World War I

Australia's Involvement

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The cause of World War I

There is many reasons, known and unknown, that stirred the start of World War I. Some being small arguments between countries and others being small disagreemants. There are four main factors behind the start of the war being:

  • Militarism: The policy of building up or creating a large military
  • Alliances: An agreement between two or more countries to help each other out and defend each other
  • Imperialism: A country attempts to extend it's power and influence over other countries. through diplomacy or military force
  • Nationalism: Pride in one's country

The war first started between Serbia and Austria-Hungary having large disagreements but this is not what sparked the war. It was when Gavrilo Princip a Serbian group member shot Archduke Franz Ferdinard and his wife, that the war began. So essentially, two deaths caused hundreds of thousands.

The Australian involvement in the war

In the beginning of Australia's Defence Force, huge amounts of men took the large step to become part of what is now known as ANZAC. Men came from all over Australia to attend what they thought to be the Australian dream, where they would fight for their country and come home and live the remainder of their life as a well respected hero. Although what they didn't know, was that this wasn't the case at all; a lot of men never came home and those that did, came home changed men.

At the time of World War I Australia's population consisted of only, a minute 5 million. Which is why Australia's sacrifice was a major one.

  • Over 324,000 people were enlisted and served overseas, this equals to just under 6.5% of Australia's entire population
  • 61,720 people died during this time
  • 155,000 people were injured
  • 4,044 people were held captive to war
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The significant battles of World War I

The ANZAC's fought in many wars supporting their allies; Britain. They fought in wars such as:

  • Gallipoli, Turkey
  • Fromelles on the Somme, France
  • Bullecourt, France
  • Messines, Belgium
  • Ypres, Belgium
  • Hamel Spur, France
  • Mont St Quentin, France
  • Peronne, France
  • Hindenberg Line, France

Battle of the Somme

The Battle of the Somme went from July to November in 1916 and the main aim for this war was to break the stalemate. The plan was to launch a major attack on the Germans which would result in cutting them off and discourage them. This failed s the Germans fought with heavy gun force. On the first day of this war over 20,000 soldiers were killed by the Germans. By the end of the war there was over 23,000 death of Australian troops, for a gain of only 1.5km.


On April 1917 Australians were sent to the German lines near the town of Bullecourt. Over eighty percent of the attacking force was lost due to casualties and also over a thousand troupes were captured by the Germans. This attack was supposed to be lead by tanks but they broke down. The Australians broke through the few barriers set up by the Germans including barb wire and the Australian troupes captured the first two lines of German trenches.
However, a month later Bullecourt was captured by the second division of Australian troupes.

The impact of the Great War on Australians at home

Many people were affected by the great war, it was not only the people fighting that are affected but during this time almost everyone was being affected.

While men were away from home fighting on the front line they all left their jobs back home. Employers had no other choice than to employ women to perform the previous men's jobs. Women completed these tasks just as well as men but were never paid the same amount. At this time the number of women in workforce rose from 24 percent to 37 percent since the start of the war to the end of 1918.

Whilst also having to work to support themselves many women also had to deal with the temporary loss of a family member with only a small amount of contact consisting of a few letters and photos, women also had to sometimes deal with the permanent loss of a loved one. This is a heartbreaking time for an each and every family affected.

The significance of ANZAC day to Australians

Most Australians, if not all, see this day as one of remembrance, respect and reminiscence. Throughout this day every year we as a country celebrate how far our country has come since 1914, and also remember all those who fought for us and especially those who gave their own life up for our freedom. There is not anything larger that someone can do than die for you and Australia lost over 60,000 people that did just that.

On the 25th of April the entirety of Australia have a minute silence to remember and thank all those who fought for our country. On this day every year many people choose to attend a 'dawn service' which is a highly respectful service which occurs before dawn, which is a reminder of the dawn landing in Gallipoli in 1915. During the day many areas also host a march where people can come watch past ANZAC's, war vehicles and many other people march through the streets. (Featured below). During each of these events people under go a minute of silence to commemorate our thanks to our countries 'heroes'.

A lot of families make this day a tradition whether it is attending both the dawn service or the dawn service and the march, which they attend every year.

A day that is also close to Australian's heart is Remembrance Day for all of the same reason, only this day commemorates the end of World War I.

Anzac Day March Melbourne 2013