The Home Front Volume II
CHAPTER 24 — Victory at Last
Victory at Last
THROUGHOUT 1944 there was certainty of victory, even some hopes that it would come within the year. The Russians continued to thrust back the enemy: in authoritative phrases, sprinkled with difficult names, radio news and cables buttressed with arrowed maps described movements. There was the northern drive, which on 27 January ended the 30-month siege of Leningrad, an event saluted with massive salvoes in Moscow, and with editorials in New Zealand. It continued on to the Baltic, while Finland manoeuvred for peace. There was the January thrust out from the Kiev salient, south-west through the Ukraine to the Bug River, and on in March over the Dneister and Pruth to halt at Jassy in Romania. There was the drive west to the Polish borders, on to approach outer Warsaw east of the Vistula, by 1 August. There it halted, while the inadequate, independent and tragic uprising of the Polish underground began on 1 August and surrendered on 2 October; the Russians did not enter the city until 17 January 1945, by when most of it had been destroyed, along with thousands of Poles.1 But even such confused, bitter episodes could not disturb the broad current, the sense that the war was working towards its end.
The air war over Germany was strengthening. At the end of January 1944 it was reported that the wiping out of Berlin was about half done. So far more than 23 000 tons of bombs had been dropped on that city, including 7000 before 18 November 1943, the date taken as beginning the battle of Berlin; it was established that 50 000 tons would destroy Berlin as an administrative and industrial centre.2
Progress up Italy, where Allied troops had landed in September 1943, was slow, but Cassino, which had held out for more than six months, finally crumpled in mid-May 1944. On 5 June the liberation of Rome was celebrated in New Zealand and with official rejoicings: there were speeches and flags, with bells and sirens sounding at noon, but there was little spontaneous excitement. Widespread references to the coming major invasion of Europe built up expectation months before D-Day on 6 June 1944. This happening page 1220 for New Zealand was no surprise but brought a stir of excitement and satisfaction. At last the Allies were getting on with the land invasion that really counted. Papers were waited for, the radio news was keenly tuned. Stories of massive air cover and the roll-out of men and material soon gave confidence; hard fighting was expected but the beach-heads were widening. This was no Gallipoli or Norway or Dieppe. In three weeks, Cherbourg, thorny tip of the Normandy peninsula, surrendered. There were more landings in the south and the tempo quickened, though not evenly.
In August and September there were hopes, heightened by the attempt on 20 July by some Wehrmacht officers to kill Hitler, of German collapse. Churchill's review on 2 August was, as the Auckland Star noted later on 1 November, the ‘most optimistic report he had ever given.’ Of the war in Europe, Churchill said: ‘I fear greatly to raise false hopes, but I no longer feel bound to deny that victory may come perhaps soon.’ He also said, I am increasingly led to believe that the interval between the defeat of Hitler and the defeat of Japan will be shorter—perhaps much shorter—than I at one time had supposed.'3 Newspaper opinions in Britain and in New Zealand were not slow to share his beliefs. In Washington the Acting Secretary for War, returning from the battlefields at the end of August, was confident that the Germans could be defeated within four months.4 A noted commentator, Max Werner,5 in mid-August held that the German army could be broken in eight weeks, after which the political, social and economic disintegration of the German state would begin6 — a view which the Press thought should be treated with reserve.7 On 24 August Romania capitulated to the Russians and changed sides, while with joyful acclaim both Paris and Marseilles were freed. In New Zealand flags were flown, bells, sirens and whistles made their noise at noon, and there were speeches. In the House the Prime Minister prudently reminded that not victory, but a milestone on the way to it, was being celebrated.8 In Europe Eisenhower said that by normal standards the German people ‘should be ready to roll over now, but any prospective leader of a revolt automatically finds a revolver put to his head. The German army is still competent, effective and able, when it chooses, to put page 1221 up a bitter, sustained resistance.’9 The Auckland Star on 14 September believed that the European war would be over within six months and on 21 September a member of Parliament asked as an urgent question that the Oil Fuel Controller should so plan that on the day of victory country people could go to town to celebrate.10
But the Germans, facing unconditional surrender, fought back, with increasing stubbornness as they neared their own soil. At Arnhem on 18 September a British airborne attack miscarried with heavy loss, and everywhere German lines hardened. The V-l rocket bombardment, which from mid-June had savagely plagued London, was waning early in September, but thereafter the V–2, larger, faster and more destructive though less numerous, harassed that much-enduring city. The last was to fall on Kent on 27 March 1945.11
In the Pacific, patterns of success were evolving. In New Guinea's jungles Australians and Americans laboured steadily, the Americans showing their strength in mechanised warfare—building wharves, airfields, roads, sawmills and hospitals, pouring in the means to move forward while cutting the enemy off from supplies and from escape. Newspaper editorials12 and commentaries expounded on these skills and the new style of warfare. In February, the easy capture of the Green Islands, northernmost of the Solomons, where New Zealand troops made their third and last combat appearance in the Pacific, completed the out-flanking strategy in that group. On its large islands, Bougainville and Choiseul, thousands of Japanese remained, with damaged airfields, cut off from supplies and withdrawal, to be held down by air attack and land patrols till the end of the war. Already in February the by-passing of islands process was being repeated in the central Pacific with the seizure of Kwajalein and Eniwetok, westerly atolls in the Marshall groups. In March the Americans struck into the Admiralty Islands, encircling Rabaul, threatening Truk. Most of the islands on Japan's shrinking perimeter were small, though this did not make them easy: Tarawa in the Gilbert group, taken in November 1943, had been very costly, as Iwo Jima and Okinawa were also to prove.page 1222
The part of the New Zealand Division in the Pacific in 1943 had been minor. The men who were originally intended to make it a three-brigade force had been diverted in August to replace the first Middle East furlough draft.13 The fighting allotted to it at Vella Lavella and the Treasury Islands in September and October was secondary, as was its task on Nissan in the Green Islands in February 1944. In the Canberra Pact of 21 January 1944, recognising that the post-war British position in the Pacific was being weakened by the overwhelming American presence, Australia and New Zealand together claimed, by virtue of ‘their resolute and long sustained war effort’, the right to a leading role in the post-war Pacific.14 America, however, insured that only garrison and reconnaissance duties would be given to New Zealand land forces, and that their main enemies would be boredom and its accompanying demoralisation. Official correspondents in January 1944 wrote of the 3rd Divison being wearied with inactivity.15
For New Zealand in 1944 the question of where its manpower should be directed was of crucial importance. On 24 January Nash, who had been told by Fraser on 12 January that one or other division must be withdrawn,16 asked Roosevelt where New Zealand could best serve: militarily, in the Mediterranean or Pacific zones, in the air and at sea, or in expanding food production?17 Three weeks earlier, on 3 January, the New Zealand Herald had said that in many Allied opinions the food production front was equal in importance to the fighting front; the government and the country should squarely face the facts of New Zealand's depleted labour force, its declining farm output, and the hungry world. Again on 30 March the Herald urged the need to encourage farming, with labour, fertiliser and adequate prices.
Dairy farmers, impatient with their stabilised prices, demanded financial encouragement, pointing out that British dairying, with government help and good prices, had remarkably increased its production, while New Zealand's had fallen. In the 1940 crisis, farmers had slogged in to produce more without worrying openly about increased payment. Since then the chops and changes in Britain's page 1223 demands had clouded their zeal, they were tired, and they were disillusioned about the guaranteed price system.18 Further, in June 1943, the government had arranged stabilisation accounts for both meat and dairy produce to receive any increase in overseas prices above the level ruling at 15 December 1942. From these accounts were paid, in part, the subsidies used to keep farm costs down to those of December 1942.19 Payout prices for butterfat remained at 1939–40 rates through 1941–2: 16.087d per lb used in butter-making, 18.060d per lb used in cheese-making. In 1942–3 these rates rose only to 16.569d for butter, 18.577d for cheese.20 Meanwhile the overseas price of wool, increased by 15 per cent in May 1942, was about 50 per cent above pre-war prices, and almost its full earnings, untrammelled by stabilisation accounts, went direct to the farmers.21 It was hardly surprising that the popularity of sheep, generally less laborious than cows, increased.
From late 1943 dairy farmers spoke often of having to reduce their herds and of needing the real encouragement of better prices. The report of a Morrinsville meeting stated: Farmers are restive and there is an underlying feeling that unless they become a more militant group they will not get the treatment that is needed to keep their industry on a sound basis. It is said that this season the Government will receive much more than will be paid out to the producers…. It takes 15 cows to pay a man, so instead the farmer reduces his herd from 80 to 65 cows, runs a few sheep and achieves the same results. But the result is not the same for the country.22
Early in April a comprehensive meeting, representing the Federation of Labour, Chambers of Commerce, the Farmers' Union and employers' and manufacturers' association, recommended that all suitable manpower should be available for farms, along with prefabricated houses or military huts, more fertiliser and better prices. There should be tax exemptions on the amounts that would normally be spent on manure and maintenance, the money being used page 1224 meanwhile as war finance and repaid to farmers after the war to recondition their farms.23
On 10 March 1944 the Prime Minister had told Halsey, in command of Pacific forces, that New Zealand required 17 500 men for farming and its ancillary occupations, for sawmilling, mining, hydroelectric works, railways and housing; 7000 were needed by July.24 On 7 April Fraser announced various measures to encourage farming: more labour, fertiliser and rural housing, and tax exemption on deferred maintenance, as proposed by the conference a few days earlier. A wage cost allowance of 1.21d per lb of butterfat would lift the wage reckoning for owners in the guaranteed price structure to £5 7s 6d a week and enable £4 17s 6d a week (including £1 for board) to be paid to dairy farm workers. There were modest subsidies for rearing heifer calves and growing pig food, and ½ d a lb increase in pork and bacon prices.25
Various leaders appealed to farmers for renewed effort to relieve Britain. They included Benjamin Roberts,26 the Minister of Agriculture, W. S. Hale,27 the chairman of the Dairy Board,28 and the New Zealand Herald's editorial on 17 April. Holland, describing near-bare British tables, said that increased production was more important than local feelings or political opinions, ‘was even more important at the moment than organising for the National party’.29 When told that at present prices production was not attractive, he replied: ‘it is not a question of whether it is attractive, it is a question of whether we can save Britain from sheer and utter starvation.’30
Farmers were not swept off their feet; in particular they thought the butterfat price increase too small.31 At a conference in May, Mulholland, president of the Farmers' Union, said that their attitude was the result of the government's unsympathetic treatment; several recent measures seemed hostile to farmers: the Land Sales Act was a ‘Venomous attack’; paid annual holidays had been unloaded on the country; the Local Elections and Polls Amendment Act violated page 1225 ‘all the unwritten laws of our constitution’.32 Despite Britain's great need, said Mulholland, he had never known such hostility to a government announcement as had greeted the recent proposals for increasing dairy production. He criticised Stabilisation for failing to control farming costs and standing in the way of production, and he claimed that increased prices being paid by Britain for meat were not reaching farmers. Other speakers said that the government was more anxious to prevent a rise in the cost of living than to produce the quantities of food needed by Britain; farmers were working for 1939 prices while paying 1944 costs.33 Some 50 delegates, meeting outside conference hours, stated that appeals to sentiment were not sufficient inducement.34
While the farmers grumbled, the British government moved towards a price solution, proposing, on 3 March, new long-term contracts. Ensuing increases were announced on 3 August 1944. Retrospectively, from 1 April 1943 to 31 July 1944 Britain paid 143s 1½ d per hundredweight for top grade butter, an increase of 26s 1½ d; 85s 6¼d per hundredweight for top grade cheese, an increase of 12s 6¼d per hundredweight. New four-year contracts provided that for the next two seasons the price for such butter would be 150s6d, and cheese 89s; thereafter prices would be reviewed. Increases for meat were still being discussed. Further, the British government recognised that New Zealand, over the war years, had paid higher prices for British goods while New Zealand costs had been held much lower than would have been possible without its Stabilisation scheme and the subsidies, on which the New Zealand government had paid out about £25 million. Britain, therefore, in compensation for the disparity in prices would pay a lump sum of £ 12 million and further lump sums of £4 million a year over the next four years. Payment of up to £18 million would be suspended until the end of the war. These arrangements, said the Prime Minister, would help pay for abnormal imports after the war, but he was concerned that they should not overturn Stabilisation.35
Farmers' claims that the lump sums should go to them as compensation for inadequate payments were overuled by the view that page 1226 these sums were made to the government as trustee for the people of New Zealand.36 In due course payouts to dairy farmers increased from the 17.597d per lb for butterfat used in buttermaking in 1943–4 to 20.568d in 1945–6 and 23.691d in 1946–7; in cheese-making these rates were 19–655d, 22.884d and 25.355d.37
Creamery butter graded for export in 1943–4 totalled 101 992 tons, cheese 85 473. In 1944–5 these figures rose to 122 352 and 95 548 tons, though in 1945–6 they fell again to 103 977 tons of butter, 88 185 of cheese.38 It must be remembered that supplying the armed forces in the Pacific absorbed much butter and cheese which might otherwise have gone to Britain: in 1944–5 while rationing reduced civilian consumption of butter by approximately 11 million lb, sales to those forces increased by approximately 4 million Ib.39
Purchase prices for meat, which had risen only slightly between 1939–40 and 1943–4, rose by about 1d per lb on most lines in 1944–5, with payment to producers increasing by about half that amount.40 Farm stabilisation accounts, which kept money out of circulation and checked inflation, grew steadily, totalling £24 million by July 1946; subsidy payments of nearly £7 million were drawn from these accounts, leaving a balance of £17 million.41 Over the 1942–6 period subsidies in all totalled £23,361,000, more than half being related to farming.42 These were some of the facts and contrivings behind the war's farming saga and its 1944 stresses.
Meanwhile in mid-1944, with 7000 3rd Division men available, farms absorbed fewer men more slowly than expected. Many farmers were waiting for their sons or they wanted to choose their own men and doubted the value of those supplied by the government. By the end of November 1944, out of 9100 men released from the Division 4286 were working on farms.43
Estimates of labour needs had been based on farm workers having increased by about 2000 a year since 1926, to 148 000 in the 1936 census. But the census of 1951 was to find only 117 000 men working on farms, with 29 000 fewer on dairy farms. Over the war years, methods changed with marked increase in the use of machinery. The number of tractors rose by 97 per cent, from about 9600 in 1939 to more than 18 900 by 1946, including more than 7000 from the page 1227 United States under Lend-Lease. Electric motors, which needed less attention than internal combustion engines, increased by 51 per cent from 51 000 to nearly 77 000 in 1946. Shearing machine plants increased from 10000 to 14000, milking machine plants more modestly, from nearly 29000 in 1939 to 31 800 in 1946. Before the war it was generally believed that after machine milking hand stripping was necessary for continued top production. By 1943–4, Dairy Board tests had shown that stripping made very little difference to yield, and farmers progressively abandoned it, notably reduceing labour needs.44
Away from the battle fronts and the farms, the year 1944 saw two far–reaching innovations: the approach of the five-day shopping week, which was to persist from 1945 until the end of 1980 and the civilian advent of penicillin. There was pressure for and against a five-day shopping week throughout the year. By their awards, retail shops worked a 44-hour week, which included one late night and Saturday mornings. Shop assistants' awards were due to expire, that for Northern Industrial District on 1 July 1944, that for the rest of the country on 7 September. About the middle of the year there were meetings, resolutions and ballots, workers and unionists wanting closed shops on Saturday mornings, retailers, manufacturers, farmers' unions and housewives wanting them open. The old awards continued although there were wage rate amendments from April 1945.45
In December 1945 the Shops and Offices Amendment Act established a 40-hour week for retail shops. Already by agreement between some firms and their staffs many shops were closed on Saturdays. Certain trades in some towns had for years been closed on Saturdays, notably butchers in Rotorua and Te Kuiti (five years), Whangarei (three years) and Otorohanga (six years). In Wellington, shoe shops, ironmongers and some drapers had not opened on Saturday mornings for six or eight months, and the big drapers advertised that from 1 November they would not either. By November at Auckland out of 276 general stores in Queen Street, 270 closed all Saturday and only 13 of Karangahape Road's 121 shops were open.46 Thus retailers were moving into a five-day shopping week slightly ahead of the legislation that made inviolate the weekends of as many workers as possible. That many goods were still limited in range or quantity and were eagerly bought was a factor reconciling shopkeepers page 1228 to shorter hours; another factor was that with all shops closed none could, through longer hours, drain off an undue share of trade.
The revolutionary drug penicillin made its first appearance among New Zealand civilians in 1944. In March 18-year-old Roger Kingsford, who had won a Boy Scout award for bravery and who later for five years had suffered from osteomyelitis and staphylococcus septicaemia, was the first to receive it, through an appeal by the Prime Minister to Australian authorities.47 By June limited weekly supplies began to arrive and were distributed by air to the four main centres; a gazette order ensured that until supplies increased it would be used only for most urgent cases.48
In mid-October 1944 Fraser did not think that the war would be over within a year.49 By the start of November, Churchill had no hope of victory in Europe before the end of the northern spring or even later and said that it would not be prudent to assume that less than 18 months more would be needed to destroy Japan.50 Papers such as the Auckland Star said that the Allies had been over-ready to believe that Germany would crack and they had underestimated the fighting quality of the German army.51 Some gloomy prophets spoke of the Japanese war lasting three or four years more unless Russia took part.52 In mid-December, von Rundstedt's53 surprise thrust from the Ardennes towards Antwerp stirred reluctant admiration and memories of Dunkirk; a month of heavy fighting was needed to squeeze back ‘Rundstedt's bulge’. At New Year Hitler told his people that never had their enemies thought victory so near as they had in August 1944, ‘but again we contrived to bend fate to our will’; there would be German victory within six months. Their enemies used barbarous methods never known before in civilised society but from the ruins of Aachen and other cities rose, phoenix-like, the determined spirit of the German people.54 On 6 January New Zealand papers quoted from The Times that the western page 1229 front called for austere thinking and all faith in the Allies' ultimate success.
The fifth and last Christmas of the war was fairly frugal for New Zealand, though plenteous by world standards. With far fewer Americans about, supplies of poultry, wine and beer were more plentiful than in 1943.55 No tinned fruit was issued, dried fruits were limited,56 sweets were hunted and queued for. Gifts were much as for the previous year, with books prominent, some printed in New Zealand by arrangement with overseas publishers.57 For children there were many rag dolls, cardboard games, soft and wooden toys, some well made, some rapidly falling to bits.58 Some manufacturers, in between heavier contracts and from left-overs of metal or plastic, had contrived items such as tea sets and cooking sets, soldiers and animals; furriers made rabbit-skin koala bears and one Auckland factory produced a sleeping doll.59 There was keen interest in secondhand toys such as sleeping dolls, dolls' houses and prams, rocking horses and Hornby trains.60
Christmas and New Year street scenes were quiet. Wellington, for instance, reported no serious accidents, no fires, not even one drunk on Christmas Eve.61 At Auckland a crowd much smaller than usual gathered after 11 o'clock on the Sunday evening, to usher in the New Year briefly with squeakers, rattles and musical instruments.62 In Christchurch few people were in the streets and only the sounding of sirens, whistles and motorcar horns marked the end of 1944.63
There were more travellers than trains, on which seats were booked two weeks ahead, some people queuing for hours or even overnight before ticket offices opened64 As in the previous summer, a little extra petrol was available: two coupons at full value, giving private motorists 4–8 gallons according to car size, over December and January.65 Though camping grounds near cities were well filled,66 it was another stay-at-home Christmas; there were unseemly scrambles for page 1230 buses to some beaches67 and totalisator records continued to rise.68 These were for on-course betting. The off-course TAB (Totalisator Agency Board) did not exist until 1951. Coal supplies were still inadequate, with recurrent acute shortages reducing gas supplies and railway services. Normally two passenger trains left both Auckland and Wellington daily: on 12 February 1945 some were cut out, by the 17th the service was halved and it remained so till the end of the month.69
At New Year Eraser warned against slackening effort in the certainty of victory, where dogged determination, as after Dunkirk or Singapore, would shorten the conflict. The Auckland Star, remarking that the Germans went on fighting because this still seemed preferable to acknowledging defeat, warned that to finish Germany decisively and finally would be harder, more bloody and more exhausting than was generally realised.70 The Press reminded that New Zealand was still experiencing all the benefits and few of the hardships of a wartime economy. All labour and capital were fully employed, with a ready market for everything produced, at prices from good to very good, while shortages and price inflation had made comparatively little trouble. Despite substantial demobilisation there were more jobs than workers, and for consumers 1945 promised to be the best year since 1941; as most shoppers were aware, goods from the United States and Britain were coming more quickly, while reduced military needs were enabling local factories to tackle the most serious shortage—clothing. The divided aims and loyalties of peacetime economy were re-appearing, pressing against Stabilisation which was ‘losing both its original prestige and its original compelling logic’. Indefinite freezing of wages and costs would be possible only in a totalitarian economy, but there was danger that, in the absence of any rule save that of expediency, large pressure groups would break through Stabilisation restrictions while these continued to hold down smaller and weaker groups, which in equity had stronger claims to relief. The Press recalled the boom and depression years following the last war and warned that 1945 would be a testing time; it would be disastrously easy, by relaxing controls on both wages and farm incomes, to gain the short-term prosperity of inflation.71
The New Zealand Herald wondered whether Germany would fall in the coming summer, wondered when and with what effect the full power of the Allies would be turned on Japan. For New Zealand the course ahead was steady: commitments to the fighting Services page 1231 had been reduced in proportion to resources, with long-serving men being replaced and returning to help in the humdrum but necessary and honourable production of food and wool. People were behaving very much like a car driver after many miles at the wheel, driving silently with eyes steady on the road.
