Australia's Involvement In Wwi Essay

3102 words - 12 pages

On the 28th of June 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated at Sarajevo. Most Australians had never heard of the man, let alone foreseen the devastating consequences it could have on the explosive tension in Europe at the time. Not until Austria declared war on Serbia did Australia realise a war could begin. On the 30th of July 1914 Russia mobilised its troops in support of Serbia. On the 1st of August, France mobilised in support of Russia, Germany mobilised in support of Austria, and Russia declared war on Germany. On the 3rd of August Germany declared war on France. One day later, after German troops invaded Belgium on their way to France, Britain declared war on Germany. Britain's entrance into the war sparked Australia's involvement. It may be said that when Britain declared war, Australia was automatically at war. If it was the misconception of war (it was widely believed fighting would be "over by Christmas"), Australia's feeling of responsibility to stand by England, or Australia's first chance to prove itself as an independent nation, Australian patriotism soared. Australia's Prime Minister Joseph Cook said, "Remember that when the empire is at war so is Australia at war... all our resources in Australia are in the Empire and for the Empire, and for the preservation and the security of the Empire." From England's decision to enter the war, Australia declared overwhelming loyalty. An examination of Australia's military, social and political circumstances during the period of 1914-1918 will reveal the extent to which Australia was involved in World War I.The extent to which Australia was involved in World War I may be derived from its military contribution. As soon as war was declared, Prime Minister Cook promised Britain an immediate force of twenty thousand men and the Australian navy was placed under the direct control of the British. Troops had to be recruited, trained, equipped and transported twenty thousand kilometres to Europe. It soon became apparent from the enthusiastic rush of volunteers that far more than twenty thousand men could be recruited. Because Australian soldiers were required to serve overseas, the government needed a new organisation separate from its home defence system. The newly appointed Major General W. T. Bridges, commander of the new volunteer troops, named his forces the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). He emphasised the fact that it was an Australian army operating within the forces of the British Empire as a whole. It was during World War I that the policy was established of keeping Australian troops as separate, identifiable units immediately under the charge of Australian officers. This way the Australian troops were not split up among the British units in such a way to lose their Australian identity. Nevertheless, the Australian officers were under British control and the Australian troops were directed by the British. They could not act independently as a force in their own right....

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