“Meditation at the Woodpile”


“Meditation at the Woodpile” (March 3, 1938)
by Gerald Aloysius (Jerry) Doyle, Jr. (1898-1986)
15.5 x 18 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

Jerry Doyle spent most of his career at The Philadelphia Record, The Philadelphia Daily News(1951) and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He retired in 1973. Doyle’s support for the New Deal meant that his cartoons generally expressed support for President Roosevelt, whom he depicted as tall, imposing, powerful, and larger-than-life. Doyle’s early and continual criticism towards Hitler and Mussolini made him the only American cartoonist to be put on the Nazi hit list. He wrote the book “According to Doyle – A Cartoon History of World War II” (1943). His son, who carried his name, was also a part-time cartoonist (1926-2009).

After WW1, Kaiser Wilhelm exiled himself to Holland.  He settled in a country house in the municipality of Doorn, known as Huis Doorn, on May 15, 1920. And Hitler, a veteran of WW1, like other leading Nazis, felt nothing but contempt for the man they blamed for Germany’s greatest defeat.

On February 4, 1938, The Wehrmacht was established in Nazi Germany by decree, putting Hitler himself in complete control of the military. The new command structure abolished the position of War Minister, and twelve senior generals were sent into retirement.

On February 12, 1938, Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg went to see Hitler in Berchtesgaden. Schuschnigg tried to open the meeting with light conversation about the beauty of the view, but Hitler brushed such talk aside and began a tirade of shouting, threatening to invade unless his demands compromising Austria’s sovereignty were met.

On February 22, 1938, by a vote of 330-168, Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policy was endorsed by the House of Commons. Winston Churchill was among about 20 Conservatives who abstained from voting.

On March 1, 1938, Hermann Goering was presented with a field marshal’s baton by Adolf Hitler, who made the gesture to placate Goering for not giving him a cabinet position.

In news reports on March 2, 1938, Field Marshal General Hermann Goering, warns that Adolf Hitler’s “protectorate” over Germans of Austria and Czechoslovakia will be backed up by Nazi bombing planes: “We are burning with zeal … to prove to Der Fuehrer and the German people that his air force is invincible.” The Field Marshal didn’t say how the Third Reich proposed to avoid hitting Germans as well as Austrians in Vienna, further saying that his air force would be “terrible in action.”

Burning with Zeal… Locked and Loaded… Fire and Fury…

Kaiser Wilhelm, in Holland, Wilhelm has grown to distrust Hitler: “We have ceased to live under the rule of law and everyone must be prepared for the possibility that the Nazis will push their way in and put them up against the wall!”

On March 12, 1938, German troops marched into Austria to annex the German-speaking nation for the Third Reich.

Wilhelm was also appalled at the Kristallnacht of 9–10 November 1938: “For the first time, I am ashamed to be a German.”

From a published article by ex-Kaiser Wilhelm on Hitler, December 15, 1938:

“There’s a man alone, without family, without children, without God … He builds legions, but he doesn’t build a nation. A nation is created by families, a religion, traditions: it is made up out of the hearts of mothers, the wisdom of fathers, the joy and the exuberance of children … For a few months I was inclined to believe in National Socialism. I thought of it as a necessary fever. And I was gratified to see that there were, associated with it for a time, some of the wisest and most outstanding Germans. But these, one by one, he has got rid of or even killed … He has left nothing but a bunch of shirted gangsters! This man could bring home victories to our people each year, without bringing them either glory or danger. But of our Germany, which was a nation of poets and musicians, of artists and soldiers, he has made a nation of hysterics and hermits, engulfed in a mob and led by a thousand liars or fanatics.”

“Mr Benito Micawber Waits for Something to Show Up”


“Mr Benito Micawber Waits for Something to Show Up” (July 3, 1943)
by Gerald Aloysius (Jerry) Doyle, Jr. (1898-1986)
16 x 18 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

Jerry Doyle spent most of his career at The Philadelphia Record, The Philadelphia Daily News(1951) and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He retired in 1973. Doyle’s support for the New Deal meant that his cartoons generally expressed support for President Roosevelt, whom he depicted as tall, imposing, powerful, and larger-than-life. Doyle’s early and continual criticism towards Hitler and Mussolini made him the only American cartoonist to be put on the Nazi hit list. He wrote the book “According to Doyle – A Cartoon History of World War II” (1943). His son, who carried his name, was also a part-time cartoonist (1926-2009).