The ordinary New Zealander has ceased to argue or speculate much about the war, although he takes keen account of its events as they unfold. He regards it in total with not much of either hope or apprehension, and American attempts to dramatise the deeds of fighting men leave him almost completely cold. Even if no burden of sorrow or anxiety rests on his own home, he knows what the people in the next house or the next street have to bear. The suffering of millions beyond the seas are always at the back of his mind; he feels that he and his are luckier than their deserts. And so he carries on with the job in hand.72
The job in hand was twofold: carrying on with the war and getting ready for peace. In the latter aspect, pressure for higher wages was notable. This was increased by expectation that demobilisation would end the overtime which had kept many lower paid workers abreast or even slightly ahead of prices, which despite Stabilisation measures gradually rose. Butterfat returns had been increased in July 1944 and union patience was not improved by members of Parliament, in December 1944, granting themselves substantial rises in pay and allowances.73 In mid-January 1945 Waikato dairy factory workers struck against their new two-year award to obtain better rates in case of less overtime, A week later railway workers struck because the Tribunal investigating their pay and conditions seemed unduly long in making its decisions; some coal miners struck in sympathy and it was promised that the Tribunal would produce results by mid- February. As the 1945 report of the Federation of Labour said, ‘It was obvious that a new higher general level of wages would have to be brought into being.’74 In response to Federation pressure, on 13 February an amendment to Stabilisation regulations permitted the Court of Arbitration to amend wages in order to preserve a proper relationship between the rates payable to various classes of workers.
On 14 February the railwaymen's wages were increased by 3½ d an hour, and on 17 March the Court of Arbitration answered the application of the Federation of Labour by a similar rise in skilled, page 1232 semi-skilled and unskilled rates.75 This was not a general order, but would be obtained through the application of each trade union.
The Public Service Association, with temporary employees multiplied by the war, was vigorously pressing pay and other claims. The government agreed on 16 February to set up a consultative committee including PSA representation to overhaul the Service; meanwhile there would be a general adjustment to pay rates in line with the Railway Tribunal's findings, backdated to 30 June 1944. For most lower paid State servants, including those in the armed forces, this meant a rise of about £30 a year, while among the higher paid professionals increases ranged up to £75 a year.76 Public Service women, while welcoming their £30 interim rise, were keen for the consultative committee to consider the claims of particular groups, and they reaffirmed their belief in equal pay for equal work, combined with family allowances.77 By May the committee reported ‘considerable progress’ towards new salary scales.78
Dr Hare in April warned that the end of the war might see a period of industrial strife like that which followed the First World War. Wages, he said, were the main cause of disputes, because both sides concentrated on this issue without realising that it was on account of discontents raised by other questions—such as insecurity, poor conditions, lack of incentive and relations with management— that the wages problem seemed insoluble. Where, as so often, there was nothing in a job to hold a worker except the money, there was little wonder that it seemed to be all he cared about. Hare advised employers to do all in their power to improve work conditions, adding that in many factories which he had seen these were definitely very bad. Employers should try to give security by seeking the right man for a job and assuming that he would stay in it. Security could also be improved by paying wages during sickness, Social Security benefits not being enough to relieve worry and privation if illness lasted more than a few weeks. If an employer paid full wages in sickness, however, he should be able to recover from the State any benefit which the State would otherwise have paid. Hare also urged employers to work out some system which would automatically give workers a share in the proceeds proportionate to their efforts. Unions should not be merely levy-receiving organisations enforcing the wages and conditions imposed by awards; they should reach out towards page 1233 active participation in industrial life, stabilising employment, improving relationships with employers, and improving democracy in their own ranks. For each industry or group thereof, an industrial council, drawn equally from both sides, should be the recognised mouthpiece to the State.79 This was forward thinking in 1945 and much of it would remain forward thinking for more than thirty years.
In the consumer field some goods which had been scarce were becoming more plentiful or could be obtained here and there at shorter intervals, goods such as towels, enamel ware, watches and alarm clocks. Indian carpets had been advertised during 1944.80 Tools, such as hammers and saws, garden and agricultural imple ments, were returning.81 In advertisements many firms making goods such as silk stockings, camera film, blankets, men's suits or chocolates, promised that soon they would be able to sell their customers all or at least more of what they wanted. There were demands that shops should resume the wrapping of bread since supplies of paper had become adequate, but retailers resisted, claiming that paper was double its former price and that they got only ½d on each 5½d loaf.82 Newsprint was more plentiful: for instance, the Auckland Star and the Ckristchurch Star-Sun, which ad been limited to 42 pages weekly had by May increased to 58 and 56 respectively.83 In 1945, unlike the previous four years, there was enough paper for the monthly School Journal to be supplied to every pupil in primary classes, as of old.84
There were still many shortages. As more households were set up there were not enough blankets, mattresses, pots and pans, tele phones, china, cutlery. There was great scarcity of men's clothing, from overcoats to underwear. Men in thousands were laying aside uniforms to search for civvies while their wives were forsaking factory machines to set up house. Other factors, such as stabilisation of prices and wages, made the production of utility clothing unattractive. An Auckland shopkeeper in March reported about 10 inquiries per hour for sports trousers while he did not know when his orders would arrive.85
Shortage of electricity worsened as domestic demands increased and low coal stocks meant that delays in deliveries could cut off page 1234 coal–produced electricity. All supply authorities had to complete the metering of water heaters by 31 March 1945, which enabled them to impose substantial reductions in heating hours, productive of doubtfully warm baths and washing. There were direct cuts of power at listed hours. Thus in May Auckland, to save 10 per cent of its daily Monday–to–Friday load, published lists of half–hour periods when power would be cut off in various suburbs.86 The ban on the sale of radiators where there were other means of heating, by oil, wood, coal or gas, was rigidly enforced.87 The summer half–hour of daylight saving was again continued through the winter.88 Streets remained dimly lit. In April the Auckland Star remarked that Auck land was a gloomy city, the result of wartime's less powerful lamps and the refusal to install lights where they had become necessary, as in newly developed streets. It was increasingly difficult to maintain safety while keeping within the government–imposed limit of 20 per cent below the 1941 level of power for street lighting. Only by eliminating an existing light or reducing several could a new light be installed. People, the Star recalled, had been so relieved when the blackout ended that for a time deficiencies were unnoticed and accepted without complaint, but realisation was growing that for public safety more light was needed in residential areas, at corners and on undulating thoroughfares.89
In many areas things continued as they were. Although some manufacturers advocated the repeal of essential industry declarations, saying that industrial relations were deteriorating,90 Manpower regulations continued, enforced by penalties in the courts: for instance, in Wellington on 10 March 1945 six persons who had breached directions were fined.91 There were special calls for girls to work in hospitals handed over by the Americans at Auckland and Wellington. All unmarried women of 2 1 and 22 years were called in for questioning, whether or not they were already in essential industries or government departments.92 There was a renewed campaign for mental hospital staff, particularly women, with more explanation and persuasion than formerly, including broadcasts by nurses and by 2ZB's redoubtable Aunt Daisy, leading to better results. The wages, however, were nor impressive: beginners under 21 received page 1235 £160 a year plus cost of living bonuses (still only 10 per cent), less £25 for board; for adult beginners the basic pay was £175.93
The government's intention, publicly adumbrated in November 1944, of taking over the privately owned shares in the Bank of New Zealand increasingly concerned financial circles, the National party and Labour devotees during 1945 producing heated feelings and demonstrations before legislation was passed in November. Tradi tionally, the Labour party feared the power of the banks. Nash in a 1925 pamphlet, Financial Power in New Zealand: the case for a State Bank, which he quoted in 1945, had written:
The Associated Banks in conference determine what credit shall be issued, to whom it shall be issued, for what it shall be issued, and the rate of interest which shall be paid. They may restrict overdrafts, which reduces prices. They have more power over pri mary production, importation and prices than either Parliament, farmer, industrial worker, or merchant. The dominant member of the association is the Bank of New Zealand. This bank is controlled by six directors, four of whom are appointed by the New Zealand Government. These men determine the banking policy for the Dominion. This policy is always determined in the interests of the shareholders and financial corporations of the Dominion.94
The government, late in 1939, had purchased the private share holdings of the Reserve Bank. Far back in 1894 the government had saved the Bank of New Zealand from failure with a State guarantee, and had subsequently provided that a majority of the Bank's directors, including the chairman, be appointed by the government. Since 1937 the chairman had been A. T. Donnelly, who was also prominent in the Stabilisation Commission and who could claim that the Bank and its fellows had acted co–operatively with the government for the war effort. But the government, to strengthen its control in a possible boom–and–bust phase following the war's end and to facilitate rehabilitation and post–war reconstruction, decided to acquire the Bank's private shares.
A resolution urging this, seconded by Nash, was adopted fervently at the Labour Party Conference on 8 November 1944, though Nash at the same time stressed that ownership of the Bank was no panacea, no substitute for productive work.95 The Bank protested, pointing to its helpful record in the war, which the government page 1236 acknowledged.96 Donnelly told Nash on 21 November that he saw no national need for or benefit from the proposed change and that he would resign from the directorate if the take–over were effected.97 Nash firmly stated on 31 March that necessary legislation would proceed in the next session, but gave ‘unqualified assurance’ that all existing rights and immunities of customers would continue unchanged, that their accounts and records would remain inviolable and secret. Management and day-to-day banking practice would not be altered, and while general policy would be determined by the Minister of Finance on behalf of the government the existing direc tors, as in the Reserve Bank and the State Advances Corporation, would be responsible for general administration.98
The government's opponents believed that it had used wartime controls cunningly to get a tighter stranglehold on private business, all steps along the road to complete State socialism and trade union dictatorship. Faced with the need soon to loosen these controls, the government was taking a giant leap towards the socialist goal, aim ing to manipulate people's money for political purposes, giving the trades hall dictators power over the lives, business and jobs of the people.99 There were demonstrations on both sides.100 In due course the enacting Bill was passed with strong debate in November 1945. Opposition then concentrated on transferring accounts to rival banks, but in the next 12 months the Bank of New Zealand's share in the trading bank's business dropped only from 39 to 37 per cent for deposits and from 40 to 39 per cent for advances.101
There was, in some quarters, concern that New Zealand's popu lation, then about 1 700 000, was inadequate either for national security or for prosperity and full employment. This was expressed trenchantly by the Dominion Settlement and Population Association, with its slogan ‘populate or perish’, also by other bodies. Women's groups said that to improve the birthrate houses and domestic help should be more plentiful, labour-saving devices should be available at cost price to mothers and there should be no means test with the family allowance.102 The Federation of New Zealand Justices and others urged elevation of the status of women entering domestic service and improvement of maternity hospitals.103 There were more page 1237 people wanting to adopt babies than there were babies to adopt.104 It was thought that British and European orphans would be among the most admirable immigrants and, wrongly, that there were plenty of them.105 Belgium would-be homes outnumbered orphans,106 but when Hol land was about to visit the United Kingdom the Dominion Settle ment and Population Association asked him to make inquiries for future immigrants.107 Of Population: New Zealand's Problem, by H. I. Sinclair,108 a reviewer, A. H. McLintock,109 said that it was a ‘thoughtful and arresting book…. That New Zealand must pro duce or procure more population in order to ensure its national security and stave off national suicide is perhaps dimly appreciated by most people today. Mr Sinclair, however, puts the matter beyond question, and in a judicial manner weighs up the various schemes for remedying the situation.’110
The Otago Daily Times, dismissing chances of obtaining emigrants from war-riven Europe, said that New Zealanders must rely on natu ral increase to develop resources and defend their title to the land. Present population trends were not only disturbing but positively alarming, there was not enough reproduction for growth or even to hold existing levels. The public might not have much faith in royal commissions, but there was room for an exhaustive inquiry into the causes of the decline in fertility and for advice whereby an'exceedingly dangerous tendency may be checked.111 The birthrate, which from 19.57 per 1000 population in 1928 had dropped to 16.17 in 1935, had climbed to 18.73 in 1939. For the next three years it was 21.19, 22.81 and 21.73 respectively. In 1943 it dropped again to 19.70, rose to 21.59 in 1944, was 23.22 in 1945, 25.26 in 1946, 26.47 in 1947, 25.59 in 1948, 24.98 in 1949, 24.67 in 1950.112 Dissatisfaction with New Zealand's licensing laws, heightened by war conditions, had produced a royal commission to inquire into the law relating to the manufacture, importation and sale of liquor, page 1238 and the social and economic conditions surrounding it. It was to consider proposals for reform and itself to suggest amendments. Its terms of reference were very wide but it was barred from inquiring into contributions made by the licensed trade to the funds of politi cal parties. At Wellington on 6 March 1945, the Commission, chaired by David Smith, a Supreme Court judge, began to examine the ‘patchwork monster’ produced by a hundred years of pressure and legislation.113 At the start a report was read from W. H. Wood ward,114 a distinguished magistrate and chairman of New Plymouth, Stratford and Egmont licensing committees. He wrote that the pres ent laws were the ‘result of a battle between greed and fanaticism, in which the interests of ordinary sensible citizens have been ignored.’ These citizens ‘drink cheek by jowl, like pigs at a trough, what they are given instead of what they may want and, like pigs, gulp down more than they need of it while they can get it, and for the privilege of doing so pay many times the value of the hogwash they swallow …. men returning from overseas who have had their eyes opened, will not be patient under a law which threatens to make guzzling a national habit and furtive drinking a fashionable pastime of youth.’ Drinking, instead of being a pleasant and respectable aid to social intercourse, had become a matter for idiotic mirth or censorious reproach. Mere tinkering was not enough. He advocated State pur chase of the industry during the war when, in default of other ave nues for investment, purchase money would have to go into government securities, interest on which would be provided many times over by the profits of the trade under government control. He also wanted the provision in hotels of seats and small tables, non alcoholic drinks and eatables, and the admission of women without stigma or embarrassment.115
The Commission heard a great deal of evidence and finally published its 457-page report in August 1946. It recommended that the breweries should be acquired by a public corporation, its profits after compensation being devoted to cultural, philanthropic and recreational purposes; that liquor trusts might, by local vote, become licensees, with profits similarly directed. It also proposed that bars should provide seats, snacks of food, use standard measures and throw away dregs, and that hours should be broken: 10 am to 2 pm, 4 to 6 and 8 to 10 pm. Other suggestions included the licensing of restaurants and dancehalls, and relaxing restrictions on the purchase page 1239 of liquor by Maoris in the case of Maori returned servicemen. The King Country should, like other areas, vote on whether it should be wet or dry, a Commission should be established to redistribute licences and a Board to inspect premises and advise local licensing committees.116 Later legislation incorporated some of these proposals, but that is another story.
By 1945 Auckland was beginning to think that it had a Maori problem. In the labour shortage of the war the drift of Maori people from the country into towns increased markedly; between 1936 and 1945 the number living in urban areas more than doubled.117 The root causes were the increase in Maori population, combined with the lack of employment and opportunity in the country, and lack of land. In some areas the land possessed might nominally be suf ficient, but almost everywhere its development was heavily reduced by lack of capital, facilities and enterprise, and complicated by multiple-ownership tenure that numbed individual effort. Against familiar narrow living rose the lure of paid jobs and social pleasures in the city. Between 1921 and 1926 the total Maori population rose by 11.73 per cent to 63 670, while the European increase rate was 10.69 per cent. Between 1926 and 1936 Maori population rose to 82 326, an increase of 29 30 per cent, while Europeans increased by only 10.93 per cent to 1 491 484.118.118 By June 1943, stated the 1944 Yearbook, Maoris numbered 96 939, 93 461 of them in the North Island, their increase rate for the past year having been 29.18 per cent, while that of Europeans was 9.84 per cent.119
Land development schemes, begun in 1929 and increasingly pushed by the Labour government, had established a number of Maoris on their own farms, mainly dairy and notably on the East Coast under the paternal influence of Sir Apirana Ngata, prophet of Maoritanga. Others, about 2000, were settlers under various land development schemes and more were employed by the government in developing land not yet sub-divided. The majority lived by subsistence cultivation and seasonal work, including road maintenance, and were assisted by Social Security benefits. War widened and increased job openings: a number became truckers in the mines, page 1240 others worked in timber milling, forestry, lorry-driving and as shear ers.120 Market gardens, particularly those near Pukekohe, engaged numbers of women; some found places in factories and a good many did domestic work in hotels and cafes. Men were wanted in the freezing works and for general unskilled labour.
In the cities Maoris encountered massive difficulties, many centred on housing. Traditionally it was held that Maoris belonged in rural living, which was ‘good’ for them, whereas urban life was ‘bad’.121 With a few exceptions Maori housing in the country, in the main, ranged from poor to shocking, despite often amazing cleanliness, and very small pre–war steps had been taken to improve it. In the towns there was no machinery to help Maoris to acquire adequate housing, while there was strong reluctance to let rooms or houses to them. They could obtain only the most run down houses which over-crowding made worse.
This was not a war–born difficulty. In May 1939 a Young Maori Conference discussed appalling conditions in Auckland. Some speakers, sharing the view that city life was bad for the Maori, had suggested that letting agents should undertake not to let houses to them unless they had come on legitimate business or were permanently employed. These speakers saw return to the country as necessary, but recognised also that many Maoris were deeply rooted in the city and had nothing to return to. The drift to cities could be checked only if the government provided more inducement to stay in the country.122 A 1944 survey of Maoris living in shanty-town fashion at Panmure123 found that though any were recent arrivals some had been in the locality for 8 to 24 years. Most were landless and did not want to return to the country where housing was just as bad and there was no work.
