Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Humanities and Social Inquiry


This thesis is based on the belief that Richard Casey played a greater role than has been attributed to him in the foundation of the wartime alliance between Australia and the United States. Throughout his distinguished political career, Casey lived in the shadow of the Prime Ministers Robert Menzies and John Curtin. Casey was widely praised by contemporaries and scholars for his tireless efforts as Australia’s first ambassador to the United States in 1940- 42, yet there is little public recognition of his role in laying the foundation for the alliance between Australia and the United States. Bridge and other academic historians have rehabilitated Casey; this has not, however, flowed through to popular culture and writers of popular histories. Instead, most accounts misleadingly credit Prime Minister John Curtin with the fact that Australia successfully ‘looked to America’ for its salvation in World War Two. It will be argued here that one reason for the neglect of Casey is that, while he is often credited as a superb publicist and networker in Washington, he is not normally given much credit in the American decision in December 1941 to turn Australia into its Pacific base. It will be argued here that there needs to be greater recognition of Casey as a strategic thinker who, more than Curtin or any other Australian, facilitated the transformation of Australia into a key American ally.