At the beginning of 1918, three years of fighting and destruction had failed to produce any clear result on the Western Front.
The Eastern Front had collapsed following the October 1917 Revolution in Russia, allowing Germany to redeploy troops from that Front to the Western Front.
It was expected that Germany had the upper hand and would launch a major offensive in the spring.
Both sides sensed that 1918 would be decisive…yet neither side could be assured of victory.
About 117,000 Australian men were in France at this time, constituting about one-eleventh of the overall British armies.
Over the winter of 1917-18 the five Australian divisions were reorganised into an Australian Corps, initially commanded by General William Birdwood, but eventually replaced by Lieutenant General John Monash.
As well as the servicemen of the army, navy and flying corps, many other kinds of personnel made up the AIF, such as medical personnel and chaplains.
How could the anticipated German offensive be beaten? What technology and tactics could be applied? How might the reorganisation and retraining of the Australian Corps contribute to this anticipated battle? What would be the consequences of failure? All these questions hung in the air as winter slowly turned to spring in early 1918.
Join us for a fascinating one-day conference with a range of top quality speakers to consider these and other questions.
‘Masters of War: the AIF in France in 1918’ will consider events from the strategic to the tactical level, and place the AIFs capability and contribution in a wider context.
In the last year of the Anzac Centenary don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear many of the nation’s best historians speak on this important national issue.