© 2015

The Fifth Column in World War II

Suspected Subversives in the Pacific War and Australia


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Robert Loeffel
    Pages 1-14
  3. Robert Loeffel
    Pages 59-86
  4. Robert Loeffel
    Pages 168-170
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 171-219

About this book


Alarming levels of fear and suspicion developed in Australia following the German victories in Europe of 1940. It was believed the Nazis had prepared an army of subversives a Fifth Column to undermine the war effort. These suspicions plagued the Australian home front for much of the war.


Fifth Column World War II Australia Pacific War terrorism internal security home front army Europe Front Home Front World War I

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of New South WalesAustralia

About the authors

Robert Loeffel is Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Languages at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He has published on German and Australian contemporary history. His previous book, Family Punishment in Nazi Germany: Sippenhaft, Terror and Fear, was released in 2012.

Bibliographic information


“The author explains how the public in Australia developed their concepts of Fifth Columns to explain why the Australians had to retreat from their thrust into Greece or the failure of a northwards push into Malaya or their defeat in Singapore. … This thorough study of public response to war scares makes for interesting history and it is a valuable contribution to the burgeoning studies of the impact of war on Australian society.” (Frank Cain, Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 62 (3), September, 2016)

“Loeffel has broken new ground. It is important for those who follow to examine more closely some of the interesting areas that he could only open. The book is a good read, gripping at times, and one that should appeal beyond academic readership as a timely theme in the 21st century.” (Pam Oliver, The Journal of Pacific History, Vol. 51, March, 2016)