September 30th, 2003

Calvin

So it begins

First entry.

At the moment my life revolves around my PhD thesis. The thesis consumes my spare time, and so will consume the journal, which will become an account of its writing. The thesis is on Australian Military History. To be precise, about the Logistics of the Australian Army in SWPA 1943-45. This journal will therefore alternate between 2003 and 1943, and hence the title.

Why do I write about Australian Military History? Basically, Military History has been my interest forever. But why Australian Military History. It is not to put forward at "Australian point of view". How lame is that?

I write Australian Military History because I live in Canberra. The documents are here, in the War Memorial, the national Library, the National Archives. I don't have to trek all over the country or all over the globe. Consequently, the historians are also here. ADFA is a truly great place for this, with a first class military library that lets me borrow the books for ages.

Yet... I know this country. I know the Australian Army. The changes that have occurred over the last half century have scarcely altered their character. When I read the documents of the Great War, they sounded like they could have been written yesterday.

Why the Second World War when I was a Great War historian? Because this is when the Australian Army began handling its own logistics. Admittedly, no one cares about World War II, least of all historians. Dr Peter Stanley of the War Memorial called the New Guinea Campaigns the "Green Hole".

The reason for 1943-45 is that Dr John Moremon has already covered the Papuan Campaign. Although my original intent was to do the whole war, this is just fine. Papua wasn't my kind of campaign. It was messy and disorganised, like Gallipoli in the bush. So in fact I much prefer the campaigns of 1943-45. The challenge will be to get to the end of the war. I did float the idea of stopping at the end of 1944 and not covering the final campaigns but Jeff was really unenthusiastic. I don't think he wants to cover over this three times.

This whole project involves a degree of insanity on my part. I have friends like Bob and Ophelia who have attempted PhDs. Both are much smarter than me. And neither got it done. So what makes me think I can do it? Good question. I advise not backing me with the bookies in Darwin.
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