Historian Douglas Newton discusses the Gallipoli Commemoration and Australia’s leap into WW1.

Douglas Newton is a historian and author of Hell-bent: Australia’s leap into the Great War and The Darkest Days: The Truth Behind Britain’s Rush to War, 1914. In Hell-bent, he discusses the decision of the Cabinet of Australian Liberal Prime Minister Joseph Cook to cable London on Monday 3 August, offering an expeditionary force and the transfer of the Australian navy – almost forty hours before Britain’s declaration of war.

Hell-bent supports the thesis that Australia’s rushed offer of an expeditionary force gave impetus to the pro-war lobby in London. Moreover, in making this offer, Australia’s politicians could have “done better in 1914 than to leap so rapidly and recklessly, without any conditions or limits, into the all-consuming conflict”.

Listen to Colin Hesse’s interview with Douglas Newton on Radio SkidRow and their discussion of the Gallipoli Commemoration and Australia’s leap into WW1.

Radio SkidRow 88.9fm, Breakfast – Close to Home with Colin, 16 April 2015, 8.00am

Should the Australian War Memorial recognise conflict between white settlers and Indigenous people?

During NAIDOC Week – 6 to 13 July 2014 – calls were made for the formal recognition for Indigenous soldiers. But what about recognition for the deaths of Aboriginal people during conflicts between them and white settlers?

Prof Raymond Evans (Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland) has said that more than 65,000 Aboriginal people died in Queensland alone between 1788 and 1930 in the process of colonising Australia and that the Australian War Memorial should recognise it as a war.

Listen to Brisbane ABC radio presenter, Spencer Howson, interview Sam Watson on this issue.  Sam Watson is a Brisbane-based Aboriginal community worker and activist.

612 ABC Brisbane, Breakfast program, 17 July 2014 , 8:12am

Celebrations and commemorations of war

Roger Pulvers is a playwright, award winning translator and journalist. In this Ockham’s Razor presentation entitled ‘Celebrations and commemorations of war’, key issues related to the WW1 and WW2 and their commemorations are examined.

Roger Pulvers describes WW1 as: “an imperial war waged against one dying empire (the Ottoman) to save another (the British) … This was a war of cruel futility waged by European elites who sacrificed millions of lives in a last ditch attempt to preserve the privileges of inheritance. We, in Australia, provided shock troops for them, gaining nothing in return. It was not our war.”

Pulvers also argues that “the bravery and sacrifices of the individual soldier should not be denigrated. The men who were sent thousands of kilometres away to fight another man’s war are never to be blamed. They and their descendants have earned their place in the parade. But this does not mean that their heroism cannot be separated from the overall immorality and misinterpreted significance of the bigger battle. Soldiers do not die in vain. Their sacrifice in what may be a misguided cause can teach us the most important lesson: Never get involved in a dishonest war.”

Listen to Roger Pulvers’ presentation or download the transcript from here.

ABC RN, Ockham’s Razor, Sunday 29th June 2014, 7.45am to 8.00am

Interview with James Brown

Interview with James Brown, author of Anzac’s Long Shadow, by Angela Catterns: ‘Australia’s Anzac legend obsession?’

“Are Australians expending too much time, money and emotion on the Anzac legend? James Brown of Lowey Institute believes so and talks with Angela Catterns about companies and clubs that trade on the Anzac story.”

Radio 2UE, 24 Feb 2014