The Auckland City Council, reluctant to touch a costly problem, had later in 1941 suggested to H. R. G. Mason, member for Auckland Suburbs, that Social Security benefits should be withheld from Maoris until they returned to the country, a proposal which Mason dismissed, saying that houses in the city were ‘probably palatial’ compared to what they had left behind in the country.124 A ‘back page 1241 to the land’ policy was strongly supported, even in the war years, by Sir Apirana Ngata. In July 1943 he complained that Maoris, by Sir Apirana Ngata. In July 1943 he complained that Maoris, attracted to industry by Manpower officers, were drawn to Auckland and Wellington under the noses of tribal committees. ‘The Maori … is trying to get on his feet, and he does not want to be pulled down again by being drawn into the towns, and being brought into touch with the vile things there.’ The Prime Minister, he said, should look at Maoris in city industry, see the wages they were getting and how they were accommodated when they should be working on their own farms. Since the war's start, elders had tried to dissuade young women from going to the cities, even to enter the Services, ‘but what girl does not want to appear in uniform and strut down the street in uniform? That has its attraction for the Maori girl, just as for the pakeha.’ At air stations, the service required of them was largely housemaids' work. ‘Are there not plenty of pakehas to scrub the dining-halls of these places, make the beds, and so on, without drawing on our women-power?’125
On the other hand an official Maori body brought Maoris to work in urban areas. The Maori War Effort Organisation, approved by War Cabinet in June 1942, worked through numerous tribal committees and originally was concerned mainly with recruiting for the Maori Battalion and the Home Guard. Also, in liaison with government departments, it organised fund-raising and crop-growing and, notably, found volunteers to fill specific labour vacancies, mainly in freezing works and dairy factories.126 After six months the Minister in charge, P. K. Paikea,127 said that it had caused a wave of war effort enthusiasm, roused and directed by 356 tribal and executive committees. There were 10 825 men in essential industries; for service in New Zealand or overseas 4104 had joined up and a further 740 had lately been enlisted by recruiting officers and tribal committees; for home service only 1587 were recorded as having joined up, with 453 more enlisted; in the Home Guard 7397 were recorded as enrolled, 2478 more brought forward by the recruiting agencies. In additional crops, beyond their own needs, Maoris had grown hundreds of acres of maize and vegetables; their gathering of agar seaweed was estimated at 17 0001b.128
As an instance of the Organisation's work, in December 1944 a telegraph appeal on a Saturday had by Monday found 193 men for page 1242 the freezing works, with 186 more available when needed.129 Maori labour was also keenly sought by the vegetable growers of Pukekohe, especially when a quick-freeze plant opened there early in 1945; the Helvetia camp (west of Pukekohe) was then accommodating 110 girls from the Gisborne district and more were wanted.130
Some Social Security benefits—sickness, unemployment, invalid and family—were paid to Maoris at the same rate as to pakehas.131 Family benefit, originally 4s a child per week for the third and subsequent children in families whose income, including benefits, did not exceed £5 a week, was gradually extended and increased until by 1944 it was 10s a week for every child in families whose income did not exceed £5 10s a week increased by 10s for each child. In October 1945 allowable income rose to £6 10s plus 10s for each child and from April 1946 the means test was abolished.132 Throughout, the benefit had been payable for children not actually of the family but maintained as if they were. In the low incomes of most Maori families, this benefit was a considerable factor and drew a good deal of criticism from pakehas for encouraging carelessness and indolence.
A few small military camps around Auckland, vacated by troops, were taken over for workers in essential industry, and some Maoris lived there in communal satisfaction. A few city entrants were helped to suitable lodging by welfare officers and Auckland had a few hostels for Maori girls but never enough.133 The majority, men and women, single and families, made their own arrangements, following relatives or friends, moving in with them and by sheer numbers making the crowded inner city areas still worse.
Deprived of community and tribal leadership, often unaccustomed to continuous work, ready to ease off when they had some money in hand and with wants multiplied by city living, Maoris had obvious problems. Repeatedly it was deplored that Maoris were failing to adjust to city conditions but, apart from a very few church workers and welfare officers, there was no one to guide them in adjustment: local bodies looked to the government, and the government was preoccupied. There were many special problems. As early page 1243 as August 1942 the Women's Franchise Association in Auckland noted that while young Maori women would readily get work, older women had no occupation, were supported only by Social Security benefits and had great difficulty in finding accommodation.134 Adolescent boys and girls, without guidance, gained no training in trades or such habits as newspaper reading and useful discussion; they wandered about aimlessly, their interest centring on the pictures, ice-cream and dance halls.135 Young women, especially during the American invasion and especially those who worked in cafes and hotels, were much exposed to drink and to sex with servicemen, causing some to drift into charges of being idle and disorderly.136 Petty stealing brought young men before the courts in numbers upon which magistrates did not fail to comment. ‘These Maoris work here for a time, then leave their jobs and kick about the town, eventually getting into trouble,’ said a probation officer.137 The usual legal response was prison, borstal, or probation on condition that the offender returned to the country.
Thus, while the population increase, plus other factors such as hopes of a good time, made the urban drift inevitable, much public opinion and many Maori elders believed that Maoris should keep away from cities where they were lost to tribal influence, lived, perforce, in conditions that were an open reproach, obtained liquor despite the law which made supplying it to a Maori illegal, and where the risks of slipping into crime were high. The elders wanted land development, housing and work to keep their young people at home, but the government advanced very little money for these purposes and avenues of development were limited. For many Maoris in the country, without jobs, pleasures or decent housing, the cities appeared dangerous eldorados. Some, despite poor conditions, made good at their unskilled jobs, others drifted into idleness or crime. In the shortage of houses and materials it was hardly surprising, though deplorable, that Maori needs went to the wall.
There was awareness of these problems, an awareness that, for instance, produced a Young Maori Conference at Auckland in May 1939. It produced some publications, notably The Maori People Today,138 a substantial book in which well-informed persons such as Apirana Ngata and Horace Belshaw explained what was happening. Occasionally newspapers surveyed the situation.139 Generally page 1244 it was suggested that the government must cope with the large interlocking problems.
Ranged besides such academic approaches, the views of a responsible official, J. H. Luxford, senior magistrate, talking to the Auckland City Mission, may be cited. The Maori, he said, was becoming race conscious, and a race question for which there was no justification or need might arise in New Zealand. It behoved all to see what was going wrong and to take remedial measures before too late. The native race had been growing steadily for some time but only in recent years, since they moved into the cities, had a ‘serious Maori problem’ arisen.
We have tried to preserve in the Maori his language and customs140 and also tried to make him stand up and take the impact of ordinary life with all its implications and complexities. We have maintained many restrictions for the native race and yet given it many privileges. We have now come to the parting of the ways, where we have to decide whether the Maori is to be kept in his pa or be allowed to work side by side with the European for the common good…. There has been an influx of thousands of Maoris into Auckland of recent years. Many have gone to live in the poorest of the buildings of the city. Whatever the cause, the result has been that the Maori is fast becoming the major branch of the criminal class as unfortunately figures show and prove.
Luxford concluded by saying that the Maori was a good chap but he was getting out of step.141
War memorials were being considered early in 1945. Already town planners, adult education organisers and some RSA groups had decided that there should be ‘no more eyesores’ like the memorials put up after the last war, and community centres were favoured as useful and living memorials for those who had sacrificed for the community.142 An early plan adopted at Papatoetoe provided for Plunket rooms, a women's rest room, an RSA hall with accommodation for scouts, guides, kindergartens and other community interests; for the first year the financial target was £5,000, to be raised by the familiar queen carnival process.143 Similar projects were soon to appear all over the country.page 1245
Meanwhile the war in Europe had entered its last phase. In mid- January 1945 the Russians struck westward all along their front from Lithuania to Hungary. Warsaw was overrun in a few days, Budapest finally fell on 13 February, just after the Big Three had sketched in their post-war plans at Yalta, and on 17 February the Auckland Star wondered which Russian general would get to Berlin first.144 The destruction of Dresden on 14–15 February, Bomber Command's attempt to shorten the war by shaking German morale, was explained as support for the Russian offensive. At the same time there were reports of Goebbels's promise to von Rundstedt's troops that the Allies would soon be thrown from Germany by ‘new methods so terrible that Hitler must ask the pardon of Almighty God for using them.’145 Eisenhower said at the end of February that if the Germans' fighting spirit continued there could be no short cuts; they would be defeated only when the Western and Russian armies met in the middle of Germany.146
The British navy was moving into the Pacific, presaging post- Europe concentration: HMS Howe, Sir Bruce Fraser's147 flagship, impressed Auckland on 5 February. On the same day MacArthur entered Manila, sealing the Philippines campaign begun at Leyte Island during October 1944. A fortnight later, in the Bonin Islands 750 miles from Tokyo, Marines attacked heavily fortified Iwo Jima, meeting fanatical resistance that lasted until mid-March. Towards the end of March, British naval forces, including New Zealanders, attacked the Ryukyu Islands in support of the American invasion of Okinawa, begun on 1 April and finished on 22 June after a most costly campaign.
Russian successes held most of the European headlines till late February when the Western Allies struck against the Rhine defences. A month later they had crossed the river in several places and were driving east. Every day told of miles advanced, of prisoners taken in tens of thousands, of streaming refugees. The Russians, despite harder resistance, took Vienna in mid-April. On 28 April, under headings such as ‘Greatest Event of the War’, papers announced that Americans and Russians had met at Torgau on the Elbe river, 40 miles north-east of Dresden.
For one day, 13 April 1945, the armies were swept from the headlines by the death of Roosevelt. New Zealanders felt genuine, page 1246 if remote, grief. Roosevelt was a strongly entrenched figure for many, identified with the benign, powerful ‘Uncle Sam’ aspect of America. His successor, Harry Truman,148 was virtually unknown in New Zealand, but no leader could then affect the onward sweep of the war and sorrow could be disinterested.
About mid-April the papers began to publish photographs and eyewitness accounts exposing the full horrors of Nazi concentration camps. That these camps existed had been known for a long time, since well before the war. The details of the ill-treatment, starvation and death inflicted, the extent to which concentration camps had since 1942–3 become extermination camps, were not fully realised until these ugly revelations. During the preceding three or four years many reports of atrocities committed by Germans in occupied countries had appeared in newspapers. Often these were massive reprisals against resistance actions such as the killing of a few German soldiers or sabotage efforts, reprisals against students, Jews and local citizens in general, Poles, French, Czechs, Serbs, Croats and others. It was also well known that many thousands from occupied countries were forced to work in German war industry and that those countries suffered privation because their produce was carried off to feed the Reich. There were reports, often from Jewish or Zionist sources, of thousands, even millions, of Jewish people having been starved to death or slaughtered. Although these reports were not generally disbelieved, their impact was dulled by repetition, remoteness, and the impossibility of doing anything to help apart from promising retribution.
To appreciate the feelings with which New Zealanders viewed the revelations of April–May 1945, it is useful to look back briefly over their awareness of concentration camps.149 Early in the war and before it the Standard and other papers had published factual accounts of concentration camps: their inmates, mainly Jews and opponents of the Nazi regime, the harsh routines and punishments, the heavy outdoor work imposed on men not physically fit for it, the system whereby chains of ‘senior’ prisoners were responsible for maintaining discipline and would lose privileges for any relaxation discovered.150
From mid-1942 reports of Jewish sufferings and slaughter and of mass reprisal killings in occupied countries increased. The Polish page 1247 consul at Wellington, Dr K. A. Wodzicki,151 in June told of growing outrages in Poland: of tens of thousands of Poles massacred in ghettos, mass starvation, the deportation of 1½ million sent to forced labour, of 70 000 forcibly enrolled in the German army.152
Accounts, often from Jewish sources, that Jews were special targets of Nazi ruthlessness were confirmed in December 1942 when the House of Commons was told that Hitler's declared intention of exterminating the Jews was being carried out. Allied governments condemned this ‘bestial policy’ and were determined on retribution for those responsible. This report was prominent in the cable news of many papers on 19 December and in some was supported by editorials with headings such as ‘The Darkest Stain’ (New Zealand Herald) and ‘Murder of a People’ (Otago Daily Times). The Prime Minister, and the Inter-Church Council of Public Affairs, expressed horror and sympathy.153
Two months later, in February 1943, from the British section of the World Jewish Congress came news of Nazi orders to speed up extermination by massacre and starvation.154 In response, on 21 February in Wellington's Opera House, the City Council called a meeting of protest against oppression in Axis occupied countries. It was addressed by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Mayor, speakers for churches and by the Belgian consul155 for the United Nations. Rabbi Katz156 told of well documented evidence that already 2 million Jews had perished and 5 million more were doomed under the decree of total extermination. There was profound condemnation, and the United Nations' resolve that the criminals responsible should be brought to justice was stressed by the meeting and by the Dominion.157
Local Zionists were quickened by the mid-1943 visit of an overseas leader, Dr Michael Traub, who pleaded Jewish suffering as an argument for return to the 1917 Balfour158 promise of a Jewish page 1248 national home in Palestine. This had been abrogated in 1939 when Jewish emigration was limited to 15 000 a year until 1944 only.159 The first country-wide Zionist Conference was held in Wellington in July 1943160 and a non-Jewish Palestine Committee, to support Zionism, was established in Wellington in October. Its members were the local Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops, the Presbyterian Gladstone Hughes, Mayor Hislop, Thomas Hunter, principal of Wellington's university, C. H. Chapman,161 Major Skinner, Minister of Rehabilitation, and Oliver Duff, editor of the Listener.162 The Auckland Star on 11 December said that as no nation was keen to have colonies of Jews, the alternative was a Jewish Palestine. Churchill would probably welcome Empire advocacy of it, and even far away New Zealand could help by expressing public opinion.
Some New Zealanders were reluctant to believe the accounts of human destruction, suspecting propaganda and exaggeration. Two letters in the Auckland Star in April 1943 express divergent views. One claimed that most New Zealanders were infected with anti- Semitism, a germ paralysing the heart and making them indifferent to the extermination of the Jewish people.163 The other held that the average person has become somewhat grimly sceptical of these apparently extravagant stories of unprovoked massacres and torture of incredible numbers of Jews. We older generation will not have forgotten the officially sponsored ‘atrocity’ stories of the last war, later revealed as deliberate propaganda. Information as to the identity and nationality of the originators of this class of ‘propaganda’ might prove very enlightening …. what purpose helpful to his cause inspires Hitler to these alleged massacres…?164 In outline, the facts of concentration camps and the Nazi policy of Jewish extermination were in circulation, believed by some, questioned by others.
The first extermination camp exposed was Maidanek near Lublin, captured by the Russians late in July 1944. On 16 August New Zealand newspapers carried a London article taken from Pravda which said that at this ‘camp of annihilation’ prisoners from all over Europe were gassed and thrown into furnaces which could incinerate page 1249 1400 bodies daily.165 There were several other articles on Maidanek before the end of the year.166
At the end of November 1944 it was reported that, as Holland's Jews came out of hiding, it seemed that only five or six per cent had survived and there were grave doubts whether appreciable numbers would return from the concentration camps in eastern Europe.167 Small news items early in January 1945 referred to British army official reports on a Belgian concentration camp where 500 people had died, more than 300 being shot or hanged.168 Early in February several papers printed stories about a ‘murder factory’ at Oswiecim, west of Crakow, captured by the Red Army. It had been opened in 1941 and there victims from all over Europe were murdered and burned when an 18-hour work day, hunger, exposure and torture had made them useless as labourers. Its gas chambers and furnaces were like those at Maidanek but more streamlined.169 This was the camp later so infamous as Auschwitz.
Such news items presented, in outline, the extermination function which had swamped and swollen the concentration camps of the early war era, and they linked up with the Jewish death figures. New weight of presentation came on 17 April 1945 from a Columbia Broadcasting System reporter from the American forces who spoke through the BBC on the great camp Buchenwald, concluding: ‘God alone knows how many men and boys from all over Europe have died there during the past 12 years. I beg you to believe what I have said. I have reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it. For most of it I have no words.’170
In the succeeding days facts and figures presented by other reputable correspondents and backed by visiting British members of Parliament, whose report was issued as a White Paper, were published on the massive suffering, death and squalor at Buchenwald and at Belsen, near Bremen, exposed by the British at about the same time. The gas chambers, furnaces, camp records and the survivors told of killings by hundreds of thousands, and it was said that at Auschwitz, the outstanding place of extermination, the lives of 4 million Jewish, Polish and Russian people had ended.171 In the camps were mass graves, piles of dead bodies and thousands of emaciated men, women and children, sick with tuberculosis, dysentery, typhus and starvation, who continued to die by hundreds even after help came to page 1250 them. In the first days of May Dachau near Munich, liberated by the Americans, added a new name to horrors that were becoming familiar. Photographs of stick-thin bodies sprawled and heaped added reality.172 There were other names: Nordhausen, where thousands of political prisoners were worked to death tunnelling for a V-weapon factory,173 a camp at Ohrdruf near Gotha174 and Flossenburg near Weiden,175 but Buchenwald, Belsen and Dachau remained the big sinister names. On Auschwitz in the Russian zone there was comparative silence.176 In mid-May there were reports of three New Zealanders, W. J. Jordan, High Commissioner in London, Sidney Holland and F. W. Doidge, spending an afternoon at Belsen and declaring that previous reports were not exaggerated. After this, concentration camp reports were less frequent but still appeared from time to time.177
This was in the future, beyond the fighting. In the last week of April, the Russians fought their way into Berlin. On 26 April it was announced that Allied forces, including New Zealanders, had crossed the Po almost unopposed, other Italian rivers having cost much bitter fighting. On the same day, at San Francisco, the United Nations Conference met to plan the post-war world. On 1 May, New Zealand heard that Mussolini had been executed by partisans; on 2 May, that Hitler was dead.178 Evening headlines on 3 May told that the war in Italy was over and that Berlin had fallen. Victory, said the Listener, tarried long then came in a clap of thunder, crushing, complete and spectacular victory.179
On Monday 7 May 1945, at 2.41 am GMT Germany surrendered. The impact of this was almost slurred. Official announcements were delayed in order to be uttered simultaneously in London, Washington and Moscow. Churchill's announcement, at 3 pm on 8 May, Greenwich time, was heard in New Zealand at 1 am on Wednesday 9 May. Inevitably, both in Britain and in New Zealand, page 1251 the news itself was released well ahead of Churchill's speech, reaching New Zealand in time for the morning papers of 8 May. It was far from unexpected. Victory celebrations had been planned for weeks: newspapers had their special issues ready, there were to be thanksgiving services, civic speeches, bells and bands, parades and bonfires, and two days' holiday. Following Churchill's lead and national inclinations, a suggestion that pubs should be closed was brushed aside.
Early in the morning of Tuesday 8 May there were confused impulses. While newspaper delivery vans ran through suburbs with their horns blaring the victory news, Nash as Acting Prime Minister broadcast that this was not VE Day and people should go to work as usual. Further, as the Wanganui Herald explained, Nash telegraphed civic leaders on that morning, explaining that immediately following Churchill's broadcast, arranged for 1 am on Wednesday 9 May, he himself would announce that the national VE Day ceremony, at which the Governor-General would speak, would be held at noon that day. Local ceremonies therefore should not be held before this time, should not, in fact, be held until one hour later. Bells and sirens, however, would sound at 7 o'clock in the morning.180 This paper openly complained about ‘jubilation by regulation’.181 Except for ceremony, most people ignored the postponement; its real effect was three days' holiday instead of two. Public response varied from town to town but generally flags and bunting immediately appeared on buildings on Tuesday and victory displays in shop windows. There was an early rush to food shops, especially for bread, and a steepening rush to the pubs.
Throughout the celebrations music, mostly from bands, was eagerly relished by the crowds. People trooped alongside bands playing patriotic and popular tunes, sang with them, danced to them. Single players of any instruments, pipes, accordian, trumpet, cornet, banjo or whatever, gathered their circles. Otherwise there was little to do but drink beer and roam about looking for happenings among thousands doing the same thing. Many, of course, were not on the streets or were there only briefly. The occasion called for parties at home, for people, beer (there was almost nothing else), food, talk. Returned men were the focus of gatherings, there was much reminiscing, drunken and otherwise, and singing. Many stayed up to hear Churchill announce victory at 1 am.
