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Bamey Wikipedia Entry

I had never intended to attempt this page, but it was such a mess that someone had to. Most military biographical entries are a simple list of achievements, generally laudatory in tone. The discussion page on General MacArthur talks about whether his article is history or hagiography, and the neutrality is disputed. It is unlikely that Blamey's page will be considered hagiography, although I'm expecting a neutrality disputed sticker.

The original was just a long list of criticism. What I've done is add the "balance" requested by people in the discussion without removing the criticism, although some of it is kind of odd. I only removed errors.

I did add a photograph. Honestly, the wikipedia policy on photographs ranks with the worst examples of American cultural imperialism on the internet.

Because somebody said he was cowardly, I added an account of how he won his DSO on the battlefield at Gallipoli. An explanation of what made him a great chief of staff to Monash was requested, so I added this in. (It's still a little thin.)

The notion that he put his personal advancement first is unsupportable, especially when I have good knowledge of how hard other people lobbied for jobs. The fact is that he went from lieutenant to brigadier general in ten years. It then took him another twenty to advance to major general.

The point is that he wasn't the only one to not get promoted for a long time, and this made many regulars bitter.

The embarassments sit there in the article. There's the badge incident, the last plane out incident and the rabbit incident. The latter seems to get some people worked up. Somebody else felt that more rebuttal was required and inserted a link to the official account. I also added the shooting incident, as otherwise it implies that he might have been sacked over the badge incident.

To the accusation that he allowed himself to be bullied by MacArthur. I inserted a couple of accounts to say that this was not so. Some people feel that he feared that the Prime Minister would fire him. Presumably, the editor thinks that he should have stood up to the politicians. This gets generals fired (ask MacArthur).

Somebody recently inserted this weird line:
As mentioned in Horner's biography, Blamey wrote a letter to the Acting Minister for the Army, 6 January 1945, BP, 2/59 regarding "Decrypted Japanese radio messages that showed that the contents of the AMF Weekly Intelligence Review for the period ending 3 November were known in full in Tokyo on 11 November."

Well, I know what this was about but I doubt if anyone reading the entry will. It refers to MacArthur's clamp on releasing information about Australian activities in New Guinea and the Northern Solomons. Here, Blamey rebuts the charge that there were security implications. (And BP is the Blamey Papers in the War Memorial.)

There was a note about his involvement with the League of National Security, "a clandestine far-right wing organisation". This was disputed by some but the evidence seems clear enough. However, I didn't want to leave the reader with the impression that he was a fascist. So I noted that he hated Nazi Germany for its persecution of Jews. Blamey cashiered officers for anti-Jewish remarks.

This is traceable back to Monash, his old boss. The bit about being "eclipsed" by Monash as Australia's greatest general reads odd, because Blamey would bluntly point out that Monash was there first and was in fact the greater man.

Other generals don't get this sort of treatment. The curious fact is that the most senior and respected men like Legge, Monash and Chauvel saw him as brilliant. So too, many of his subordinates. MacArthur and Eichelberger also rated him highly.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
5th Feb, 2007 22:28 (UTC)
It is unlikely that Blamey's page will be considered hagiography, although I'm expecting a neutrality disputed sticker.

What, your neutrality disputed, or theirs?
6th Feb, 2007 08:23 (UTC)
It's always the neutrality of the article that is disputed.

Here's the rationale behind it and here's a good essay on the topic when it comes to history.

I would add that the assumption is that people with a casual interest in the topic may not read anything more than the wikipedia entry.

Neutrality is not generally something that one would normally care about. The thesis, for example, cannot be written from a neutral point of view, as I'm supposed to be putting forward an argument.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )