1941 was a very significant year in the AAP (Australia, Asia and the Pacific) region. This was the year in which World War 2 began in the region, during the period of Japanese expansion. From this point onwards, things such as the war, foreign affairs (such as the period of communism), immigration and trade have changed the policies and attitudes of the Australian people, which were in place from federation (1901) to the beginning of the war.
World War 2 did not change Australian attitudes so much as it reinforced them. For a long time there was a fear among the Australian people of Asian invasion, firstly from the Chinese when they flocked to Australia during the gold rush, and then from the Japanese after World War 1, nicknamed the "Yellow Peril". This attitude was in place because the Japanese had shown themselves to have a much stronger military than had been previously thought when they defeated the Russian forces in a territory dispute. The Russians had a quite mighty army at the time. The reason this attitude was enforced during World War 2 was because the Japanese one by one took over a huge number of countries in the region, right up to Australia's doorstep, and even ended up bombing a lot of towns and cities in northern Australia such as Darwin. Although Japan was very strong during the war (this was shown when they attacked Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, in 1941, and severely depleted the American forces there) the tide turned in 1942 at the Battle of the Coral Sea, which was the Allied forces" first naval win in the region. Another extremely significant victory for Australia came in the Battle for the Kokoda trail, in which a seriously outnumbered Australian force took on the advancing Japanese forces from the north coast on their quest for taking over Port Moresby. The Australians advanced from the south coast and succeeded in stopping their advance and eventually driving them back and off the island of Papua New Guinea.