'An army of warriors, these Anzacs' : legend and illusion in the first AIF

Blair, Dale James (1998) 'An army of warriors, these Anzacs' : legend and illusion in the first AIF. PhD thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


This dissertation is principally concerned with two myths about the experience and character of Australia's Great War soldiers central to the Anzac legend. The first is the myth of egalitarianism; the second is the myth of the resourcefulness and initiative of Australian soldiers. It argues that neither of these is as pervasive as the legend suggests and uses the experiences of a single Australian combat unit, the 1st Battalion, to support the thesis. The relevance of each of these myths to previous and current debates about national identity is outlined in the introduction. The prevalence of these two myths in the historiography of Australia's Great War experience through the establishment of a 'digger' stereotype is discussed in chapter one. This chapter provides the general context for the gap that exists in our understanding of these assumptions. It argues that despite increased academic attention to the study of Australia and the Great War, writers continue to invoke stereotypical (and misplaced) notions about Australian soldiers and, as a consequence, perpetuate a distorted, albeit generally positive, historical view of Australian soldiers.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/15568
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > FOR Classification > 2103 Historical Studies
Keywords Australian Army, Australian Imperial Force (1914-1921), National characteristics, World War I, ANZAC, class, myth, national identity, diggers, histography, egalitarism, Gallipoli, soldiers, war damage
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