In the main cities the tempo varied markedly and was milder in the south. Christchurch, reported the Press, received the news with remarkable restraint; but there was obvious elation in the Tuesday page 1252 going-to-work crowd; many did not arrive and most left early, generally with official blessing. Flags, bunting and window displays appeared, and in the afternoon the city was as full as on Christmas Eve, with rattles, crackers, singing, and thousands of packets of confetti. During the evening, in gaily lit Cathedral Square, Air Force men on a lorry held an impromptu concert, with community singing, individual items and toasts. The Cathedral Square party lasted till the early hours of the morning, with some hundreds of people marching up Colombo Street behind a pipe band to join in another impromptu concert, fireworks, whistles and rattles competing with the pipes, and people waiting for taxis joining in the fun.182
Independent Dunedin made Tuesday an official holiday. Accord ing to the Otago Daily Times, the coincidence of the news with the start of student capping gambols was too much even for southern restraint. ‘The tiny spark of academic grotesquerie and absurd frolic set fire to the tinder of public ebullience, and the vice-Prime Ministerial exhortation to “work today and play tomorrow” went quickly by the board.’ Just as the bars were opening, the entire staff of a woollen mill walked out, appearing on the street in a body with their flags, and the ‘grape-vine’ sent this news to a score of other factories whose staff ‘girding up their loins and grasping their flags, took corroborative action’. Before mid-day the seldom-heard bells in the Town Hall pealed out, drawing thousands there to hear–or at least see—the Mayor make a short speech from the balcony.183 With this sanction Dunedin shops, businesses and the rest, not unwillingly, set aside the edict of Wellington. The Otago Daily Times, commenting on the Allied capitals' ‘extraordinarily leisured, almost reluctant’ formal announcement of the end of the war in Europe, congratulated the Mayor on recognising reality and the spirit of the city in his brief ceremony. The city's reaction was a ‘spontaneous and gay celebration… the proper human response to the wonderful news which has lifted off all shoulders—even those of the youngest and least aware member of the family—part at least of a black burden that has, for five or more years, been with us all, sleeping or waking.’ In contrast, ‘the Government, which has followed with a precise formality the advice from the Allied capitals and recognised no celebration even when it was in progress, has been lacking in adaptability.’184
In Wellington on Tuesday people began the day calmly, though besieging food shops and ‘complaining with unusual mildness about page 1253 the enforced deferment of their celebrations.’ Flags and bunting appeared on buildings,185 on trams, cars and bicycles. ‘A few groups of youths rattled a few rattles, blew a few whistles and threw a few packets of confetti.’ Soon older people, usually staid, joined in.186 As the morning wore on, thousands poured into the streets, with paper flags, confetti and streamers. ‘Where did all that prepared throwing paper come from?’ wondered the Evening Post's, reporter. From some tall buildings showers of paper were thrown, imitating New York's famous flutteration on Armistice Day 1918. ‘Armfuls, basketfuls, cartloads, were tossed out, too much for nice selection, and when the Victory holidays are over there is likely to be much searching for correspondence and records. It may—mostly at any rate—have been old, junked stuff, but if it was, the waste reclamation people have not had a fair run for a long time past.’187 In some Service departments girl clerks allegedly ‘went mad’, throwing out all sorts of documents including such confidential matters as duplicate allotment forms and even cheques.188
Apart from such defenestrations, there was little real exuberance, indeed there was the familiar complaint that a lead was lacking. ‘Had Wellington had just one lead, one band, one anything, to give willing afternoon crowds a start in some direction yesterday the lid would have been taken off properly, but as it was the streets were just very crowded and busy with people going anywhere—and throwing streamers, confetti, and more streamers.’ Much beer was drunk and as the day wore on the crowds became more vocal and good natured.189 ‘Early evening found the streets full of noisy adolescents,’ reported the Dominion. ‘Most people who came to town stood around waiting for something to happen or walked up and down the streets in similar expectancy.’ Impromptu incidents provided interest, and solos, duets and choruses were sung in trains and buses, many being popular refrains of the last war, though ‘Roll out the Barrel’ was by far the most popular song.190
At Auckland the unofficial Tuesday celebrations lacked spontaneity and were a marked anti-climax to five and a half years of the bitterest fighting, reported the New Zealand Herald. In contrast to expectation, the city's mood was almost sedate, said the Auckland Star. Though joyful, it was not a Mafeking or Armistice 1918 mood. page 1254 Few danced in the streets, no one climbed telegraph poles or on to bus or train roofs, many drank but there was only one arrest. The crowd paraded for hours, mainly to see what others were doing. People clacked clackers, blew toy trumpets, but they ‘didn't let their hair down.’ Some, discussing their feelings, said that they wanted to let themselves go but could not find an outlet. There were moments of excited release as young people linked arms to charge singing down the streets, or circle in ring-a-rosie dances. In some of these bursts an impulse to possess flags sent hundreds grabbing at shop decoration, bringing down strings of paper flags from verandas, while larger flags became swathes of colour around some joyful boy or girl. ‘This morning those episodes are described as vandalism and theft, but at the moment of happening it was just “the thing to do”.’191 Such incidents were isolated moments in a fairly bright but never hectic exposition of civic happiness. Authorities who had been concerned lest the jubilations get out of hand should on any future occasion seek to encourage the massed expression of joy rather than the reverse, said the Star's reporter. In the suburbs lights were off in about 50 per cent of the houses by 10 pm, though in many, especially those blessed with returned men, there were gatherings and veterans' talk.
And, though thoughts would be only half-formed, like disjointed, unfinished sentences, the least imaginative paid tribute thus to the common knowledge that Jim, who was caught in the flak over Happy Valley in the Ruhr bombing two or three years ago, Frank who ‘collected it’ off the Dutch coast, young Tommy who never came out of Crete, Harold, whose grave is in the poor thin sand of Sidi Rezeg [sic], old Mac, who died of wounds on Hangman's Hill, in the smoke and noise of Cassino, and Fred, whose body floated down the Sangro, made this night possible.192
The official VE Day, Wednesday 9 May, began at 7 am with bells and sirens of all descriptions. Later, thousands gathered at civic thanksgiving services, with speeches, bands and massed choirs. Everywhere, in centres large or small, bands were focal points. Frequently, organised parades—returned soldiers, Home Guard, Red Cross, WWSA, scouts, cubs, guides, marching girls, land girls and, of course, a band—led to or from civic ceremonies. In many smaller page 1255 centres, sports programmes for children followed, with bonfires, community singing and victory balls in the evening.193 There were also, in some centres, parades of decorated lorries, floats and bicycles. Fancy dress of various sorts, from period costumes to funny hats and, worn by the lorry-riders, helped the carnival feeling. For instance, in the evening Wanganui's joy was expressed by bands, gay floats and period costumes—the bands arriving a little late after playing at smaller towns nearby; Maoris from Ratana with their own band gave traditional hakas; a group of returned Maori soldiers drew swelling choruses with songs ranging from the haunting ‘Lili Marlene’, common to the Germans and the Eighth Army, to ‘Roll out the Barrel’; four bands played and marched together with powerful effect and ‘for three hours the spirit of carnival reigned’. Festivities ended with dancing in the roadway, after which the young and enthusiastic went on to various dance halls.194
Again in the main centres there were varying responses. At Dunedin the mood was quieter than the previous day's. Under cold grey weather, at one o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, 7000 attended a thanksgiving service in the Octagon, after which the streets and bars gathered mildly carnival crowds, with bands and impromptu orchestras providing music and a good deal of singing. Despite many outbursts of youthful exuberance, the crowd was generally good-natured and orderly.195 On Thursday again many thousands in the Octagon listened to speeches and to eight bands and 1000 choir members who sang ‘All People that on Earth do Dwell’, ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’, ‘Oh God, our Help in Ages Past’ and ‘Abide with Me’,196 as well as ‘God defend New Zealand’ and the National Anthem (then ‘God Save the King’). The bands, plus marching girls, then paraded through well-lined streets. Thereafter, ‘the carnival spirit again took control, with impromptu bands, concert bands and crowds of happy school children all taking part’, while at the Stock Exchange several hundred danced ‘to music by a “scratch” but quite competent orchestra.’197
In Christchurch where, at the request of the Mayor and the local RSA, bars were closed from 2 to 4 pm on Wednesday during the thanksgiving service, a ‘vast happy orderly crowd’ rejoiced, unperturbed by the noisy cavorting of young men whose natural happiness had been well reinforced and by such antics as a few climbing on page 1256 to cars for short rides. Again bands focused enthusiasm, marching many miles through the city, followed by informal processions; in the evening they played from the balcony of the United Services Hotel in Cathedral Square till 8.30 when they gave ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and retired. The crowd was not ready to drop its musical torch and a few instrumentalists under the balcony continued to lead community singing till the last trams left. Even then two large groups remained in the Square, attending a cornet player and a lone piper.198 For Thursday 10 May, a ‘people's march’ was organised by the Canterbury Trades Council. Under their trade banners, attended by the faithful bands, unionists marched with their families, thousands joining en route, some soberly dressed, some in ‘the most bizarre attire’, singing, shouting, waving flags, the smallest incident saluted with wild cheering from the by-standers. The RSA joined in spontaneously, a flag-bearing Chinese contingent was notable, and some school children bore toetoe plumes as well as the ubiquitous flags. The hour-long procession, 25 000 strong, with many more as spectators, jammed the streets round Cathedral Square where short speeches concluded with 700 choristers singing Handel's ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ as well as hymns. Afterwards, bands continued to march while ‘instrumentalists without any band affiliations had a day and night out. They had only to blow a note to assemble a procession.’ Those with voices only, however rasping after three continuous days of celebration, also had their large followings. During the three days, no incident called for police intervention,199 but as in other centres there was damage from broken bottles; ambulances attended many injuries and their own tyres suffered.200
In both Auckland and Wellington, Wednesday's crowds were exuberant, there were no citizen parades, and on Thursday, still an official holiday, a ‘morning after’ feeling prevailed. Wellington's bands began playing in the streets at 10 am on Wednesday. At noon crowds gathered for the national ceremony in front of Government Buildings, where the Governor-General read the official proclamation, there were speeches from Church and State, and a large choir accompanied by military bands sang ‘All People that on Earth do Dwell’ and the Allies' national anthems. In the afternoon an RSA parade marched to the Basin Reserve where huge crowds had gathered to hear more bands, more speeches and anthems, with a choir of 600 also singing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’. Then, as the crowd surged back to town the rather Sunday-like restraint was relaxed. ‘People page 1257 seemed to realise that after all, it was VE-Day’, said the Dominion. Young people surged to the surface, shouting, cheering, singing. Practical joking, such as rocking or pushing cars that crawled through the crowd, was taken in good part, the police were benevolent and till a late hour did not find it necessary to take anyone in charge. There were packed streets, packed pubs, ‘crocodiles’ squirming through the crowd, small impromptu concerts, and dancers circling here and there, even around traffic officers. In several areas bands provided a satisfying focus, notably the Police Pipe Band which, with short breaks, played for more than 12 hours, finishing at 11.30 pm. Again street cleaners had a heavy job with broken glass and paper.201
In Auckland there was less organisation but more noise. Bands were notably absent. The Papakura Camp Band, after taking part in the 2 pm Town Hall ceremony on Wednesday, played its way down Queen Street, then departed by bus, leaving the Salvation Army Band to fill the void with its hymns. In bars and on the streets a few single players led the singing of songs from two wars such as Tipperary', ‘There's a Long Long Trail’, ‘Maori Battalion’, ‘Roll out the Barrel’, ‘Till the Lights come on Again’, and ‘Pistol Packin’ Momma'.
The crowd took a long time to work up but from about one o'clock in the afternoon onwards let go with a will, the youthful element lifting the repressed mood with bedecked cars and bicycles, with clackers, yelling, singing. With no direction or purpose, people surged up and down Queen Street, few doing anything but everyone watching. At its centre the rejoicing crowd was very like a ‘thoroughly excited, roaring herd of cattle’, reported the Auckland Star, its noise from a hundred yards away up the hill streets sounded like a ‘first-class riot’. All, including the overworked police and traffic officers, were good-natured. ‘Milling unceasingly, singing and shouting with vigour if not tunefulness, drinking and sometimes kissing promiscuously, dancing whenever occasion offered, and doing a dozen and one other things that staid citizens would never do was the order of the day.’ It was, said the reporter, ‘the triumph of natural exuberance over traditional restraint.’ Throughout, the general noise was punctuated by the plop and tinkle of bottles, and seven one-ton truck loads of broken glass, apart from other rubbish, were shovelled up by street cleaners.202
More critical comment came from a columnist in the Auckland Star. He wrote that some had expected that public figures would page 1258 lead the celebrations, instead of leaving it all to the overworked publicans; that there would be bands, parades of servicemen and women, community singing, organised dancing. But in this big city teeming with potential talent there had been no option but to ‘get a skin full of booze and join in’. New Zealanders, he continued, were not demonstrative, only when at least ‘half-snickered’ could they thaw out enough to raise a cheer, stage a parade, howl, wave flags, and publicly recognise the war efforts of their own men. The first bottle brought to mind how ‘we’ had suffered, sacrificed and starved, standing by Britain in her darkest hour, just like the BBC said. Over the third and later bottles it was clear what magnificent heroes the Kiwis were. ‘After that we let ourselves go, spent our overtime rates freely, shouting like the publican and the strangers alongside of us, ripping the flags of the big firms down and wrapping them round our weary, worn, emaciated bodies, cheering lustily the while and remembering that Britons—like us—never would be slaves or something. We had won the war….’203
Later, on the eve of VJ Day, the New Zealand Herald was to hope for better things:
It cannot be said that the celebrations on VE Day added to the reputation of the city. The brief service of thanksgiving over, the Auckland crowds were left to their own devices. After their habit they flowed down the city's main street, a trifle bewildered and with little aim or purpose. The attempts of more sanguine spirits to rouse community singing broke on Auckland's traditional self-consciousness. Processions, begun by youthful enthusiasts, lost cohesion in passive crowds. A little ashamed of the carpet of brown glass, Auckland drifted home, and the celebration was over.
Even loudspeakers on the streets might have worked wonders, giving out appropriate music or relaying the BBC's moving sound-pictures from British cities and villages.
New Zealanders are not a singing people like the Welsh, nor a cheering people like the Londoners. They tried hard to be merry without cheer and song, and failed. True eloquence, Church or lay, should be found to grace the platform and to speak words of passion and exhortation. We should not be afraid of tears. Thankfulness can be directed by wise counsel, happiness can find a public voice. It must not be inarticulate again. Somehow the mayor and his councillors must see to it that the final celebrations of victory do not again resolve themselves into a brief and formal page 1259 religious service and an aimless secular wandering in a grey and forbidding street.204
Many people of all ages, either by inclination or circumstance, did not go to town at all. Many gathered with only families and friends. There were parties like other parties except for the awareness, slowly sinking in, that most of the war was over, the war that both in the foreground of events and the background of the mind had dominated and darkened consciousness for nearly six years.
As every VE Day speaker had said, the war was not over. Not till mid-July would the atomic bomb be tested in the Mexican desert and only the most secret upper circles of command knew of Russia's promise to begin war against Japan in August. Even during the celebrations some war commentators predicted that it might take another 18 months to defeat Japan, though many speculators were much more optimistic.
It was agreed that New Zealand must continue to pull its weight in the Allied cause but argument continued as to where this weight could best be applied. Apart from British needs, devastated Europe cried out for food and woollen goods. There was a strong case, strongly advanced amongst others by the National party, J. A. Lee and Labour dissidents, for concentrating on production rather than further military contributions.205 In particular there were protests against Category A men hitherto held on farms being combed out in the search for long-service replacements.206
There was, as Nash reported to Fraser in San Francisco on 12 May, clear public desire for a definite statement on the military future, though newspaper editors had been quietened by Nash's explanation that advice was wanted from United Kingdom Chiefs of Staff.207 Meanwhile the 2nd Division remained at Trieste as a curb to Tito's208 (and Russia's) territorial ambitions, a task from which it would not be relieved until 22 July, though this was hidden in the future.209 New Zealand naval vessels were still active, now page 1260 working with the British fleet in the Pacific, and New Zealand airmen were still bombing Bougainville.210 Obviously it would be some time before the 2nd Division could be redirected.211 Meanwhile Burma was being retaken by the British, and the Americans, while battling on Okinawa until 22 June, were making powerful air raids on Tokyo and other cities. It could be hoped that it would all be over before New Zealanders were required to storm Japanese-held beaches.
Already 16 000 men of three and a half year's service, all the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Echelons plus the 4th and 5th Reinforcements, had returned under the replacement scheme212 and 11 655 more (6th– 9th Reinforcements) were due to return forthwith.213 The British government on 10 May informed the New Zealand government that it was planning to ship more than 20 000 New Zealanders home within the next six months.214 Nash gave this news in a speech on 25 May, saying that all up to the 10th Reinforcements215 would be returned, plus between 6000 and 7000 prisoners-of-war from Europe. This should step up production at home while leaving enough men in the field to meet New Zealand's military obligations:216 details were given on 2 August.
Relaxation of Manpower control began on 30 June, when 184 assorted firms were removed from the list of essential undertakings. From that date Manpower consent was automatically given to applications to leave work by married women of 40 years and by wives of servicemen setting up house. Consent was also automatic for young persons of under 18 years wishing to take up other work, a privilege shared by the widows of servicemen.217 Various other controls were relaxed, such as those on furniture making, on the use of machine tools, iron, steel and non-ferrous metals, drawing and mathematical instruments, and on some paper.218
To help feed and clothe devastated Europe, New Zealand reduced its own meat and butter rations and gave used clothing. From 11 June 1945, the 8oz of butter per week became 6oz, and the 1s 9d worth of meat was reduced by 3d.219 The needs of Europe were page 1261 championed by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. A Listener editorial in late July said that 44 nations were rushing to the relief of Europe with much of the speed, energy and planned thoroughness of a military assault. In a few months winter would beset Europe and the immediate anxiety of UNRRA is to get enough serviceable clothing into Europe to give its millions of “statistically naked” people a chance to survive the cold.' For this reason, appeals were going out continuously on the air, as well as through other channels. CORSO (Council of Organisations for Relief Service Overseas), UNRRA's New Zealand auxiliary, was reiterating appeals to search wardrobes and give again.220 Although the Lady Galway Guild had combed out much used clothing, and despite clothes rationing, there was abundant response to a nation-wide drive held from 26 July to 2 August.
New Zealand pushed into the last phase of the war uncertain how long this would last, hopeful that the air blows raining on Japan would finish it within the year but aware that a large and suicidally determined army could for much longer fight back invasion from the wreckage. Leaders everywhere, zealous to sustain effort, did not encourage the view that all was over bar the shouting. Desire for a quick finish was paramount but there were still some scruples about means. From New York early in June the military commentator, Major Fielding Eliot,221 urged that the use of gas should be considered.
The Japanese have lost the war and it is just a question of making them admit it. Doing this may cost tens of thousands of American lives and infinite suffering if, like Iwo Jima, Japan has to be reduced yard by yard. The Japanese have two factors in their defensive armour—foot soldiers and terrain. Under these conditions we must once more ask ourselves whether the time has not come to consider the use of chemical agents to end the war—in a word, shall we use gas? For some incomprehensible reason gas seems to shock the average mind, yet we read with delight of the use of incendiary agents against Japanese cities, we applaud the use of high explosives, we cheer pictures of flame throwers attacking Japanese positions, but we shudder when anyone says ‘gas’. There is little doubt the use of gas would immeasurably reduce our casualties. There is no military good reason against it.222 page 1262 Although the public was not yet to know, these same arguments were being used at the higher level in considering the atomic bomb.
As Berlin fell, British forces took Rangoon and pressed out to recover all Burma. Late in June, Australian troops, landing on Northern Borneo, soon held the whole island, a wedge driving towards Java. From mid-April, increasingly heavy attacks by Superfortress aircraft based on the Marianas had blasted major Japanese cities, incendiaries laying waste large areas of relatively flimsy buildings: for instance, on 26 May 1945 it was reported that 700 000 fire bombs had fallen on Tokyo in its greatest raid so far, equalling any attack on a German city. The 485 square miles of Okinawa, attacked at the start of April, were finally taken by 22 June after a most costly campaign. Then, with this island transformed into an American springboard, pressure crescendoed in July. With the Japanese navy and air force impotent, save for occasional suicide crashes on targets, American and British ships shared in pounding ports.
On 26 July, from the Potsdam Conference, America, Britain and China called on the Japanese to surrender or see their homeland utterly destroyed. The terms, published in New Zealand on 28 July, did not seem unduly harsh, but two days later it was known that Tokyo, seeking a way to retain the Emperor, had rejected the ultimatum.
