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Encyclopedia > John Monash
Sir John Monash
Sir John Monash

General Sir John Monash, GCMG, KCB, VD (27 June 18658 October 1931), Australian military commander of the First World War, was born in Melbourne, Victoria, to parents of Prussian-Jewish origin (the family name was originally spelled Monasch). Most of his youth was spent in Jerilderie, New South Wales but he was educated at Scotch College in Melbourne and graduated from the University of Melbourne: in engineering in 1893 and in law in 1895. He worked as a civil engineer, introducing reinforced concrete to Australian engineering practice. He joined a militia unit, becoming a colonel in 1913. Image File history File links Monash2. ... Image File history File links Monash2. ... On the Orders insignia, St Michael is often depicted subduing Satan. ... Military Badge of the Order of the Bath The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. ... The Volunteer Decoration was created in July, 1892 to reward efficient and capable officers of the Volunteer Force who had served for twenty years. ... June 27 is the 178th day of the year (179th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 187 days remaining. ... 1865 (MDCCCLXV) is a common year starting on Sunday. ... October 8 is the 281st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (282nd in leap years). ... Year 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1931 calendar). ... Combatants Allied Powers: Russian Empire France British Empire Italy Empire of Japan United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary German Empire Ottoman Empire Bulgaria Commanders Nicholas II Aleksei Brusilov Georges Clemenceau Joseph Joffre Ferdinand Foch Herbert Henry Asquith Douglas Haig John Jellicoe Victor Emmanuel III Luigi Cadorna Armando Diaz Woodrow Wilson... Melbournes Yarra River is a popular area for walking, jogging, cycling, rowing and for relaxing on the banks with a picnic Melbourne (pronounced ) is the second most populous city in Australia, with a metropolitan area population of approximately 3. ... Emblems: Pink heath (floral)Weedy Seadragon (Aquatic) helmeted honeyeater (bird) Leadbeaters possum (faunal) Motto: Peace and Prosperity Slogan or Nickname: Garden State, The Place To Be, On The Move Other Australian states and territories Capital Melbourne Government Const. ... Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Prussia, 1701-1918 Prussia (German: ; Latin: Borussia, Prutenia; Lithuanian: ; Polish: ; Old Prussian: Prūsa) was, most recently, a historic state originating in East Prussia, an area which for centuries had substantial influence on German and European history. ... This article describes some ethnic, historic, and cultural aspects of the Jewish identity; for a consideration of the Jewish religion, refer to the article Judaism. ... Jerilderie, New South Wales, Australia, is a town of 900 people and a Local Government Area, located on Billabong Creek, 640 kilometres southwest of Sydney and 60 kilometres north of the Victorian state border. ... Capital Sydney Government Const. ... For other schools named Scotch College, see Scotch College. ... The Old Quad Building, formerly Old Law The University of Melbourne, located in Melbourne, Victoria, is the second oldest university in Australia, and the oldest in Victoria. ... 1893 (MDCCCXCIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... 1895 (MDCCCXCV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Following the federation of Australia in 1901, the six colonial militias were merged to form a national reserve army. ... Colonel (IPA: or ) is a military rank of a commissioned officer, with the corresponding ranks existing in nearly every country in the world. ... Year 1913 (MCMXIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ...


