The Long Search for Peace
Observer Missions and Beyond, 1947-2006 Vol 1
By Peter Londey, Rhys Crawley and David Horner
Published by Cambridge University Press (in conjunction with the Australian War Memorial)
RRP $179.00 in hardback • ISBN 9781108482981
The first point to note is that this is the final volume of this Australian Peacekeeping series, despite it being volume 1.
Five earlier volumes have been released, numbering vols II-VI.
Dr Peter Londey began work on this volume fifteen years ago to be joined later by Dr Rhys Crawley and Professor David Horner.
This volume describes the Australian peacekeeping missions that began between 1947 and 1982 and follows them through to 2006.
The six volumes together offer a comprehensive account of all Australian peacekeeping missions of the period, except for East Timor.
Peacekeeping is an invention of the twentieth century involving multinational forces deployed in the wake of conflict to bring about conditions that will lead to a more peaceable future.
In the immediate post war period, it was decolonisation that often created the instability which demanded intervention, first tested in the late 1940s in relation to Indonesia.
In political terms, the defeat of the Labor government in 1949 brought a new approach to international affairs, with Robert Menzies taking a ‘ … benign view of European colonialism …’ believing Australia should have sided with the Dutch in the Indonesian conflict.
Indonesia, Kashmir, the Six Day War and its aftermath, West New Guinea, Cyprus – there is a long list of world troublespots that have one thing in common: Australia’s contribution to peacekeeping missions.
The political environment in each era is explored as successive governments balanced political considerations against international obligations.
This is an important series, the result of dedicated work by a highly-regarded and much acclaimed group of historians who understand the importance of recording this history for the nation – and for those who participated.
This book was launched by outgoing Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson AO on 24 October 2019. His address can be read at this link:
VERDICT: A epic work which completes an important series.