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Influence Of Wwi On The Home Front Australia History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

In this task your first paragraph does not need to be very long. It simply needs to make a general statement about the arguments for and against Federation. You should mention all arguments that you plan to develop in your essay.

In this paragraph you should clearly explain your first argument using detailed, accurate information. It should begin with a topic sentence which clearly states the argument you are going to discuss.

In this paragraph you should clearly explain your next argument using detailed, accurate information. It should begin with a topic sentence which clearly states the argument you are going to discuss.

In this paragraph you should clearly explain your next argument using detailed, accurate information. It should begin with a topic sentence which clearly states the argument you are going to discuss.

In this paragraph you should clearly explain your final argument using detailed, accurate information. It should begin with a topic sentence which clearly states the argument you are going to discuss.

NB You should have as many paragraphs as you have arguments, followed by your conclusion.

A brief paragraph which sums up the arguments for and against Federation, and makes some assessment of them.

Vanessa Li – 9R

The Home Front

During the unpredictable First World War, the countries involved were deeply affected in numerous ways, whether from economic issues to the downfall of the nations in general. One of these countries was the relatively unknown southern nation Australia, which served loyally to their ‘mother’ country (Britain) and was commended on their part. Back on the Home Front in Australia, the influence of World War One and the repercussions were deep, along with the conflict going on overseas.

While the all the able men were enlisted to serve in the War, the women and children were left in Australia to carry out daily routine as usual, yet women were a major factor in the Home Front, contributing to the conscription debate and public life in general. Although their usual work role was focused in the home, women’s contribution in the workforce increased from 24 percent in 1914 to 37 percent for the following four years, yet this rise was mostly in the areas which women had traditionally worked in, such as clothing, footwear, food and printing but there was also a slight rise in the clerical, teaching and (shop) assistant occupations. Unions were originally hesitant to hire women to replace the men’s role in the workforce as they predicted that the outcome would be bleak and undesirable. Also, as women did not fight in the War, they attempted to do as much as they could by earning jobs as stretcher bearers, car drivers and interpreters but the government blatantly refused to allow this participation yet numerous women’s organisations began to become actively involved at this time such as the Australian Women’s National League, the Australian Red Cross, the Voluntary Aid Detachment, the Australian Women’s Service Corps, the Women’s Peace Army and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which was the most effective organisation by having hotel hours limited in several states.

This advancement in women’s place in the workforce was a positive effect from the War, as there was no traditional male dominance present which allowed women to establish themselves as workers, bridging the gap between inequality, although the government did not allow women to participate in the War besides nursing, no matter how small the part.

In Source 1, a man who has just returned from War is being refused an occupation as a clerk, as the manager is hiring women as their wages are lower. There are mixed messages in this cartoon, as it shows that women are no longer being shunned out of the workforce, but are still being paid less than men, despite the fact that they are doing the same jobs as a man would.

From the beginning to the end of the War, the government extended its authority and was creating policies that received mixed reactions as they mostly consisted of revenue-earning schemes to subside the cost of sending the troops overseas, which ultimately affected the daily lives of Australians. Headed by William Morris Hughes, the leader of the Australian Labor Party, one of the major decisions that the government decided to pass was the War Precautions Act which gave the Commonwealth government ultimate power and control with anything related to the War such as passing laws that would have be affecting the Constitution (if the Act had not been approved of previously), raising and introducing new taxes and persecuting citizens that had an association with the enemy country without a fair trial.

In 1916, Hughes (who was the Prime Minister at that time) declared a policy of conscription for those who were unwilling or morally opposed to the idea of force-fighting to maintain the strong numbers needed to support the troops overseas, as the current preposition stated that conscription was only allowed for service in Australia and so a referendum was held to decide the future of Australian troops. Many campaigns were organised and carried out, bitterly opposing the other with promises of patriotism and improved moral standards for Hughes’s side, while the other fought back declaring that the men that the government had sent overseas were condemned to kill and die and consequentially questioning the difference they would make in the War. Ultimately, the referendum failed to achieve its proposed aim, losing by a mere 49-50 percent of the total. But Hughes again declared another referendum in 1917 on the controversial issue and yet was defeated again.