When war broke out in 1914 Monash became a full-time Army officer. Despite the anti-German hysteria of the time, there seems to have been no adverse comment on his German origins. When the Australian Imperial Force was formed, he was sent with the 4th Infantry Brigade to Egypt. In 1915 his brigade, as part of the New Zealand and Australian Division under Major General Godley, participated in the disastrous Gallipoli campaign against the Ottoman Army. The brigade initially defended the line between Pope's Hill and Courtney's Post and the valley behind this line became known as "Monash Valley". There he made a name for himself with his independent decision-making and his organisational ability. He was promoted to brigadier-general in July. During the August offensive, Monash's objective was the capture of Hill 971, the highest point on the Sari Bair range, but a failure to get his troops through poorly mapped mountainous terrain prior to the battle resulted in disaster for the last co-ordinated effort to defeat the Turkish forces on the Gallipoli Peninsula. This marked the lowest point of his military career. He commanded the final significant assault of the Gallipoli fighting in the attack on Hill 60 on August 21 which was only partially successful. Year 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... The First Australian Imperial Force (1st AIF) was the main expeditionary force of the Australian Army during World War I. It was formed from August 15, 1914, following Britains declaration of war on Germany. ... Infantry of the Royal Irish Rifles during the Battle of the Somme in World War I. Infantry are soldiers who fight primarily on foot with small arms in organized military units, though they may be transported to the battlefield by horses, ships, automobiles, skis, or other means. ... 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... The New Zealand and Australian Division was formed at the start of the Battle of Gallipoli as a composite division under the command of New Zealand general Alexander Godley. ... Battle of Gallipoli Conflict First World War Date 19 February 1915 - 9 January 1916 Place Gallipoli peninsula, Turkey Result Ottoman victory The Battle of Gallipoli took place on the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli in 1915 during the First World War. ... Motto: دولت ابد مدت Devlet-i Ebed-müddet (The Eternal State) Anthem: Ottoman imperial anthem Borders in 1680, see: list of territories Capital Söğüt (1299-1326) Bursa (1326-1365) Edirne (1365-1453) Constantinople (Istanbul) (1453-1922) Language(s) Ottoman Turkish Government Monarchy Sultans  - 1281–1326 Osman I  - 1918–1922 Mehmed VI... Brigadier General (sometimes known as a one-star general from the United States insignia) is the lowest rank of general officer in some countries, usually ranking just above Colonel and just below Major General. ... Battle of Sari Bair Conflict First World War Date 6–29 August 1915 Place Gallipoli peninsula, Turkey Result Turkish victory The Battle of Sari Bair, also known as the August Offensive, was the last attempt made by the British to seize control of the Gallipoli peninsula from Turkey during... Battle of Hill 60 Conflict First World War Date 21–29 August 1915 Place Gallipoli, Turkey Result Turkish victory The Battle of Hill 60 was the last major assault of the Battle of Gallipoli. ... August 21 is the 233rd day of the year (234th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ...

Monash during the First World War
Monash during the First World War

By June 1916 Monash was in France, with the rank of major-general and in charge of the new Australian 3rd Division. He was involved in many actions, including Messines, Broodseinde and the First Battle of Passchendaele, with some successes but the usual heavy casualties. The British High Command was impressed by Monash's abilities and enthusiasm. In May 1918 he was promoted to lieutenant-general and made commander of the Australian Corps, at the time the largest corps on the Western Front. Image File history File links Monash. ... Image File history File links Monash. ... Year 1916 (MCMXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ... Major General or Major-General is a military rank used in many countries. ... The Australian 3rd Division was a World War I infantry division formed in Australia in March 1916 and which began to arrive in England in July at which time General John Monash was appointed as the commander. ... The Battle of Messines was launched on June 7, 1917 by British General Herbert Plumers second army, which included the 16th (Irish) Division and the 36th (Ulster) Division, near the villages of Mesen (in French Messines, as it was on most maps at that time) and Wytschaete. ... Combatants United Kingdom France Canada Australia New Zealand German Empire Commanders Douglas Haig Hubert Gough Herbert Plumer Arthur Currie Max von Gallwitz Erich Ludendorff Strength Unknown Unknown Casualties 448,000 killed and wounded 260,000 killed and wounded The 1917 Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of... Combatants British Empire Australia Canada New Zealand United Kingdom France German Empire Commanders Douglas Haig Hubert Gough Herbert Plumer Arthur Currie Max von Gallwitz Erich Ludendorff Strength Unknown Unknown Casualties 448,000 killed and wounded 260,000 killed and wounded The 1917 Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third... Year 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. ... The Australian Corps was a World War I army corps that contained all five Australian infantry divisions serving on the British army in France. ...


Monash, not being a professionally trained officer, was free of the antiquated doctrines of many First World War officers. He believed in the co-ordinated use of infantry, aircraft, artillery and tanks. He wrote:

The true role of infantry is not to expend itself upon heroic physical effort, not to wither away under merciless machine-gun fire, not to impale itself on hostile bayonets, but on the contrary, to advance under the maximum possible protection of the maximum possible array of mechanical resources, in the form of guns, machine-guns, tanks, mortars and aeroplanes; to advance with as little impediment as possible; to be relieved as far as possible of the obligation to fight their way forward.

