Dr Karl James Head Military History

Karl James

Dr Karl James has been a historian at the Memorial since 2006, and has been Head of the Military History Section from 2019. A graduate of the University of Wollongong, his research focuses on Australia’s involvement in the Second World War.

Dr James has worked on major exhibitions at the Memorial, including as lead curator for From the shadows: Australia’s Special Forces (2017–18), the special anniversary exhibition Rats of Tobruk, 1941(2011), and the refurbishment of the permanent Second World War Galleries (2010). He is a member of the editorial staff and a regular contributor to the Memorial’s magazine Wartime. He has written for many other popular history magazines such as Britain at war and frequently appears in the media commenting on Australia’s wartime experiences.

Dr James is currently working with Professor Peter J. Dean on the edited volume Australia in the Second World (to be published by Brécourt Academic and the University Press of Kentucky in 2020). He is also writing a new history of the 1941 siege of Tobruk, and a popular history of the operations of HMAS Sydney’s (III) Carrier Air Group in 1951–52 during the Korean War. His work can be followed on twitter at @KarlJames_1945 and at https://awm.academia.edu/KarlJames.

Key publications

  • (ed.), Kokoda: beyond the legend, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, 2017.
  • Double diamonds: Australian commandos in the Pacific War, 1941–45, NewSouth Publishing, Sydney, 2016.
  • The hard slog: Australians in the Bougainville campaign, 1944–45, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, 2012.

Book contributions

“Rise and fall: Lieutenant General Sir Sydney Rowell” in Craig Stockings and John Connor, (eds), The shadow men: the forgotten legacies that shaped the Australian Army from the Veldt to Vietnam, NewSouth Publishing, Sydney, 2017.

“Kokoda: the immortal trail” in Karl James, (ed.), Kokoda: beyond the legend, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, 2017.

“More than mopping up: Bougainville” in Peter J. Dean (ed.), Australia 1944–45: victory in the Pacific, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, 2015.

“Galleghan: hero of Changi” in Lachlan Grant (ed.), The Changi book, NewSouth Publishing, Sydney, 2015.

“‘I hope you are not too ashamed of me’: Prisoners in the siege of Tobruk, 1941” in Joan Beaumont, Lachlan Grant and Aaron Pegram (eds.), Beyond surrender: Australian prisoners of war in the Twentieth Century, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2015.

“The Salamaua magnet” in Peter J. Dean (ed.), Australia 1943: the liberation of New Guinea, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, 2013.

“On Australia’s doorstep: Kokoda and Milne Bay” in Peter J. Dean (ed.), Australia 1942: In the shadow of war, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, 2013

“Winnie the war winner” in Nola Anderson (ed.) Australian War Memorial: treasures from a century of collecting, Murdoch Books, 2012

“The unnecessary waste: Australians in the late Pacific campaigns” in Craig Stockings (ed.), Anzacs dirty dozen: Twelve myths of Australian military history, NewSouth Publishing, Sydney, 2012