WAR, SOCIETY, AND CULTURE: APPROACHES AND ISSUES
Tracy Bradford (Parramatta Heritage Center/Parramatta City Council)
Commemoration, Exhortation and Mourning: Honor Rolls and the Great War
The honor roll is one of the most common forms of war memorial in Australia. They can, invariably, be found in every community throughout Australia. While an increasing amount of research is being done in the area of war and commemoration, little has been written specifically about honor rolls and their significance and meaning. The fact that many communities boast both a war memorial, in the form of a monument, and an honor roll suggests that they fulfilled different roles and had different meanings to the communities that erected them. This paper considers the community of Parramatta during the Great War, and the erection of the municipal honor roll. As with many communities, the honor roll was the first form of public memorial to be erected in Parramatta, and it was erected well before the war was over. What was the motivation for erecting honor rolls and why did they begin to appear well before the war was over? This paper argues that the answer is three-fold. They were erected to commemorate those who had enlisted, exhort others to follow their example and mourn those who would not return.
Sean Brawley (University of New South Wales)
Hangkuk, Daihan, Korean: Korean Voices of the Vietnam War
It is hardly surprising that when examining the library of the Vietnam War the works contained therein are predominantly written by Americans from an American perspective. Through the 1990s this imbalance has been addressed somewhat with the increasing availability of translated sources which have allowed the Vietnamese voice to be heard outside Vietnam. This said, the War still holds within it many other non-American and non-Vietnamese voices. Some, such as the Australian voice, have been heard, while many others have not yet risen above a whisper. One voice in need of amplification is the Korean voice. Given the level of Korean involvement in the Vietnam War its absence is a staggering omission from not only the wide body of historiography but also from the popular memory of the conflict. This study, therefore, offers an introduction to the Korean Vietnam War veteran: a voice which is fascinating in and of itself but which also provides an interesting reference point for comparing and contrasting other voices of the Vietnam War. The primary focus for this examination are the fictionalised accounts of the war such as Ahn Junghyo’s White Badge and Suk-Young Hwang’s The Shadow of Arms. The paper examines a number of issues including the notion of Koreans as ‘national mercenaries’; their relations with Vietnamese and Americans; the parallels in Korean and Vietnamese national experience, and the issue of Korean atrocities.
Stephen Brown (University of Wollongong)
Stalin, the Communist International and War
For the most part, Leon Trotsky scored only moral victories over his great rival Jospeh Stalin but he did succeed in labeling Stalin a Russian nationalist, a label that has largely stuck to this day. It was therefore a mild surprise when the release of the surviving Stalin-Molotov correspondence in the mid-1990s showed Stalin to be an enthusiastic supporter of the Communist International’s efforts to add to the number of Communist countries. Some conservative historians have seized on this new image of Stalin the internationalist as confirmation of their view that the Soviet Union was the aggressive superpower in the origins of the Cold War. This paper seeks to place Stalin’s marriage of nationalism and internationalism in a broader Russian context and to explore its implications for our understanding of the relationship between the Stalinist polity and war.
Richard Gehrmann (University of Southern Queensland)
The Forgotten Indian Connection: Australian Soldiers of the Raj: 1919-1939
In the rush to claim a relationship with Asia, military imperial connections are easily forgotten. Prior to Indian Independence in 1947, India and Australia were subordinate partners in the British empire, and this framework fostered the existence of a small but significant military relationship. While a small number of Australians either independently saw service in India or were posted to the Indian Army Staff College at Quetta, a larger cohort of Australia soldiers with Indian connections exists. In the interwar period, it was standard practice on graduation for officers in the full time Australian Army to serve in India with a British unit prior to returning to Australia and service in a part time unit, a policy dictated by an inter war Australian defence policy that dismissed the need for a standing army. It is ironic that at a time of White Australia and apparent mono – culturalism that as a group, the majority of full time officers to be commissioned in the Australian Army had served in Asia. This degree of exposure to Asian society is unlikely to ever be repeated. This paper will explore themes and detail individual case studies of this facet of Australian military engagement with imperial India.
