Diggers and Doughboys: the Art of Allies 100 Years On

9 September 2018 | Bethany Reynard

Australian and American troops fought side-by-side for the first time in July 1918 during World War I. Since then, the Diggers (Australians) and Doughboys (Americans) supported each other in every major military conflict.

Image provided by National World War I Museum and Memorial

Opening Tuesday 11th September in Memory Hall at the National WW1 Museum and Memorial, Diggers and Doughboys: The Art of Allies 100 Years On features incredible artwork from the Australian War Memorial Collection illustrating the unique comradeship between the two countries.

The Diggers and Doughboys became fast comrades not only because their campaign hats and swagger were similar, but also from their shared democratic outlook on military rules, regulations and officers.

From the 93 minutes that the Battle of Hamel took to today, Australian and American forces have shared an alliance forged from steel. That alliance proved steadfast in World War II when they again fought side by side which turned the tide of the war in the Pacific. Almost one million American men and women service personnel trained and passed through Australia during the war.

A pamphlet given to Americans going to fight alongside their Australian counterparts in 1942 related that “the Aussies don’t fight out of a textbook. They’re resourceful, inventive soldiers, with plenty of initiative.”

The Diggers and Doughboys would support each other through every world conflict after 1945 from Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. The military alliance endures today in Syria and Iraq combating the threat of terrorism and as peacekeepers world-wide. The strong bond between the two countries’ military was formalized with the ANZUS Treaty in 1951, a cornerstone of American and Australian national security.

Diggers and Doughboys: The Art of Allies 100 Years On features incredible artwork from the Australian War Memorial Collection illustrating this unique comradeship between the two countries. Find out more and plan your visit here.