Wilkins Micawber was a clerk in Charles Dickens’s 1850 novel David Copperfield. He is traditionally identified with the optimistic belief that “something will turn up.” His name has become synonymous with someone who lives in hopeful expectation.

Mussolini’s dreams of waging a short war almost independently from Hitler faded away during 1941 in the snows of Greece. His main concern became how to secure an important place for Italy in a German-dominated Europe. Hitler blamed his need to go rescue the Italians on the Greek front for delaying his invasion of Russia.

As the war turned against Germany, Mussolini wanted to find a political solution to the conflict by negotiating a separate peace agreement with Moscow.

By mid-June, 1943, the war was all but lost for the Italians. The Italian population was alienated, and the Grand Council and the king were pressing Mussolini to negotiate a way out of the war.

Mussolini was completely isolated. He was playing both sides. And although years later, Mussolini’s alienation is notably described in Bosworth’s biography of him as Dickens’s Wilkins Micawber who, despite ‘of being utterly devoid of plans’, obstinately hoped – somehow – ‘that something positive would turn up,’ it’s pretty clear that this was a contemporary editorial position.

In late June, Mussolini was continuing his psychological contest with Hitler. On July 1, 1943, against the Hitler’s wishes, Mussolini met with the Romanian deputy premier, Antonescu, with whom he agreed to promote the long-debated inter-Axis conference (and a Nazi-Soviet settlement, which was of no interest to Hitler).

The Allies were knocking on the door, and the first invasion of Nazi-controlled Europe would begin on July 10, 1943, when Patton’s army landed in Sicily.  In his last speech before the invasion, Mussolini was still declaring his confidence in being able to repulse the Allies and demonstrate the futility of taking on the Axis. ‘Maybe then’, he said, ‘whoever until now has let himself be slaughtered all to the good of the Anglo-Saxon plutocracy will realize that the game is not worth the candle.’

This is a great saying that we have lost. It refers to playing a game of cards for stakes that are so low that it is not worth the price of the candle being used to light the play.***

On the day of the landing, the Italian government secretly agreed to the Allies’ terms for surrender, but no public announcement was made until September 8.

On July 25, 1943, following the agreement, Mussolini was voted out of power by his own Grand Council and arrested upon leaving a meeting with King Vittorio Emanuele, who tells Il Duce that the war is lost.

*** candles were a real expense, of course, as much as paying an electric bill is today; perhaps not surprisingly, there were many phrases that related to not wasting your candles. I wonder if its use by Mussolini in 1943 might not have been the last highly visible occurrence?

A brief view of the early etymology:

Stephen Gosson’s “The ephemerides of Phialo… And a short apologie of The schoole of abuse,” (1579): “I burnt one candle to seek another, and lost bothe my time and my trauell [work].”

In William Lambarde’s “Eirenarcha,” (1581): “I shal but set a Candle in the Sunshine.”

‘Not worth the candle’ is ultimately of French origin. It appears in Randle Cotgrave’s “A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues,” (1611), where it is listed as: “Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle.”

The first known printed record of the phrase in English is in Sir William Temple’s “Works,” (1690): “Perhaps the Play is not worth the Candle.”

“War! War!”


“War! War!” (June 13, 1940)
by Emidio (Mike) Angelo (1903-1990)
18 x 18 in., ink on art board
Coppola Collection

Emidio Angelo was born in Philadelphia, a year after his mother and father, a baker, arrived from Italy. He studied art from 1924 to 1928 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Angelo joined The Philadelphia Inquirer as a political cartoonist in 1937 and worked there until 1954. He also drew cartoons for the Saturday Evening Post, Life and Esquire.

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. And less than a year later, both sides (but especially the Germans) were set to escalate past The Phoney War. Germany invades the West on May 10, 1940, taking the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. This was the day British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned and was replaced by Winston Churchill. In six weeks time, Hitler would be walking through the streets of Paris.

On June 8, 1940, the Germans crossed the Seine.

On June 9, 1940, the French government fled Paris.

On June 10, Norway surrendered to Germany.

On the evening of June 10, 1940, Benito Mussolini appeared on the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia to announce that in six hours, Italy would be in a state of war with France and Britain.

