Phillips, Richard: Australia: Anzac Day and the official silence about anti-war opposition in WWI

Richard Phillips

Australia: Anzac Day and the official silence about anti-war opposition in WWI‘, World Socialist Web Site, 4 May 2017

The article notes the dominance this Anzac season of the received view of Anzac in Australia and, by contrast, the lack of official recognition of the widespread Australian opposition to the war in 1916-17. The article also provides information about the response in Australia to the Russian Revolutions of 1917 and about the strikes in Australia during 1917.

The article also touches on declining enlistments as Australians reacted to discouraging news from the war. The author concludes with this view of the Great War centenary commemorations in Australia:

The central purpose of Australia’s WWI centenary celebrations is to saturate the population with militarism and patriotic propaganda in preparation for new imperialist wars. In line with this agenda, the ruling elite and all its political agencies do their utmost to downplay, distort and cover-up the real history of 1917 and, in particular, the lessons of the Russian Revolution, the most significant political event, not just of that year but of the 20th century.

Honest History’s ‘Divided Sunburnt Country’ series has relevant material and we will doing more. Meanwhile, there is a one day conference in Melbourne on 20 May to commemorate the anti-conscription battles of 1916-17. See also this recent book, The Conscription Conflict and the Great War, which indicates the broad base of the anti-conscription forces.

Richard Phillips is a member of the Socialist Equality Party and a Sydney-based contributor to the World Socialist Web Site. The World Socialist Web Site is published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI). It provides a useful alternative perspective on world news.

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