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Articles on World War I

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The century since the first world war is littered with the broken promises of Muslim rulers to bring about a transition to more representative forms of government. AAP/Asmaa Abdelatif

How the political crises of the modern Muslim world created the climate for Islamic State

The rise of Islamic State and its declaration of the caliphate can be read as part of a wider story that has unfolded since the formation of modern nation states in the Muslim world.
A flag-waving Islamic State fighter takes part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province. Reuters/Stringer

Understanding Islamic State: where does it come from and what does it want?

How far back in history does one have to go to find the roots of the so-called Islamic State? The first article in our series on the genesis of the terrorist outfit considers some fundamentals.
Agyness Deyn as Chris Guthrie Metrodome

What Sunset Song tells us about the modern world

Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s tale of rural Scottish change between the world wars is anything but narrowly focused. It speaks to our universal sense of injustice and fairness.
Presidents Hollande and Obama. Is it still possible for nation states to build a global alliance against organisations such as Daesh? Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

States and gangs: the difficult search for new ways to run the world

To save mankind from the scourge of war… These eight words drawn from the preamble to the Charter of the United Nations have been ringing in my head for the past week. Most believe that they were penned…
Every year thousands of students read George Orwell’s 1984 and are doubtless convinced that its perspective on language and power is “definitive”. Except that it’s not; and hasn’t been since at least the 1970s. Manuel Harlan/Melbourne Festival

Goodbye to all that: Orwell’s 1984 is a boot stamping on a human face no more

Many still regard George Orwell’s 1984 and its message about the nature of language and power “definitive”. But globalisation has revolutionised how we communicate; 1984 tells us nothing about our future.
Prior to world war one, many more soldiers died of infection rather than combat. Navy Medicine/Flickr

Stealth attack: infection and disease on the battlefield

Rupert Brooke was commissioned in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve as a Sub-Lieutenant. Without seeing combat, he died aboard a French hospital ship, from a mosquito bite that turned septic.
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.

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