“People of Italy: take up your weapons and show your tenacity, your courage and your valor.”

The Italians had no battle plans of any kind prepared. Anti-Italian riots broke out in major cities across the United Kingdom after Italy’s declaration of war. Bricks, stones and bottles were thrown through the windows of Italian-owned shops, and 100 arrests were made in Edinburgh alone. Canada declared war on Italy. Italy broke off relations with Poland. Belgium broke off relations with Italy. And the Italian invasion of France began.

While making a commencement speech at the Memorial Gymnasium of the University of Virginia, President Roosevelt denounced Mussolini: “On this tenth day of June, 1940, the hand that held the dagger has plunged it into the back of its neighbor.” The president also said that military victories for the “gods of force and hate” were a threat to all democracies in the western world and that America could no longer pretend to be a “lone island in a world of force.”

On June 14, the Germans entered Paris unopposed (and as every fan of Casablancaknows, Ilsa Lund left Rick Blaine a goodbye note as he boarded the train to Marseille, on the way to North Africa).

On June 23, 1940, Adolf Hitler took a train to Paris and visited sites including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Napoleon’s tomb.

“You Gotta Stop Picking on Me!”


“You Gotta Stop Picking on Me!” (October 9, 1939)
by Emidio (Mike) Angelo (1903-1990)
18 x 18 in., ink on art board
Coppola Collection

Emidio Angelo was born in Philadelphia, a year after his mother and father, a baker, arrived from Italy. He studied art from 1924 to 1928 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Angelo joined The Philadelphia Inquirer as a political cartoonist in 1937 and worked there until 1954. He also drew cartoons for the Saturday Evening Post, Life and Esquire.

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland.

On October 4, 1939, Adolf Hitler issued a secret decree granting an amnesty to all crimes committed by German military and police personnel in Poland between September 1 and October 4. The decree justified the crimes as being natural responses to “atrocities committed by the Poles.

On October 5, 1939, Hitler flew to Warsaw and reviewed a victory parade in the fallen Polish capital.

On October 6, 1939, Hitler addressed a special session of the Reichstag. After speaking at great length about the victory over Poland he then proposed an international security conference, hinting at desire for an armistice by saying that such a conference would be impossible “while cannons are thundering.”

And there is the context for this view of Germany’s two-faced relationship with the truth. The public face of Germany’s actions was so guided and calculated as to appear uneventful, birthing the notion that these first 8 months or so of WW2 were called The Phoney War (until the European invasion on May 10, 1940).

On October 12, 1939, the regions of Nazi-occupied Poland not annexed by the Reich were incorporated into a new administrative unit called the General Government.

“Army-Navy 1938”


“Army-Navy 1938” (November 26, 1938)
by Emidio (Mike) Angelo (1903-1990)
18 x 19 in., ink on art board
Coppola Collection

Emidio Angelo was born in Philadelphia, a year after his mother and father, a baker, arrived from Italy. He studied art from 1924 to 1928 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Angelo joined The Philadelphia Inquirer as a political cartoonist in 1937 and worked there until 1954. He also drew cartoons for the Saturday Evening Post, Life and Esquire.

On May 14, 1938, the English national football team, in its last outing with the German team, was ordered to give the Nazi salute, in what remains today among the most controversial moments in sports history.

On September 30, 1938, British PM Neville Chamberlain arrived at Heston Aerodrome following a conference with Adolf Hitler and other European leaders in Munich. Holding up the recently signed Anglo-German Declaration for the assembled crowd to see, Chamberlain declared that he had secured “peace for our time.” The meetings had resulted in the Munich Agreement, which allowed and legitimized Nazi Germany’s recent annexation of parts of Czechoslovakia. Hitler, who had annexed Austria earlier in the year, had vowed to invade Czechoslovakia on October 1, 1938, to occupy the German-speaking Sudetenland region. And thanks, in part, to his secret pact with the Soviets, he did just that. It was the beginning of the end for Chamberlain.

Throughout the autumn of 1938, Britain was once again on the brink of armed conflict with Germany as the latter’s aggression increased.

