Australia and World Crisis, 1914-1923. A History of Australian Defence and Foreign Policy 1901-23: Volume 2
Australia and World Crisis, 1914-1923. A History of Australian Defence and Foreign Policy 1901-23: Volume 2
Neville Meaney
Sydney University Press
ISBN: 9781920899448


Australia and World Crisis, 1914-1923 is the second volume in a pioneering two-volume history of Australian defence and foreign policy. It is based on wide-ranging research in collections of personal and official papers in Australia, Britain, the United States and Canada. Linking up with the first volume, The Search for Security in the Pacific, it offers a new and path-breaking understanding of Australia's relations with the world from the outbreak of the First World War to the making of peace in Europe and the Pacific.

This study explores a number of fundamental issues which shaped Australia's response to the world in this era, such as race and culture, geopolitics and security, domestic divisions and ideas of loyalty and finally the philosophies and personalities of the chief policy makers. From the outset of this global conflict Australia was involved in a 'hot war' in Europe against Germany and its allies and in a 'cold war' in the Pacific against Japan. The British Australians for reasons of sentiment and interest supported the Mother Country, but even as they did so they were deeply concerned about Japan's ambitions. As a result Japan figured prominently in Australia's approach to the war and the peace. Indeed for the Australians the 'cold war' did not come to an end until the Washington Conference of 1921-22 when Japan with the other Pacific powers agreed to limit naval building and to respect existing territories in China and the Pacific.

In tracing out this story the book throws light on many particular aspects of the 'hot' and 'cold' wars. They include the origins of Asian studies in Australia, intelligence gathering, the secret service and loyalty leagues, the fear of Japan in the conscription controversy, Irish Catholics and the Anglo-Irish War. The labour movement and the Bolshevik revolution, the ideological clash of the American President and the Australian Prime Minister over peacemaking, the visit of the Prince of Wales, 'Britishness' and the failure of the idea of Greater Britain all influenced the development of Australia's defence and foreign policy. At the end there is an attempt to provide an assessment of Australia's leadership through these testing times and to point out the significance of this experience for a later generation of Australia policy makers.

About the Author

Neville Meaney is an Honorary Associate Professor of History at the University of Sydney. He has a longstanding research interest in international history, especially concerning the way in which ideology, culture and geopolitics have interacted to shape the changing character of Australia's relations with the world. He has published widely in the field and his most recent work is Towards a New Vision: Australia and Japan Across Time (2007).

This book is also available in paperback.
Volume 1, The Search for Security in the Pacific is also available.