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What Was Australias Involvement In Ww1 History Essay

Joy and happiness is what every Australian Resident experienced at that moment. Our mother country Great Britain was at war and we will fight ‘to the last man and the last shilling’. Everywhere there were posters encouraging young men to join the war. ‘The Empire needs men! Helped by the young lions, the old lion defies his foes. ENLIST NOW. In every state there were hundreds of young, fit men queuing outside recruiting offices. Women were proud of all men who have joined. Factories everywhere were occupied making weapons for the Australian soldiers. Everyone was getting ready for this short, superb war. It would be a festive Christmas as fathers and brothers will be back.

Reasons for Enlistment

The outburst of the war in 1914 was greeted by all Australians with a positive attitude, support and enthusiasm. Australia is part of the British Empire. Men were eager to get into uniform and fight in the war for various reasons: For our mother country this is shown through propaganda.

Many types of propaganda were used to encourage recruitment in the army: posters, newspapers, films and speeches. Men saw this war as a glorious adventure and a way of achieving spiritual renewal. Enlisting in war would show their patriotism for the love of Britain. Going to war was a chance for the men to develop noble sacrifice and proving racial and cultural superiority. It is believed to be a short, superb war; men would come back as heroes. Peer pressure played a major role. Men were excited to join the war and fight with their friends. Everyone was enlisting, it was the right thing to do. This is shown in the source below:

Another reason was the support at the home front. This encouraged man to enlist .Women, children, workforce and the government were supporting them and women were willing to work in men’s jobs such as in the police force, in farming, in factories and in small businesses until the war was over. This is shown below:

A Major force was the Hatred of the Hun an offensive word given to Germans and majority of the men enlisting were working class and had families, by joining the war they would earn more money.

Australia’s Relationship with Britain

Australia became a nation in 1901. This gave them a growing sense of independence in sport, art and literature. Australia had a dominion status meaning we have accomplished control over our own personal matters while sustaining allegiance to Britain. Australia had a strong bond with their mother country Britain and valued being part of the British Empire. Britain influenced Australia’s identity through many ways. They consent to the British Legal system. Australia’s economy was secured closely with Britain’s. It was their largest trade market and most important bases of imports. In terms of education Australia emphasised on British accomplishments, history and social customs. Once federation occurred it was inevitable to see that Australia became an independent nation however, culturally, economically and in defence terms we expected Britain to guide and support us. The strong relationship of control and power of Britain over Australia was evident in the restriction of self-government with British control over their foreign affairs and a sustained influence by assigning Australia with a Governor General.

Opposition to Involvement

Numerous Australians are prepared and keen to fight for Britain in this war except for a minority of people. People who opposed the war ranged from pacifists, trade unions to extremist conscientious objectors. Many pacifists believe that war and violence are morally wrong, irrespective of the circumstances and are against the taking of human life. Trade unions where against the war as they strongly believed that the working class would suffer detrimentally as they would have more active role in the home and war front in comparison to upper and middle class . Opposition to Involvement in the war was shown in how a referendum was conducted by the Australian Government to increase the amount of men who will go overseas to battle during World War 1 under the Military Service Referendum Act 1916. The Australian community was asked “Are you in favour of the government having compulsory power over citizens in regards to imposing them to fight in the war “. The opposition was conveyed in the result of a divided Australia with 48% of Australians for conscription and 52% of Australians were against conscription. The treatment of those who opposed the war was horrific shown in the conscientious objectors who were against conscription were precluded from the Australian society were given a white feather a symbol of cowardice. The horrific treatment was also exemplified in the 34 000 prosecutions and 7000 detentions which were forms of punishment to people who opposed conscription.

Recruitment Campaigns

The use of Propaganda in World War 1 encouraged recruitment into the army. Types of Propaganda included posters, songs, censorship, films and newspapers. Posters encouraged men to enlist and encouraged women to put pressure on the men.

Songs encouraged enlistment. This is shown in an English song:

We don’t want to lose you but we think you ought to go your king and your countries both need you so. Censorship was also used by the government to destabilize those who oppose the war. Films were also used showing how soldiers worked together and enjoyed army life however horrific images were avoided.

The government announced that unmarried men aged between 20-41 in January and men aged 18-41 in May will join under the compulsory military service and conscription. Recruitment began on the 10th of August 1914 in Australia. The first group of volunteers in total were 40 000 and departed to Egypt for training. By 1914 in December 52 000 Australian men volunteered and 500 Aborigines. Even though we had many volunteers and men went to war it was compulsory for men between the ages of 12 and 25 to train.

Words: 984


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