2014 Professor Joan Beaumont: The Real War? Battles on the Australian home front 1914–19

If you read only one book about Australia's experience of World War I... make it Broken Nation, an account that joins the history of the war to the home front, and that details the barbarism of the battlefields as well as the desolation, despair, and bitter divisions that devastated the communities left behind.

— Marilyn Lake, Australian Book Review.

In the past decade more than 150 books with 'Anzacs' in the title have been published. But for Australians there was much more to World War I than battles and fighting. The war bitterly divided Australian society and politics, along fault lines that would last format least a generation. In all of today's national commemoration we should remember these others 'wars'-between pro- and anti-conscriptionists, between 'loyalists' and those whom they stigmatised as 'disloyal', and between the labour movement and an increasingly authoritarian government. Within the labour movement, too, there was a war which tore it asunder, in ways that stalled its emergence as a party of reforming government at the national level.

About the speaker

Professor Joan Beaumont is an internationally recognised historian of Australia in the two world wars. Her most recent book Broken Nation: Australians and the Great War (Allen &Unwin, 2013) has been shortlisted for the WA Premier's Award(non-fiction) and the NSW Premier's (Australian History) Award.

Watch the lecture.