New Zealand and the First World War 1914-1919

The Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Defence Force recently published a book about New Zealand's involvement in the Great War. The book, written by the ardent militarist Damien Fenton, describes the war as "successful and profitable".

Interviewed by Tom Peters, historian Steven Eldred-Grigg , author of The Great Wrong War: New Zealand Society in WWI (Random House, 2010), explains how the book's lack of historical accuracy contributes to a dangerous trend toward uncritical thinking about the two world wars: "The way it’s taught in schools now is that the war was like a tsunami, a natural force that came to New Zealand. Sort of dark, sad, but at the same time there were elements of heroism, and it drew us together and we did well and were brave. I think that’s a big part of why young people turn up in growing numbers for Anzac Day. It’s social engineering."

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