As this stage, on 2 August, the government finally brought forward, and Parliament accepted, its plans for future military manpower arrangements. New Zealand, said Fraser, would keep its pledge to fight to the finish. He thought that Allied commanders were both too pessimistic and too optimistic in their views on the probable length of the war, but the latest figures showed that Japan still had about 4 579 000 troops to make a last suicidal effort. New Zealand's three Services overseas would be cut from 57 800 to 29 000 and those at home from 42 000 to 26 000: in all by 45 per cent, from 100 000 to 55 000. A two-brigade division of 16 000 would be New Zealand's contribution to the British Commonwealth Force that would attack Japan by land.223 This would consist of some 12 000 men of the 11th to 15th Reinforcements still in Europe, plus more than 4000 still in New Zealand. The government was concerned to maintain military commitment to the finish, against pressure towards devotion to production. It was also concerned to justify keeping in reserved occupations 21 000 men (9827 of them page 1263 single and 5929 of these on farms) eligible for overseas service who could not be mobilised without production falling.224
On Tuesday, 7 August, came news that on the previous day an atomic bomb, equal to 20 000 tons of TNT, had been dropped by an American aircraft on an unfamiliar Japanese city, Hiroshima, population 318 000, totally destroying it. President Truman said that the ultimatum from Potsdam was intended to spare the Japanese from such destruction but it had been rejected and this bomb was the answer. Germany had failed in the search for atomic energy; British and American scientists, working in great secrecy, had ‘spent $2,000,000,000 on the greatest scientific gamble in history and won’. The Japanese could expect a rain of ruin the like of which the world had never seen. America's Secretary for War, H. L. Stimson, explained that Roosevelt, late in 1939, had drawn attention to the possibility of using atomic energy and appointed a committee to investigate it. By June 1942 enough progress had been made to warrant a big expansion. A group of British scientists had moved to America in 1943 and a brilliant Dane, Dr Niels Bohr,225 was snatched from the Nazis to join in the bomb's development at a large, strictly sequestered station.
A statement, prepared by Churchill before 26 July when he ceased to be Prime Minister, said that in 1939 many nations realised the possibility of releasing energy by atomic fission. In Britain, in five universities, research towards a weapon was co-ordinated by the Ministry of Aircraft Production (under Beaverbrook), with Sir George Thomson226 as principal adviser, ideas being fully exchanged with American scientists. In October 1941 Roosevelt proposed that extended efforts should be jointly made, and by mid-1942 it was held that large production plants were justified. These were built in America, safe from German reconnaissance and bombs. ‘The main practical effort and virtually the whole of the prodigious cost fell on the United States authorities, assisted by a number of British scientists’, with Canada providing essential raw material. ‘By God's mercy’, British and American science had outpaced all German efforts. These were anxiously watched by Allied intelligence services and from the air, and there had been costly commando raids in 1942–3 page 1264 on ‘heavy water’ factories in Norway. It was now for Japan to realise the consequences of indefinite continuance of this terrible means of maintaining the rule of law in the world.227
The world and New Zealand had grown used to the acceleration of destruction but the latest news left no doubt that the bomb was beyond all preceding scales of annihilation. Along with immediate relief that the war would be shortened there was apprehension for the future. The pioneer work of New Zealand's own Lord Rutherford228 in the atomic field was frequently mentioned and the contributions of Jews exiled by the Nazis were seen as proper retribution. The bomb ‘has not only wrought local destruction on a scale never before known; it has stirred all mankind, and the world can never be quite the same place again’, said the New Zealand Herald.
Reports that German scientists had been hard on the track gave awareness of past danger and comforted conscience over Hiroshima. There was relief that the fateful knowledge was held only by peace-loving America and Britain, but while the Washington correspondent of the New York Times said that the secret would not be shared with Russia,229 other cables stated that permanent monopoly by these powers was not possible.230 This view was voiced by some local papers. ‘Only temporarily can collective suicide weapons be retained in the category of proprietary medicines belonging to one or two Governments,’ said the Evening Post on 9 August. The Auckland Star, usually critical of Russia, made the same assumption.
The editor of the Listener on 17 August gathered some threads together. ‘The atomic bomb revelations will have sickened many people and given others a faint gleam of hope. We join the band of hope. We join partly because there is now at length a chance that war has become too destructive to continue.’ A week later the Listener published a short story which a little earlier it had rejected as too fantastic. This story by Sam Rix centred on a pilot, Karl, who flew a rocket aircraft which dropped a uranium bomb to destroy a whole city.231
On 10 August news of the second bomb, dropped on Nagasaki on the 9th, took second place in most headlines to Russia's long-awaited entry into the Pacific war, and its advance into Manchuria. In spite of all the statements it was hard to realise that the bomb page 1265 had completely changed the military landscape. There had been fears that the Japanese, even if flattened on their mainland, might continue to fight from Manchuria supplied by war factories at Harbin and other centres inaccessible from the Pacific. Russia was close to Japan, even closer to Manchuria; for so long it had seemed obvious that if only Russia would attack Japan the war would quickly be finished. Newspapers had assumed that the bomb would shorten the war; many of them now stated that the bomb, plus the Russian attack, would end the war within days. Statements from Truman appeared in the next day or two, that the Russians had decided to enter the war before they had been fully informed of the new weapon.232
For a few days there were reports of negotiations, then suddenly New Zealanders found themselves waiting for Japan's surrender.233 This time there would be no confused start to the celebrations: if the news came before noon, two days' holiday would begin at once; if later, the holidays would start next morning. On Wednesday, 15 August at 11 am thousands waiting by radios heard Attlee say that the war was over. Immediately, in raucous sound, the news flew to others—sirens of all sorts, fire, factory and ships'; bells, railway engines, motor horns, whistles, tin cans. People, gay with paper hats, flags, streamers, confetti and every noise-making device, filled the streets, even as Fraser broadcast to the nation.234
Nearly six years of war, Fraser said ‘six long, anxious, worrying, dangerous, tragic years’, were ended; the last member of the terrible triple tyranny which had aimed at world dictatorship, the nation which 14 years ago in Manchuria had begun the era of aggression, was crushed. He saluted American and Australian achievements, with special mention of the Coral Sea battle that had turned back the seemingly invincible host swarming like locusts over the islands of the Pacific. He had praise for China, which for eight years had fought alone; for the noble role of Britain, especially in Burma and the battle of Japan; for India's contributions of brave men and essential munitions; for the defiant Netherlands East Indies and the Free French of New Caledonia and Tahiti; he made no reported mention of Russia. In reviewing New Zealand's part, he stressed that it was page 1266 a world-wide war, speaking of New Zealand's efforts not only in the Pacific but by air, sea and land elsewhere, in Greece and Crete, North Africa, with its nostalgic battle names, and Italy. From many homes the shadow of death and maiming could not be removed but everything possible would be done for the dependants. The Atlantic Charter's235 freedom from want and fear could be attained only if all worked as hard as possible so that wealth and production, equitably distributed, could rid the world of want and aggression. ‘Let us prove ourselves by our industry worthy of winning the peace.’236
Thoughts of future labours were not prominent that day. By pre-arrangement, many servicemen immediately went on 48 hours' leave. In some places extra police came on duty and, at the Prime Minister's request, hotels on Thursday the 16th did not open until 1.30 pm. In the swiftness of Japan's collapse many victory planners were caught short and, with some changes, the patterns of May were repeated. As before, these varied from place to place, with weather no small factor in public jollity: in general, there was rain in the North Island and it was fine in the South. An Evening Post report, comparing the celebrations with those of VE Day, commented:
Perhaps the most notable difference was the lack of the fervid adulation of men in uniform. The general note seemed to be among civilians and service personnel alike that at last the business was over and the fact that some were still in uniform meant only that they were later in the return to peacetime occupation than others. The realisation and appreciation of the services of all who had played their part in achieving the victory was not lacking but rather pushed into the background.237
Again, especially in small centres, there were, besides civic thanks givings, church services and rejoicing crowds, many widespread activities: bonfires, where effigies were sometimes burnt, torch processions, community singing, victory dances, and parades that were both grave and gay. Always the processions had bands and were usually headed by RSA veterans from three wars followed by home front organisations such as the WWSA and the Red Cross, school children, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and marching girls238 and by decorated floats and vehicles ranging from scooters and bicycles to heavy trucks, sometimes including vintage cars and gigs. Most of these affairs took place on the second day, Wednesday being given over page 1267 to ‘spontaneous’ celebrations, which in the main meant milling noisy crowds, drinking, sometimes in the streets, spasmodic singing and dancing, often to band music, and some kissing by strangers.
Again in the main centres the tempo varied markedly. Christchurch, where ambitious musical plans for a later victory had to be dropped, again accepted the news decorously. Sirens, whistles, bells and car horns made their din on Wednesday, paper was thrown from the Post Office and a few tall buildings, bunting and crowds appeared. In the afternoon at Lancaster Park about 6000 listened to a thanksgiving ceremony where a large choir sang ‘The Glory of the Lord’ and ‘Hallelujah’ from Handel's ‘Messiah’. About Cathedral Square thousands gathered, some danced, some sang, some performed hakas on a platform, several hundred followed bands, cars and bicycles were be-flagged, ‘victory champagne’ in familiar brown bottles circulated freely. In the evening there was dancing to loudspeakers near the Post Office and some revellers bounced a few slowly-moving cars rather ruggedly, but the crowd, departing after 11 pm, left far fewer bottles than on VE Day. There were no admissions to the cells or to hospital save a few outpatients for minor injuries.239 The Canterbury Trades Council hastily called on trade unions to repeat the grand march of 9 May, but far fewer fell in behind the union banners. Nevertheless the Thursday procession was more varied and the large crowd watching was well entertained. There was special interest and sympathy shown to the Chinese display: young men, neat in white shirts and grey slacks, bore United Nations banners, Chinese girls in a tasteful tableau saluted victory, and other Chinese, young and old, marched after.240
Dunedin began its public rejoicings on Wednesday within minutes of hearing the news. The Mayor, questioned, said that there were no official arrangements for the morning, adding, ‘Do they need it? Just look at them. But what a blessing it's a fine day.’ Dunedin, reported the Otago Daily Times, seemed deeply conscious that this was really the end, whereas VE Day, with the Division waiting for re-assignment, had been only partial victory. In the afternoon, more than 15 000 thronged the Octagon and nearby streets for one of the most impressive ceremonies in the city's history. Some 300 bandsmen and 1500 choristers were heard in anthems and hymns; the National Anthem, ‘God Defend New Zealand’, the Chinese anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, ‘All People that on Earth Do Dwell’, ‘Oh God, our Help in Ages Past’, ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers’, ‘Eternal Father’ and ‘Abide with Me’. The bands played other items page 1268 such as ‘On the Quarterdeck’ and The Red, White and Blue'. In the evening, music from loudspeakers gathered some 2000 people outside the Catholic Youth Centre for modern and old-time dancing, ‘a form of diversion, common enough in other parts of the world, and not unknown in such parts of New Zealand as Napier and Hamilton, but seldom exploited in Dunedin.’241
On Thursday afternoon a procession inspired mainly by the Otago Federation of Labour came alive with widespread activity, little pre-planning and conspicuous success. There were six bands, two fire engines, a carnival Chinese dragon, more than 70 decorated lorries and a marching throng, headed by the Otago Hunt Club with 30 horses and 16 hounds. Floats showing much ingenious construction commented on phases of the war, with trade exhibits stressing the efforts of the workers. Taxis which turned out to carry nearly 200 orphans in the parade were warmly applauded, as were cheerful Chinese on a large truck captioned ‘Peace at Last’, throwing apples to the crowd. Several hundred marching girls displayed their skill and later formed a living flag in the Octagon. The procession took 50 minutes to pass the saluting post, where stood the Minister of Defence, and was, claimed the Mayor, the finest ever held in Dunedin.242
Wellington's street celebrations started within seconds of the victory announcement, crowds rushing out amid falling paper and the din of sirens, with their paper hats, rattles, whistles and streamers. Despite fine steady rain in the afternoon, many remained in town. Bands played on the balcony of a Willis Street hotel and crowds massed below and sang from the heart. In the evening the main attraction was Victory Corner243 where old and young sang and danced to bands until ‘Auld Lang Syne’ was played at 10 o'clock. There was little rowdyism and only five arrests (four for drunkenness, one for disorder); two shop windows were cracked by accident and one deliberately; nine heavy truckloads of broken glass and sodden paper were removed after rain had washed much down sumps.244 On Thursday, rain drove the national ceremony, very like that of 9 May, into the Town Hall where in the afternoon a choral civic thanksgiving also took place. A choir of 300 led in anthems, including those of America, Russia and China, Blake's ‘Jerusalem’, ‘All People that on Earth Do Dwell’ and ‘Now Thank we all our God’, with ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ as a solo. In the streets and pubs a subdued mood gradually quickened and before closing-time at page 1269 6 o'clock high spirited fun threatened to become horseplay. In the evening youth was much to the fore, with groups of boys encircling girls who submitted not too unwillingly to kisses, and by 10 o'clock it was all over.245 In Auckland, despite the chiding of the New Zealand Herald246 there were no major civic arrangements for Wednesday apart from a thanksgiving service, though this time bands were appointed to play; publicans again were the main minstrants to jubilation. Rain fell much of the time, though the sun came out briefly with the sirens. There was more boisterousness here than elsewhere; some kissing was not welcomed, the bands were told by the Mayor to disperse when ‘irresponsibles’ began throwing bottles, and 51 people were taken by ambulance to hospital. By late afternoon the quantity of broken glass induced the senior magistrate to ask publicans to close their bottle stores, four hotels where crowds were out of hand were closed by the police, and other proprietors chose to shut their doors before 6 o'clock.247 There was still plenty of beer about in the evening, several broken windows and some hostility to the police.
On Thursday morning, with a steady drizzle, tattered decorations, slush-covered streets and a few boarded windows, Auckland showed its hangover. Much broken glass had been removed from Queen Street but its whole roadway was, reported the New Zealand Herald, on 17 August, ‘coated with sticky brown slime’ and side streets were still littered with glass—over the two days nearly 20 tons of glass were cleared away. In the morning one pipe band played, though more had been expected. Several hundred people came with umbrellas to the civic thanksgiving outside the Town Hall, and similar services were held in all the suburbs. During the afternoon the streets filled, largely with youngsters. Bands and singing created amiable interludes but, said the Herald, the irresponsibles were again to the fore. ‘Emboldened by the good humoured indulgence shown to them—perhaps mistakenly-the previous day, they threw good taste to the winds and regarded the occasion as one of mere licence for destruction and displays of hooliganism.’ Drunken youths, aged 15 to 20 roaming in groups of 10 to 30, threw bottles, shouted obscenities and molested young girls. By night time ‘all pretence that anything in particular was being celebrated was abandoned,’ and by 10 o'clock thinning crowds enabled the police to tighten control.248 The Auckland Star, however, did not think that Thursday's girls page 1270 were molested, ‘though so much public kissing would not have been tolerated under ordinary circumstances’. The Star also noted that the crowd responded to music, and skylarking youths lost their audience when bands or song leaders appeared. Over the two days there were 21 arrests, the majority first offenders.249 On Friday, with very few absentees, Auckland was back at work.250 The party was over, and it might be said that the country had celebrated victory with less ingenuity than it had displayed in achieving it.
In the recruiting days there had been promises that much would be done for the saviours of civilisation on their return. These promises sounded uneasily to many aware of those who had remained the flotsam and jetsam of the First World War, old soldiers for whom nothing had gone right, who through lost opportunities, lack of capital, wrong decisions, bad advice or sheer bad luck, let alone physical damage, drinking or fecklessness, had lived precariously in good times and worse in bad. For such men, their service in Egypt or Gallipoli or France, where life and death hazards and comradeship heightened living, seemed in recollection vital and heroic days, better than the anxieties and responsibilities that followed them. The initial object was to avoid post–1918 mistakes, when some men had found it hard to get work and others had invested savings in farms or businesses that could not survive the swings of commerce. Almost from the start, funds for the rehabilitation of returned men and the welfare of dependants were targets for patriotic collections, but there was strong feeling that such funds could provide only immediate relief; long-term, it was a government concern.
As a first step, a regulation (1939/213) in October 1939, revised in November 1940 (1940/291), decreed that the returned man must get his job back, plus any increment it had since acquired. This clearly was not enough: a succession of men might have occupied a position before entering the forces, but only one could return to it. Also each would need help to catch up on the civilian training and experience that he would have gained had he remained at home. There were many examples from the previous war of men who returned to pre-war posts to remain on practically the same pay, while those unfit or too young for war, with the benefit of training and responsibility, had climbed the ladder of advancement above them. The government urged that everyone should bring forward helpful ideas; rehabilitation was a task for all to share. In the minds page 1271 of returned men, politicians, social workers, educationists, administrators and thoughtful people generally, the idea grew that the returning serviceman251 should, as regards work, education and housing, be placed in the position he could have attained had he stayed at home. In time this purpose grew yet further: to realise the full potential of the ex-serviceman. This potential could be unrelated to the situation into which youth, inexperience or the Depression years might have placed him before entering the forces.
As men first began to trickle out of the Services various agencies, apart from the pensions department, assisted them. There were distress and rehabilitation branches of patriotic committees, the RSA gave temporary relief, the Disabled Servicemen's and the Civil Reestablishment leagues were revived. In 1941, when wartime industry was feeling the shortage of men with trade skills the Labour Department, working with technical colleges, organised crash courses of about four months' training in some lines of engineering, welding and bootmaking, the trainees being paid £4 13s 4d a week.252 As there was little use in training those liable for future service, men emerging from the forces were among those most eligible for these courses. The first soldier-trainee began work for an engineering firm in June 1941.253 Increasingly, civilians became fewer and returned men filled the benches. By 1945, with skilled men returning, the need for these trainees had diminished and the classes were tapered off.254
Training in carpentry began later in 1941. It started with men who had already done some practical work in this field, mainly as builders' labourers. Some of these, supervised by the Housing Department and guided by tradesmen, built the first carpentry school at Miramar, Wellington. In September 1941 the first batch of 24 began eight weeks' instruction and practice there, before working for six months on State houses nearby.255 Other schools opened in the Hutt, Christchurch and elsewhere during the next two years, their courses reflecting experience and catering for increasing numbers of ex-servicemen. Gradually the character of training changed: instead of aiming to produce semi-skilled men quickly to meet an industrial page 1272 crisis, it was designed to produce tradesmen able to hold their places permanently. When the Rehabilitation organisation developed from 1942 onward, its policy was to use existing machinery wherever possible. The emergency trade training schools, ready-made for its purpose, were taken over during 1943 and their courses extended.256 Engineering and bootmaking proved to have fairly limited usefulness, but carpentry was to become a cornerstone of the Rehabilitation programme.
Rehabilitation needs began slowly. By November 1940 only 29 servicemen had returned home sick or wounded. This total reached 112 in the following month, 1220 in July 1941, when a post-Crete hospital ship arrived, and 2565 by the end of that year.257 Military pay continued while men were under medical treatment. Some returned to military service and in the growing shortage of labour those demobilised, if not too disabled, readily obtained jobs. The number of those invalided out was steadily increasing. Breaks from civil employment were lengthening and rehabilitation could no longer be left to chance and generous intentions. There was clear need for a national organisation to survey the country's industrial needs and train discharged men to meet them, especially as the Depression had prevented many from acquiring a trade; in such areas as farming, housing and education men needed assistance to recover lost time and opportunities.
In October 1941, to comment that it was already a year overdue,258 the Rehabilitation Act made broad beginnings. It set up a large, widely representative Council to advise the government on the policy by which discharged men were to be reinstated in work, trained, educated for trades and professions, financed and otherwise assisted into houses, farms and businesses. Widows of servicemen were to be appropriately assisted. Six leading members of the Council formed the Rehabilitation Board which handled practical details and met much more often than the Council. The Board was to acquire property for disposal to ex-servicemen, arrange employment, give financial assistance in certain channels such as housing, tools and furniture, and to recommend to the government any modifications needed to ensure their effective entry into any occupation. Members of both bodies were appointed by February 1942, with Michael Moohan259 as chairman of the Board and Robert Semple page 1273 as Minister. Sub-committees of the Board, each to handle a particular area, were soon set up.
As a starting premise the government, rejecting rhe doctrine of inevitable post-war depression, took a buoyant attitude: industrial activity and thence economic prosperity were limited only by the physical resources of manpower and materials. Full potential ability would be developed, in both those emerging from the forces and those taking part in wartime industry; material resources were to be examined. The Board soon initiated surveys of employment needs in housing and in developmental work such as hydro-electric construction, roads, railways, in Post and Telegraph, forestry and local body works. It looked for the expansion of existing industries such as woollen textiles, leather, wood pulp and paper, tobacco, flax growing and spinning, fish and vegetable canning, the making of insulators and other clay products, asbestos, gelatine, glue, sheep-dip and moulded plastics. It also looked into other possible industries, such as sugar beet, industrial alcohol, lucerne dehydration, linseed oil, electric motors' batteries and rubber tyres.260 Some were destined to flourish, others would not get started.
