General Sir John Monash GCMG, KCB, VD (27 June 1865 – 8 October 1931) was a civil engineer who became an Australian military commander in the First World War. He commanded the 13th Infantry Brigade before the war and then, shortly after the outbreak of the war, became commander of the 4th Brigade in Egypt, with whom he took part in the Gallipoli campaign. In July 1916, he took charge of the new Australian 3rd Division in northwestern France and in May 1918 he was made commander of the Australian Corps, at the time the largest corps on the Western Front. On 8 August 1918 the successful Allied attack at the Battle of Amiens, which led to the expedited end to the war, was planned by Monash and spearheaded by British forces including the Australian and Canadian Corps under Monash and Arthur Currie. Monash is considered to be one of the best Allied generals of the First World War and the most famous in Australian history.
Monash was born in Dudley Street, West Melbourne, Victoria, on 27 June 1865, the son of Louis Monash and his wife Bertha, née Manasse. He was born to Jewish parents, both from Germany (the family name was originally spelt Monasch and pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable, living in Krotoschin in the Kingdom of Prussia, now Krotoszyn in the Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland. The family spoke German as their native language, and some sources describe them as being of German origin. From 1914 until his death, Sir John Monash had no good reason to attract attention to his German background. His parents' original home was close to where the German general Erich Ludendorff was born. As might have been expected from a man brought up by cultivated German parents who had arrived in Australia barely two years before John's birth, Monash spoke, read, and wrote German fluently...
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