Why were some soldiers treated generously by governments when they returned home from war, while others were not? What determined whether veterans, disabled or not, received gratitude and material rewards in the form of generous pensions, educational, housing and other benefits, or were denied them? These were the questions that drove Professor Neil Diamant (Dickinson College), Professor Mark Edele (University of Melbourne) and myself as we pooled our individual expertise on Chinese, Soviet and Australian veterans respectively, and investigated a number of other case studies. The eventual result was a co-authored monograph which presents the first multi-national study of veterans in the age of total war. In this paper I will discuss the process of collaboration and our key – and sometimes surprising – findings.

Associate Professor Martin Crotty lectures in History at The University of Queensland. His research interests centre around Australia at war. Having completed his work on veterans, he is in the early stages of a project on the 121 Australians who were sentenced to death for military crimes during World War I.