World War II

The Library has a large collection of material on World War II, especially relating to Australia’s involvement.

The official history series Australia in the war of 1939–1945 gives a detailed account of the role of the army, navy, air force, medical forces and civilians. We hold the official histories of the Canadian, Indian and New Zealand forces as well. You can also track the movements of a particular regiment through our unit histories, casualty records and the order of battles.

Biographies and personal narratives are held on military leaders, soldiers, Holocaust survivors and prisoners of war and we have letters and diaries, including items from people engaged in the war in the Pacific. There are thousands of images too, many available for viewing online.

Our collection covers works on specific battles and campaigns, such as the Battle of BritainEl Alamein, Stalingrad, New Guinea, the Kokoda trail and Guadalcanal. We also have significant publications on aircraft, ships, weapons and uniforms, such as the popular series Jane’s fighting ships and Jane's fighting aircraft.

There are also resources on the rise of Nazism and fascism, war espionage, the breaking of the Enigma code and assassination attempts on Hitler.

For contemporary accounts of the war we have a large collection of eresources including newspapers of the day like The Times, or Trove for Australian papers; the British National Archives for public records on regiments and individuals; articles in Historical abstracts, JSTOR and Periodicals index online; and a range of ebooks.

More to explore