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Roberts had failed to inform anyone of his other obligation, nor had he relinquished the position.

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The circumstances surrounding the writing of the paper were later recalled with some dramatic license, with Crawford insisting he was given only twelve days notice. Crawford was nervous about the public reception of his address and considering his lack of runs on the board, it is understandable that two months felt like twelve days. Ignoring the chaos and soaring heat outside, Crawford delivered a 'Forward the Professors' 81 paper in January that was autobiographical in nature and confident in tone. He documented his historical journey: a series of discoveries that began at Balliol, with Toynbee, Marx and Tawney, the last of whom moulded his liberalism, and Sydney and Melbourne, where he encountered the work of both Engels and Jose d Ortego.

These influences culminated in the rejection of what he perceived as the insularity and narrowness of past historians such as Clarendon, von Ranke and Acton. Crawford proceeded to invalidate the claims to omniscience of the more aggressive adherents to the materialist school. It was a striking debut that made an impression on its audience. The paper represented a well-worn historical road for Crawford. Many of its definitions and themes were lifted from the address delivered to the Melbourne University Association two years previously, with one important detour. With conviction, he insisted historians should not merely reside in their cloistered ivory tower and assume distant objectivity, but assume a moral accountability.

In some ways, his position echoed the one adopted in G. If history teaches anything, it teaches the solemn responsibility of every citizen to act strongly on his convictions. The Presidential address won admirers. Crawford proudly sent the published booklet to friends and colleagues, and the responses were universally complimentary.

Contemporary reviews cautioned the mainstream audience that it was a work essentially for students of history. The Advertiser bemoaned that its themes and terminology was acceptable for experts, but required simplification for general readers. The scope of his synoptic view was perhaps over-ambitious. The historian was now expected to synthesise a wide range of perspectives—political, economic, cultural, artistic and geographical—and exercise judgment and choice.

Wood had never managed to advance his ideas beyond their infancy, and his body of research remained limited. Buoyed by its enthusiastic reception, Crawford became more firmly convinced that there was a need for the creation of an Australian school of research in history and for the profession to become more cohesive.

It had been thought that such a publication needed the interest and active support of Australian and New Zealand historians. A perceived lack of this meant the infant plans were temporarily shelved. The climate now seemed more conducive to such a project. After the conference, Crawford wasted little time in corresponding with James about their shared objectives.

He quickly assessed that James would be a fine editor for a national journal. Gwyn James surmised he had found a sympathetic benefactor and ally. The overwhelming difficulty was financing the publication. The plan was to produce a publication of world standing, one worthy of export. Australia needed an historical journal of its own, and he intended to be at the forefront of its establishment. Progress was slow and to avert the risk of losing Gwyn James, Crawford established a lectureship at Melbourne for the young historian.

The eventual debut of the journal was a resounding success, and Crawford diligently played the role of guardian, protector and mediator. Some Sydney historians were disgruntled. Wallace had refused to subsidise the publication and argued that the time was not ripe because the field was sufficiently covered by other publications.

Sydney University was also infuriated by its perceived under-representation in the first edition. It was left to Crawford to explain patiently to the Sydney Registrar that he had written early to Roberts inviting his interest, but received no reply. In spite of the tremendous pressure on Crawford, this was the beginning of his most charmed and productive period.

‘So to Speak’ Podcast: Alice Dreger on Academic Freedom

Judgment and Conscience It was not only the providence of history and the infant historical journal that preoccupied Crawford. The Vice-Chancellor gave him the opportunity to enforce his synoptic and moralist view by inviting him to join the National Service Committee.

Australian historians

The committee was formed by the Professorial Board to discuss the vexing question of mobilisation, defence and University resources in the event of a national emergency. The memorandum was not greeted with universal support, and Max Crawford was one of its most outspoken opponents. In a lengthy letter, he recorded his misgivings, the most fundamental being that it confused the function of the University with that of the national government. Other members of the committee objected that the University could not participate in defence preparation unless the Commonwealth government demonstrated a stronger desire to participate.

The Board did not underestimate the vehement opposition of the liberal fringe. During a heated meeting on 27 February, Kenneth Bailey suggested to Crawford that he should speak to members of his department to achieve a consensus. On 27 May , a report was drafted that acknowledged the objections and dismissed them as unfounded. Conceived towards the end of , the Register was a voluntary aid to the assessment of manpower resources.

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By the following March, the government was convinced that compulsion was necessary and, in May, the Minister of Defence, G. Street, announced that National Registration would be enacted. Crawford had 'Forward the Professors' 87 become a more conspicuous player after he delivered a brief but controversial paper on the necessity of the Parliament as a safeguard of liberty at the fourth annual meeting of the Council on 18 May Professor Crawford would no doubt agree the increased complexity of the problems which the government has to deal with means an increased delegation of powers since it would be quite impractical for Parliament to deal with a thousand and one matters of detail.

After an endless round of meetings, an ACTU emergency committee urged a boycott. Woodruff would resign. Although the image of rebel did not sit comfortably with Crawford, he began to have private doubts about the camp he was 'Forward the Professors' 89 allied with. The following day on 20 July, Brian Fitzpatrick contacted him.

In doing this, he was not exactly aligning himself with the other side. In fact, he maintained that the National Register was not sufficiently menacing to civil liberties to warrant resorting to the ultimate safeguard of democracy: the right to resist. The manner in which Burton courted publicity infuriated Crawford. He believed that informing the public was a matter for the Executive Committee, not an individual. If the majority voted against the publication of the statement condemning the boycott, Crawford would abide by the decision and would not feel obliged to resign as Vice-President.

By supporting the ACTU they would leave themselves open to the suspicion that they were a group on the left masquerading as a legitimate Council for Civil Liberties.

Unconvinced, Crawford resisted the pressure. He later attempted to resolve his ambivalent feelings towards the nature of politics and the perception others had of him. Crawford was not pushed or cajoled.

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His decisions were measured, voluntary and deliberate. In the case of the compulsory University national service, he resisted the pressure imposed by Bailey. During the ACCL conflict, he found himself on the outer, a position he was not accustomed to, and he opposed the University camp. In both examples, Max Crawford was not forced and, on both occasions, he adopted the controversial and radical position. A temporary solution was found in the ACCL that placated the chief antagonists. Burton and Fitzpatrick agreed that in future neither would publish any material without the consent of the other.

In August the Council adopted a more satisfactory and democratic resolution to preserve the unity of an organisation made up of divergent political sympathies and petty jealousies. The circular to the VicePresidents read: That in the event of any major political issue arising in which issues of civil liberties appear to be inevitable, and in which members of the Council might be expected to take different views, the Executive Committee may invite all members to give their views and to attend a meeting so that a policy of the Council may be thoroughly discussed.

Several weeks after the circular was issued, the ACCL was confronted with a decisive and unexpected political alliance.


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On 23 August , the Nazi-Soviet Pact was signed. On this occasion the ACCL managed to arrive at an agreed position with very little negotiation. Worse was to come when Germany attacked Poland in the early hours of 1 September and, two days later, England and Germany went to war for the second time.


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Australians learned of their fate when, on 3 September, a solemn Robert Menzies announced on the radio that they were to join Britain in the conflict. Priestley to D.

ISBN 10: 0522851533

Hancock to D.