Letters to Australia: The Radio Broadcasts (1942-72). The 1940s, Volume 1 & 2
Sydney University Press
Edited by Jonathan Stone, Eleanor (Stone) Sebel and Michael E Stone
Letters to Australia is a collection of Julius Stone's radio talks, originally broadcast by the ABC between 1942 and 1972. Recently discovered in the nation's archives, they take the reader back to the mid-20th century, bringing to life the people, events and the sweep of affairs during World War II and its turbulent aftermath, the hopes and fears of individuals and nations. They tell much of Australia's role in that world and that era. More than anyone else at that time, Julius Stone gave Australians a sense that they were part of the world and could, and should, seek to influence these events. Volumes 1 and 2 contain essays from the 1940s.
Volume 1 begins with 13 wartime broadcasts, given with war at its most threatening for Australia; they are a call to courage in dark times. The broadcasts became more nuanced when they resumed, in 1945 with the war almost won, and, over the remainder of the decade, they covered a wide range of issues – the complex aftermath of war, moves towards disarmament and the control of nuclear weapons, the shift of power from Britain and Europe to the US and USSR; the evolution of the Cold War; the birth of the United Nations; the first moves to European union, and the stirrings of the fundamentalist violence that is so large a part of today’s conflicts.
Volume 2 completes the 1940s broadcasts, with a series on decolonisation, and a remarkable set of commentaries on the events and people nations and regions, starting with Europe and concluding with the Americas. The volume closes with a series of talks on the jurisprudence of international relations, and four insightful end-of-the-decade talks on the key challenges he believed must be met to maintain intellectual freedom, to counter the narrowness of indoctrination, to respond constructively to the threat of racial conflict, and to assert the value and power of gradual reform.
About the Author
Julius Stone (1907-1985) was Challis Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the University of Sydney from 1942 to 1972, then Adjunct Professor at the University of New South Wales, until his death. Hailed as one of the country's premier legal theorists, he argued strongly for an understanding and practice of law that would incorporate, as an integral part, concern for human rights and social justice. His thinking profoundly influenced generations of students who went on to leadership in the legal profession, and in the social, cultural and political life of Australia.