Chapter 1: Australia before the war | The Anzac Portal
British flags featuring in commemorations and parades. However, this were to have joined him in October , as he meant to settle in Australia, but the war having broken out he popular perception the war would be over by Christmas. 20th-century international relations - World War I, – World War I has aptly The British War Council created an amphibious force of British, Australians, .. deliver Jerusalem to the British people “as a Christmas present,” made good. Australias Relationship With Britain In History Essay Australia looked to Britain for many things like cultural, economic and in defence terms. they would 'be back for Christmas' which means they thought the war was going to be short, .
There was also unemployment and rising prices, and wartime restrictions on old pleasures like drinking and gambling, or watching horse races and football matches. There was growing resentment among the poor and some trade union members, even a gradual defection from the war effort. There was the military service performed near homes and factories in case the fighting came close, and internment behind barbed wire of Australians considered potential or actual enemies.
On the eve of victory in there were weary calls for a negotiated peace.
'Your country needs you': why did so many volunteer in ?
By the end of the war Australians at home were nearly as exhausted as Australians in the front line. As a newspaper predicted when the war began, every Australian was tested in those years, including those who had never heard a shot fired. It was also very different from Australia today.
Nearly all were descended from English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish colonists, so they spoke a single language and largely agreed on how life should be lived. Most adults married for life and raised large families, and sex before marriage was said to be disgraceful. Almost everyone went to a Christian church at least twice a year.
Australia–Russia relations - Wikipedia
Beer, tea and tobacco were the standard drugs, all of them legal. Men worked five and a half days a week, many were active members of a trade union, and most supported strikes launched to improve working conditions.
Most women did no paid work, to the frustration of a few and the relief of most. Like today, nearly all adults could vote. Half of them supported the trade union based Labor Party, the rising political force that promised great social reforms, perhaps even a slow path to socialism, and a hazy vision of a future with no more inequality. That first December of the war was a sodden affair.
But on Christmas Eve, a cold snap struck northern France, freezing the mud and delivering a storybook dusting of snow to the battlefields. With snow and trees in place, all that was missing for that real Christmas feel was gifts and merry company.
The First World War
For one extraordinary evening, the men found those things too. News Corp Australia But at other locations along the line, the miracle began to unfold.Trench Warfare in World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special
The official excuse was that they were burying the dead, but in reality, this was all about goodwill and the Christmas spirit. The men exchanged badges and buttons, tobacco and sausage, all the while showing each other pictures of their families. That would have disclosed the number of machine guns and other confidential information.
- Australia–Russia relations
- The Anzac Portal
In this photo provided by the family of German soldier, Kurt Zehmisch, a German soldier wears the hat of a British soldier as he sits in a trench with other German soldiers. AP But the fraternising, by all accounts, went on for hours at many points on the line on the snap-frozen killing fields.
An often forgotten fact of the era is that the Germans and English had no great enmity at this point in their history. There was not yet an overwhelming good-vs-evil narrative as there would be during World War II, as Hitler and the Nazis wreaked pure evil. In fact, the Germans regarded the English as cousins and fellow Anglo-Saxons. Another reason the Germans felt close to the English was that many of them had been working in the hospitality and shipping industries in England before the war, much as British backpackers today work in countries such as Australia.
The WWI Christmas Truce, what really happened?
But they were nevertheless at war, and hatred goes quickly in wartime. For both sides to put that aside for a few hours on Christmas Eve was one of the truly remarkable moments of the war. Newspapers of the time recognised this fact, and celebrated the truce. A year later, all that goodwill had disappeared and truces were few and far between due to the threat of court-martial.