The Royal Historical Society of Victoria Augustus Wolskel Lecture 2018 Presented by Dr Peter Edwards AM
As 2018 marks the half-centenary of the most tumultuous year of the Vietnam War, when much of the world seemed on the verge of revolution, it is an appropriate time to revisit some of the major themes of the debates that divided Australian politics and society.
As Melbourne was the epicentre of Australia’s political earthquake, this is the appropriate place as well as time for such a retrospective.
What do we now know that we did not know fifty years ago?
How do some of the major arguments presented by participants in the debates of 1968, on all sides, look with the benefit of fifty years’ hindsight?
Which long-held beliefs now appear to be myths or half-truths?
Peter Edwards, currently an honorary professor at both Deakin University and the Australian National University, was the Official Historian of Australia’s involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948-75. He was the general editor of the nine-volume series and author of the two volumes dealing with political, diplomatic and social aspects, Crises and Commitments (1992) and A Nation at War (1997). Most recently he published his personal distillation of the series, Australia and the Vietnam War (2014).
Peter is also the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of a number of other books and monographs, mostly dealing with Australian national security policy and policy-making. His books have won a number of major literary awards. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his historical work and elected a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs for his ‘outstanding contribution to Australia’s international relations’.