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The broken years : a study of the diaries and letters of Australian soldiers in the Great War, 1914-18

Gammage, Bill

Description

There has never been a greater tragedy than World War One. Other events, by leading valorous men to contest trivial causes and by encouraging the perpetration of base and noble acts, have been as treacherous to humanity; no event has involved so many, nor so blighted the hopes of men. The Great War engulfed an age, and conditioned the times that followed. It wreaked havoc and disillusion among everything its contemporaries valued and thought secure, it contaminated every good ideal for which...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorGammage, Bill
dc.date.accessioned2013-10-28T23:30:04Z
dc.date.available2013-10-28T23:30:04Z
dc.date.created1970-02
dc.identifier.otherb12880346
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/10658
dc.description.abstractThere has never been a greater tragedy than World War One. Other events, by leading valorous men to contest trivial causes and by encouraging the perpetration of base and noble acts, have been as treacherous to humanity; no event has involved so many, nor so blighted the hopes of men. The Great War engulfed an age, and conditioned the times that followed. It wreaked havoc and disillusion among everything its contemporaries valued and thought secure, it contaminated every good ideal for which it was waged, it threw up waste and horror worse than all the evils it sought to avert, and it left legacies of staunchness and savagery equal to any which have bewildered men about their purpose on earth. Among those who fought in the war were 330,000 Australians. They were civilians who volunteered for and were accepted into the Australian Imperial Force, soldiers who enlisted and sailed to defend King and Country, or for the novelty of it. Overseas a maelstrom caught them, and in four years swept most of their assumptions away. Although their spirits rarely were broken, they amended their outlooks to absorb the unexpected challenges they encountered, and returned to Australia the flotsam of old ways, but the harbingers of a new world and a new century. One thousand of these soldiers left the documents which inspired what follows, and the thesis considers none but them. Yet wider speculations readily assert themselves, and not merely about the A.I.F. at large, or about kindred soldiers from Canada or New Zealand or Scotland, or about men at war. It may not be possible to discern the nature of man, because each guesses at that from his own standpoint, and in describing others makes a puppet of himself, and dances to his own invention. Yet if these men do not answer great questions, they might be seen to raise them, for they too had to ask whether their actions prospered mankind or corrupted it, whether mankind itself is great or depraved, and whether men serve events or master them. Therefore I commend the chronicles they wrote to the reader. They are impressed with a tragic nobility beyond the ability of the following extracts to convey, and the spirit of an age moves through their pages far more perfectly than through mine.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.titleThe broken years : a study of the diaries and letters of Australian soldiers in the Great War, 1914-18
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorKent, Bruce
dcterms.valid1970
local.description.notesSupervisor: Bruce Kent. This thesis has been made available through exception 200AB to the Copyright Act.
local.description.refereedYes
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued2013-10-29
local.contributor.affiliationAustralian National University
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d77889684509
local.mintdoimint
CollectionsOpen Access Theses

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01Front_Gammage_VOL1.pdfFront Matter563.66 kBAdobe PDFThumbnail
02Whole_Gammage_VOL1.pdfWhole Thesis_VOL18.3 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail
03Whole_Gammage_VOL2.pdfWhole Thesis_VOL27.64 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail


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