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2005, 56 Minutes

The often forgotten story of the last bloody year of World War Two in the Pacific as Australia and the US overpower Japan.

By late 1944, the worst of World War Two appeared to be over. June 6 - D-Day - marked the start of the Allied invasion of occupied Europe, leading to Germany's ultimate defeat; and Japan had been repulsed from Australia’s doorstep. But the conflict in the Pacific was about to hot up and it would be a long road to Tokyo for the Allies...

This is the forgotten story of being so near to victory, yet so far; of the terrible human sacrifice in the war’s last months, which only ended when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Narrated by Jack Thompson, Road to Tokyo is an Australian eyewitness account of history, told by men who faced kamikaze attacks from an enemy that refused to surrender, and by those on the homefront who waited in agony for news of 22,000 prisoners of war. Combining interviews and vivid archival footage, it provides a social context as well as a military overview of the titanic struggle against Japan. It reveals the emotional and the physical toll on Australia’s leaders, servicemen and women, and civilians.

Importantly, the film also assesses our new relationship with the United States - a strategic alliance that continues to have significance today. And it highlights the often overlooked contribution made by Australia, as General Douglas MacArthur sidelined our forces and island-hopped his way towards his goal.

Tokyo was the prize. For Australia, the road there was signposted with some of the bloodiest campaigns and most appalling events of World War Two - and the memory of 8031 POWs who would never come home.

A Film Australia National Interest Program. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

FREE Teachers' Notes - Download here



Writer/Director: Graham Shirley

Narrator: Jack Thompson

Year: 2005

Running Time: 56 Minutes

Classification: PG

Curriculum Links: Studies of Society and Environment/Human Society and Its Environment, Australian Studies, Modern History, Australian Curriculum Humanities and Social Sciences: History 7–10 - Historical Knowledge and Understanding (Experiences of Australians during World War Two 1939-1945); English and Media Studies.



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