Book launch leads to calls for Monash’s posthumous promotion

November 13, 2014 by Michelle Coleman
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The Remembrance Day launch earlier this week of a new book about Sir John Monash has led to calls for the military commander to be posthumously promoted to the rank of field marshal.

Maestro John Monash, by former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, documents the Jewish-born Australian Army Corps Commander’s achievements, and asks why he was never promoted to field marshal, post-war, as was appropriate according to international precedent.

Sir John Monash

Sir John Monash

Fischer points the finger at Australian World War I Prime Minister Billy Hughes, who is alleged to have felt threatened by Monash, as well as at a general culture of anti-Semitism and discrimination at the time.

Monash-bookParliamentary secretary Josh Frydenberg, who launched the book, agrees with Fischer and describes Maestro John Monash as “a call to arms on behalf of Australia’s greatest citizen”.

“While countless scholars and historians have recounted Monash’s heroic exploits, none has taken up the cause to have Monash posthumously promoted to field marshal with the vigour and purpose Tim Fischer has now done. He has done us all a service,” Frydenberg wrote in an opinion piece in the Herald Sun.

He further went on to say that the book’s timing so close to the upcoming Centenary of Anzac should prompt us to reassess the events of that time and build momentum for Monash’s posthumous promotion.

“Such an act by the Australian Parliament – bipartisan it will need to be – will not change history but rather complete it, preserving in our nation’s memory the rightful place of one very special man.”

According to Fischer, Monash is “Australia’s greatest citizen general” – the subtitle of the book -, and that not only his wartime exploits should be recalled but also his enormous contribution to the betterment of society after the war in overseeing the repatriation of more than 150,000 Australian troops from Europe, and his championing of the establishment of Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance.

Fischer has authored several publications previously and brings both his political and military experience as an Australian Army officer to the Monash Story.

Maestro John Monash is published by Monash University Publishing. RRP $29.95.

Comments

2 Responses to “Book launch leads to calls for Monash’s posthumous promotion”
  1. Bruce Pryor says:

    How often do we see injustices in relation to lack of recognition for worthy recipients? The matter of General Monash is a prime example. Researching history one can point the finger at Keith Murdoch and Cecil Bean. Why they wrote negatively about Monash one can draw upon a few reasons particularly the clashes they had at Gallipoli, his German background, politically and perhaps his unorthodox journey through the military to get to where he got. Having said that, we should not show disrespect for the prejudices of previous times.

    But one must look at the scoreboard when arguing that Sir John Monash is deserved of the highest military rank posthumously. The scoreboard tells me that he played a vital roll in defeating the Germans preceded by his efforts to make this young country aware of the need to form a stronger defence force starting with a militia. I have photos of my grandfather when he was 11 years old taking part in the nurturing of young boys into a citizen force. My grandfather eventually fought on the western front especially late in the war and I believe Monash is responsible for my existence today.
    On top of this there are the many other rolls Monash undertook and achieved in his private and business life. We have infrastructure existing today that bears that out.

    To have your image on the $100 bill is already quite an honour and I firmly believe that the time is now right to bestow this great honour on this great man.

  2. Adrian Jackson says:

    Read my letter to the editor on this promotion argument on Yesterday Financial Review (12 Nov 14) and today Canberra Time (13 Nov 14). Both online in these newspapers.

    Putting it simply the Australian Army has never been large enough to promote anyone to Field Marshal nt even during WW1 & WW2. If that rank was required then someone would have been promoted but they weren’t.

    Any how read my online letter for the full story. General Blamey should never have been promoted too.

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