November 6, 1938 was Kristallnacht. A wave of violence targeting Jews occurred throughout Germany and Austria in retaliation for the assassination of Ernst vom Rath. Nazi authorities did not interfere as Jewish shops and synagogues were burned and looted, and 20,000 Jews were arrested. Remarkably, that same evening, Swiss citizen Maurice Bavaud attended a parade in Munich celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch with the intention of assassinating Adolf Hitler with a pistol. However, Hitler marched on the far side of the street relative to Bavaud’s position making the shot too difficult, so he abandoned his attempt. A week later, on November 13, Bavaud was caught stowing away on a train in Augsburg. Later, when interrogated by the Gestapo he admitted his plan to assassinate Hitler.

On November 18, 1938, 3,500 members of the motion picture industry attended a “Quarantine Hitler” rally at the Philharmonic Auditorium in Los Angeles. The crowd unanimously voted to send a telegram to President Roosevelt urging him to use his authority to “express further the horror and the indignation of the American people” at the Nazi persecutions of Jews and Catholics.

On November 21, 1938, Neville Chamberlain told the House of Commons of plans to lease at least 10,000 square miles in British Guiana to provide homes for German Jewish refugees

On November 24, 1938, Hitler ordered his military to prepare for an occupation of Danzig.

On November 26, 1938, the Army-Navy Game was played under the shadow of these world events.

“Biography of a President”


“Biography of a President” (June 16, 1937)
by John Tinney McCutcheon (1870-1949)
14 x 21.5 in., ink on drawing board
Coppola Collection

On the Purdue campus, where he was a student, McCutcheon (class of 1889) is memorialized in a coeducational dormitory, John T. McCutcheon Hall. The lobby displays an original of one of his drawings, a nearly life-size drawing of a young man.

After college, McCutcheon moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he worked at the Chicago Morning News(later: Chicago Record) and then at the Chicago Tribunefrom 1903 until his retirement in 1946. McCutcheon received the Pulitzer Prize for Cartoons in 1932.

On February 5, 1937 (20 years to the day before I was born), President Franklin Roosevelt announces a controversial plan to expand the Supreme Court to as many as 15 judges, allegedly to make it more efficient. Critics immediately charged that Roosevelt was trying to “pack” the court and thus neutralize Supreme Court justices hostile to his New Deal.

During the previous two years, the high court had struck down several key pieces of New Deal legislation on the grounds that the proposed laws delegated an unconstitutional amount of authority to the executive branch and the federal government. The February 1937 plan was to provide retirement at full pay for all members of the court over 70. If a justice refused to retire, an “assistant” with full voting rights was to be appointed, thus ensuring Roosevelt a liberal majority. Most Republicans and many Democrats in Congress opposed the so-called “court-packing” plan.

The Senate buried FDR’s judicial reform proposal in committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s report, released on June 14, 1937, denounced the measure as a “needless, futile and utterly dangerous abandonment of constitutional principle.”

The majority opinion acknowledged that the national economy had grown to such a degree that federal regulation and control was now warranted. Roosevelt’s reorganization plan was thus unnecessary, and in July the Senate struck it down by a vote of 70 to 22.

The margin notes:

Under 1: He greets representatives of the Press.
Under 2: He instantly receives many offers from enemies and friends who wish to cooperate.
Under 3: He is obliged to call off all further offers of assistance.

“The Man Who Asked for It”


“The Man Who Asked for It” (July 31, 1944)
by William (Bill) Crawford (1913-1982)
18.5 x 22.5 in., ink and crayon on heavy paper
Coppola Collection

Crawford worked as a sports cartoonist and for the Washington Daily Newsand the Washington Postfrom 1936-38. He joined the Newark Newsas an editorial cartoonist and his cartoons were distributed to more than 700 daily newspapers by the Newspaper Enterprise Association. He was an active member of the National Cartoonists Society, serving as its president and vice-president. In 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1963 he was awarded “Best Editorial Cartoon” by the National Cartoonist Society, and in 1973 he received their Silver T-Square Award. Crawford retired in 1977.

Brazil was underdeveloped in the 1930s, with a mediocre military and poor infrastructure.

Yet, the tip of Brazil is one end of the shortest distance across the Atlantic from Nazi-occupied Africa, at 1600 miles. So the fear of Brazil being the beachhead for an invasion of the Americas was real.

