Articles on World War I

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“A few days rest in billets”. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library

Comics tap into the real emotions of the world wars

In its new exhibition, the British Library celebrate the subversive history of the comic. As ever, such a complex heritage can hardly be covered in such a show. But it is a symptom of a more widespread…
Tooth Hill Camp, 1918. JB Winterburn. Source George Pascoe, 1918

How I found the lost desert camp of Lawrence of Arabia

A fantastic coincidence, coupled with research, led to my discovery of a wartime camp in the Jordan desert that was occupied in 1918. This was a camp used by T E Lawrence, or “Lawrence of Arabia”, and…
Personal records of soldiers and their families bring us closer to the effects and experience of war. Australian War Memorial

Soldiers’ true war stories will live on in the digital archives

The coming centenary of the first world war has already prompted some disquiet about a revival of the so-called “history wars”, given the significance of war to ideas of Australian national identity. In…
Not regulation… Fearless Stumbler

Current crafts craze echoes World War I knitting projects

The rise of stitch and knit clubs, guerrilla knitting, yarn bombing and calls to knit sweaters for oil-spill affected penguins have all drawn attention to craft as a force for social change. Knitting is…
Trench warfare was a calculated strategy. USMC Archives

Four things we get wrong about World War I

Most wars are rich in tales of agency and decision. Yet many tales of the Great War are told otherwise. The dominant narrative tells us that we were passive victims of an irrational disaster. Everything…
An alternative form of war literature? Nomadic Lass

For another view of World War I, look to Lord of the Rings

In the year of the World War I centenary, much renewed attention has been paid to war poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon and tables in bookshops are groaning under the weight of their work. These…
Black Diggers tells the stories of young Indigenous soldiers who fought in the first world war. How did their stories get forgotten? Jamie Williams/Sydney Festival

Indigenous soldiers remembered: the research behind Black Diggers

In August 2012, I was invited by the Sydney Festival to work with Wesley Enoch, Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre Company, to assist in developing Black Diggers, currently playing as part of the…
Forget Blackadder, these are the guys Gove should be worrying about. Ian West/PA

Young Brits think WWI was futile, but don’t blame Blackadder

As Britain starts four years of commemorating the centenary of the First World War, Blackadder Goes Forth, first broadcast on BBC1 in 1989, has, bizarrely, taken centre stage. To rather less fanfare than…
Joan Beaumont’s new book Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War provides a strong insight into both Australia’s role in World War One and life on the home front. Australian War Memorial

Book review: Broken Nation – Australians in the Great War

Over the next four years, the centenary of World War One will prompt the publication of a vast number of war-related books. In Australia, it will be hard to keep count of the new books on Gallipoli, with…
Trench fever: sometimes gallows humour was the only way to forget the horror of war. BBC

Gallows humour from the trenches of World War I

For the average soldier on the Western Front, very little happened on a day-to-day basis. Even when soldiers were at the front line, they watched and waited. Boredom was a major problem. But the prospect…
A GB (sarin) filled M55 rocket, is destroyed. US Army Chemical Materials Agency

Chemical weapons and the scientists who make them

It would take a hard-hearted person not to have been moved to tears by the images on our television screens of Syria over the last week - of infants struggling to breathe while their parents looked on…
There are some powerful stories in the Anzac tradition but many more that are unknown to students. Australian War Memorial

Teaching the untold stories of World War I

“What are your legs? Springs. Steel springs”. Archy’s nervous mutterings before he sprints into gunfire are familiar in Australian history classes. So are the tale of Simpson and Duffy and their “bravest…
Analysing Anzac speech, slang and reading material gives us a better understanding of their experience. EPA/Tolga Bozoglu

From ‘Aussies’ to ‘Whizz-bangs’: the language of Anzac

Many place the Anzac legend at the heart of the Australian national identity. But some have rightly challenged this idea, opening up debate about why the Anzac story is so central to our national mythology…
There is an entire history of excuses given for why women shouldn’t be given roles in the military. Australian War Memorial Collection

Women in Australia’s military: On the frontline of the gender war

The recent plan to see women take on frontline combat roles in the Australian military from 2016 removes one of the last formal barriers to women’s participation in all realms of work. Unsurprisingly…
Uniformed attendees at the Remembrance Day service held in Sydney on November 11, 2010. AAP/Greg Wood

Remembering the true meaning of Armistice Day

Australia now officially recognises two special days to commemorate our national history of being at war but neither of them is Sorry Day. The Australian history of engagement in war is primarily honoured…

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