Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds BRUCE SCATES: The Great War may have begun over 100 years ago, but truly it shaped the way that we are today. It ended empires. It toppled kings and queens. It redrew the maps of Africa, of Asia, of Europe. For the generation who fought it, the cost of this war was simply devastating. Over 10 million deaths. Over 30 million casualties. The world was caught up in a great tide of mourning. And right across the world, we built memorials. We built memorials like this one, the Shrine of Remembrance here in Melbourne. This great granite structure was intended to outlast the ages. And in the 1920s, the symbolism of that was simply compelling. Bodies rotting in the mud of Flanders.
Skip to 1 minute and 1 second Bleached to the bone by desert winds. Blasted to pieces by high explosives. They’ve been reborn, refigured. The perfect classical lines of the shrine have rendered them whole again.
Skip to 1 minute and 15 seconds REBECCA WHEATLEY: In truth, though, the memory of the Great War isn’t set in stone. In fact, there’s probably no subject that’s been more fiercely debated by historians. We’ve argued over its causes, its consequences, even when the war actually ended. But if you thought there was nothing new to say about the history of the Great War, you’d be wrong.
Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds LAURA JAMES: The 100 Stories will change the way you see this landmark event. They’re based around narratives never heard before. They draw on new sources, discovered by a new generation of historians. And they’re presented in new, creative ways, animating the archives through the use of digital technologies.
Skip to 1 minute and 52 seconds BRUCE SCATES: We’re inside the Shrine now, right in the very heart of its galleries. And here beside me is the Gallipoli Boat. It’s one of the boats that carried Anzac forces ashore at the Dardanelles in 1915. It’s carefully wrapped up in plastic sheeting for conservation purposes. Because this boat is old. It’s fragile. It’s a kind of relic. It embodies the memory of a war that shaped our nation, and that altered the whole world.
Skip to 2 minutes and 24 seconds Let’s use this boat as a kind of metaphor. The 100 Stories invite you to join us in a journey. We’ll walk across the killing fields of Gallipoli, Belgium, and France. We’ll take you to the places the Great War was fought, to a landscape that claimed an entire generation. And we’ll explore the archives, the libraries, the museums, the monuments, the prose, and the poetry that’s come to capture the Great War’s memory. And as we undertake that journey, we’ll peel back layers of meaning. We’re reveal aspects of this conflict that you might not yet have considered. The memory of the Great War has too often privileged the story of men, the voice of men. This course also retrieves the voice of women.
Skip to 3 minutes and 12 seconds LAURA JAMES: Amongst the cast of the 100 Stories are not just soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses, but mothers who lost their sons, wives who struggled with shell shocked husbands, and children who never knew their fathers. Because the cost of the Great War is not just confined to those who fought in it.
Skip to 3 minutes and 30 seconds REBECCA WHEATLEY: Many of our stories have an Australian or a New Zealand focus, but this is a universal story, too. Grief, suffering, hope, loss and anguish know no nationality.
Skip to 3 minutes and 41 seconds LAURA JAMES: And finally, these stories are told in a language that everybody can understand. They’re the personal testimonies of ordinary people, told in extraordinary times.
Skip to 3 minutes and 53 seconds BRUCE SCATES: The 100 Stories have a tremendous span. We’ll cover topics as diverse as the physical and the psychological wounds of war. Shell shock, disability, trauma. We’ll look at women’s mobilisation, both at home and in the field. And what we’ve called the other Anzac, indigenous soldiers who too often have been ignored in Australia’s history. We’ll examine grief and mourning, protest and repatriation, the politics of war and its intensely personal dimensions.
Skip to 4 minutes and 26 seconds REBECCA WHEATLEY: Each week of this course, you’ll meet leading historians in the field. Together we’ll debate the meanings of the stories, and direct you to a treasure house of rich, accessible, and engaging readings.
Skip to 4 minutes and 37 seconds LAURA JAMES: And we’ll show you how to research the stories themselves, introducing the new digital archives that are changing the way that we remember the Great War, while explaining how to use them. You might even use these stories as a way to explore your own family or local community’s wartime history.
Skip to 4 minutes and 55 seconds REBECCA WHEATLEY: But by the end of this course, you’ll not just have a better understanding of one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century, you’ll be equipped with key research and analytical skills needed by every historian.
Skip to 5 minutes and 7 seconds BRUCE SCATES: It’s 100 years since the beginning of the Great War and since this boat first came ashore. Join us now for a fresh take on history.