In March 1918 the Germans launched an offensive that led to Britain’s gravest crisis of WWI. There was widespread concern – under-recognised today – that after years of ghastly casualties and hardships the war might be lost.
The Australians, rushed to the rescue in this climax of the conflict, were influencing the destiny of the world in 1918 more than in any other year before or since.
The culmination of their important contribution in response to the German offensive was the celebrated counter-attack that recaptured the tactically vital town of Villers-Bretonneux. General Monash (who was not involved himself) acclaimed it as “the finest thing yet done in the war by Australians or any other troops”.
To mark the centenary of the launch of the German offensive, Ross McMullin will provide an illustrated presentation about Villers-Bretonneux as part of the 2018 Royal Historical Society Lecture Series.
Dr McMullin will discuss the background context, tell the absorbing story of what happened in the battle, and evaluate the aftermath. Highlighting the centenary prominence of these dramatic events will be the opening of Australia’s new Sir John Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneux; Dr McMullin was among the historians asked to provide content for the Centre.
Ross McMullin is an award-winning biographer and historian. His latest book, Pompey Elliott at War: In His Own Words, has been recently released. Farewell, Dear People: Biographies of Australia’s Lost Generation, his previous book, was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History and also the National Cultural Award. His 2002 biography Pompey Elliott won awards for both literature and biography.
Another biography, Will Dyson: Australia’s Radical Genius, was highly commended by the judges of the National Biography Award. His other previous books include the ALP centenary history The Light on the Hill: The Australian Labor Party 1891-1991, and another political history So Monstrous a Travesty: Chris Watson and The World’s First National Labour Government.