Protest or propaganda? Psychology and Australian memory of the Great War

Carolyn Holbrook

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


The psychological turn in Great War remembrance over the past three decades has been noted both internationally and in Australia. However, there has been less recognition of psychological readings of the war datingfrom the 1930s in the Australian context. This chapter examines early psychological interpretations of the Great War and the meaning that was attributed to them. It shows how this meaning has been transformed over time, as a consequence of the rise of trauma culture. The chapter discusses the debate among historians about whether the tendency to conceptualise war in the language of trauma and suffering facilitates its sentimentalisation. It concludes that while the Anzac legend successfully absorbs the language of trauma in contemporary Australia, the meaning attributed to psychological readings of war is always subject to the geo-political context in which it is made.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFighting Against War: Peace Activism in the Twentieth Century
EditorsPhillip Deery, Julie Kimber
Place of PublicationMelbourne VIC Australia
PublisherLeftbank Press
Pages291 - 312
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780980388329
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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