War, Nationalism and Identity
It is often argued that the Australian was born of War, on the slopes of Gallipoli to be precise. But historians have also suggested that the cost of the war was so great- the country was left internally divided, a generation of men was lost on the battlefields of the Western Front and the economy was left shattered- that in 1919 Australia was a broken nation.
The Second World War was also seen as a nation building exercise, especially in the dark days of late 1941, early 1942, when invasion seemed imminent and political leaders argued that Australia’s capacity for resistance would be a measure of the strength of nationhood. But World War II proved less costly both in economic and human terms, and this time the country was not left divided by sectarian or political issues. In 1945 Australia was better prepared for growth and prosperity than at any time in its history.
How then does war shape ideas of nation and identity? Is baptism on the battlefield a prerequisite of nationhood and a sense of national identity? What are the roles of ideas and political movements in creating and shaping nation states? In 2015 the theme of History Week will focus on the history of nation building, nationalism and national identity as the products of both peaceful and violent processes, focussing on generals and politicians, constitution makers and revolutionaries.
For more information and events during History Week, please visit http://www.historycouncilnsw.org.au
[Source: History Council website]