Articles on Military history

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What is obscured in our understanding of returned servicemen’s problems is the private pain of families who bear the brunt of these psychological strains. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Marked men: anxiety, alienation and the aftermath of war

Australia has continually faced a returned soldier crisis. This is something that marked men returning from all the wars of modern memory – from the Great War to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Protesters attend a huge anti-conscription rally at Yarra Bank in Melbourne, 1916. National Library of Australia, n6487142

Lest we forget our other heroes of war, fighting for freedom at home

The democratic freedoms Australians hold dear today – freedom of the press, assembly and speech – were won on home soil by courageous women and men who sacrificed much, but rarely recognised for it.
The recent concentration on Victoria Cross heroes as major ‘carriers’ of the Anzac legend has skewed Australian military history. AAP/Mark Graham

A hundred in a million: our obsession with the Victoria Cross

Australians now seem so fascinated by the Victoria Cross that such attention has begun to get in the way of a balanced perspective on its place in military history.
The Gallipoli campaign is frequently celebrated as the ‘birth’ of Australia as a nation, but were we already well on our way? AWM

How the Great War shaped the foundations of Australia’s future

Every country has its most symbolic year from each of the world wars, and can trace the consequences of the bloodletting that accompanied the global realignment of the last century.
Silent tributes at the tomb of the unknown soldier at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, representing more than 100,000 men and women lost in war. Lukas Coch/AAP

Australia’s unknown soldier: a powerful symbol of loss and faith

Why did it take three-quarters of a century beyond the first world war for Australians to build our own tomb of the unknown soldier, remembering the 23,000 Australians who died with no known grave?
For nurses going on active service, to have the close friendship of at least one other woman was of primary importance. State Library of South Australia

Friendship in war was not just confined to bonds between men

The diaries of army nurses during the First World War are unsurpassed sources for discovering the nature of friendship during war.
The Anzac landings at Gallipoli in April 1915 marked the beginning of another instance of conflict in the war-rich region’s history. archivesnz/flickr

Gallipoli’s rich history of conflict started well before 1915

The history of the Gallipoli region enhances the story of the Anzac campaign and situates it in a notably rich cultural context.
In 1915, Australians came to terms with total war – and were prepared for the battle at Gallipoli and conscription in 1916. Australian War Memorial/Flickr

1915 in Australia: the reality of total war sinks in

It was not the excitement but the seriousness of the first world war that captured the imaginations of Australians. The experience of 1915 had a marked effect on local commitment to winning the war.
A new book on the battle of Fromelles adds to both what we know and how we should be wary of the battle’s popular legend. AAP/Christopher James

Book review: The Lost Legions of Fromelles

Almost exactly 98 years ago, the Fromelles legend goes, the 5th Australian Division was thrown into battle by stupid British generals and slaughtered. Overnight, 5500 men were killed or wounded: supposedly…

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