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History Teachers' Association of Australia
Transformative Pedagogies with New Technologies
Cooee: A call to war
Australians in the First World War
Year 10
Melissa Wagner
Woodbridge School (Tas)
Copyright notice
You may download, copy and otherwise freely deal with this work for non-commercial educational
purposes provided that you retain all copyright and creator acknowledgements, and attribute The
Le@rning Federation as publisher. Permissions enquiries should be directed to
[email protected].
This unit is designed to assist students:
to understand the background to the outbreak of the First World War.
to understand the positive and negative reactions to war of Australia's
government and citizens. Students will also investigate the impact of war on
our society and the legacy of war.
to examine both primary and secondary sources in order to identify assertions,
bias and assumptions and explain why people hold particular views.
The unit is designed to meet the outcomes of the Tasmanian Society and History
curriculum, which are identified at the end of the unit.
The unit was implemented under 4 separate sub-headings:
The build up to war: an investigation of the causes behind the outbreak of the First
World War, namely Nationalism, Militarism, Alliances, Imperialism and the
assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
Australia at War: an investigation of why Australia went to war, and how the
Gallipoli campaign became part of our national conscience.
Australia at home: an investigation of the reaction and attitude to war on the home
front through different media, including propaganda. Topics included the conscription
debates, white feathers, the loss of family and the impact on society.
Legacy: The Anzac spirit and the founding of a nation.
TLF Digital Content
Digital Content
The Battleships, 2000: The First World
War begins
Alec Campbell recalls the 1915 Anzac
Postcard sent from France by Duncan
McCallum, 1917
Boats and Supplies at Anzac Cove,
Gallipoli, 1915
'Charles Ulm with his mother and
father', 1914
Morning at Passchendaele, 1917
Simpson with his donkey at Gallipoli,
1915 – asset 1
Referendum bullets
R1960 to R1972
Peter Dalton: enlistment and the call to
Australia's Peril
'A hero of Dardanelles', 1915 – asset 2
And the band played 'Waltzing Matilda'
Anzac Day in Gundagai in 1920 – asset
The clip describes Germany's
military build-up prior to the First
World War.
Gallipoli veteran Alec Campbell
remembers the shock, as a 16-yearold, of first seeing a man killed.
It is an example of a postcard from a
soldier serving with the Australian
Imperial Forces in France in the First
World War to his family back home.
This asset shows Anzac Cove during
the Gallipoli campaign of the First
World War. It conveys a sense of the
unceasing activity at Anzac Cove
during the Gallipoli campaign.
This asset shows 16-year-old Charles
Ulm dressed in his army uniform
with his parents.
This is a black-and-white composite
photograph, taken by Frank Hurley
on the morning after the first battle of
It depicts an iconic figure of the
Anzac legend – perhaps the bestknown Anzac. Simpson embodied
the Anzac spirit that a historian
described as 'reckless heroism,
enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity
and "mateship"'.
A series of advertisements made for
then Prime Minister, W M (Billy)
Hughes in favour of conscription.
Help a teenager to decide whether to
enlist for Australian military service
in the First World War.
This is a promotional poster for the
1917 Australian silent movie
'Australia's peril'.
This is a black-and-white negative of
a newspaper advertisement for the
film 'A hero of the Dardanelles'
released in July 1915.
This asset uses a symbol of
Australian patriotism, the song
'Waltzing Matilda', as a counterpoint
to lyrics about sailing to Gallipoli,
burying the dead at Gallipoli, being
wounded, landing back in Sydney
and questioning the commemoration
of war in Anzac Day marches.
This asset shows a crowd of people
gathered together on Anzac Day
1920, indicating the importance of
this day even in the early years.
Other Resources
The Front Line Experience: Gallipoli, DVD, directed by Tolga Örnek.
Teacher's guide for the documentary The Frontline Experience: Gallipoli, ATOM.
The website features an interactive resource for identifying primary sources.
Maps showing British and German empires prior to 1914.
F. Fischer, War of Illusions.
Harry Mills, Twentieth Century World History in Focus, Macmillan Education,
London, 1984.
Franz Ferdinand (music band), Take Me Out.
Activity Structure
Primary and secondary sources (See attached worksheet Appendix 2):
Some students in this class had no prior knowledge of what this meant and some had
heard of the concept before. Students were given a worksheet with activities to help
them revise their understanding of what a primary and secondary source was. This
was initially discussed as a class group, after which the activities were worked
through individually. The result from their final task on the worksheet was shared
with the class.
The following activity was used as a 5-minute follow-up in the next lesson to
reinforce what a primary source was. This was shown in the classroom using an
interactive whiteboard. Students discussed which they thought was a primary source
before we selected an answer:
Prior Learning
Students felt that they had 'done the First World War to death'. As a result they were
required to brainstorm in small groups what they knew about the First World War.
In summary, what they knew was:
 the Gallipoli landing happened in 1915
 Simpson and his donkey
 the Peter Weir Movie 'Gallipoli'
 Anzac day and Anzac biscuits
 we fought against the Turks with the British and New Zealanders.
I then asked the students, from this initial brainstorming, what important things they
thought were missing from their lists?
Between us we created a list of what the students wanted to find out and what they
were not sure of.
This led to the following list:
 When did the War start?
 Why did the War start?
 Who was involved?
 Why did Australia get involved?
 How did the War end?
 What were the consequences of the War?
To check the extent of their prior knowledge, I asked them to work in the same small
groups to see if they could confidently answer any of the above questions.
