'The War with Germany: Volume III—The Centenary History of Australia and the Great War' cover

Shortlist year: 2016

Shortlist category: Australian history

Published by: Oxford University Press


The War with Germany examines the performance of the Australian Army in the two theatres where it confronted the German Army during the First World War: German New Guinea and the Western Front. With a blend of narrative and theme, the book charts the rise and fall of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in the Pacific and the Australian Imperial Force on the Western Front.

About the author

Robert Stevenson

Robert Stevenson

Robert Stevenson is a professional historian and former army officer. He is currently employed as one of the authors for the Official History of Australian Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Australian Peacekeeping Operations in East Timor. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of New South Wales for which he was awarded the Army History Units 2011 CEW Bean Prize for the best postgraduate thesis on Australian Army history. A revised version of his thesis was published as To win the battle (Cambridge, 2013), while his most recent major publication is The war with Germany(Oxford, 2015).

Judges’ comments

This is Volume III of the Centenary History of Australia and the Great War. It begins with the Australian conquest of German New Guinea and continues through the war in the Indian and Pacific oceans, the Middle East and the Western Front. The war changed Australia for better and for worse. What had been a progressive social democracy before the war emerged from it with a heavy national debt and sharply divisive politics.

But Stevenson rejects the suggestion that Australia should have remained neutral. A German victory would have cost Australia dearly—even without a German army stationed in Collins Street. Stevenson also stresses the key role of Australian officers in creating Australian Imperial Forces exceptionalism.

Meticulously researched and clearly written, The war with Germany is an important contribution to Australian war literature.