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Sir Max Hastings insults Australian Diggers

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  • Sir Max Hastings insults Australian Diggers

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/nation...394689062.html

    Hastings accused Australian soldiers of disobeying orders to attack, saying many soldiers were "embittered" and even on the edge of open mutiny.

    He said regular volunteer troops felt bitter towards those who did not volunteer to serve and scorned conscript militia sent to New Guinea and Bougainville.

    Hastings appears to think that not nearly enough Australians died fighting the Japanese and appears to belittle the 7384 Australians killed fighting in the Pacific War.

    He points out that the number of Australian dead was fewer than the number of prisoners captured in Malaya and Singapore who died, and only slightly more than the number of US Marines killed on Iwo Jima.
    I have to admit, as the grandson of a Digger who fell on Borneo, and another who fought on the Kokoda and at Milne Bay, I do find this very insulting. I'm sure some diggers did refuse to fight, but saying they thought the battle was pointless, or that they thought the only reason they were fighting was to stop them participating in the final attack on Japan is just nonsense.

    He says that he talked with Allied soldiers and sailors, and their recollections, but he seems to not have actually talked to anyone who was there, or bothered to have gone through both the official reports, and the diggers war diaries, both of which the Australian War Memorial will make available to anyone for research.

    to be honest, it could be completely blown out of proportion, but it's certainly sparked debate here.

    Having never really read any of Hastings' work, I'm wondering what his other books are like.
    Now listening too;
    - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

  • #2
    If they are anything like the one you are quoting from, mate, then i could use them as toilet paper to wipe my arse...

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not familliar with Australian military history in the Pacific. I guess the first question for me would be did in fact Australian troops refuse to fight and almost mutiney in 1945. And if they did was it as widespread as the author asserts?
      Those that forget history are condemed to repeat it.
      If you're going to be one you might as well be a BIG RED ONE

      Comment


      • #4
        I own Hastings Overlord and have read Armageddon. After reading those, I would not call Hastings a historian. He was a journalist and now writes on historical subjects, but with a journalist's mindset. He fails to document many of his assertions and he blindly uses any source if it supports his thesis, no matter how unreliable it is. For example, he widely quoted Paul Carell's Invasion: They're Coming in Overlord, but he never seemed to consider that Carell's work as a press secretary for Ribbentrop and membership in the SS might bias Carell's writings. Hastings also wrote in Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 that he believed historians are to enamored of the contemporary records of a period. He, on the other hand, believed that oral recollections, even ones decades after an event, were more reliable than anything recorded shortly after an event occured. In other words, Hastings does not believe that while researching a book that he needs to check contemporary war diaries or other sources.

        Hastings is a hack.

        Carell's biography on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Carell#Quellen)
        "The legitimate object of war is a more perfect peace." General William T. Sherman , 20 July 1865

        Comment


        • #5
          ISTR for Overlord he flung accusations of virtual cowardice out at the British former 8th Army divisions too, which were met by considerable protest by the veterans.

          Originally posted by pmririshman View Post
          Hastings also wrote in Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 that he believed historians are to enamored of the contemporary records of a period. He, on the other hand, believed that oral recollections, even ones decades after an event, were more reliable than anything recorded shortly after an event occured. In other words, Hastings does not believe that while researching a book that he needs to check contemporary war diaries or other sources.
          I didn't know that and it just lowers Hastings even further IMO.

          Comment


          • #6
            I see nothing wrong with Hasting's approach even if his method of citing sources leaves something to be desired. His use of oral sources as against those traditionally used by more classically trained historians is to be commended and offers up a refreshing perspective on events that occurred within living memory. 'Perspective' being the key word since that's all any historical work is.
            Signing out.

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, Kev, i must admit to never reading any of his books , but thats now two forum members who have mentioned his reference to cowardice amongst troops, im sure that there indeed was a bit of this going on within the ranks, and if what Ivan wrote, that not enough Austraslians died in the pacific, might i suggest that the Sir get his arse to Afghanistan quickly, as the Australian troops would love to debate his unique style of writing...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by galland View Post
                Well, Kev, i must admit to never reading any of his books , but thats now two forum members who have mentioned his reference to cowardice amongst troops, im sure that there indeed was a bit of this going on within the ranks, and if what Ivan wrote, that not enough Austraslians died in the pacific, might i suggest that the Sir get his arse to Afghanistan quickly, as the Australian troops would love to debate his unique style of writing...
                Two make a quorum?

                Note that Ivan quoted a piece that insinuated what Hastings wrote rather than actually quoted directly from Hastings. I can only suggest you read one of his books - whether you agree with his perspective or not (and I don't necessarily) they are good reads.

                Do all Australians advocate a physical solution to contentious debates?
                Signing out.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                  Two make a quorum?

                  Note that Ivan quoted a piece that insinuated what Hastings wrote rather than actually quoted directly from Hastings. I can only suggest you read one of his books - whether you agree with his perspective or not (and I don't necessarily) they are good reads.

                  Do all Australians advocate a physical solution to contentious debates?
                  Well , i suppose wiping ones backside can be considered pyhsical..., ok, my friend, ill try to get my hands on this hastings book, prehaps then i will enter this debate with a modicum of balance about my posts, then maybe you and i can debate the subject more subjectivly!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by galland View Post
                    Well , i suppose wiping ones backside can be considered pyhsical...,


                    I was referring to your suggestion that Hastings get his 'arse' over to Afghanistan to 'debate' with the Aussie troops.

                    ok, my friend, ill try to get my hands on this hastings book, prehaps then i will enter this debate with a modicum of balance about my posts, then maybe you and i can debate the subject more subjectivly!
                    More subjectively?

                    You mean 'objectively' surely?
                    Signing out.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A wise menotor (military historian) once told me that he believed the difference between a hero and a coward on the battlefield was the direction in which they chose to escape the situation.

                      S.L.A. Marshall without supportive data believed from his study and reporting in three wars (WWII, Korea, Vietnam) that the majority of soldiers do not fire their weapon in battle.

                      Having not read much of Hastings, I would have to see his context and proportion--every battle has an unheroic side--just doesn't get written by victors. The point about not being in the main fight for Japan, sounds like "soldiers' telegraph" wisdom, but again it would be useful to know Hasting's context and supporting references.

                      rna
                      Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ah, yeah, sorry, still waking up, and as for my comment about him going to Afghanistan, well, it is the least a " journalist " can do , show some support for our boys in person, if not in words..

                        Good to see you again, Kevin , BTW!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by galland View Post
                          Ah, yeah, sorry, still waking up, and as for my comment about him going to Afghanistan, well, it is the least a " journalist " can do , show some support for our boys in person, if not in words..

                          Good to see you again, Kevin , BTW!
                          IIRC he was at the sharp end as an embedded journalist during the Falklands War

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Aber View Post
                            IIRC he was at the sharp end as an embedded journalist during the Falklands War
                            The only book of his I've read is his Falklands book. I rather liked it.
                            Those that forget history are condemed to repeat it.
                            If you're going to be one you might as well be a BIG RED ONE

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Aber View Post
                              IIRC he was at the sharp end as an embedded journalist during the Falklands War
                              Yep, I can still remember his reports from the war zone.

                              Originally posted by Dallas
                              The only book of his I've read is his Falklands book. I rather liked it.
                              His background as a journalist means he presents his work in a very readable fashion.
                              Signing out.

                              Comment

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