Labour History

Fascism Revived? The Association Stands Guard, 1947-52

Labour History (1998), 74, (1), 105–121.

Abstract

This article documents a little-known aspect of Australia’s ‘secret history’. At the height of the Cold War in the late 1940s and early 1950s, an Australia-wide paramilitary organisation known as The Association maintained a silent vigil, preparing to put down a communist revolution. Led by Australia’s most eminent soldier, Major General Sir Thomas Blamey, The Association was well prepared and well funded. This article describes the activities of The Association, while also examining the reliability of intelligence reports which were often critical of the paramilitary group’s vigilance and facist potential. Frustrated by the Communist Party’s apparent reluctance or inability to inspire a working-class uprising, The Association engaged in vigilante violence. The secret army also became involved in the 1949 coal strike, perhaps influencing the Labor Prime Minister, Ben Chifley, to send in troops as strike breakers. In 1950 and 1951 its members may have been used to implement the Menzies government’s plans to intern communists and other labour radicals.

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Details

Author details

Moore, Andrew

Table of Contents

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