These cartoons try to put a positive spin on three months of demoralizing defeat and retreat of Allied forces in the Philippines. Following the surrender of thousands of American and Filipino troops at Corrigedor and Bataan, General Douglas MacArthur was ordered by President Roosevelt to evacuate his forces to Australia in March 1942.
Upon landing in Darwin, MacArthur remarked to reporters “I shall return,” which became his epithet and a rallying cry of the war in the Pacific. MacArthur was given a hero’s welcome in Australia because his arrival confirmed a close alliance between Australia and the U.S. toward the common goal of defeating Japan. Australia’s Prime Minister John Curtin and MacArthur developed such a close relationship that critics accused Curtin of handing the reins of power over to the American General. Following MacArthur’s arrival, Brisbane became the headquarters of the US military campaign in the Pacific. Hundreds of thousands of US troops poured into Australia. Referred to by disgruntled local men as ‘over-sexed, over-paid and over here’, the American troops made their presence felt across the country.