Military History and Heritage Victoria in association with the Athenaeum Club hosted an Armistice Centenary Luncheon to 150 guests by followed by an engaging presentation by Professor Geoffrey Blainey, AC.
Athenaeum Club Committee member Richard Bluck welcomed Professor Blainey and Col. Marcus Fielding from Military History & Heritage Victoria delivered the Remembrance memorial.
Professor Blainey’s presentation was wide ranging. It covered the broad geopolitical reasons why the war came about, how it was fought by both sides, what societies ‘felt’ at the war’s end and what geopolitical implications resulted from the war. Amongst many other things he stressed the relevant impacts on Australia of the Spanish flu, the physical and mental wounds on those that served overseas, and the social dislocation experienced by service men returning to a country that had managed without them for four years.
Scarcely a family was left untouched by the war; the survivors needed both physical and mental care as did the widows and orphans, all generating a massive repatriation scheme. The shortage of eligible husbands and unemployment interacted with some changed social attitudes, plus continuing social divisions and suspicions, to offset the increased confidence about national undertakings.
About Professor Blainey
Geoffrey Blainey is an Australian historian, academic and commentator with a wide international audience. He has been described as a living national treasure.
Geoffrey Blainey has written authoritative texts on the economic and social history of Australia and published over 35 books, including wide-ranging histories of the world and of Christianity.
He was one of five intellectuals awarded a UN Gold Medal in 1988 for ‘excellence in the dissemination of knowledge for the benefit of mankind’.
Geoffrey Blainey was once described by Professor Graeme Davison as the “most prolific, wide-ranging, inventive and most controversial of Australia’s living historians”.
I highly recommended viewing the presentation below:
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