1914 Essay, Research Paper
In 1914, Australia joined the First World War. Although it was seen as a European war, the Australia government decided that Australia should support its ‘Mother Country’, Britain. The prime-minister at the time, Joseph Cook, stated Australia’s position : “Whatever happens, Australia is a part of the Empire, right to the full. When the Empire is at war, Australia is at war.” Many Australians objected to the country’s involvement in the war, but the majority of the population agreed with the government’s decision. Australia joined the war for many reasons, but two main reasons were : Australia (as a counry) felt a loyalty towards the ‘mother country’, Britaain and that the war would be a good opportunity to improve Ausrtalia’s international reputation. Many individual Australians also joined the war for a variety of reasons. Some felt a strong loyalty to Britain who had supported Australia, and now, they felt, was the time for them to ‘do their bit’. Others enlsted simply to prove they were brave enough to fight, but some enlisted because their friends had. Some simply enlisted because they needed a job, pay, and regular meals, but many enlisted in the army for an adventure, not knowing the true horrors of war. Private A.J. McSparrow (former railway worker from Parramatta, NSW), was one of the many men whwo enlisted because he felt that it was his duty to support the ‘mother country’ …”I have (enlisted) … and I don’t regret it in the very least. I believe that it is every young fellow’s duty” and “… we are the sort of men who should go.”Private Antill enlisted because he needed the money, clothes and food and also because it was easier work than cabinet making …”I tell you what I have just joined the Australan army … it’s not bad money here 5/- a day and clothes and food that’s nearly as good as cabinet making and not half as hard.”Lieutenant D.G. Armstrong (former bank clerk from Kyneton, Victoria), thought that the war would be great opportunity to prove his strength and to show that he was not a coward…”I am going to have a try for the war … I think I ought to go, they want all they can get and … I think it’s the greatest opportunity for a chap to make a man of himself, those that come back from this war will be men of the right sort that anybody would be proud of.”Corporal R.E. Antill, (former cabinet maker from Windsor, Victoria), joined up because he was eager to shed German blood…”… I am itching to get a dig at a few Germans … we have all got the war fever … I am too excited to give my mind to writing…”However, after experiencing the horrors of war, Coporal Antill was not so blood thirsty…”I honestly say I will be highly delighted when this war is over for it is simply terrible, for to see your pals shot down beside you…” and “The first night … I tried to get a couple of hours rest, and where I was I could not shift my position so I had to use a dead man’s legs for a pillow.”Many Australians enlisted in the army with the wrong impression of what war would be like. Many thought that it would be glamourous and exciting, but the reality was that they were living in filthy trenches, alongside their dead comerades, who couldn’t be burried in the rush. Austraians joined the war with ignorance. Most of the Australian soldiers enlisted to support Britain because they were not aware of the full extent of war.