Category Archives: ANZAC

JOHN MENADUE. It is becoming much easier to go to war.

We used to think that the gravest decision any government could make was to take its country to war. Not any more. Going to war for us has now become almost common place. We commit to war after war – … Continue reading

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John Menadue. The Anzac Myth.

Conservatives and militarists want us to cling to a disastrous imperial  war. They encourage us to focus on how our soldiers fought in order to avoid the central issue of why we fought.  

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DOUGLAS NEWTON. The forgotten and ignored German peace initiative of 1916.

Forgotten Great War Centenaries This month, truly important Great War centenaries are passing by quite unnoticed in Australia. A hundred years ago, diplomatic events occurred of far greater significance than any battle in which Australians fought. And – if true … Continue reading

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DOUGLAS NEWTON. The Slide to World War I. Shades of 1914 today?

  Are there shades of 1914 in today’s international collisions? So much is different. Talk of ‘parallels’ is probably overstatement. But there are disturbing continuities. The setting in 1914 In 1914, the ‘Hobbesian’ fatalists who believe that nation states are … Continue reading

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PAUL DALEY. Why Australia Day and Anzac Day helped create a national ‘cult of forgetfulness’.

Australia Day and Anzac Day are months away. But I’m getting in early. It’s beyond time Australia cast off these sturdy cultural crutches that both, somehow, define national birth, so we can discover who and what we truly are. Australia … Continue reading

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GREG DODDS. Australian sacrifice in Vietnam, it’s time to rethink the way we memorialise

Mines are terrible weapons. They can still blow the leg off an innocent trespasser years after a conflict has ended. Dan Tehan, the Minister for Veterans Affairs demonstrated that, figuratively speaking, last month when he snarled at the Vietnamese that their cancelling the … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Best we forget. We commemorate Australians who died in foreign wars in foreign lands, but not Australian aborigines who died in defence of their own country.

Yesterday, in a moving ceremony, the remains of 33 Australians who were buried in military cemeteries in Malaysia and Singapore were returned to Australia. Our Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark … Continue reading

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DAVID STEPHENS. A review of Douglas Newton’s five articles that take us behind the scenes in the Great War.

Douglas Newton confronts the really important questions about war David Stephens reviews five articles by Douglas Newton that take us ‘behind the scenes’ in the Great War

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DAVID STEPHENS. Honest History’s Alternative Guide to the Australian War Memorial

Questioning the received view: Honest History’s Alternative Guide to the Australian War Memorial Which word should we use to describe what happened on 25 April 1915: ‘landing’ or ‘invasion’? Why do we refer to dead soldiers as ‘the fallen’? Does … Continue reading

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Douglas Newton. The Centenary of the Great War – and Anzac

The Great War. What we fought for and why were peace initiatives resisted for so long. Many of those promoting the Anzac Centenary appear to believe that there are certain essentials the Australian people must learn about the Great War: … Continue reading

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Douglas Newton. Lost opportunities for a negotiated peace during the Great War: from 1917 to 1918. Part 2.

During 1917-1918, the Australian divisions in France endured casualties far worse than at Gallipoli. There were huge losses.[1] New evidence shows that ‘four out of five’ of the AIF who survived were affected by disability of some kind.[2] Yet, for … Continue reading

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Douglas Newton. Lost opportunities for a negotiated peace during the Great War: from 1914 to 1916. Part 1

A big centenary is approaching: the battle of Villers-Bretonneux, April 1918. Right now $93.2 million is being spent on the battle site to build the Sir John Monash Centre, ready for Anzac Day 2018.[1] Villers-Bretonneux is irresistible. It simplifies everything: … Continue reading

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Douglas Newton. What we fought for: from Bullecourt to the Armistice, 1917-1918

From 1916 to 1918 on the Western Front, the Australian divisions suffered 181,000 casualties, including 46,000 dead.[1] Some 10,892 of these dead have no known grave.[2] They died mostly from shrapnel and high explosive shells designed to tear people to … Continue reading

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Douglas Newton. What we fought for: from Gallipoli to Fromelles, 1914-1916

Formal speeches about Australia’s Great War normally follow simple rules. The focus is upon military achievement, and defining national values – service, sacrifice, and mateship. Hardship and horror are added, giving lustre to military achievement. National awakening is emphasised: the … Continue reading

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Douglas Newton. The hard questions we should face on Anzac Day 2016.

