World War II
Australia - Down Under Threatened

Australia - Down Under Threatened
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.65

     challenging words:    heartland, further, reestablished, thwart, grueling, totally, isolate, mini, defense, continent, homeland, command, launch, massive, equator, communication
     content words:    Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Down Under, World War II, Pearl Harbor, General Douglas MacArthur, Bataan Peninsula, United States, Major General Tomitaro Horii, New Guinea

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Australia - Down Under Threatened
By Jane Runyon

1     Australia is a large island. It is also an entire continent. Australia lies between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Many people call it the "Land Down Under" because it lies south of the equator. Location made Australia a key piece in the Japanese plan to conquer the Pacific Ocean in World War II.
2     The Japanese started their march across the Pacific in 1941. They attacked and crippled the American fleet at Pearl Harbor. They fought for all the islands they could find between Pearl Harbor and their homeland. Americans fought a long and grueling battle against the Japanese in the Philippine islands. The leader of the American forces, General Douglas MacArthur, departed from the Bataan Peninsula leaving his sick and tired troops to hang on. They were unable to do so and surrendered to the Japanese forces in April of 1942.
3     Taking control of such a large continent would take a massive effort. The Japanese realized that there was a bond between the Australian and United States governments. The Japanese decided that the first thing they would need to do was to isolate Australia from the United States. All communication between the two nations was successfully cut off. Major General Tomitaro Horii then took over an Australian territory in New Guinea. From here, the Japanese were able to launch air raids on Australian territories like Port Moresby in Papua.

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