ISBN 0 04 300104 1
But for the intervention of the First World War, Gordon Legge would probably have become known as the father of a modern Australian army, based on a democratic system of citizens’ military training. As it was, he filled the army’s top positions at a crucial point in Australia’s history, first overseeing the home defence of Australia on the outbreak of war, and then becoming commander of the AIF overseas.
Despite this, very few Australians have ever heard of him. What went wrong?
This thoroughly-documented study reveals that Legge was the loser in a bitter and protracted factional feud between Australian nationalists and British imperialists within the army high command. For the first time the details of an extraordinary campaign to ensure that Australia remained locked into an imperial strategic structure after the Great War are fully laid bare. As the leader of the ‘Australianist’ faction, Legge’s downfall was essential to curb and contain Australian assertiveness.
No Australian Need Apply puts the case for arguing that the generally-accepted version of Australia’s participation in the First World War is an account propagated by identities committed to the imperialist cause—literally a case of history being written by victors.
This is a study not just for readers of military history, but for those keen to gain fresh insights into the process by which Australian nationalism really evolved at the time when Gallipoli and the image of the Australian Digger were stamped on the national psyche.