Memorial hosts centenary military history symposium 1918: The end of “the war to end war”

16 November 2018

As part of centenary commemorations of the Armistice that ended the First World War, the Australian War Memorial today hosted a special one-day symposium exploring the last year of the war: 1918: The end of “the war to end war”.

11 November 2018 marked 100 years since the guns of the Western Front in France and Belgium fell silent, after more than four years of the bloodiest conflict the world had then seen. The end had come more suddenly than most military and political leaders anticipated.

The Memorial’s symposium brought together a program of leading military historians including Professor Robin Prior, Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of Adelaide, to cast fresh light and discuss the climactic events of 1918 – from the failed German Spring Offensives to Australia’s final infantry action in the costly capture of Montbrehain.

Historians from the Memorial’s Military History Section, including Ashley Ekins, Lambert Western Front Fellow Dr Aaron Pegram, and Dr Meleah Hampton, also delivered papers as part of the event. 

Head of the Memorial’s Military History section, Ashley Ekins, said one of the Memorial’s principal aims is to disseminate knowledge and understanding of Australia’s military history.

“This symposium hosted by the Memorial provided an opportunity for historians to examine the end of the war and Australia’s role in it, sharing their knowledge and insights with symposium participants.

The event brought together people from different backgrounds, perspectives, and knowledge. It provided a forum for informed discussion and debate, connecting people seeking to understand a pivotal event in history and its impact on Australia,” Mr Ekins said.

The event included a question and answer session and an opportunity for attendees to engage with historians and authors in an informal environment.