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Video clip synopsis – By 1918 General John Monash and the AIF (Australian Imperial Forces) played a crucial role in defeating Germany on the western front.
Year of production - 2008
Duration - 1min 36sec
Tags - ANZAC, Australian History, defence, documentary, Gallipoli, heritage, historical representations, leadership, media influence, Monash, representations of war, World War 1, see all tags


Armistice Day, 1918

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About the Video Clip


Armistice Day, 1918 is an excerpt from the documentary Monash – The Forgotten Anzac, produced in 2008.

Monash – The Forgotten Anzac One of the most brilliant generals of World War I and an architect of Anzac Day, Sir John Monash helped create the Anzac legend by ensuring the courage of his men was enshrined in Australian history. Today he is all but forgotten. Monash – The Forgotten Anzac explores the character and achievements of an extraordinary figure in Australian history, the battles he fought both on and off the battlefield, and the prejudice he overcame to help win a war. Monash – The Forgotten Anzac is a Screen Australia Making History Production in association with 360 Degree Films. Produced with the assistance of Film Victoria. Developed and produced in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Special Thanks to the Australian War Memorial and the National Film and Sound Archive (of Australia).

Background Information


Sir John Monash (1865-1931) commanded troops during some of World War One’s most famous battles. He gained a reputation as a great military planner and strategist, which led to battlefield victories in France and Belgium and a knighthood.

These successes, however, were preceded by the terrible defeat suffered by the Australian and New Zealand forces under British command at Gallipoli, Turkey, now commemorated on Anzac Day.

Monash was a most unlikely Digger hero. Of Prussian-Jewish extraction, cultured, fussy, an organized, methodical disciplinarian to the point of obsessive, he was a middle-aged, overweight citizen-soldier with no active war experience when hostilities broke out in 1914. Yet he was the leader Australian soldiers needed both during and after the war.

At Gallipoli he found out the hard way – in battle – that this wasn’t a war in which to be overweight. He was so overweight he could not fit through some of the trench tunnels.

With the withdrawal from the Turkish peninsula, Monash and most of the Australian forces were sent to the western front in France. They thought after Gallipoli the fields of France would be a picnic. They were wrong. The reality of industrialised warfare became apparent; mile upon mile of trenches, barbed wire, mud and extraordinarily heavy artillery. Through many trials and errors, the Australian Divisions were starting to become the hardened, intelligent fighting force which would prove so effective by 1918, when Monash and the AIF (Australian Imperial Forces) played a crucial role in defeating Germany on the western front.

After the war, when Monash and the AIF returned home to relative neglect, Monash strived to ensure soldiers received due honour, recognition and assistance. As part of his campaign he played a pivotal role in creating Anzac Day commemorations. Without Monash, this annual commemoration would most likely have faded into obscurity.

Classroom Activities

  1. Monash and his men had achieved some spectacular battle successes on the Western Front and Monash had built a reputation as a great leader. Find out why the attack on the Hindenburg Line did not go as planned.
  2. Listen to the music that plays as the clip opens. What mood does it help to create? Observe the archival scenes, listen to the music and the narration, then write a short report suitable for a newspaper describing what is taking place.
  3. Find out the meaning of the word armistice.
    1. What did the signing of the armistice on 11 November 1918 actually mean?
    2. What is Armistice Day? Investigate how and where it is observed. How is this date, also known as Remembrance Day, commemorated in Australia? What is the significance of both Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday in the United Kingdom? What commemorative events are held on each day?
  4. Imagine you are Monash. You have overcome intense opposition from many quarters to become commander of the Australian Corps. You won important World War 1 battles and saved many thousands of lives, but this cost the lives of many others.
    1. Describe how you would feel about being ‘feted all over London’. Write a short diary entry exploring your feelings. Consider not only victory, but the soldiers you had commanded and loss of life that had been sustained under your command.

Further Resources


Screen Australia

Reserve Bank of Australia

Monash University Archives Online Exhibition

Australian War Memorial

Australian War Memorial – General Sir John Monash

Monash University