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A historian's lot - the difficulties of giving WWI New Guinean servicemen a voice?

Marre, Adam H. (2006) A historian's lot - the difficulties of giving WWI New Guinean servicemen a voice? In Hopkinson, Chanel (Ed.) Social Change in the 21st Century Conference 2006, 27th October 2006, Carseldine, QUT.

Abstract

Some recent histories of World War I have sought to give agency to African, Asian, Caribbean, Maori and Native American colonised participants – indigenous people who fought for the glory and freedom of those who restricted their own. By acknowledging this service, these histories have highlighted the oppressive and exploitative nature of colonialism, and the agency and opportunism of men who went to fight in a supposedly white-man’s war. New Guinean involvement as servicemen in the First World War has not drawn any attention from historians. At the battle of Bitapaka, 30 New Guineans died defending a German wireless station against invading Australian forces. Other indigenous Pacific Islander servicemen in the war have been commemorated through memorials and literature, but history has been unkind to New Guinean servicemen. Colonial conditions and the not unrelated lack of sources have left them without a voice. This paper argues that traditional western empirical historical methodology has failed the indigenous servicemen of Bitapaka.

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ID Code: 6283
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: World War 1914, 1918, New Guinea, indigenous participation, historiography, historical methodology, memorialisation
ISBN: 1741071291
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Adam H. Marre
Deposited On: 06 Mar 2007
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 22:37

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