Why did Australia join WW1?

+45 votes
asked May 31, 2015 in Culture & Society by Chelsea (670 points)
reshown Jul 26, 2015 by Kris
Other than their obligation as part of the British Empire then, is there any real benefits for Australia in fighting in the WW1? They were still a new nation and geographically isolated from where the main conflicts were. They also weren’t involved in the events that lead to the war in the first place. Why did they find the need to take part in it?

3 Answers

+18 votes
answered Jun 2, 2015 by krystina (920 points)
reshown Jul 27, 2015 by Kris
Andrew Fisher, Australia’s labour leader back in WW1 era, was a great supporter of Britain. While the concept of martial glory is null to him and that the war have no advantage to Australia, his immediate commitment to Britain secure him a strong control over the government. He famously declared that “Australians will stand beside the mother country to help and defend her to our last man and our last shillings.” Australians soldiers are better paid than their British counterpart, all to boost the morale and motivation. And with the backing of the government, the Australians march on to war. In some way, Australia wants to be feared and respected by the rest of world, the easy method in popularizing the small Australia. What they gain in exchange, is the price of human loss and devastating finance cost. Despite all that, there is only one fact that remains true, they did not choose to join the war.
+9 votes
answered Jun 7, 2015 by Joy (890 points)
The long-held loyalty to Britain by the Australian soldiers encourages them to join anyway. Some even still see Britain as their true home, while some other thought of it as an adventure that would end within a few weeks. It’s just a natural strong sense of patriotism, and a country that is almost entirely based on the British system, with 90% of the population having a British background. They held a sense that they owe Britain in many aspects of their life. Maybe Australia might have over glamorized the idea of the war itself, a fight for their mother country, all for the greater good of downing the evil Germans. A false perception is that war would be exciting, quick and effective in execution. The public offered themselves enthusiastically, maybe too enthusiastic, with 30,000 more naive volunteers than expected joining the allegiance, to the war fantasy. The idea of the harsh reality never caught on, it’s a fight for self-pride and esteem.
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Nataly (620 points)
I agree with this answer to why did Australia join WW1.
+7 votes
answered Jun 1, 2015 by Catina (720 points)
edited Jul 27, 2015 by Kris
At first, I didn’t understand why Australia joined WW1 as well. Australia should not have been involved in the war in the first place, the loss outweighs the benefits, there is never a winner in a war. It’s not the about who won, but the one who lost the least. Australia just started as a Federation, with relatively little resources to go with, and a grand future of revolution ahead of them, yet they found reasons to set that back and join the war.

Despite being a Federation since 1901, Australia is still considered part of the British Empire. On the 4th of August 1914, The French, Russian and British Empire signed an agreement on a united front, putting aside all their previous conflict of interest, in order to defend themselves on the oncoming attack from the German Empire and her allies. On one hand, Australia was indeed obliged to aid the British Empire in the war efforts. Australia’s mother country, Britain, ends up pressuring them to join and fight for their cause.
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