By early 1944, the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (BEF) had been formed, and local soldier were being trained by a combination of American and British advisors. On July 30, 1944, the first BEF troops embarked at Rio de Janeiro to cross the Atlantic and complete training in Africa, moving from there to join the US in Italy. From September 15 to October 30, 1944, the Brazilians relieved American troops in the Serchio Valley, near Pisa and Livorno on the coast, and have successive victories retaking small provinces in the area, capturing about a 30-mile swath.

“Achilles Heel?”


“Achilles Heel?” (January 13, 1943)
by Burris A. Jenkins, Jr. (1897-1966)
10 x 16 in, ink and crayon on board
Coppola Collection

Burris Jenkins Jr. was the son of a prominent Kansas City minister, war correspondent and newspaper editor. Jenkins Jr. was a popular sports cartoonist, whose work appeared in the New York Journal-American from 1931. His humorous published verses were also popular. Although best known for his sports themes, Jenkins was also a skilled courtroom illustrator and editorial cartoonist.

Jenkins was not afraid to provoke, and he has some strong WW2 examples, including one of the rare direct commentaries on concentration (death) camps. Among his best-remembered cartoons are his angry piece on the discovery of the dead Lindbergh baby, and his sentimental image of Babe Ruth’s farewell to Yankee Stadium.

He was fired from his first job at the Kansas City Post for a series of pessimistic Christmas cartoons, a firing that prompted his father’s resignation from the same newspaper.

His father was an interesting guy. Jenkins, Sr (1968-1945) was ordained in 1891 and served as a pastor in Indianapolis. He received advanced degrees from Harvard and went on to serve as a professor and president of the University of Indianapolis and president of Kentucky University. He left Kentucky to return to Kansas City as pastor of the Linwood Boulevard Christian Church. The church burned in 1939, and Jenkins chose Frank Lloyd Wright as the architect for the church’s new home overlooking the Country Club Plaza.

Jenkins served as editor of the Kansas City Post from 1919 to 1921, hoping to fight for the establishment of the League of Nations. The Jenkins, Sr., biography tells the story about his leaving the Post slightly differently that for the son: “After two years, it became necessary for him to choose between the newspaper and his pulpit and, without hesitation, he resigned from the Post.”

“Live dangerously!” Jenkins would thunder from the pulpit, embracing his own philosophy against all adversaries. Unconventional in nearly every aspect of his chosen field, Jenkins often preached from non-Biblical texts, such as the latest book or his travels abroad. The church frequently hosted motion pictures, dances, card games, and fundraising boxing matches. These activities led to opposition to Jenkins and his Community Church from other churches in the city.

In January 1943, the strength of the U-Boat fleet was at a maximum. A new German commander had over 200 functional units in operation. Their wartime tactics had been successful, attacking on the surface at night in ‘wolf packs,’ which allowed them to make use of their low silhouette and high surface speed, at the same time minimizing the chances of being detected.

The tide was about to turn, but the concern was clearly evident.

In 2019, this cartoon might have been subtitled “America’s Ass.” (see: “Avengers: Endgame” if you do not get that reference)

“Propaganda” (80 years ago)


“Propaganda” (October 26, 1939)
by Emidio (Mike) Angelo (1903-1990)
13 x 13.5 in., ink on art board
Coppola Collection

Emidio Angelo was born in Philadelphia, a year after his mother and father, a baker, arrived from Italy. He studied art from 1924 to 1928 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Angelo joined The Philadelphia Inquirer as a political cartoonist in 1937 and worked there until 1954. He also drew cartoons for the Saturday Evening Post, Life and Esquire.


On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. To justify the action, Nazi propagandists falsely claimed that Poland had been planning, with its allies Great Britain and France, to encircle and dismember Germany and that Poles were persecuting ethnic Germans. The SS, in collusion with the German military, staged a phony Polish attack on a German radio station. Hitler then used this action to launch a “retaliatory” campaign against Poland.

Like all clever propagandists, Hitler sought to mask his true intentions by appealing to the moral high ground. He understood that many, if not most, Germans did not want to go to war again; World War I had cost the nation some 2 million dead. And indeed there was no uproar of enthusiasm when German troops invaded Poland. What made it palatable to the civilian population was to paint Germany as the victim of foreign machinations and violence. By staging the phony attacks on the German borders, the Nazis provided “proof” of their victimhood and used it in tandem with the claim that Germany was encircled by enemies in the east and west. To further preserve Germany’s image as the victim, the Propaganda Ministry directed the German press not to refer to the invasion of Poland as war, but only as a military intervention.

