Hugh White on Australians and War from Honest History.

In my blog of 20 October ‘It is becoming much easier to go to war’ I highlighted the reasons and the background  to developments since the Vietnam War that are making it much more likely that we will commit ourselves to war. 

In an earlier posting of March 23 – see below –  I carried an interview with Hugh White.

We are venturing into very dangerous territory. John Menadue


In this interview in November 2013 and related articles, Dr David Stephens of Honest History has drawn together comments by Hugh White on ‘Australians and war’.

Hugh White is professor of Strategic Studies at the ANU and a former senior public servant in the Department of Defence. He considers several themes about Australians and war.

  • How ‘soft’ wars have made Australians more bellicose.
  • How the perceived need to preserve the American alliance makes most wars acceptable in Australia.
  • How Australians are reluctant to focus on the purpose of war.
  • How Australians celebrate the experience of war while downplaying the reasons for particular wars; the centrality of Anzac.
  • How romanticising war makes future wars more likely.
  • How these chickens might all come home to roost in the East China Sea in the not too distant future.

The link for this interview can be found at:  and click on 188 Hugh White on Australians and War.

Honest History ( is a coalition of historians and others supporting the balanced and honest presentation and use of Australian history during the centenary of WWI.


Hugh White is emeritus professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University.

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