The government, feeling its way into new problems, did not create large new administrative machines. The Rehabilitation Division of the ubiquitous National Service Department used and co-ordinated skills in various fields of existing departments and organisations, such as the Disabled Servicemen's League, born out of 1914–18; the State Advances Corporation, for making loans; the Lands and Survey Department for farm settlement; Maori Affairs and the pensions branch of Social Security.
Rehabilitation centres were set up, originally in 23 main towns, while in outlying sub-centres district Social Security officers took on further duties, until replaced by fully-fledged Rehabilitation officers. During the first half of 1942, amid the calling-up of military and industrial manpower, Rehabilitation did not gain much impetus, although by 30 June 4536 servicemen had been demobilised from overseas.261 The Press on 21 July 1942 complained that Rehabilitation was in the doldrums. The Council was the unwieldy representative of sectional interests; the Board members, who had special qualifications, were already under heavy demands from other jobs; ‘no one in the Ministry or the public service is able to give a whole mind to the problems of rehabilitation.’ The government's approach was too narrow, concentrating on finding work for men invalided out of the Services. The war was changing the whole structure of page 1274 New Zealand's economic life. To adjust industry to the needs of peace and to re-absorb returned men satisfactorily would require large-scale economic planning.
Demands for more activity led to the setting up by September 1942 of 23 local advisory committees, matching the Rehabilitation centres. These honorary committees of leading citizens appointed yearly by the government, included representatives of local authorities, the RSA, WWSA, business and farming interests. Their task was to keep in touch with every ex-serviceman and ex-servicewoman in their district, reporting to the authorities on the suitability of those applying for training or loans, and advising on needs and developments in all aspects of rehabilitation. Among other things, they could recommend grants of small sums for immediate assistance and they decided which of their clients' claims for State rental houses were most urgent, 50 per cent of all such houses being allotted to ex-servicemen. From the start, their public spirit and zealous co-operation did much to vitalise Rehabilitation measures. As months passed with increasing evidence of their ability and usefulness, their recommendations were adopted more readily, with less reference to head office, thus promoting decentralisation and easing the clamps of bureaucracy. By 31 March 1943 there were 60 such committees, 110 a year later, 112 in 1948 and 113 in 1951; by 1955, with the bulk of rehabilitation work accomplished, there were only nine left.262
The Board and its advisers worked out loans and training schemes, responding to pressures and advice (as from tradesmen's associations) and to changing conditions, and also worked out its own administrative methods. It was soon clear that decentralisation was a prime need to the soldier demobilised in Dargaville or Hastings or Kaitangata, who would waste time, lose both faith and opportunity, if his rehabilitation were filtered back and forth to head office. By 1943 the local committees had shown that they merited trust, as had district officers, their experience growing with every case handled. The system of reporting progress to head office was set aside and all but the most difficult individual cases were handled entirely at local level.263 All through the organisation, from the Board itself down to local committees, there were executive sub-committees on various aspects, such as loans, job training or care of the disabled, to improve speed and specialisation.
Semple's reputation for ‘getting things done’ had made him Minister of National Service and thereby initially of Rehabilitation, page 1275 but Rehabilitation obviously needed a returned man. In August 1943 the portfolio went to Major C. F. Skinner, who combined a very respectable military background with administrative grasp, ability to learn in the job and solid understanding of ex-servicemen's problems both in the community and in themselves. From October 1943, Skinner was also chairman of the Rehabilitation Board, which was re-organised and strengthened in February 1944. Departmental heads of Treasury, State Advances, Lands and Survey, Maori Affairs and Public Works, each acted as an agent of the Board in a particular field. Executive committees, for loans, land, trade training, education and Maori finance, could, if unanimous and not in conflict with Board decisions, wield the executive authority of the Board itself.264
Meanwhile, in November 1943, the Rehabilitation Division of National Service had been elevated into a separate Department, with Lieutenant-Colonel F. Baker265 as its Director. He combined a distinguished war record, including command of the Maori Battalion, with accountancy training, administrative experience in the State Advances Corporation, and Maori ancestry. Both he and Skinner gave vitalising leadership, having agile minds, prepared to listen and to learn, and being more concerned to discover real answers to problems as they evolved than to maintain that all was well with courses already taken.
It was not difficult for returning men, except those gravely disabled in mind or body, to find employment. At 31 March 1945, with 68 675 men and women demobilised from overseas and the home services, only 339 were awaiting placement and of these more than 300 were capable of light work only. The majority found jobs for themselves, with pre-service employers or with new ones, but for those with any difficulty, or wanting a change, the Servicemen's Division of National Service, staffed as far as possible with returned men and with detailed records of employment offering throughout New Zealand, was ready to help.266
Policy planners, concerned not only for the immediate full employment of ex-servicemen and women but also for their lasting contentment and the orderly progress of national development, strove to encourage them away from blind alley, short-term jobs, towards training and education in skills needed for the rehabilitation of the country. A first step was to make them aware, as early as possible, of what assistance was available. Towards the end of 1943 some page 1276 Army officers, after instruction, and working through the AEWS went to the Middle East and Pacific to give information on current New Zealand conditions and rehabilitation opportunities. Thus to some extent servicemen might decide in advance what they wanted to do and make as much use as possible of the trade, technical and academic tuition available meanwhile through AEWS. It was hoped that such preparation would reduce the surge of disorientated returning men, out of touch for several years with New Zealand and with civil life. Aboard hospital and troop ships there was information about rehabilitation.267 Pamphlets presenting various aspects were freely sprinkled about and as men left the forces the organisation followed them, helping them where necessary to find jobs, or nudging them towards solid trades and professions rather than attractive short-term positions.
Rehabilitation was concerned to match manpower and training with national needs. The most crying need was for houses, the government aiming at the construction of 8000 in the first post-war year and 12 000 in the third.268 From the start there was concentration on carpentry, growing out from the emergency training schools first established in 1941. For the course known as A-class training, these workshop centres gave four months' introductory tuition in use of tools, interpretation of drawings and specifications and making small pieces of joinery such as letter boxes, bathroom cabinets and window frames for State houses. This was followed by eight months' full-time training on State house construction, with frequent lectures on the job and instructors supervising groups of 12 men. They were concerned first with accuracy, but gradually acquired skill and pace. A trainee received £5 5s a week for the first eight months, then £5 7s 6d, rates which rose by 10s on 1 April 1945. At the start, this first year was followed by up to two years' improvership, with pay rising to £6, but by 1944 after the first year a trainee went to work with an approved contractor on State houses on full journey man's wages. These, with cost of living allowances, by 1945 amounted to £6 17s 9d a week plus travelling costs for more than a certain distance.269
Carpenters could not be mass-produced, although by trials and changes training was improved. The larger centres took in classes of 26 three times a year, smaller centres took classes of 14. It was not page 1277 easy to find suitable instructors, for many skilled tradesmen, who could train an apprentice or two, could not teach classes or handle mature ex-soldiers.270 Another retarding factor at the start was difficulty in getting basic tool-kits from overseas.271 The number of State houses built by those in training rose from a modest 19 in 1942 to 285 in 1945, making the Rehabilitation Department one of the biggest contractors for State houses.272 At the start of 1944 there were seven carpentry training centres: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Rotorua, Napier and Petone. By 1948, when the scheme was at its peak, there were 24 centres.273
The system of intensive instruction followed by field work was extended to other building trades—joinery, bricklaying, plastering, tiling and painting. This began early in 1945 when a large military store at Petone became a combined building trades centre.274 By 1948, four centres gave training in bricklaying and plastering, eight in painting, one in joinery.275
By March 1945 in all the building trades concerned, there were 542 men taking A-class training, with 616 having already completed.276 By 1948, the peak period, 2998 men were training; the majority, 2359, in carpentry, with 2450 in all having completed. In March 1951 those in training would drop to 912, with 7359 completed. The centres gradually closed down, the last, at Gisborne, in June 1953.277
Skill in building and other trades could also be acquired more conventionally under B-class training schemes, through subsidised contracts with private employers for up to three years. Pay rates were the same as for the ‘A’ scheme; the employer and the State each paid half at the start and the employer gradually took over the wages bill as his men became more competent. This method alone was adopted for plumbing, for which Rehabilitation workshops could not provide facilities, and proved increasingly popular in a wide range of other trades, from carpentry and its associates to motor and electrical trades, printing, textile and clothing trades, clerical and page 1278 professional occupations. It was favoured by married men, who could thus train close to home, and by women.278
By 31 March 1946, 147 carpenters were training in the ‘B’ scheme, along with 329 others in various building trades and 934 over the rest of the range, while 133 had finished their courses. A year later, 3036 were training with 3747 having completed.279
Men who, when entering the forces, were part way through apprenticeships could return to them at higher pay under the ‘C’ scheme. Regulations in December 1944, that provided for some reduction in time and subsidised wages at journeyman's rates, were cheerfully accepted by most employers, some even rejecting the subsidy.280 By March 1946, there were 950 such apprenticeships with 174 completed, and a year later 2151, with 1000 completed.281 By 1951, only 9 men were still training under this scheme, 3388 had completed and 371 had dropped their courses.282
All this meant that in the five or six years after the war thousands of men with skills matched to demand joined the work force. At no time in the next 30 years would these skills prove unwanted, in Depression terms, though many men, for various reasons including inclination or further opportunity, later changed their callings. Post-war expansion meant that there were still insufficient men in many fields and housing construction, though blessed with so much Rehabilitation attention, was not an exception. Shortage of builders was, however, only one of many factors behind the unsatisfied demand for houses which plagued the post-war era.
There were Rehabilitation loans to ease the break into civil life, loans for tools and furniture, as well as for houses, businesses and farms. They were not lavish hand-outs, but aimed merely to supplement the receiver's own resources. Thus the maximum for tools was £50, interest free; for furniture, £100. As Skinner explained to the House in December 1944, it was never thought that £100 would furnish a home, but it was a ‘tremendous help’.283
For acquiring a business the maximum loan was £500, save where the venture was regarded as of national value; interest was at four per cent, but less for the first year or two, and repayment was flexible. By March 1946 such loans had helped 1640 ex-servicemen and page 1279 women into business;284 by March 1951, when loan issues were slackening, they totalled 9667. The range was wide, from groceries, butcheries, bakeries, dairies and milk rounds to fishing ventures, manufacturing, mechanical trades, taxis and transport services, building, hairdressing and various professions. Ex-servicemen and women also had preference in getting licences and stock and equipment that were scarce. A significant number made use of wartime skills as drivers and motor mechanics, plus favour in obtaining vehicles. Of those helped into business by 1951, 2025 had taxis or service cars and 1308 were in mail contracting and general transport, while stress on housing had brought 1068 into building and related trades.285
For most of those emerging from the forces, as for very many others, housing was the most pressing need. Rehabilitation helped in two ways. First there was the 50 per cent of all State rental houses or flats for allocation to ex-servicemen. These were compact, more or less standardised homes, in a variety of shapes and sizes, all less than 10 years old in 1945, their rents ranging from 24s to 33s 9d a week, with a rebate of 2s 6d for prompt payment.286 Then there were loans towards buying an existing house or building a new one that were intended to meet a substantial part or even the whole of the cost of a modest but adequate home. Interest was 2 per cent for the first year, 3 per cent thereafter and table repayment was long-term. House prices and building costs were rising, despite the braking effects of Stabilisation and the Land Sales Court. In 1944, to lessen the gap between current and pre-war values Rehabilitation provided for interest-free supplementary loans (up to £75 on an existing house or £100 on a new one) which did not have to be repaid while the ex-serviceman or his dependents lived in the house. But in no case did the two loans exceed £1,500. Later, from 1949, further interest-free, suspensory, seven-year loans could be obtained, for new houses only, of up to £200, while the maximum total loan rose to £2,000 for a new house. A year later the maximum for an existing house rose to £1,800.287
At the start, two groups had priority: those who had owned a house which they had sold on entering the forces whether they had served at home or overseas; those who had been in action or had served in a forward zone for at least six months or who had served in other overseas zones for not less than a year. Shorter overseas page 1280 service also made a man eligible, but only after these classes had been disposed of.288
The State Advances Corporation, which handled all Rehabilitation loans, had numerous plans for houses, their cost not too far in advance of the loans available. These plans were designed for a variety of sections and some provided for extra rooms being built on later. They ranged from 750 square feet, with two bedrooms, to 1090 square feet which was supposed to serve a family of six. Some private architects, co-operating with the Department, specialised in houses for ex-soldiers,289 but the latter were free to choose their own architects or builders.
By March 1945, 2936 State houses had been allocated to ex- servicemen, along with 2018 loans for buying houses and 782 for building.290 By 1946, 5021 ex-servicemen had been allocated State houses (with 12 955 on the waiting list) while 5260 in all had loans for buying and 2635 had loans for building.291 By 1948, 8242 servicemen were in State houses with 14 137 waiting, purchase loans totalled 11 873 and building loans totaled 8321:292 by 1951 those satisfied totalled 14 096, 19 649 and 15 823 respectively to reach 17 905, 27 225 and 21 960 by March 1955.293 Claims for housing assistance extended well into the 1950s. Although in 1945 thousands of married men desperately wanted decent living in their own households, at prices they could afford, many were prepared to wait several years for permanent homes, when their futures were more settled; many others were not married until later.
After 1918, many ex-soldiers had been placed, without further assistance, on farms in marginal country that was to break backs and hearts. There was no such move in the Forties, partly because prices and sales were checked by legislation, partly because both men and government were cautious, resolved not to embark enthusiastically upon the impossible. To avoid the cardinal error of placing inexperienced or otherwise unsuitable men on the land, the applications of would-be farmers first went to their local rehabilitation committees, then, if considered eligible, to one of the 33 farming sub-committees throughout the country. These carefully examined applicants, deciding who were ready for immediate assistance and who page 1281 needed training. Most training was with approved farmers, on wages subsidised by the Rehabilitation Department, sometimes with supplementary courses at the university agricultural colleges and the few government farms. On farms that were going concerns, three per cent loans of up to £5,000 were available for dairy farmers, up to £6,250 for sheep farmers; for stock and plant only, at four per cent, the former could draw up to £1,500, the latter £2,500.294
Taking up of land by ex-servicemen started slowly. Very few were established before April 1943, 264 a year later.295 By March 1945, 734 had farms and 1136, sufficiently experienced and eligible for assistance, were waiting for suitable properties and meanwhile working for wages.296 Legislation provided preference for them in obtaining land coming on the market, but land was not to be had for the asking. At the outbreak of war, the Lands and Survey Department had 200 000 acres, mainly backward country, under development.297 In 1943 the Servicemen's Settlement and Land Sales Act gave the State power to acquire more, power which it was loath to use, preferring voluntary negotiation. By March 1948, some 640 788 acres had been acquired, 451 391 from volunteer sales and 189 397 under the Act, while 74 610 of the Crown's acres were marked for Rehabilitation settlement. Some of this land required development, such as access and buildings, and the Department was constantly hungry for ready-to-wear farms. By March 1948, 939 farms, comprising 304 478 State-held acres, were matched to ex-servicemen, and about 800 more, comprising 366 055 acres, were being prepared. Meanwhile, 4209 men assisted by loans had bought established farms on their own accord.298 Three years later in 1951, 9502 ex-servicemen had settled on farms, 6242 assisted by ‘rehab’ loans in private purchase, 1102 without such loans, and the rest, including 178 Maoris, under various development schemes; 3736 men, eligible and experienced, were waiting for suitable land. By 1955, a total of 12 236 were settled and 1464 were waiting.299
Progressively, various forms of education, academic and technical, came into the Rehabilitation field, where assistance ranged from text book allowances and fees to full-time bursaries at university or other colleges.300 Through liaison with AEWS and Vocational Guidance, page 1282 there was concern to make the most of interests and abilities. All was firmly practical, for career purposes, not mere culture, and education sub-committees considered not only the abilities of applicants but also prospects of employment in the avenues selected. The majority of approvals were for the continuing of studies interrupted by service, but enlightened assessment of character and abilities meant that a considerable number of applicants with long service records were helped to embark on careers that in pre-war days they had hankered after but lacked the means to attempt.301 Thus some who had been clerks or grocers' assistants gained bursaries that took them into the professions, as doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, while the careers based on accountancy were copiously supplied. Further, primarily to assist men taking university courses later in life than usual, with their study habits long broken, the Rehabilitation Department paid for tutorial classes, an innovation which cost it £10,000 a year for four years, tapering off after 1950 as the tide of ex-servicemen ebbed. (The tutorials had proved so successful that they were retained as part of the university system.)
Subjects for which assistance was given varied widely: agriculture, accountancy and commercial courses, both university and professional; arts and science degrees; architecture, law, medicine, engineering, dentistry, post-graduate nursing, veterinary and pharmacy studies, wool classing, trade training and general education. For some advanced and special students, with long service records behind them, there were overseas bursaries at £250 a year for single men, £328 for marrieds, plus sundry allowances. For a substantial number there were full-time bursaries in New Zealand at £3 8s a week for single men, £5 15s for married men,302 during the academic year, plus fees and book allowances up to £5 a year. For the majority, study was part-time, with Rehabilitation providing fees and £5 for books.
By 1945, 434 full-time yearly bursaries had been granted in New Zealand and 23 for study overseas, while allowances for fees and books had been awarded to 863 others.303 Educational activity and assistance increased steeply during 1946, and in the year ending March 1947 approved applications, both new ones and renewals, rose by 14 626 to total 23 537.304 By 1947–8, renewals far exceeded new grants. In that year, 399 new full-time bursaries in New Zealand were approved while 984 were renewed; assistance for part-time study was received for the first time by 3061 while for 4996 it was page 1283 renewed.305 Thereafter new grants diminished and renewals also waned, as courses were completed. During 1949–50, 61 new bursaries to New Zealand institutions were granted and 396 renewed, while for part-time study 861 new grants were made and 2922 renewed.
By 1955, grants to ex-servicemen were rare but educational assistance to the children of dead or disabled servicemen was beginning to grow.306 At March 1955, in all 290 children had been assisted in various fields.
Rehabilitation sought to put the serviceman where he would have been without the war. Its benefits were regarded on all sides as fully earned, as a repayment, not fibre-softening hand-outs. Shorn of all sentiment, it was sound national investment to set returned men on the way to full potential capacity. Skinner, in December 1944, said: ‘… the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen is just as much a part of our war effort as is the conduct of the war at the present time…. I do not think that we should even ask at this stage that taxation should be reduced to any great extent.’307 Everyone with friends or relatives coming out of the forces, and many others as well, realised some of the problems and wanted competent governmental handling of them.
Inevitably there were complaints and frustrated applicants. Rehabilitation processes, as they evolved, were shaped and tested by criticism. But the critics, whether they were builders, bootmakers, farmers or Opposition members, let alone servicemen, all wanted it to work. The Auckland Star on 1 December 1944, after a discussion in the House, wrote that despite the disposition of some members to score small points the debate had been useful and encouraging. It left the impression of a House unanimous and earnest in conviction that the fine aspirations expressed in the Rehabilitation Act must not be dimmed by the inevitable and complex practical difficulties of achieving them. Criticism of the administration arose in every case from wanting more done for the returning serviceman, smoothly and quickly. The Department, as Skinner had explained, was hampered by material shortages and by the time needed to assemble and train staff, whereas publicity had tended to induce belief that everything would be ready for returning men, that they would at once be helped into their desired occupations. ‘These ideal conditions cannot exist page 1284 in the sixth year of war.’ The Star advocated openness: the Minister should frequently explain difficulties, inviting suggestions and help; there was a great fund of goodwill for the scheme which he should draw on at every opportunity.
