War

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Australia acknowledges the sacrifices of war veterans on commemorative occasions, but those who are charged with criminal offences can only hope the court shows understanding. AAP/Rebecca Le May

Burdens of war service create a strong case for a veterans' court

The creation of veterans' courts could be part of a fundamental shift to a criminal justice system that genuinely tackles the causes of crime.
Australian newspaper photographers have always been forbidden to show military failure or fragility. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

We censor war photography in Australia – more’s the pity

Although more than 100,000 Australians have lost their lives as a result of war service, photographs of our dead have never been published in newspapers.Perhaps we should reconsider this.
Drape ‘Anzac’ over an argument and, like a magic cloak, the argument is sacrosanct – even though it shouldn’t be. AAP/Alexander Turnbull Library

The past is not sacred: the ‘history wars’ over Anzac

Never has the Anzac tradition been more popular and yet never have its defenders been more chauvinistic, bellicose and intolerant of other viewpoints.
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.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Diggers of the Gaza graveyard

We are used to thinking of Gaza as a war-torn stretch of ground. A place where life goes grimly on in the face of an intractable conflict. A graveyard not only for civilians caught in the crossfire, but…
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?

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