Diversifying Anzac

UNSW Canberra Academics Involved: 
Professor Peter Stanley

It has been important for Australians, particularly during the centenary commemorations of Anzac events, to develop a more diverse interpretation of events during the First World War. Much of this understanding has come from the work of military historians.

Professor Peter Stanley, a battlefield researcher and author of 32 books, is a founder of and regular contributor to Honest History, a website offering a sustained and authoritative critique of ‘Anzackery’ – the exaggerated presentation of the Anzac legend.

Based on his substantive work on the history of Australia in the Great War, exemplified by his scholarly work, such as his chapters in The War at Home (2015) and his popular National Library book The Crying Years: Australia’s Great War (2017), Stanley has been central to the development of this new understanding.

In terms of diversity, he has also had a deep involvement with Sikh communities in Australia and the UK and with the Armenian-Australian community. Stanley’s books Die in Battle, Do not Despair: the Indians on Gallipoli, 1915 (2015) and Armenia, Australia and the Great War (2016) - the first ever published on these subjects - helped to connect ethnic communities to Australia’s understanding of its war history. As a result he was honoured with a ‘Friend of the Armenian Community’ award.

Stanley has appeared in numerous, major TV documentary series, radio documentaries, and general radio and TV commentary. Active on Twitter, he has 1300 dedicated followers, and he’s a keen writer of op-eds. He’s also a regular presenter at conferences (typically four or five every year) and has led battlefield tours in France.