It was recognised that personal difficulties existed for some men returning to civilian life and work. There was, for instance, the special problem of young men who as officers, especially in the Air Force, had developed special skills and who had been used to responsibility, command and relative affluence. They faced a future where these skills were irrelevant, pay and command much less. As Skinner said, such men were bound to come down with a bump; it was the business of Rehabilitation to help soften that bump.308
Medical authorities recognised that men, merely by being in the forces for years, under orders and free from making decisions, at once hedged and upheld by routines, group living and peer values, had been changed, disoriented from civilian life. Return, though fervently desired, was disturbing.309 There was recoil from the tedious responsibilities of being a civilian, depression and anxiety about committal to a settled course. A. E. Armstrong310 said in the House that apart from wounds and sickness men ‘are also faced with uncertainty and difficulties on the question of being happy in some particular job.’311
Medical officers repeatedly stated that wives, friends and employers would need to give sympathy and understanding. Every returned man would have psychological problems and face a period of adjustment. Even apart from battle stress, the longer his training and service the longer the reverse process of becoming a civilian would take. Women must accept and wait; accept in head and heart that their men were changed by the war. If they could not do so, if they blamed and were impatient there would be broken hearts, broken homes, ill feeling and bitterness. They must show all the forbearance and fortitude they could muster, putting up with irrational behaviour and irritability. Employers likewise must be patient with shortcomings, must be open and friendly. Prisoners-of-war, after years behind bars and on low diet, had special problems.312 The official page 1285 medical historian, Duncan Stout,313 dealing with the transition to civilian life of neurosis cases, wrote: ‘The most common symptoms were irritability, a feeling of tiredness after a day's work, difficulty in concentrating on any job where mental attention was required, lack of desire to meet people or go out to social engagements and pictures. These symptoms were present to a greater or lesser degree in practically all soldiers who had been overseas for any length of time.’314
Obviously the Rehabilitation officer had an important place amid such difficulties, reconciling employers to what could seem merely unreliable or self-indulgent behaviour, persuading men to keep trying. Said Skinner, ‘one man needs all the sympathy you can give him, the next man may need a good kick in the pants.’315 It was no place for a narrow bureaucrat.
For most of the people concerned, Rehabilitation worked, enabling them to pull themselves out of and up from the war. Its best testimonials remained in the references to doing this or getting that on ‘rehab’ which studded the talk of returned men for a few years, then sank away under the tide of civilian life, remaining in recollection a short friendly word.
What, then, had this war now concluded meant to a small country that in two successive generations had so fervently espoused causes arising from the political and territorial ambitions of European powers? In proportional terms, in manpower New Zealand's contribution was not exceeded by any other Commonwealth country. This was made clear by a set of figures316 compiled in 1946, listing Commonwealth populations, casualties and (in parenthesis) casualties per million of population:
|United Kingdom||47 770 000||244 723(5123)||277 090(5801)|
|Canada||11 812 000||37 476(3173)||53 174(4502)|
|Australia||7 230 000||23 365(3232)||39 803(5505)|
|South Africa||9 600 000||6 840(713)||14 363(1496)|
|India||389 000 000||24 338(63)||64 354(165)|
|New Zealand||1 746 000||10 130(5802)||19 345(11080)|
The New Zealand figures were subsequently corrected to 11 617(6684) deaths and 15 749(9002) wounded.317
New Zealand put its money where its young men were. From 1939 to 1944 war expenditure in New Zealand was 31 per cent of the national income; in the United Kingdom it was 43 per cent, in Australia and Canada 29 per cent, in the United States 24 per cent, in the USSR 37 per cent. During the three intense years 1942–4 these figures were: United Kingdom 53 per cent; New Zealand 51 per cent, Canada 48 per cent, USSR 46 per cent, Australia 45 per cent, United States 41 per cent. For 1943 war expenditures in Britain, Canada and New Zealand all reached 53 per cent, but only Britain sustained this level for three years.318 Angus Calder, writing on the proportion of Britain's annual income spent on the war, remarked: ‘the only allied nation to come near to equalling this was, rather oddly, New Zealand.’319
In the name of the war effort and stabilisation some very low wages were paid both in government administration and in private enterprise. Unpaid voluntary effort covered many functions such as raising money to pay for servicemen's comforts both overseas and in local camps; providing comforts and recreation for the Services within New Zealand; packing prisoner-of-war parcels (contents paid for by the government after 1942); the Home Guard, the EPS, firewatching; the many WWSA activities; Rehabilitation committees.
In the cost of the war itself, New Zealanders at large were heavily committed; they paid cash, through taxation and through internal loans, some free, most at low rates of interest. To March 1946 the war expenses account received £681 million: £242 million came from internal loans, £225 million from special war taxation, £27 million from the Consolidated Fund; £ 111 million represented goods and services made available through Lend-Lease and Canadian Mutual Aid; £23 million came from various other sources. A further £53.4 million advanced by the United Kingdom, which by agreement paid the costs of 2NZEF as incurred and then reclaimed them from the New Zealand government, was repaid by 1946. There was no war debt outstanding overseas after that year.320 Recorded total expenditure came to £670 million.321
To a later, inflation-accustomed era these figures for six years of war may challenge belief, but the public expenditure scale of the page 1287 period must be remembered: total national output of goods and services was reckoned at £232 million in 1938–9, £375 million in 1943–4, £426 million in 1946–7.322 Meanwhile general government expenditure in the years ending March 1939–46 respectively totalled £42,889,267, £46,600,152, £49,254,153, £52,880,239, £50,921,382, £55,328,829, £58,714,153, £62,659,499.323 There was no unemployment and drastic curtailment of private imports, coupled with stabilisation controls, reduced inflation pressure and improved New Zealand's overseas exchange position. From a book-keeping economist's viewpoint, the war achievement was admirable, a bargain.
Besides the committal of men and money to the war, some other Commonwealth comparisons can be made. New Zealand was the first, apart from Britain, to have conscription for overseas service. It was the last to start rationing butter and meat. Its dealings with conscientious objectors were more severe and its press censorship was more anxious than elsewhere although it was the country most distant from the enemy. The government, identifying itself with ‘New Zealand’, felt that criticism of itself in the widespread war effort was destructive, almost subversive; to Fraser, skilful and dominant politician, this viewpoint was useful; he used it and came to believe in it.
Enthusiasm for Russia did not survive the atom bomb. It had been at its highest in mid-1942 when Russia was suffering most but fighting back, giving respite to Britain by absorbing the battering of the German war machine, and at the time of the crucial victory of Stalingrad in February 1943. When Russia, without the help of a second front in Europe, held the German summer offensive in 1943 and in 1944 made advances all along its front, circling deep into Romania but without liberating Warsaw, satisfaction at German retreat was mixed with stirrings of deep-rooted uneasiness. Russia's smudgy record over Poland and complaints of Russian secretiveness matured suspicion. For New Zealand, Anglo-American possession of the atom bomb made the cultivation of good relations with the USSR unnecessary. The cold war roused few qualms save in the steadfast Left.
Japan and West Germany, their determination to emerge from disaster helped by American aid to defeated nations with acceptable governments, soon became strong and respectable, bulwarks against Communism and towers of commerce. Meanwhile European trade page 1288 developments squeezed New Zealand out of Britain as its traditional market. Forty years later a New Zealander might wonder why all the suffering and loss had had to happen. Japanese cars and motor cycles flood the roads, Japanese transistors, musical instruments, china and a host of goods, better and cheaper than their rivals, fill the shops, Japanese names are on the office doors of tall buildings; the ‘greater co-prosperity sphere’ includes New Zealand. In the European Economic Community New Zealand hopes for West German support in its effort to sell butter and meat to Britain: Germans and Italians do not become over-stayers in countries where the passport system prevents many New Zealanders from living and working. That would be a simple view. The war grew out of certain international pressures; other pressures, implacable as earth movements, have replaced them and in turn are being replaced.
New Zealanders themselves were closer than they had ever been to seeing themselves as just that, New Zealanders. Three waves of elevation in spirit, independence and readiness for sacrifice can be identified: in September 1939, in mid-1940 and in the months following Japan's entry. The first subsided with little effect on civilian life. The second wrought some far-reaching changes, markedly expanding farm production and war-support industries, and began the move towards America's umbrella, began conscription, the Home Guard and the EPS. The third, channelled by the government, invaded most aspects of civilian living. Through all this, New Zealanders carried on, doing what was required of them, adjusting to shortages and changed work conditions, enjoying normal pleasures where they could, picking up good things where they could: improved job opportunities, especially for women, overtime, cost-plus contracts, war-quickened romances, the American bonanza, the brief happiness of leave.
The war was a study in gradualism. Although it intensified sharply in 1942, in the preceding years people had grown used to it: defence systems had been established, war duties had increased, civilian goods and services had lessened. The events of 1942 would have been far more disturbing had they occurred in 1940. From 1942 everyone was affected directly or indirectly, through work, defence duties, rationing, stabilisation. Unemployment, still present in 1940, was replaced by over-employment. Overtime was commonplace, sometimes exhausting, often welcomed for the increased pay, although in many awards this was reduced by the regulations of December page 1289 1941.324 Overtime hours could be padded out and pay packets fattened, notably on the wharves, but many workers, genuinely wearied, came to want only regular hours at adequate pay. Below fatigue, boredom or personal anxieties was the buoyancy of being wanted in the work-force: to those who had known or feared the pains of rejection during the Depression the war years offered healing balm.
There was determination that the war effort should not be impeded by dissidents. Fear that those who rejected war on religious or social grounds might attract others to their stand or might cause the general drive to slacken was behind the strait and narrow sifting for sincerity which sent 600 defaulters to years of exile in labour camps, backed by prisons. In the effective community, zeal to punish ‘slackers’ outweighed readiness to see objectors as a minority deserving tolerance.
Only the hysterical could even briefly have imagined that the war would be won by sending every fit man of military age into the forces; nor would ‘farm or fight’ cover the situation. After volunteering ended in July 1940, ballots called up men by age groups; it was accepted that all military age men should serve in the capacity most valuable to the war effort as a whole. Military service appeal boards, besides peering into consciences, sorted out who should work and who should fight. Under government directions which weighed the claims of industry and the forces in the changing war scene, they heard and re-heard appeals of men to remain in their occupations, on grounds of hardship or public interest, of employers to retain workers for the public weal; they kept this man or that in civilian work sine die or for a few months, dismissed others to the Services.
Industrial conscription covered a wider field. It was the war's biggest social innovation, with no real precedent in 1914–18. It began in January 1942 with regulations decreeing that in certain essential industries or firms workers could not leave or be dismissed without the consent of a government official. The list of essential works lengthened steadily, while further regulations gradually extended controls, shifted men and women from civilian work to production for the war or maintenance of the community. Manpower direction sent many people to jobs which in normal circumstances they would not have done. This mixing of men and women from various backgrounds, and the consequent diminution of class prejudice was a feature of both Service and civilian life that was to have long-term effects.
In all conscription, both military and industrial, there was striving towards equality of service, of contributions to the war effort, but here too there was scope for some to be more equal than others. page 1290 Manpower direction left many untroubled under blanket retentions, as in the Public Service; many workers complied cheerfully, but there were some reluctant meatworkers, wardsmaids, waitresses, woollen mill and rubber factory workers, among others.
Even within the Services some sorted out advantageous courses, some enjoyed ‘perks’ through chinks in Service accounting or habit; stealing from the American cornucopia was common, both in New Zealand and in the Pacific; in Italy some soldiers were skilful in the black market. At home some workers made the most of overtime. In defence construction, shipbuilding and many jobs assigned to private enterprise, where speed was a prime factor and the volume of work clogged normal tendering along with contracting and cost checks, abuse of ‘cost plus’ contracts was all too easy, although the government and the public set their faces against the war profiteer as an evil not to be permitted.
The need for efficiency, smooth working and increased production called for co-operation between workers and management. Works councils and production committees, which had mushroom growth in Britain and the United States, were not prominent in New Zealand. With some exceptions, employers opposed them and though workers generally were in favour of them no real thrust developed, perhaps because most local industry was small-scale. Outside coalmines, meatworks and railway workshops few functioned seriously.
On government councils, however, both organised employers and organised labour were involved. The Federation of Labour was a young body, born in 1937 out of the Trades and Labour Councils' Federation and the wreckage of the old Alliance of Labour. Given a Labour government, it was bound to have influence—the Opposition regularly complained of government by Trades Hall—but the war increased its range. It had representatives, balanced by employers' representatives, on the Industrial Emergency Council, the National Council of Primary Production, the Industrial Development Committee and allied bodies. It had vital roles in the planning of rehabilitation and in the Stabilisation Commission. Fraser's belief in economic stabilisation was almost passionate; he saw that without it all efforts towards social security would be eroded, and in this he was not alone. With F. P. Walsh, éminence grise of the Federation, in particular, Fraser worked with close understanding, and Walsh's influence was a force of moderation against union wages-pressure.
Other Labour notables were in power. James Roberts, secretary of the Alliance of Labour from 1919–37 and of the Waterside Workers Federation from 1915–40, president of the Labour party from 1937 to 1950, was a major figure in the Waterfront Commission, with unprecedented access to information on the shipping industry. Angus McLagan, long-standing secretary of the Miners' page 1291 Federation and secretary of the Federation of Labour from 1937, was appointed to the Legislative Council and thence to the War Cabinet as Minister of Industrial Manpower. These were conspicuous instances of harnessing trade unionists of ability and influence to the government's war effort; they excited little hostility, despite automatic suspicion by union rank-and-file members of leaders who accept government office; they lessened union restiveness under Stabilisation and Manpower controls. Knowing that even a few workers' men were in government councils assuaged many Labour moderates who were basically reluctant to embarrass a Labour government with demands over wages and conditions. There was also prudent wariness lest public reaction against such demands might install a coalition or the National party as government, either of which would spell hard times: Holland armed with war emergency sanctions would be an enemy much closer than Hitler.
By easing pressure on goods, rationing supported Stabilisation.325 It was not enough to have money in the hand and the goods in sight. Despite scarcity and high rises in import costs Stabilisation authorities fought a gallant and fairly successful battle against rising costs, wages and prices. To December 1942 they tried to curb and regulate price rises while prices and award wages both rose 14 per cent above those of 1939; thereafter they strove to prevent cost increases, or at least to prevent them from affecting prices. A scheme was launched in December 1942 to hold wages, rents, farm prices, transport costs and retail prices of essential goods and services at their current levels. Until an index of consumer prices covering 238 commodities and services, taken together, rose in the first instance by 2½ per cent, and thereafter by 5 per cent, the Court of Arbitration could not order compensating general wage increases; it could only adjust anomalies.
The index did not rise by 2½ per cent until 1947. It was held by a toolbox of techniques, including subsidies, standardisation and simplification of goods, zoning, government importation and selling below cost, absorption by traders of some cost increases, transference of others from essential to non-essential goods. Subsidies, besides spreading the burden more widely, checked secondary spirals: holding the price of coal, for instance, besides helping householders, prevented increased cost ripples spreading out from industries. Internal farm prices were divorced from export prices, but from rises in the latter stabilisation accounts were set up which subsidised local prices. With much contrivance and management the scheme worked page 1292 tolerably for the next two years, then was eased gradually under changing social pressures.
Pressure for wages, beginning with the lowest pay rates, caused restriction on the Court of Arbitration to be relaxed little by little. Other authorities granted some rises in pay and allowances to workers on dairy, fruit and tobacco farms, to seamen, coalminers and members of Parliament. Awareness of these and a sense that the steadiness of the price index was more apparent than real, that farmers and business people were doing better than those on wages pegged at 1942 levels, caused discontent and some strikes early in 1945. The period of rigid stabilisation ended after February 1945 with wages rather than prices breaking through: the Court of Arbitration could again adjust general wage disparities, leading to award increases of up to 3¾d an hour; tribunals gave railway workers and public servants 3½d an hour, backdated to June 1944. But Stabilisation had suppressed inflation during crucial years, enabling people to concentrate on the war, without the distraction and nervousness that shifting consumer prices would have caused. From today's viewpoint its achievement looks amazing.
Industry developed, much of it lastingly. Promotion of local manufactures and reduction of imports, government policy long before 1939, was greatly strengthened. Wartime shrinking of overseas supplies, which persisted in many cases for some time afterwards, gave strong protection but some enterprises such as linen flax did not survive. By 1940 from new enterprises came a wide assortment of goods including rubber ware, building materials, household appliances, foodstuffs and clothing;326 the shortages of succeeding years induced many more.
In some cases industry was helped by the knowledge and enterprise of Hitler's exiles, the refugees. The increase of aliens in the community had lasting effects. They were regulated and watched but only a few were interned. Fifth Column fears withered for lack of supporting incident. Hostility shifted its base to job-protection, which had existed to some degree from the start. Some critics saw refugees' proper role as that of hewers of wood and drawers of water but this view did not hold against the need for skills and know-how, ranging from the making of gloves to the re-cycling of sump-oil. The more enlightened urged that freedom for and tolerance of minorities was a declared Allied war aim and that only by supporting it in their own country could New Zealanders prove their page 1293 sincerity, while enriching the community with special skills and talents. In music particularly some refugees made outstanding contributions; in architecture and in drama production there were a few lonely but influential foreign prophets. Many others, simply by living quietly and openly, without huddling into the comfort of enclaves, accustomed New Zealanders to people a little different from themselves, preparing the way for the easier adoption of larger influxes, as of Dutch immigrants, in post-war years.
Women moved into jobs which they had not or had rarely done before and many did not relinquish them afterwards. They established bridgeheads in male work-territories, and in the post-war labour shortage most of those who wanted to were able to consolidate their positions or they were replaced by other women; not surprisingly, of course, many in the late Forties and early Fifties took on traditional full-time home-and-children lives. The war let women show that they could do almost anything: in this widening range of work they established credibility and became ready to take, even to make, the winds of change. They prepared themselves, the next generation and the public for the revolutionary changes of equal pay for equal work and equal job opportunity which during the next 40 years ended the long era in which sex had basically determined who did what.
The life of the mind was not extinguished or even quite suspended. Despite disruption of building programmes, fewer teachers and less material, educationists tried to promote some of the improvements then current in their world: in physical education, broadcast programmes, the School Library Service and the raising of the school leaving age. Universities accelerated their casting-off of English examiners, exchanging papers with each other for assurance that standards were maintained and, despite shortage of books, buildings and staff, they managed the Rehabilitation influx well. Public libraries pushed on modestly towards their targets of independence from subscriptions, more and newer books for country readers and improvement of services through interloan arrangements and the compilation of indexes. Diminished book supplies led to some broadening of local publishing. As in Britain and America, feeling that good music had special value in war time upheld players, concert-goers and pupils. Artists, as did writers, increasingly portrayed their country as they saw it, with perception less clouded by the artistic conventions which, to a greater or lesser extent, had previously influenced their world. And they found improved markets while imported props to good living were scarce or rationed.
The war years found the Maori people, as observers were fond of saying, at a cross-roads. They were moving from subsistence farming to work and life in towns. This move was strongest at Auckland page 1294 around which the bulk of the Maori population centred. Urbanisation of the Maori, which began before 1939, was accelerated by full employment: girls joined the Services, they worked in vegetable gardens and factories; men were wanted in meatworks, in mines, particularly as truckers, and in labouring jobs. Industrialisation was increased very positively by the job recruiting activities of the Maori War Effort Organisation, while the Organisation won recognition and consideration by the government and the community, and Maori self-regard was strengthened. As with women generally, the Maori pioneers proved their abilities and set trends which the post-war boom would firmly establish.
Many Maori communities gave money, grew crops, for the war effort and were active in the Home Guard. The high fighting qualities of the Maori Battalion, every man a volunteer, shone bright in the darkest places. It kindled appreciation in pakeha bosoms, gave élan and confidence to the Maori. An example of change in attitude is found in the liquor law: it had long been an offence to sell liquor to a Maori to take away from the premises. The 1945 Liquor Commission held that veterans of the Maori Battalion should obtain liquor on pakeha terms and in 1948 Parliament held that this equality should extend to all Maori people. Said Nash: ‘The Maori is good enough, strong enough and able enough to stand on his own feet and he will not reach the heights we would like to see him reach so long as he is placed in a protected position.’327 More than this, perhaps, was the confirmation of common aims and ‘New Zealandness’ brought back by returned soldiers from the shared experiences of the battlefield. There there had been mutual discovery by Maori and pakeha that for them colour was less important than a way of life. This attitude was to become the sheet anchor of their relations in the years to come.