On Anzac Day 2016, the centenaries of 1916 should loom large. In April 1916, the Australian divisions that had been mauled at Gallipoli were being despatched to the Western Front. The industrialised kill-chain at the Somme awaited them. Other centenary … Continue reading

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David Stephens. How did Canberra get its memorial to Kemal Atatürk?

The Atatürk Memorial in Anzac Parade, Canberra, was unveiled on Anzac Day 1985. Over the signature ‘Kemal Atatürk’, the memorial bears an inscription which commences like this: Those heroes that shed their blood And lost their lives … You are … Continue reading

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If we strike a deal with Japan, we’re buying more than submarines.

In this article in the Melbourne Age, Hugh White comments ‘So before we decide whether to select the Japanese (submarine) bid, we have to ask if an alliance with Japan is good for Australia.’ See link to full article below: … Continue reading

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Geoff Miller. Japan, ’embedding’ and a world not of pure reason.

“The Australian” of 29 March reported Murray McLean, former Ambassador to Japan, as defending the Japanese submarine bid against criticism that it would amount to a “virtual alliance” that would ultimately thrust us into conflict with China. He reportedly said … Continue reading

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David Stephens. Malcolm Turnbull’s post-Anzac pitch to the Australian Defence Force

Tony Abbott admired soldiers. He liked to be around them, to talk about the fortunes of war (“shit happens,” as he memorably muttered to troops in Afghanistan). He quoted Samuel Johnson about how men despise themselves if they have never … Continue reading

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John Menadue. The Frontier Wars.

The following extract ‘The Frontier War’ was part of an address that I gave in September 2013 for the launch of the Catholic Social Justice Statement. It was carried on this blog at the time. It was one of many … Continue reading

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John Menadue. Commercialisation and the Casualness of Going to War

Repost from 23/04/2015. If we feel overwhelmed by the crass commercialism of Gallipoli and Anzac, take a deep breath because there are three years to go. Target has sponsored ‘Camp Gallipoli’, Woolworths has asked us to ‘Keep Fresh in our … Continue reading

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Douglas Newton. Australia’s Leap into the Great War.

One of the great clichés of Australia’s entry into the Great War is that Australia stepped up to ‘answer the call’ of the Mother Country. Much of the press coverage of the centenary of Anzac repeats this claim and adds … Continue reading

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David Stephens. ‘There will be blood’: ministerial remarks on the responsibility of children.

There will be blood from the sword up to the belly of a horse, and the thigh of a human, and the hock of a camel. And there will be great fear and trembling upon the earth. And those who … Continue reading

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Frank Brennan. ANZAC Centenary Homily.

 ANZAC Centenary Homily Harvard Memorial Church 25 April 2015 Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO Homily This Memorial Church here at Harvard was dedicated on Armistice Day 1932 in memory of those who died in World War I.  The inscription over … Continue reading

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John Tulloh. Gallipoli: Lest we forget the British promise to the Indians.

  One hundred years on, many Australians probably still regard the Gallipoli campaign as an event involving only Australia and, to a lesser extent, New Zealand. We hear mainly legends, tales of derring-do, myths and maudlin sentimentality about the Australians … Continue reading

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Peter Day. Rather Be Dancing With Me Rosie.

My grandad, he represented Australia; wore a green helmet, too. Walked out and faced the music: ducked a lead ball, not a leather one, mind you. Not much of a dressing shed in which to relax and prepare; A stinking-bloody-trench, … Continue reading

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David Stephens. Atatürk’s famous words of 1934 questioned

  Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they … Continue reading

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Julianne Schultz. The Great War and Australia’s future.

The Gallipoli centenary provides a unique opportunity to reflect on the many wartime legacies – human, political, economic, military – that forged independent nations from former colonies and dominions. Over the next fortnight, The Conversation, in partnership with Griffith Review, … Continue reading

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John Menadue. Best we forget – the Frontier War and the Maori Wars.

See below post I made on this subject in October 2013. John Menadue Repost.  The drumbeat grows louder.  In the lead-up to the centenary of Gallipoli in 2015 the military drums are growing louder. We are expected to cheer it … Continue reading

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Henry Reynolds. Militarisation marches on.

This article by Henry Reynolds was initially posted in September last year.  John Menadue Australia is obsessed with war. For a generation, federal governments have funded an intense program highlighting the importance of our military history. It has reached into … Continue reading

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