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Category Archives: ANZAC
On 31 July 1917, one hundred years ago, Britain launched the Third Battle of Ypres on the Western Front. It would climax in the Battle of Passchendaele in November. During this centenary, will the Australian people be showered with stories … Continue reading
GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 5 of 5)
Part 5: Narrative Overview and Conclusion The emphasis in our military history and remembrance on asking how we fought does not inherently preclude an interest in what we were fighting for. The two narratives could co-exist and interact. But not … Continue reading
GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 4 of 5)
Part 4. A race strategy to save ‘White Australia’ Political manipulation of the society’s racially inflected anxieties was a major factor in the imperial ascendency over national defence policy in the Commonwealth in 1911. The secret implementation of a race … Continue reading
GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 3 of 5)
Part 3. Empire over nation. In 1914-18, the fight for Empire against Asia minimised independent Australian national interests. Ambiguous, interchangeable use of the terms ‘empire’ and ‘nation’ also protected that ‘imperial’ bias in our political culture.
GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 2 of 5)
Part 2. Empire against Asia The ‘imperial’ nature of Australia’s involvement in the Great War was distinctively Australian and, it should be said, a sign of the doubt white settler society had about its survival as a remote outpost of … Continue reading
GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? Part 1 of 5 part series.
To find out what we were fighting for in the Great War we must get past the usual fig-leaf explanation, which is as remarkably effective as it is short on cover in Australian culture.
It appears that all is not well between and among our elite military forces, and between them and their hierarchies above, possibly right up to the government itself. After all it is the government that has committed these elites into … Continue reading
The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired, serving the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy – and even Britain’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy – all in one aircraft … Continue reading
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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. New evidence shows that ‘four out of five’ of the AIF who survived were affected by disability of some kind. Yet, for … Continue reading
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. Villers-Bretonneux is irresistible. It simplifies everything: … Continue reading
From 1916 to 1918 on the Western Front, the Australian divisions suffered 181,000 casualties, including 46,000 dead. Some 10,892 of these dead have no known grave. They died mostly from shrapnel and high explosive shells designed to tear people to … Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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