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Norfolk Island has always had a strained relationship with mainland Australia – and the repeal of self-governance may intensify that strain. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Canberra will run Norfolk Island – but not all the locals are happy

Federal parliament has passed legislation that removes Norfolk Island's self-government but strong local views about the tiny island's independence have deep historical roots.
When Vladimir Putin reviews the troops marking the 70th anniversary of Russia’s victory of Nazism, he won’t have many leaders of democratic nations to accompany him. EPA/Alexey Druzhinin/ RIA NOVOSTI

Russia still struggles with a violent past, 70 years after the defeat of Nazism

Victory over Nazi Germany is one unambiguously positive accomplishment of the 20th century; and yet, constructing a positive narrative about the Soviet second world war has proven hard – largely because there are some stubborn facts to contend with.
Robert Menzies meets the US defence secretary, Robert McNamara, at the Pentagon in 1964, the year before committing Australia to the escalating war. Wikimedia Commons/PHC/Ralph Seghers

Fifty years ago today, Menzies' call on Vietnam changed Australia’s course

The anniversary of Menzies' fateful decision to commit troops to the escalating war in Vietnam marks a turning point that is at least as significant as the Gallipoli landings for Australia today.
In some parts of Australia, cattle properties have been hand over to the traditional owners, but for others the return of their land seems further away than ever. AAP/Jordan Baker

Kidman’s sale marks second wave of South Australian colonisation

The company built by 'Cattle King' Sidney Kidman is for sale. He enjoyed good relations with the Indigenous inhabitants, but proper recognition of their rights to their land seems ever more elusive.
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.
Powerful waves of nationalist sentiment have endured since the second world war and continue to pose difficulties for the leaders of Japan and China. EPA/Kim Kyung-Hoon

War anniversary promises year of difficulty for Asia’s rival powers

The fog of the second world war and the murkiness of the post-war settlement laid the contours of Asia's complex and uncertain strategic landscape.
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.
We don’t send as many letters these days but, as historians know, there’s nothing quite as resilient. Ben/Flickr

Hold the post: there’s no such thing as a dead letter

Australians might now prefer to send emails over private letters but let's not overlook the letter’s unique, tactile role, particularly in its most intimate expressions.
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.
Dykes on Bikes have been opening the Sydney Mardi Gras since 1988. Will Choi

Dykes on Bikes and the long road to Mardi Gras

Dykes on Bikes have been starting Sydney's Mardi Gras parade since 1988 – and many for many participants, the yearly ride to Sydney is as important as the parade itself.

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