics. And Rugby …

Akaroa Kaikoura Nelson Wellington Napier Gisborne White Island Tauranga Auckland Bay of Islands Noumea Port Vila
Jim is one of the world’s most experienced sports writers. He covered the Olympic Games in Mexico City, Munich, Montreal, Moscow and Los Angeles as a journalist. He scaled the security fence into the Munich Olympic Village and broke to the world the news of the Munich massacre. He was Media Director of Australia’s national Team at the Barcelona and Atlanta Olympics and the Venue Media Manager of the Olympic Village in Sydney 2000. A lifetime of involvement in elite sport has given him a treasure trove of stories and reminiscences …
Olympic Feats First-hand tales from eight Olympiads …
The Longest Fairway As a voting member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Florida he speaks of his close friends Greg Norman, Jan Stephenson and Peter Thomson. And talks about Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tiger Woods
Inside the Olympics He’ll tell what it’s like living and working within the Olympic family. And he might relate the stories that made the world’s press – and some that didn’t
Wrecked Records He’s seen many of the greatest sporting performances of all time. Indeed, which were the greatest? He’ll recall them along with the build-ups, the circumstances and the aftermaths and will describe how each was dramatic, moving and inspiring
Forehands and Backhands Throughout the 60s he was a regular at Wimbledon and has amazing and amusing tales to tell of the champions who then ruled the courts of the world
On & Off the Field He’s met prime ministers, presidents and royalty, watched the heavyweight boxer who might have been better than even Muhammad Ali, saw the first perfect 10 in gymnastics and sat on the sickbed of the greatest marathon runner in history. He’ll share some special moments …

Port Vila Savusavu Nuku’alofa Nuie Palmerston Atoll Aitutaki Bora Bora Moorea Papeete
The White Continent Before we leave the Southern Ocean we could look briefly at the White Continent just south of New Zealand and Australia – Antarctica – the world’s biggest desert, larger than the USA, with 87% of the world’s ice and no polar bears. There was an heroic period of exploration that included Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton, Wilkes, Ross and Clark. They were heroic explorers indeed. A member of our History Team once commanded an Antarctic base and he has prepared some details
The Tahitian Who Won London A native Tahitian, given the name Omai by an English naval captain, arrived in London in 1774 on HMS Adventure. In London society he became famous, won influential patrons, was painted by Joshua Reynolds and lived a grand life. But he had to return home and his true status of lowly freeman was revealed. His later years were not happy
Mutiny On HMS Bounty, of course, in 1789 – a year after modern Australia was founded. The story of Captain Bligh and Mr Christian has inspired hundreds of books, motion pictures, documentary films and myths. William Bligh may not have been the serial flogger of legend and some of Fletcher Christian’s descendants live on Pitcairn Island. But it all started in Tahiti
Whaling in the Pacific Whaling was one of Australia’s first industries, with American support, dating from the 1820s and whales were sought all around the Pacific. By the time it ceased in 1978 some species of whale were almost extinct
The Pacific Islands in the War against Japan The effects of the Pacific War – beneficial as well as malign – were felt throughout the islands as the gods of war flung thunderbolts all around the ocean
The Pacific in the 21st Century Is the future bright or dark? Can the island nations survive and/or prosper? Are they relics of colonialism or are their political structures viable?

Athens Kusadasi Canakkale Istanbul Odessa Sevastopol  Nessebar Varna  Istanbul
Ancient Aegean Civilisations  History of main civilizations of the ancient Aegean incl. Minoan, Mycenae, Athens, Anatolian.
Ephesus, Cult center and CapitalEphesus’s role as cult centre for goddess Artemis in the ancient world and capital of the Roman Province of Asia.
The Gallipoli Campaign 1915 General survey including causes, events, protagonists, and outcomes.
Fatal Magnificence: The Charge of the Light Brigade  The circumstances surrounding the notorious Charge, its execution and aftermath, its personalities such as Lords Raglan, Cardigan and Lucan, includes a reading of Tennyson’s poem and the later rejoinder by Kipling.
The Conquest of Constantinople 1453 and spread of Ottoman Empire into Europe  Background to the initial siege, the preparations made by Mehmet II for the attack and by the Byzantine Emperor for its defence, the tactics adopted by the Ottomans and the outcomes, including the spread of the Islamic Ottoman Empire into the Balkans.

The Team

Colonel Gerry McCormack BA
Gerry McCormack
Major General Mike O’Brien CSC, BSc (Mil), MDefAdmin
Mike O'Brien
Air Vice Marshal Alan Titheridge AO, BSc, MDefStud
Alan Titheridge
Associate Professor Harvey Broadbent BA (Hons), DipEd
Harvey Broadbent
Vice Admiral Chris Ritchie AO
Chris Ritchie
Colonel (Professor) David Horner DipMilStud, MA (Hons), PhD
David Horner
Bill Crews
Chris Mullane ONZM, MBE
Chris Mullane
Air Commodore Mark Lax OAM, CSM BSc, MA(hons), PhD
Mark Lax
Major General Paul Stevens, AO, BA
Paul Stevens
Barry Dryer, MPP
Barry Dryer


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