Kim Hosking (Australian National University)
Australian Military Culture: The Australian Defence Force Academy
This paper attempts to situate contemporary Australian military culture, specifically the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) cadet culture, in a broad historical context. The aim of this paper is to illustrate and develop the more general sociological point made by the Frankfurt School and Norbert Elias, that there is a relationship between large-scale, long-term social development, and the development of personality and the structures of everyday interaction. A specific focus within the paper will be one of gender. Using a social constructivist view of the body, the issue of how the gendered body enters into the maintenance of social relations of dominance and subordination will be explored, particularly in the context of the increasing incorporation of women into the military. The methodologies utilised to this end are participant observation at ADFA and historical documentary analysis.
Lachlan Irvine (Australian National University)
The Decade of Silence: Vietnam Veterans in the 1970s
A number of Australian historians have noted the absence of a contemporaneous public voice for Vietnam veterans in the years immediately following Australia’s withdrawal from the Vietnam War. The silence ended when the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA) was formed at the end of the 1970s, as a response to the "Agent Orange" issue. This paper uses discourse theory to argue that Vietnam veterans were not merely silent in Australia in the 1970s: they were silenced. The first part examines the political, social and historical factors which acted to silence Vietnam veterans in Australia, making the 1970s the "Decade of Silence." The second part examines the formation of the VVAA as (to use the terminology of the French philosopher Michel Foucault) a counter-discourse.
Paul Kiem (Editor, Teaching History)
War and Society in the Higher School Certificate: The Example of the Pacific War
This paper will present an overview of how the themes of "war and society" are treated in the new Higher School Certificate, with the emphasis on a new topic, "Conflict in the Pacific." As well as helping to build a bridge between the academic and secondary sectors in this area, this paper aims to provide information that may assist in the preparation of university courses and highlight gaps and historiographical issues where academics may be able to assist teachers. In addition, it will offer some comments on our new Extension course.
Sophie Lieberman (University of New South Wales)
"Algeria and French memory – on the creation of the commission pour le mémorial de la guerre d’algérie"
In 1998 the French government created the commission pour le mémorial de la guerre d’algérie to over see the building of a monument aux morts dedicated to those French soldiers that perished during the war of decolonization. This commemoration comes at the end of a long process of negotiation between government, civilian and veterans groups over the meaning of Algeria in French memory. Examining these negotiations and their historiographic implications, this paper will look at the ramifications of the construction of the memorial for French modern history by discussing both the commissions’ duties and the politics of it members, and suggest that Henri Russo’s "Vichy syndrome" has finally come to an end.
Roger Markwick (University of Newcastle)
Stalinism at War: Moscow, June-December 1941
A paradox in Soviet state-society relations is the basis for this paper: Massive mobilization in defence of a repressive state during the Great Patriotic War, 1941-45. How could Stalin’s draconian state mobilize such large numbers of Soviet citizens who were willing to lay down their lives in its defence on the front line or on the home front? Even some of Stalin’s political prisoners volunteered for the front. These phenomena suggest that large numbers of the Soviet populace actively identified with the Soviet party-state. The question is why? Were they fighting despite state repression, because of state repression, because they had internalized the ruling discourse or some combination of these? Were they were fighting for the party, the material benefits of socialism, the Russian "motherland," self-preservation, for Stalin himself? Or were they fighting out of fear of punishment, against Nazism, for revenge? At best this paper offers tentative answers to some of these questions. And it has a limited focus: the Moscow home front, from June to December 1941. But shifting our focus from the 1930s to the war years radically recasts the fundamental questions being asked about Stalinism and society. Identification with the state, rather than resistance to it, becomes the starting point for analysis.
John McQuilton (University of Wollongong)
Gallipoli: Contested Space
Over the last decade, the numbers attending the Dawn Service at Anzac Cove has grown dramatically. The reasons are as varied as those who attend: for some it’s a pilgrimage, for others a rite of passage, for others an affirmation of an older Australia - white, Protestant and part of Empire. Most regard the Peninsula as ‘ours’. Yet there is ample evidence on the Peninsula that this is hardly true - the Turks have increasingly claimed this space as theirs. Gallipoli, then, is contested space, metaphorically and geographically. This paper will address these issues.
Greg Melleuish (University of Wollongong)
War and State Development: One Path or Many?
