Support for National Socialism during the 1930s is well known in Germany, but lesser known are those that supported it in Australia. In his latest book Nazi Dreamtime, historian David Bird investigates the extreme right, down under.
David Bird, author of ‘Nazi Dreamtime: Australian Enthusiasts for Hitler's Germany’, gave a talk about 1930s Australia and the extreme right at The Sydney Institute, 41 Phillip St, Sydney on 9 July 2012.
The Sydney Institute
The Sydney Institute describes itself on its website as “a privately funded not-for-profit current affairs forum encouraging debate and discussion”.
It hosts speakers on a wide range of issues from politics to literature. Both Julia Gillard (current Prime Minister of Australia) and Tony Abbott (current Leader of the Opposition) have spoken at the Institute.
Dr David Bird
David Bird is a historian based in Melbourne, Australia.
He has recently had published his second major work set in the 1930s ‘Nazi Dreamtime: Australian Enthusiasts for Hitler’s Germany’.
David Bird is also the author of the ‘Tame Tasmanian’ Appeasement and Rearmament in Australia, 1932-39, which examines the neglected career of former Australian Prime Minister Joseph Lyons and his quest for peace during the 1930s.
David Bird, author of Nazi Dreamtime – Australian Enthusiasts for Hitler’s Germany, speaks at The Sydney Institute.
Mr Bird talked about some of the Australians featured in his book.
• Historian Manning Clark - visited Nazi Germany from November 1938 to January 1939.
• Gilbert Murray (scholar, writer, translator and dramatist) – expressed an amazing degree of enthusiasm for the anti-Semitic ideology of the Nazi regime.
• Writer, Percy Reginald (‘Inky’) Stephenson - member of the extreme right Australia First Movement and editor of its magazine.
• Adela Pankhurst Walsh from the suffragette family - one of the founding members of the Australia First Movement.
• Alexander Rud Mills, known for his Pagan beliefs - Hitler owned several of his books.
After the talk, David Bird took some questions from the audience. Mr Bird gave the opinion that we probably haven’t seen the end of these people, certainly in Europe and mentioned the Greek Golden Dawn party. He believed fascism to be a product of economic hardship and deprivation.