Craig Stockings: Let's Have a Truce in the Battle of the Anzac Myth
Craig Stockings teaches history at the University of New South Wales in Canberra.
WHEN I published a book about the Battle of Bardia, fought in North Africa between Australian and Italian troops in January 1941, I received a letter saying I was slighting the Anzac legend and spent too much time with "trendy lefties and feminist lesbians".
"Take a break and just be proud Craig, because those old fellas fought for your right to deny their achievements," the writer said.
As a military historian I know the power of Anzac.
The legend has been a powerful and pervasive force within Australian social and cultural life for almost a century. If anything, as the last Australians with first-hand knowledge of Gallipoli have passed, Anzac imagery and sentimentality has grown stronger.
Whether we consciously recognise it or not, Australians grow up feeding on an overt and subliminal diet of Anzac. Its powerful symbolism permeates all aspects of our community life. School curriculums teach as much of the Anzac mythology as they do of the kernels of historical fact on which the legend is built....
comments powered by Disqus
- Rare silent Native American movie of 1920s attracting a lot of interest
- It happened in Idaho and was the largest massacre of Indians in US history, but where exactly did it take place?
- Junípero Serra’s Missions Destroyed Entire Native Cultures. And Now He’s Going to Be a Saint.
- Isis destruction of Palmyra's Temple of Bel revealed in satellite images
- McKinley's lost his mountain. Should we still remember his presidency?
- Japanese historian upends the familiar narrative of WW 2 by taking a bottom up approach, focusing on fascism from the grassroots
- Holocaust-denying historian David Irving organises 'disgusting' £2,000-a-head holiday tours of former concentration camps and Hitler's HQ so people can 'make up their own mind about the truth'
- 72 history professors sign letter urging removal of Jefferson Davis statue from Kentucky Capitol
- 10 Years After Katrina, the Enduring Value of the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank
- Historian author Antony Beevor says his new World War 2 book may anger Americans