World War 1 Essay

982 WordsAug 11, 20124 Pages
At the outbreak of the War in Europe in 1914, Australia was still a very young nation, having been established as a Federation only 13 years earlier in 1901. Australia's regional position meant that it was geographically isolated from the long-standing conflicts between many of the European nations. Despite Australia's not being directly involved with the tensions which brought about the declaration of war, Australians soon found themselves playing an important role in what was thought to be 'the war to end all wars.' To ensure the protection and security of the British Empire, Britain put aside her previous conflicts of interest with the French and Russian empires and signed agreements. These agreements required the reciprocal support of all parties in the event of an attack from the German Empire or her allies. Australia, although a Federation since 1901, was still a member of the British Empire. This meant that when Britain declared war on 4 August 1914 not only were the French and Russian empires compelled to join the British, but Australia also found herself at war. The nation's financial resources and manpower were promised by the then-Labor leader, Andrew Fisher, who assured that 'Australians will stand beside our own to help and defend her to our last man and our last shilling.' Although Australia was constitutionally bound to the British Empire, the Australian people themselves reacted to the outbreak of war in an unprecedented manner of enthusiasm. They had a natural, strong sense of patriotism and loyalty to their 'mother country.' With ninety percent of Australians having a British background and with many aspects of life, including law and education, being modelled on the British system, many Australians still perceived themselves as being British and wanted to assist Britain's cause in any way they could. Australians had such a tremendous

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