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'We cannot fight forever': Australia, the First World War and the question of commitment

Bongiorno, Frank

Description

The casual observer of Australia's centenary of ANZAC commemorations might conclude that World War I was a unifying experience, a conflict that forged a confident and cohesive nation within a victorious empire. Gallipoli has been understood as a foundational story, the butchery on the Western Front as an expression of national mettle, and the victories of 1918 as a demonstration of Australian achievement before the eyes of an admiring world. Yet World War I was arguably the most divisive period...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorBongiorno, Frank
dc.date.accessioned2019-04-09T06:04:06Z
dc.identifier.issn0155-0306
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/159385
dc.description.abstractThe casual observer of Australia's centenary of ANZAC commemorations might conclude that World War I was a unifying experience, a conflict that forged a confident and cohesive nation within a victorious empire. Gallipoli has been understood as a foundational story, the butchery on the Western Front as an expression of national mettle, and the victories of 1918 as a demonstration of Australian achievement before the eyes of an admiring world. Yet World War I was arguably the most divisive period in Australia's history, as the country was ripped apart by the conscription crises of 1916 and 1917, and the general strike, dividing along the lines of social class, religious affiliation and political and industrial allegiance, and according to attitudes concerning nation and empire. By 1918 many Australians were afflicted by grief and war-weariness. The Australian labour movement and Labor Party, having lost interest in materially supporting voluntary recruitment and distant from the main arena of warfare in Europe, wanted a negotiated peace. It is likely that if the war had continued into 1919, the full extent of Australia's flagging enthusiasm would soon have been difficult to obscure. The aim of this article is to draw attention to this alternative history, one long recognised by historians of the Australian home front, yet finding no place in modern ANZAC commemoration.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherUniversity of Queensland
dc.rights© 2018
dc.sourceSocial Alternatives
dc.title'We cannot fight forever': Australia, the First World War and the question of commitment
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume37
dc.date.issued2018
local.identifier.absfor210303 - Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
local.identifier.ariespublicationu1007931xPUB148
local.publisher.urlhttp://www.socialalternatives.com
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationBongiorno, Francis (Frank), College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue3
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage6
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage11
local.identifier.absseo950503 - Understanding Australia's Past
dc.date.updated2020-12-20T07:22:34Z
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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