In October 1939, Germany directly annexed former Polish territories along German’s eastern border: West Prussia, Poznan, Upper Silesia, and the former Free City of Danzig.

On October 6, Hitler addressed a special session of the Reichstag. After speaking at great length about the victory over Poland he then proposed an international security conference, hinting at desire for an armistice by saying that such a conference would be impossible “while cannons are thundering.” Britain and France rejected these overtures some days later and the uneventful phase of the war known as the Phoney War would drag on until May 10, 1940 (when Germany invaded Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and Churchill replaced Chamberlain).

A Gallup poll was published in the United States asking, “What should be the policy in the present European war? Should we declare war and send our army and navy abroad to fight Germany?” 95% of Americans polled said no.

“The Wild Man of Borneo”


“The Wild Man of Borneo” (June 12, 1945)
by Burris A. Jenkins, Jr. (1897-1966)
15 x 18 in., ink and crayon on board
Coppola Collection

Burris Jenkins Jr. was the son of a prominent Kansas City minister, war correspondent and newspaper editor. Jenkins Jr. was a popular sports cartoonist, whose work appeared in the New York Journal-American from 1931. His humorous published verses were also popular. Although best known for his sports themes, Jenkins was also a skilled courtroom illustrator and editorial cartoonist.

Jenkins was not afraid to provoke, and he has some strong WW2 examples, including one of the rare direct commentaries on concentration (death) camps. Among his best-remembered cartoons are his angry piece on the discovery of the dead Lindbergh baby, and his sentimental image of Babe Ruth’s farewell to Yankee Stadium.

He was fired from his first job at the Kansas City Post for a series of pessimistic Christmas cartoons, a firing that prompted his father’s resignation from the same newspaper.

His father was an interesting guy. Jenkins, Sr (1968-1945) was ordained in 1891 and served as a pastor in Indianapolis. He received advanced degrees from Harvard and went on to serve as a professor and president of the University of Indianapolis and president of Kentucky University. He left Kentucky to return to Kansas City as pastor of the Linwood Boulevard Christian Church. The church burned in 1939, and Jenkins chose Frank Lloyd Wright as the architect for the church’s new home overlooking the Country Club Plaza.

Jenkins served as editor of the Kansas City Post from 1919 to 1921, hoping to fight for the establishment of the League of Nations. The Jenkins, Sr., biography tells the story about his leaving the Post slightly differently that for the son: “After two years, it became necessary for him to choose between the newspaper and his pulpit and, without hesitation, he resigned from the Post.”

“Live dangerously!” Jenkins would thunder from the pulpit, embracing his own philosophy against all adversaries. Unconventional in nearly every aspect of his chosen field, Jenkins often preached from non-Biblical texts, such as the latest book or his travels abroad. The church frequently hosted motion pictures, dances, card games, and fundraising boxing matches. These activities led to opposition to Jenkins and his Community Church from other churches in the city.

The island of Borneo, with its oilfields and strategic location for the offensive against British Malaya and Dutch Java, was one of the prime targets of Japan’s military offensive of 1941-42. The Japanese systematically and swiftly secured their objectives in Borneo during the early months of their push into the resource-rich Southern Area (South-East Asia) following Pearl Harbor.

In 1945 the task of retaking from the Japanese the former British Borneo territories of Sarawak, Brunei, and North Borneo (Sabah) was entrusted to the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). The 20th and 24th Brigades of the 9th Division launched an amphibious offensive, codenamed OBOE 6.

In order to facilitate his re-conquest of the Philippines, MacArthur struck a deal with the Dutch that he be given “complete authority in the East Indies during any military operations.” In return, he promised to restore Dutch authority in their colonies as rapidly as possible. Therefore, the recapture of the Netherlands East Indies, particularly Java, became part of MacArthur’s plans. The seizure of Borneo was to offer bases to launch his offensive against Java. Furthermore MacArthur argued that the Bornean oilfields would be denied the enemy and instead deployed to Allied advantage.

Nonetheless MacArthur had no intention of committing American land forces in the Borneo campaign. Instead, Australian troops would spearhead the offensive there. Two main landings were undertaken by the Australians in North Borneo on June 10 and June 20.