Recent literature on early modern Europe appears to have established a strong link between military activity and the rise of the modern bureaucratic state. This includes Tilly Coercion, Capital and European States, Ertman Birth of the Leviathan and Downing The Military Revolution and Political Change. As well S.E . Finer in his The History of Government has developed a series of general rules regarding the relationship between military factors and state development. All of these works emphasise the relationship between the military and the development of the state as a bureaucratic institution. There is, however, one major historical example that escapes this attempt to establish a link between military factors and the rise of the bureaucratic state: the Greece of Sparta and Athens. The rise of the hoplite and the phalanx in Greece did not lead to a bureaucratic state but to Spartan oligarchy and, ultimately, radical democracy in Athens. Recently Berent has argued that the Greek polis was a stateless society. Given the significance of the rise of the hoplite for the development of the polis this raises the issue of the universality of the link between the military and state development. This paper seeks to explore that issue.
John Moreman (Department of Veterans Affairs)
You Cannot Treat Natives Like Troops": The Army’s Employment of Papuans and New Guineans, 1942-1945.
If there is one predominant image seared into Australians’ historical consciousness of the war in New Guinea, it is surely the proverbial "Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel" assisting a wounded Australian soldier. From the Kokoda Track in 1942 and in every island campaign thereafter, Papuans and New Guineans were vital components of the military machine. use the word component somewhat reluctantly (lest it be thought of as dehumanising) and yet deliberately because, as one officer commented, "too many are prone to treat these natives like a machine." Thousands of Papuan and New Guinean men (and women) worked for the army. They carried supplies and casualties in forward areas; assisted with engineering; helped operate small ships; worked in gardens; and contributed in numerous other ways. However, their experience has largely been overlooked. Military historians tend of focus on the "sharp end of battle," whereas Papuans and New Guineans provided support in the rear; and social historians may have been thwarted by lack of obvious resources and (often) language barriers. This paper draws on operational papers such as unit war diaries and campaign reports (for the most part little-used logistical papers) to examine the Australian Army's employment of Papuans and New Guineans. How were they recruited and used? Did employment methods evolve? What does their experience tell us about white-black relations?
Rod Pratt & Jeff Hopkins-Weise
New directions in Australian colonial military historiography: a call for the timely reintegration of the British Army, Frontier Conflict, & involvement in wars of Empire
One of the main problems for the sparse historiographical treatment of colonial military history is the impact of the Anzac Legend upon virtually all of Australian military history. Evidence of this disregard is apparent in the neglect of the colonial experience of war on the frontier, involvement in New Zealand’s wars, as well as the garrison service of Imperial forces. The service of the British Army must surely be amongst the least explored and understood aspect of Australian history. The role of the red-coat during the period of convict transportation has largely been abandoned to stereotypes still perpetuated in Australian historiography; as is their experience up to 1870. Part of this neglect is attributable to a reluctance or refusal to accept the role of the British soldier into the conceptual framework of our national military historiography. In our quest for a national identity there has been a deliberate distancing of what is "Australian" military history from its British origins, to such an extent that one may be forgiven for assuming that military history began on 25 April 1915. Thus Australian military historiography has made an arbitrary division distinguishing "British" from Australian military history, by neglecting the sense of Imperial solidarity that existed not only amongst colonists in Australia, but throughout all corners of the global Empire. This paper thus advocates the creation of a national military history, as distinct from a solely nationalistic military history by re-integrating both the British Army and the colonial war experience into our historiography.
Wayne Reynolds (University of Newcastle)
A Scholar of Australian War and Diplomacy: The Views and Methods of Eric Andrews
This paper presents an analysis of the works of Eric Andrews in the field of Australian military history and international relations. His first major work, Isolation and Appeasem,ent , appeared in 1970. His final work, the offical history of the Department of Defence, appeared this year. In between Eric Andrews published a number of important books and articles that not only added to scholarship, but also established an important framework for those wanting to work in the area.
Ian Willis (University of Wollongong)
World War Two and the Camden Women's Voluntary Services
This paper will briefly examine the relationship between the Camden community and war through the activities of the Women's Voluntary Services. The Camden center of the WVS was part of a movement that originated in Great Britain, developed a service culture based on duty and self-sacrifice and was dominated by a middle-class female membership. I will discuss one of the activities of the Camden WVS, examine the implementation of the service ideology and suggest reasons for its success.