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Articles on World War I

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A French field kitchen in use by the French troops within half a mile of the Turkish lines on the southern section of Gallipoli Peninsula, 1915. Ernest Brooks/Flickr

Why we don’t hear about the 10,000 French deaths at Gallipoli

As Australians commemorate the Anzacs who died at Gallipoli, spare a thought for the 10,000 French soldiers who also died on the Dardanelles in the first world war.
Livestock wagon with Armenians in the Summer or Autumn 1915. Historisches Institut der Deutschen Bank, Frankfurt.

Join the dots between Gallipoli and the Armenian genocide

In 1915 and 1916, the Ottoman Armenians were destroyed as an organised community and more than one million of their number were killed – just as the Allies’ failed invasion of Gallipoli took place.
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…
Labor has long had leaders, such as former prime minister Paul Keating, capable of speaking the language of Anzac. AAP/Alan Porritt

A legend with class: labour and Anzac

There is a complicated story involving the Anzac legend and the left between the 1920s and the 1960s which historians have barely begun to untangle.
The Australian flag is flown at Anzac Day parades but it’s not the flag that soldiers at Gallipoli fought under. AAP Image/ Dan Himbrechts

Anzacs flew the Union Jack but now we need to wave our own flag

When Australian soldiers fought at Gallipoli, they did so under the Union Jack. Our flag has changed since then and debates about national identity have shifted. Is it now time for a new flag?
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.
Would the Anzac Day game of two-up be a more meaningful commemoration if it were still illegal? Chris Murray/Flickr

Let’s honour the Anzacs by making two-up illegal again

Anzac Day is the one day of the year it’s legal to play two-up. If we want to retain the thrill that was so important to the diggers, we’d keep it illegal rather than sanitising the practice.
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?
Had hundreds of thousands of young Turkish men not joined the army and headed to Gallipoli, it’s without doubt modern Turkey would not have been formed. AWM

Turkish view remains neglected in our understanding of Gallipoli

What is rare in Australia is an adequate explanation and understanding of the Turkish perspective of the Gallipoli campaign.
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.
Archival photographs such as the above, from Gallipoli, are one resource documentary makers draw upon to communicate understandings of historical events. Australian War Memorial/Flickr

Who tells our stories? The first world war on the small screen

War history used to be brought to TV audiences by donnish lecturers but historical reconstructions now hold sway. Two recent docos about Gallipoli are hybrid examples of the form that help us better understand the past.
Aboriginal gargoyles are the Australian War Memorial’s only overt representation, albeit unintentional, of a violent history of colonisation. James Sinclair

Gargoyles and silence: ‘our story’ at the Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial promises to tell ‘our story’ about the nation’s war experience – but it silences many stories about Australia’s nationhood and glosses over Indigenous experience.
Australian troops in France in the first world war – and one of Australia’s women medics, possibly Dr Laura Foster. Heather Sheard

The forgotten Australian women doctors of the Great War

More than 20 Australian women doctors defied official discouragement and served as surgeons and medical officers in the first world war.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin. Victoria Nesfield

Holocaust Memorial Day: what happened to ‘Never Again’?

In late January 1945, Hungarian teenager Bart Stern hid in a pile of bodies to avoid being killed by the Nazis at Auschwitz. He survived, but not one of his friends escaped. Soon afterwards, the Red Army…
A military covenant sounds noble, but it opens up many pitfalls in the relationship between the Australian Defence Force and public. Andrew Mercer/Flickr

Dealing with defence: the problems with a military covenant

The ANZAC centenary will be full of symbols. After all, commemoration is cheaper than defence. ANZAC symbols, in particular, have an uncanny way of dismissing any doubts about defence policy and spending…

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