The conscription debate was one of the most heated arguments in Australia during World War I, with many opposing the idea of sending the troops into foreign land where they had no aid in their quest, whilst others rejected the notion with patriotism and fighting to establish Australia’s identity in the world, yet the overall decision was the same for both referendums: conscription was rejected in Australia which saved many troops from death if they were forced to go fight for their country.

In Source 2, the figure of Death, the Grim Reaper, is standing over a man who is in his decision whether to vote for conscription or not. This cartoon portrays conscription as a completely undesirable choice, showing that if chosen, the outcome would be something as worse as death itself. It is also a metaphor for the events ahead if conscription was allowed; the troops being killed and if this law was passed.

During the War, Australia’s economy was slightly unstable but not entirely affected; the raw materials found in regional and local areas were of high value yet there was a centralised taxation to compensate for the expensive send-over of the troops, just when there was a boom in the workforce of women. The taxing was also influenced by the need of a stable government and the income tax for workers, which increased the cost of standard living for ordinary Australians with regular staples being overpriced and also the new introduced taxes to cope with as well. The working-class were affected the most, as they believed that they were exploited during the War, working overtime with the anxiety growing for those at War. After the War, the workforce was challenged by the younger generation of men and veterans who had returned that were plagued with psychological/welfare/health problems which consequentially led to the decrease in industrial activity, with the loss of life affecting the workforce and the economy altogether.

There was also the issue of the infiltration of ‘enemy aliens’ in Australia, which were the foreign citizens that were currently residing in the country as they were considered as the adversary in the War and were forced into intern camps/ prisons, until they were no longer seen as enemies. This revelation affected mostly the German population in Australia, even those who were trusted and fit in, as they were victimised and imprisoned yet they were seen as the top respected nationality due to their race in the ‘White Australia’ policy, with the British at the top of the ladder and the Germans following closely by. Any publication or anything German-related that was featured in Australia, including towns and even the German-sounding names, were prohibited. After the War dissipated, the prisoners were released and no longer considered an enemy, yet they retained a hostile attitude towards Australia for the successive years as a minority were deported but many managed to escape persecution.

In Source 3, an Australian child is persuading his mother to choose the decision that will not affect the family lifestyle, appealing to all the Australian citizens that numerous families will be incomplete if this preposition was allowed to go ahead. If that particular vote was given the go-ahead, many Australian fathers would be missing from society and consequentially earning many single-families a harder life.

Overall, the influence and effect of World War One deeply impacted the Home Front in Australia with the damaging issues of the economy, the positive and negative effects of women in the male-dominated workforce and the hostility to those in Australia who were convicted of fraternising with the enemy.


Caption: A man who has just returned from War being rejected from employment as women’s wages are lower than a man’s.

Sign: Vacancies for Female Clerks, Wages: 25 shillings Per Week

Origin: Cartoon from ‘The Worker’, 10 February 1916.

Website: http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/ww1/homefront/women.html


Caption: The Grim Reaper, represented as Death, stands over a man who is voting.

Text: The Death Ballot, Polling Day, December 20, VOTE ‘NO’, (unintelligible text)

Origin: Cartoon from the ‘The Worker’, 7 December 1916

Website: http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/ww1/homefront/homefront.html


Caption: A child is pleading for his mother to vote ‘YES’ in order not to force his father to War.

Text: Australian Nationalists, Married Men are EXEMPT if the Government Proposals are CARRIED, but if they are REJECTED, ALL will have TO GO. ‘VOTE YES MUM, or else they’ll take DAD.’ VOTE YES.

Origin: (Unintelligible text in lower left hand corner)

Website: http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/ww1/homefront/homefront.html

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