Between 1916 and 1918, more than 3,800 men of the Australian Imperial Force were taken prisoner by German forces fighting on the Western Front. Australians captured in France and Belgium did not easily integrate into public narratives of Australia in the First World War and its commemorative rituals. Captivity was a story of surrender and inaction, at odds with the Anzac legend and a triumphant national memory. Soldiers captured on the Western Front endured a broad range of experiences in German captivity, yet all regarded survival as a personal triumph. Surviving the Great War is the first detailed analysis of the little-known story of Australians in German captivity in the First World War. By placing the hardships of prisoners of war in a broader social and military context, this book adds a new dimension to the national wartime experience and challenges popular representations of Australia's involvement in the First World War.
Country of Publication:
Series: Australian Army History Series
12 November 2019
Professional and scholarly
Introduction; 1. Raising the white flag: the capture of Australian troops on the Western Front; 2. The reciprocity principle: respecting and abrogating wartime agreements; 3. Giving the game away: the intelligence value of prisoners of war; 4. Saving lives: patriotic women, prisoners of war and the Australian Red Cross Society; 5. Challenging the Holzminden illusion: myth and reality of escape in the Great War; 6. Well fed and plenty of freedom: autonomy and independence in German captivity; 7. Hun haunted? Repatriation, home and after; Conclusion.