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Australias Relationship With Britain In 1914 History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

On the 28th June 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo. Austria, Hungary had a terrible reaction to the assassination of their heir and from there one thing lead to another. Many countries started to bound/ally. When Britain joined the war, it wasn’t a surprise that Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa joined to help Britain too. This article is about Australia’s involvement in world war one. When Australia heard about the war they were very excited and devoted, they quickly had 20, 000 Australian men enlisting in the war.

Australia’s relationship with Britain in 1914.

Many Australians thought as them-selves as British. They took pride in being part of the British Empire. They found it hard to turn Australia as its own nation because they still had British ancestry and Britain influenced Australia’s cultural identity. When Australia became independent they still had a huge link to their ‘mother country’ Britain. Australia looked to Britain for many things like cultural, economic and in defence terms. Australia was known to be ‘dominions’ which is previous colonies of Britain that have good control for their own country but at the same time still being loyal to Britain. Although that would mean that Australia had self-government which wasn’t the case. By appointing Australia’s Governor General and by making sure the Australian and Britain Government communicated through the Governor General and the colonial office Britain kept its influence on Australia. As they were still citizens of Britain until 1949, when world war one came in 1914 they went to war for Britain since Australia was still lower than Britain and did everything to please the ‘Mother Country.’ That was one reason Australians enlisted in the war.

Reasons for enlistment.

There were many reasons why Australia decided to enlist in the war. One like a said before was they felt they needed to serve their mother country, they felt it was their duty to enlist. They wanted to have a sense of Adventure; they thought if they enlist in the war it would be a good experience and they thought they would ‘be back for Christmas’ which means they thought the war was going to be short, fun and they were cocky in the fact that they thought they were going to win. They also wanted money, to support themselves and family, so they thought attending war would give them a lot of money. They also wanted to show that they were willing to fight for their mother country so that their peers and young women were proud of them. They also wanted to enlist because of the hatred of the ‘Hun’. ‘Hun’ was a slang word used by the allies, to describe the Germans, ‘Boche’ was another.

Opposition to involvement.

At the beginning of the war, not many people opposed to it. The people who did oppose where from religious groups e.g. Society of Friends and some trade unionists because they believed its burden would be set for the poor people instead of the rich people who had more of a decision if they wanted to go to war or not. Later on in the war many people started to oppose involvement in the war as they found out it was going to be a short war or a nice adventure, but a long scary deadly war.

Recruitment campaigns. 
Recruitment was a method that tried to influence people to enlist for the war. They were smart in the way to get men to enlist. They convinced the men through arguments, horror, guilt, conflict and accusation but it was something else that worked so much better, the posters. In that time the posters that were made were very popular and important that even up to now they are hugely mentioned in books and sources about the war. Reasons for this included because they were very easy and cheap to make, got the message around because they were able to be shown anywhere and because the posters were visual they attracted the eyes of many people which made many people communicate the meaning of this and more men started to enlist in the war. They were very smart in how they convinced men to enlist, they wrote the reasons why it was important for Australians to enlist in the war. They made sure they covered 6 key aspects… they constantly reminded them of their duty to help their mother country Britain, they made the men feel that they needed to enlist to show that they were sporty, masculine and had courage, they got people to put pressure on the men for not enlisting in the war which made them feel like cowards, they made the posters positive which only showed good things about war e.g. Sport, they made them see that this could be a job with a huge earn of money and finally they convinced them that the Germans were purely hate and horror, which made people think that their family and friends would get attacked. The point of these posters was to make the men think of war as an adventurous and fun place when really they left out the reality like limited food, and many more. Of course the most important thing they left out was the reality that many could get injured or die.

When the war finally ended, their were a lot of people who had left the world. People thought they should be remembered for their great courage and should be shown that everyone was proud of them for fighting. Soon after Anzac day become a day for Australians and New Zealand’s to reflect. There is a one minute silence, Anzac march and more.

Recruitment poster


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