Perhaps the greatest difference between the effects on New Zealand of the two world wars lay in the degree to which the country as a whole was involved. After the First World War the soldiers, whose horizons had broadened immeasurably, came back to a country that in essence had changed very little. After the Second World War returned men and women, certainly more experienced in a wide range of practical matters and more worldly wise, came to a land that was itself both radically changed and well poised for further change. Greatly improved communications, from which had flowed the technological bounty of the war, had dispersed New Zealand isolation for ever. The Labour government, which had remained in power throughout, using traditional and familiar forms by which to page 1295 exert its authority, had abandoned socialism but had imposed a system that inflexibly clung to middle ground giving little offence other than to the extremes of left and right. It was a stance adopted by both of the parties which dominated politics in the next four decades, and because of it New Zealand was well able to cope with the innovations–economic and political–that came in the wake of the war.
New Zealand had entered the war with no thought of gain in territory, influence or trade; its only purpose in supporting Britain was to help to end a detestable political system that threatened the civilised world. It gained, however, from the forcingbed process of the war, which in many areas jolted it out of lingering colonialism and conservatism into attitudes and capacities that improved its ability to survive in the post-war world. It entered as part of the British Commonwealth which to the hearts and guts of very many in the forces and elsewhere was still the British Empire. It became also from 1942, the attendant of the overpowering ally: in the world that emerged, the United States saw its destiny as world leadership while war-drained Britain slipped from her station, bowed under losses, damage and enormous debt in which industrial eminence had been surrendered. She could not, in the atomic age, sustain an empire even Commonwealth ties of trade and sentiment were weakened; the shattered British family groped for new friends. To New Zealanders these realities filtered through in treaties, trade and the texture of their everyday lives. As the first Thomas Wolfe, American novelist, wrote, ‘You can't go home again’; the world and the people were changed.page 1296
1 Werth, pp. 776–90
2 Press, etc, cable news, 31 Jan 44
3 Eade, The Dawn of Liberation, pp. 156, 145; Press, 4 Aug 44, p. 5
6 Press, 15 Aug 44, p. 5
7 Ibid., 17 Aug 44
8 Ibid., 25 Aug 44, p. 4; Auckland Star, 25 Aug 44, p. 6
9 Press, 28 Aug 44, p. 6
10 NZPD, vol 266, p. 487
11 By September 1944 the V-l had killed 5473 people and severely injured 16 000. The V-2 killed 2724 people and badly injured more than 6000. Both did enormous damage to houses, many of which were patched, hit, and patched again. Calder, pp. 559–63, 565. Churchill, at the end of July, said that the V-l had totally destroyed 17 000 houses and damaged 800 000 more. Press, 4 Aug 44, p. 5
12 eg, Auckland Star, 12,19 May 44
16 Documents, vol II, p. 328
17 Ibid., pp. 332–3
18 This had been devised in 1936 to stabilise farm incomes. The government paid dairy farmers prices calculated to give a fair return over production costs. If overseas returns did not sustain this price, the government paid the difference; if they exceeded it, the surplus was held to meet the next fall.
19 Baker, pp. 324–5
21 Baker, pp. 211–12
24 Documents, vol II, p. 343, fn 4, vol III, pp. 431–3
27 Hale, Sir William Edward, Kt('58), CBE('50) (1883–1967): Dir NZ Dairy Coy 1921ff; chmn Dairy Board 1938ff; chmn Auck Farmers' Freezing Co 1940ff; member NZ Meat Bd 1941ff
29 Ibid., 15, 20 Apr 44, pp. 8, 6
30 Ibid., 12 Apr 44, p. 6
31 Ibid., 10, 13, 18 Apr 44, pp. 4, 7, 4; Press, 5 May 44, p. 6
32 This widened the franchise for electors of counties and road districts from ratepayers to residents, as was already the case in boroughs and town districts where enrolment now became compulsory. Employees of local bodies, below a certain rank, could become members of those bodies. It was fought by the Opposition in a stonewall session lasting 33 hours. NZ Herald, 3 Apr 44, pp. 2, 4; Yearbook 1945, p. 643; NZPD, vol 264, pp. 860–963
33 Press, 18 May 44, p. 4
34 Ibid., 19 May 44, p. 4
36 Press, 4, 5, 9 Aug 44, pp. 4, 4, 4; Baker, p. 328
37 A to J1947, H–30, p. 17; Yearbook 1947–49, p. 890
38 A to J1947, H–30, p. 15
39 Ibid., 1946, H–30A, p. 2
40 Yearbook 1947–49, pp. 892–3
41 Baker, pp. 331–2
42 Ibid., p. 305
43 A to J1946, H–11A, p. 36
44 Baker, pp. 187–91
45 Book of Awards1945, pp. 631, 888
46 NZPD, vol 272, p. 243
49 Auckland Star, 18 Oct 44, p. 7
50 Ibid., 1 Nov 44, p. 5
51 Ibid., 1, 11 Nov 44
52 Ibid., 23 Dec 44, p. 10
54 Press, 2 Jan 43, p. 5
55 Auckland Star, 14, 20 Dec 44, pp. 6, 6
56 Ibid., 17, 22 Nov 44, pp. 3, 6
59 Auckland Star, 15 Aug 44, p. 4
61 Ibid., 26 Dec 44, p. 4
62 Auckland Star, 2 Jan 45, p. 6
63 Press, 2 Jan 45, p. 4
66 Auckland Star, 20 Dec 44, p. 6
67 Ibid., 2 Jan 45, p. 4
68 Ibid., 27 De 44, p. 4.
70 Auckland Star, 2 Jan 45
71 Press, 2 Jan 45
73 Since 1922, members' salaries had been reduced from £500 to £450, though £150 was tax-free. In December 1944, the £50 cut was restored and they received an additional £250 tax-free as expenses allowance. Auckland Star, 13 Dec 44
75 These rates had not been changed since 1937, when they were fixed at a minimum of 2s 4d an hour for unskilled, 2s 5d to 2s7½d for semi-skilled and 2s 9d for skilled workers.
76 Press, 17 Feb, 2, 19 Mar 45, pp. 8, 4, 4
78 0tago Daily Times, 7 May 45. p. 4
81 Auckland Star, 6 Sep 44, p. 4
85 Auckland Star, 16 Mar 45, p. 4
87 Ibid., 26 Jun 45, p. 6
88 lbid., 21 Apr 45, p. 8
89 Auckland Star, 20 Apr 45, p. 4
90 Press, 22 Mar 45, p. 4
92 Auckland Star, 5 Jan 45, p. 6
93 Standard, 7 Jun, 5 Jul 45, pp. 11, 11
94 Chappell, p. 359, quoting this passage, claimed that the first portion was highly flattering and the last sentence hardly accurate, for the bank had always had regard (or the interests of its smaller customers and the country as a whole.
95 Standard, 16 Nov 44, p. 5
96 Chappell, pp. 350–2
98 Press, 31 Mar 45, p. 6
101 Chappell, pp. 361–2
102 Auckland Star, 1 Sep 44, p. 4
106 NZ Herald, 3 Feb 45, p. 6
109 McLintock, Alexander Hare, CBE('63) (1903–68): NZ Parliamentary Historian, ed A Descriptive Alias of New Zealand (1959), New Zealand Encyclopaedia (1966); former teacher WEA; lecturer History OU 1940–6, English 1950–1
111 Ibid., 10 Feb 45
112 Yearbook 1947–49, p. 42, 1951–52, p. 57
114 Woodward, William Harold (1883–1970); with Occupation Force Samoa 1914, registrar and acting judge German District to 1917, Cmssnr/Chief Judge High Court Samoa 1920–8; SM NZ 1929–53: Pres New Plymouth RSA 1943–4
115 Press, 9 Mar 45, p. 4
116 Bollinger, pp. 106–9
117 Orange, Claudia, ‘A Kind of Equality: Labour and the Maori people 1935–49’, unpublished thesis, p. 181
118 Yearbook1938, pp. 53, 77; H. Belshaw in The Maori People Today, p. 188
119 Yearbook 1944, pp. 29–30
121 Orange, p. 96
122 ‘Report of Young Maori Conference May 22–26. 1939’, p. 19.
123 The houses ‘comprise tents, galvanised iron shacks, portions of stables and manure sheds, and dwellings of packing cases, rough timber and rubberoid…. Over-crowding is prevalent and the sanitary arrangements most primitive. Cooking is done… mostly on open fires and in the majority of cases they sleep, cook, store and eat food in one room.’ Orange, p.183, quoting Rangi Royal to Head Office, 30 Nov 44, MA 30/3/90; see also pp. 805–7
125 NZPD, vol 263, pp. 149–50
126 Orange, pp. 129–30
129 Ibid., 18 Dec 44, p. 4
130 Auckland Star, 7 Feb, 10 Apr 45, pp. 2, 4
131 Unemployment sustenance had once been paid at four different rates: for instance, a single man received Ms (id if he lived in a main centre, 14s if in a secondary town, 12s if in a country district or 9s 6d if he were a Maori. Labour in 1936 had increased the rate (£1 for a single man) and made all equal, increasing Maori receipts considerably. Widows' and age pensions for Maoris, however, remained at about one-fifth less than those for pakehas. Orange, pp. 91, 108; Yearbook 1938, p. 806
132 Yearbook1945, pp. 368, 646; Social Security Amendment Act 1945, sec 13; A to J1946, H–9, p. 9
133 Orange, p. 182, A to J 1944, C–9, p. 4; Auckland Star, 9 Apr 45, p. 3
134 Auckland Star, 19 Aug 42, p. 4
135 Ibid., 27 Jan 43, p. 2, 20 Mar 45, p. 6
137 Auckland Star, 5 Feb. 27 Oct 43, pp. 4, 4
138 Edited by I. L. G. Sutherland and published in 1940 by the NZ Institute of Inter national Affairs and the NZ Council for Educational Research
140 The basis of this remark is not obvious
143 Auckland Star, 6 Feb 45, p. 6
144 Ibid., 17 Feb 45, p. 7
147 Fraser, Admiral of the Fleet Bruce Austin, 1st Baron Fraser of North Cape ('46), of Molesey, GCB('44), KBE('41) (1888-): 3rd Sea Lord & Controller 1939–42; C-in-C Home Fleet 1943–4, Eastern Fleet 1944, British Pacific Fleer 1945–6; C-in-C Portsmouth 1947–8; 1st Sea Lord & CNS 1948–51
148 Truman, Harry S. (1884–1972): 32nd Pres USA 1945–53
149 These are only random gleanings; thorough search would produce a great many more
150 Standard, 5 Aug 36, p. 13, 15 Sep 38, p. 19, a series by a released prisoner, 30 Nov, 7, 14, 28 Dec 39, 11, 18, 25 Jan 40, all p. 2; NZ Herald, 1 Nov 39, p. 12 (and other papers of 30 Oct–1 Nov) from a British White Paper; NZ Listener, 15 Mar 40, p. 9, 3 Jan 41, p. 7
153 Ibid., 19 Dec 42, p. 8
158 Balfour, Arthur James, 1st Earl ('15) (1849–1930): UK statesman, MP (Cons) from 1874; PM 1902–3, 1st Lord Admlty 1915–16, Foreign Sec 1916–19, Lord Pres Cncl 1919–22, 1925–9; made declaration, Nov 1917, that Brit govt favoured establishment in Palestine of national home for Jewish people, without prejudice to civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities
163 Auckland Star, 12 Apr 43, p. 2
164 Ibid., 20 Apr 43, p. 2
165 Press, 16 Aug 44, p. 5
167 Auckland Star, 29 Nov 44, p. 6
169 lbid., 3 Feb 45, p. 7; Press, 5 Feb 45, p. 7
175 Ibid., 26 Apr 45, p. 5
176 A reference to Auschwitz appeared in the Standard on 12 Apr 45, p. 11, and an article on 5 Jul 45, p. 5, referred to a recent overseas broadcast
177 eg, NZ Herald, 9, 22 Jun 45, pp. 7, 9; an account by D. P. Costello, second secretary to the NZ Legation at Moscow, on Maidanek and the camp at Oswiecim (Auschwitz) appeared at the end of August. Evening Post, 29 Aug 45, p. 8
178 They died on 28 and 30 April respectively
180 Wanganui Herald, 8 May 45, p. 7
181 Ibid., 10 May 45, p. 7
182 Press, 9 May 45, p. 4
185 The city authorities, acting correctly, did not hoist flags on the Town Hall until the official VE Day, Wednesday 9 May
186 Eveninig Post, 8 May 45, p. 6
187 Ibid., 9 May 45, p. 6
188 Ibid., 8 May 45, p. 6; Press, 9 May 45, p. 4
191 The snatching of flags was not confined to Auckland. For instance, in orderly Christchurch so many decorations were souvenired that firms were chary about putting more forth on VJ Day. Press, 14 Aug 45, p. 4. At Wanganui, where the offence was widespread, two youths returning from a victory dance were observed taking a string of flags, valued at £1 2s 6d, from a bookseller's shop. They were each fined £2. The magistrate, speaking of larrikinism on an occasion of solemnity, regretted that no more of these miscreants were before the court. Wanganui Herald, 11, 28 May 45, pp. 10, 8
192 Auckland Star, 9 May 45, p. 6
194 Wanganui Herald, 10 May 45, p.10
195 Press, 10 May 45, p. 4
196 These were sung at many such ceremonies
198 Press, 10 May 45, p. 4
199 Ibid., 11 May 45, p. 6
200 Ibid., 14 Aug 45, p. 4
202 Auckland Star, 10 May 45, p. 3
203 McClure, ibid., 11 May 45, p. 5
205 Wood, chap 21
207 Documents, vol III, p. 472
208 Tito, President Josip Broz (1892–1980): Sec-Gen Yugoslav Communist party 1937ff; led uprising against German occupation 1941–5; Supreme Cmdr Yugoslav Nat Liberation Army; Pres Nat Liberation Cmte 1943; PM and Min Nat Defence 1945ff; Pres Yugoslavia 1953–
209 Ibid., vol II, p. 427; Wood, pp. 364–5
213 Ibid., 15 May 45, p. 431
215 These had left New Zealand on 21 July 1943. Kay, Chronology, p. 83
216 Auckland Star, 26 May 45, p. 7
218 Auckland Star, 11 Jun 45, p. 8
221 Eliot, Major George Fielding (1894–1971): US military commentator; military & naval correspondent NY Herald, Times, 1939–46, CBS military analyst 1939–47
223 NZPD, vol 268, pp. 831–2; Wood, pp. 301–2
224 NZPD, vol 268, pp. 829, 831–2, 846
225 Bohr, Dr Niels Henrik David (1885–1962): Prof Theoretical Physics, Copenhagen 1916; Nobel Prize for Physics 1922; Atoms for Peace Award 1957.
228 Rutherford, Ernest, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson, New Zealand, and Cambridge ('31), Kt('14), OM('25), FRS('03) (1871–1937): NZ-born physicist, one of greatest pioneers in subatomic physics; assisted at Manchester University by Bohr, produced ‘Rutherford-Bohr atom’ concept 1913
233 Probably never before have so many listened so intently to so many radios as in the past two days', wrote the Wanganui Herald on Monday, 13 Aug 45, p. 8
235 A declaration of common objectives signed by Roosevelt and Churchill, 14 August 1941
237 Ibid.,16 Aug 45, p. 8
239 press,16 Aug 45, p. 6
240 Ibid.,17 Aug 45, p. 4
242 Ibid., 16, 18 Aug 45, pp.6, 8
247 Auckland Star, 16 Aug 45, p. 2; Timaru Herald, 16 Aug 45, p. 4; Press, 16 Aug 45, p. 6
250 Auckland Star, 17 Aug 45, p. 7
251 In the Rehabilitation Act, ‘servicemen’ was defined to include servicewomen, and published Rehabilitation statistics after 1946 did not distinguish between men and women.
253 0tago Daily Times, 2 Jun 41, p. 4
254 A to J1944, E–2, p. 5, 1945, H–18, pp. 6–7
256 A to J1943, H–18, p. 10
257 Ibid., p. 6, 1945, H–18, p. 17
258 Press, 14 Oct 41
260 A to J1943, H–18, pp. 3–4
261 Ibid., 1944, H–18, p. 30
262 Ibid., 1943, H–18, p. 5, 1944, H–18, p. 4; Yearbook 1947–49, p. 760, 1951–52, p. 906, 1955, p. 256
263 A to J1944, H–18, p. 4
265 Baker, Frederick, DSO (1908–58): Public Works Dept from 1932; cmdr Maori Battalion 1942; inspector State Advances Corporation 1943; Dir Rehabilitation 1943–54 and dep-chmn Rehabilitation Bd; Public Service Cmssn from 1954
266 A to J1945, H–18, p. 5
267 Ibid., 1944, H–18, p. 6
268 Buy, Build or Rent, p. 15
270 Press, 17 Apr 44, p. 3; Yearbook 1947–49, p. 761; A to J 1944, H–18, p. 12
271 A to J1945, H–18, p. 6
272 Ibid., 1946, H–18, p. 10
273 Large ones taking in 26 trainees three times a year were at Auckland (3), Wellington (2), Christchurch, Dunedin, Gisborne and Hamilton; smaller ones, taking in 14, at Kaikohe, Whangarei, Thames, Masterton, Oamaru, Rotorua, Napier, Hastings, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Nelson, Westport, Timaru and Invercargill. Yearbook 1947–49, p. 761
275 Firth, p. 46
276 Yearbook 1947–49, p. 761
277 Ibid., 1951–52, p. 907, 1955, p. 258
278 A to J1945, H–18, pp. 6–8; Press, 1 Mar 44, p. 2
279 A to J1946, H–18, p. 25, 1947, H–18, p. 11; Yearbook 1951–52, p. 908
280 A to J1945, H–18, p. 8
281 Ibid., 1946, H–18, pp. 13, 18, 1947, H–18, p. 11
282 Yearbook 1951–52, p. 908
283 NZPD, vol 267, p. 487
284 Yearbook1946, p. 738
285 Ibid., 1951–52, p. 914; A to J 1945, H–18, p. 4
286 Buy, Build or Rent, p. 15
287 Yearbook1950, p. 837, 1951–52, p. 912
288 Buy, Build or Rent, p. 4
289 Ibid., p. 5 and plans
290 Yearbook1945, pp. 634–5
291 Ibid., 1946, pp. 738–9
292 Ibid., 1947–49, p. 768
293 Ibid., 1951–52, p. 914, 1956, p. 280. The 1947–49 Yearbook was the last to publish a serviceman's waiting list.
294 Yearbook 1951–52, p. 912
295 A to J1944, H–18, p. 18
296 Ibid., 1945, H–18, pp. 10, 11
297 Ibid., 1944, H–18, p. 19
298 Yearbook 1947–49, p. 765
299 Ibid., 1951–52, p. 910, 1956, p. 276
301 Yearbook1946, p. 737
302 These rates were increased, in line with Social Security benefits, to £3 13s and £6 5s respectively, from 1 June 1949. A to J 1950, H–18, p. 9; Yearbook 1947–49, p. 765
303 A to J1945, H–18, p. 19; Yearbook 1945, p. 634
304 A to J1947, H–18, p. 12
305 Ibid., 1948, H–18, p. 10
306 Ibid., 1955, H–18, pp. 7–8
307 NZPD, vol 267, p. 489
309 Now that the coming home was accomplished and the being here an actuality, he became aware of the lassitude, of an emptied-out feeling as though all reserves and ambitions had been focussed on this one point which now achieved had something less to offer than had been anticipated. ‘The Return’, by Isobel Andrews, ibid., 6 Jul 45, p. 24
311 NZPD, vol 267, p. 448
315 Listener, 26 Nov 43, p. 8
316 A to J1946, H–11A, p. 16
317 Kay, Chronology, p. 137; Yearbook 1947–49, p. 200
318 Baker, pp. 258–9, who adds that no great accuracy can be claimed for international comparisons of this sort
319 Calder, p. 321
320 Baker, pp. 255, 260, 270–1
321 Ibid., p. 257
322 Ibid., pp. 615 and 275, which latter notes that only for these and subsequent years are detailed national income estimates available
323 Yearbook 1947–49, p. 942
324 See p. 373
325 Stabilisation, admirably discussed by Baker, is excluded here save for this summary
326 A to J1940, H–44, p. 15; Condliffe, p. 90
327 NZPD, vol 284, p. 4209