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"They seem to understand all about the War": Australian children and the First World War
journal contributionposted on 2018-06-22, 00:00 authored by Bart ZiinoBart Ziino
This article examines the nexus between children's experiences of the First World War in Australia and adults' attempts to shape their understanding of the conflict. Utilizing children's wartime correspondence and postwar reflections, it argues that in the effort to make total war, children found the war entering into all facets of their lives, from school to play and intimate family relations. But while adults attempted to mobilize children as symbols and as patriotic labor, children were also obliged to make sense of the war through their own encounters with it. Absences of loved ones, shifts in family roles, access to alternate channels of information, and the pain of loss and grief all beguiled the process of internalizing total war for children. It also meant that their efforts to make sense of their experiences could last entire lifetimes.