Charles Bean, the official Australian war historian, noted that Monash was more effective the higher he rose within the Army where he had greater capacity to use his skill for meticulous planning and organisation, and to innovate in the area of technology and tactics. Bean had been no great admirer of Monash in his early career, in part due to a general prejudice against Monash's Jewish-Prussian background, but more particularly because Monash did not fit Bean's concept of the quintessential Australian character that Bean was in the process of mythologising in his monumental work 'Australia in the War of 1914-1918'. (Both Bean and Monash, however, having seen the very worst excesses of British military doctrines and the waste of life on the Western Front, were determined that the role of the commander was to look after, and protect as far as possible, the troops under their command.) Bean, who had said of Monash "We do not want Australia represented by men mainly because of their ability, natural and inborn in Jews, to push themselves", conspired with Keith Murdoch to undermine Monash and have him removed from the command of the Australian Corps. They mislead Prime Minister Billy Hughes into believing that senior officers were opposed to Monash (Perry 2004, p346). Hughes arrived at the front before the Battle of Hamel prepared to replace Monash, but after consulting with senior officers, and after seeing the superb power of planning and execution displayed by Monash, he changed his mind (Perry p349). portrait by George Lambert, 1924. ... Keith and Elisabeth Murdoch with Rupert Murdoch and one of his sisters in 1937, departing Melbourne by sea for Britain Sir Keith Arthur Murdoch (August 12, 1886 - October 4, 1952) was an Australian journalist and the father of Rupert Murdoch. ... William Morris Billy Hughes, (September 25, 1862–October 28, 1952), Australian politician, was the seventh Prime Minister of Australia, the longest-serving member of the Australian Parliament, and one of the most colourful figures in Australian political history. ... The Battle of Hamel (4 July 1918) was a planned attack launched by the Australian Corps of the Australian Imperial Force against German positions in the town of Hamel in western France during World War I. The battle was planned and commanded by Lieutenant General John Monash (later knighted). ...


At the Battle of Hamel on 4 July 1918 Monash applied his doctrine of "peaceful penetration", and led Australian Divisions, along with a small detachment of US troops, to win a decisive victory for the Allies. On 8 August, the Battle of Amiens was launched. The British used Australian and Canadian troops under Monash and Currie as an attacking spearhead into the German's. The battle was a strong victory for the British. The defeated German leader, General Ludendorff described it in the following words "August 8th was the black day of the German Army in the history of the war." On 12 August Monash was knighted, KCB on the battlefield by King George V, the first time a British monarch had honoured a commander in such a way in 200 years. The Australians then achieved a series of victories against the Germans at Chignes, Mont St Quentin, Peronne and Hargicourt. Monash eventually had 208, 000 men under his command including 50,000 inexperienced Americans. Monash planned the attack on the German defences in the Battle of the Hindenburg Line between Sep 16 and October 5 1918. The Allies eventually breached the Hindenburg line by the 5th of October and the war was essentially over. On 5 October, Prinz Max von Baden, on behalf of the German Government, asked for an immediate Armistice on land, water and in the air. (Perry 2004, p443) The Battle of Hamel (4 July 1918) was a planned attack launched by the Australian Corps of the Australian Imperial Force against German positions in the town of Hamel in western France during World War I. The battle was planned and commanded by Lieutenant General John Monash (later knighted). ... For the United States holiday, the Fourth of July, see Independence Day (United States). ... Year 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... Combatants United Kingdom, France, Canada, Australia Germany Commanders Henry Rawlinson Georg von der Marwitz Strength 4 Aus. ... General Erich Ludendorff Erich Ludendorff (sometimes given incorrectly as Erich von Ludendorff) (April 9, 1865 – December 20, 1937, Tutzing, Bavaria, Germany) was a German Army officer, noted as a general during World War I. Ludendorff was born in Kruszewnia near Posen, Prussia (now Poznań, Poland). ... August 12 is the 224th day of the year (225th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... KCB is a TLA that may stand for: Keep Chicago Beautiful (kcb. ... George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 - 20 January 1936) was the first British monarch belonging to the House of Windsor, as a result of his creating it from the British branch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. ... Péronne is the name or part of the name of several communes in France: Péronne, in the Saône-et-Loire département Péronne, in the Somme département Péronne-en-Mélantois, in the Nord département This is a disambiguation page, a list of... Combatants United Kingdom, France, Australia, United States Germany Commanders Ferdinand Foch Georg von der Marwitz Strength 4 British armies 1 French army American Expeditionary Force Defensive forces and gun emplacements of the Hindenburg Line The Battle of the Hindenburg Line, which began September 18, 1918, was a key turning point... Prince Maximilian of Baden (Max von Baden) (10 July 1867 – 6 November 1929) was the cousin and heir of Grand Duke Frederick II of Baden, and succeeded Frederick as head of the Grand Ducal House in 1928. ...

Statue of Sir John Monash in King's Domain, Melbourne.
Statue of Sir John Monash in King's Domain, Melbourne.

By the end of the war Monash had acquired an outstanding reputation for intellect, personal magnetism, management and ingenuity. He also won the respect and loyalty of his troops: his motto was "Feed your troops on victory". Field-Marshal Bernard Montgomery later wrote: "I would name Sir John Monash as the best general on the western front in Europe." Download high resolution version (650x800, 152 KB)Statue of General Sir John Monash in Kings Domain, Melbourne. ... Download high resolution version (650x800, 152 KB)Statue of General Sir John Monash in Kings Domain, Melbourne. ... Kings Domain is part of the Domain Parklands in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, on the south side of the Yarra River, that incorporates the Alexandra Gardens, Queen Victoria Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens. ... Melbournes Yarra River is a popular area for walking, jogging, cycling, rowing and for relaxing on the banks with a picnic Melbourne (pronounced ) is the second most populous city in Australia, with a metropolitan area population of approximately 3. ... Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC (17 November 1887 – 24 March 1976) was a British Army officer, often referred to as Monty. He successfully commanded Allied forces at the Battle of El Alamein, a major turning point in World War II, and...


After the war, Monash worked in prominent civilian positions, the most notable being head of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. He was also Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne from 1923 until his death. He was called upon by the Victorian Government of Harry Lawson in 1923 to organise 'special constables' to restore order during the 1923 Victorian Police strike. He was one of the principal organisers of the annual observance of ANZAC Day, and oversaw the planning for Melbourne's monumental war memorial, the Shrine of Remembrance. Monash was honoured with numerous awards and decorations from universities and foreign governments. He died in 1931 in Melbourne, where the City of Monash, Monash Medical Centre (the location of his bust that originally resided in former SECV town Yallourn) and Monash University are named after him. His face is on Australia's highest value currency note ($100). Also named in his honour is Kfar Monash (Monash village) in Israel. Monash's success in part reflected the tolerance of Australian society, but to a larger degree his success - in the harshest experience the young nation had suffered - shaped that tolerance and demonstrated to Australians that the Australian character was diverse, multi-ethnic, and a blend of the traditions of the 'Bush' and the 'city'. SEC Logo The Electricity Commissioners were established by an act of parliament in 1918 and became the State Electricity Commission (known as the SEC, or SECV) in 1921 . ... The University of Melbourne, located in Melbourne, in Victoria, is the second oldest university in Australia (the University of Sydney is the oldest). ... Sir Harry Lawson Sir Harry Sutherland Wightman Lawson (5 March 1875 - 12 June 1952), Australian politician, was the 27th Premier of Victoria. ... On the eve of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival in November 1923, half the police force in Melbourne went on strike over the operation of a supervisory system using spooks. Riots and looting followed as crowds poured forth from Flinders Street Station on the Friday and Saturday nights and made... ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Australian War Memorial, 25 April 2005, 90th anniversary Australia and New Zealand commemorate the ANZAC Day public holiday on April 25 every year to honour the bravery and sacrifice of the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), and of all those... The Shrine of Remembrance, located in St Kilda Road, Melbourne, is one of the largest war memorials in Australia. ... The City of Monash is a Local Government Area of Victoria (Local Government Area) in Victoria, Australia. ... Monash University is Australias largest university with about 55,000 students. ...


In a final sign of humility, despite his achievements, honours and titles, he instructed that his tombstone simply bear the words "John Monash".


Monash's impact on Australian military thinking was significant in three areas. Firstly he was the first Australian overall commander of Australian forces and took, as subsequent Australian commanders did, a relatively independent line with his British and US superiors. Secondly, he promoted the concept of the commander's duty to ensure the safety and well being of his troops to a pre-eminent position. And finally, he, along with the brilliant Staff Officer Brudenell White forcefully demonstrated the benefit of thorough planning and integration of all arms of the forces available, and of all of the components supporting the front line forces, including logistical, medical and recreational services. Troops later recounted that one of the most extraordinary things about the Battle of Hamel was not the use of armoured cars, or simply the tremendous success of the operation, but the fact that in the midst of battle Monash had arranged delivery of hot meals up to the front line. General Sir Cyril Brudenell White, KCB, KCMG, KCVO, DSO (23 September 1876 – 13 August 1940), Australian soldier, was Chief of the General Staff of the Australian Army from 1920 to 1923 and again from March to August 1940, when he was killed in the Canberra air disaster, 1940. ...


Further reading

Monash Married Hannah Victoria Moss in April 8 1891. Roland Perry is a Melbourne based author. ... Random House is a publishing division of the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann based in New York City. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Melbourne University Publishing (MUP) is the book publishing arm of the University of Melbourne (Australia). ... 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
John Monash
  • General Officers of the 1st AIF: John Monash
  • RBA: Sir John Monash Biographical Summary

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John Monash - definition of John Monash in Encyclopedia (717 words)
John Monash - definition of John Monash in Encyclopedia
Statue of Sir John Monash in King's Domain, Melbourne.
General Officers of the 1st AIF: John Monash (http://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/~rmallett/Generals/monash.html)
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