The groups came up with varying answers. The only thing they were confident of was
that Australia had ties with Britain that lead us into war. As a result, the students
agreed that they did not really know as much about the war as they thought initially.
Answering these questions became the core around which the unit was structured.
The Build-Up To War
The first part of the unit focused on the various causes of the war, including:
Militarisation – the building up of the armed forces in various countries
Imperialism - the founding and building of empires
Alliances – who had formed agreements with whom?
Nationalism – pride in your homeland
Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand – the Spark in the Powder Keg of the
I gave the students these headings and explained that there is usually more than one
side to any story. This story does have many aspects that interlink and these created a
domino effect in the lead-up to the War.
The first of the long-term causes we discussed was Imperialism. It was the cause that
the class knew something about – our ties with England pulled us into participating in
the War. See separate activity sheet on Imperialism (Appendix 3).1
Activity One on that sheet can be shortened by giving the students the names of the
places claimed by the respective countries. Some text books and internet sites also
have maps of empires prior to the First World War.
At the completion of activities on imperialism, we held a class discussion on the
importance of the navy in the time leading up to the outbreak of the First World War.
The main points of discussion were:
 What was their opinion of the importance of navies in terms of exploration?
 What was their opinion of the importance of navies in military terms?
Please note, all worksheets were available to students as hard copies and were also placed on the
school's common drive where the students could access a digital copy from any computer in the school.
Did they think navies were still important in terms of modern military
In modern terms, where would they rank the navy compared with a land based
army and an air force? Why?
Would this be the same as the military before the First World War? Why or
why not?
Can they think of any other military forces that were important during the First
World War?
This discussion lead us into the second of the long-term causes for the outbreak of the
First World War – Militarism
Students were given the word 'Dreadnought' and in pairs asked to guess what it meant
and if they had heard it before.
Their eventual answer was that it meant to 'fear nothing' and some students knew it
was a battleship.
The students were then asked, if their enemy had a weapon that stated they 'feared
nothing', how would they react?
Students were then directed to a PowerPoint saved onto the school's common drive to
look at a comparison between two battleships, one made in 1905, and the other a
Dreadnought made in 1906. See PowerPoint: Comparing Battleships.2
Screen one from 'Comparing Battleships'
Using the classroom's interactive whiteboard we watched
The Battleships, 2000: The First World War Begins
TLF ID R7065
The TLF description of this is:
The clip describes Germany's military build-up prior to the First World War,
including the widening of the Kiel canal, commenced in 1907, to enable its new fleet
of dreadnoughts to be able to enter the North Sea easily. The assassination of
Archduke Ferdinand signalled the start of the war, the news ironically arriving as
members of the British navy and the German navy were celebrating the opening of the
Information taken from Harry Mills, Twentieth Century World History in Focus,Macmillan
Education, London, 1984, p.13.
Students were asked to address the following questions;
 What evidence in this clip suggests that the mobility of naval vessels was a
priority for Germany?
 What was so important about access to the North Sea?
 What does the fact that the British and German navy were celebrating this
opening tell you about the relationship between the two countries?
The students were split into two teams to debate the following statement:
'A strong defence is a good way to keep peace'.
Following this, we discussed the idea of 'keeping up with the Joneses'! Does this
statement (about trying to outdo your neighbours) apply to both imperialism and
This issue was explored via a contact web. Six students got up in front of the class.
They were each labelled with a large piece of paper with one of the following
countries on it: Austria, France, Italy, Britain, Germany and Russia.
Each country (student) had a ball of wool they then passed to other countries showing
whom they had formed alliances with between 1882 and 1907. The ball of wool was
thrown to the country where an alliance was made. The country with which the
alliance was made held onto the length of wool and then threw the ball back to the
country from which it came. This created a web – but with some very obvious
From this activity, the students were able to draw conclusions about the make-up of
the various alliances and their strengths.
I gave the students a sheet summarising the different alliances among the major
European Countries before the outbreak of war (Appendix 4). We investigated the
importance of maintaining a Balance of Power and why the alliance system led to two
distinct and separate camps.
Nationalism and Franz Ferdinand: (See attached sheet Appendix 5)
This information sheet was used as a discussion point to talk about what people are
prepared to fight and die for. Students made their own personal lists of things they
would die trying to protect. I used this as an opportunity to talk about emotive
language – and how it influences people's judgement.
As a point of interest I also played the students the song 'Take me out', by the band
Franz Ferdinand. This is where most of the students had heard the name Franz
Ferdinand before.
Australia at War:
In the first part of the unit students had come to an understanding of Australia's
British Heritage as part of Nationalism. They recognised it was a very powerful force,
especially in a society that still had many people who celebrated their 'Britishness'.
Students were provided with some basic information about the declaration of war in
1914 and the automatic involvement of Britain's colonies. They were informed of
Prime Minister Cook's statement, 'When the Empire is at War, so also is Australia'
and later Labor Prime Minister, Andrew Fisher's statement 'Should the worst happen'
Australia would 'rally to the Mother Country' to help and defend her 'to our last man
and our last shilling'. Australian men flocked to recruiting posts and, by the end of
1914, Australia had 52,561 volunteers signed up to fight.
On the interactive whiteboard the following photos were posted:
'Charles Ulm with his mother and father', 1914
TLF ID R3344
Acknowledgement – Reproduced courtesy of National Library of Australia
Discussion questions:
By looking at this image what (if anything) can you detect about the attitude of
his parents to his signing up to go to war?
Many young men signed up underage. (Ulm was only 16 and used an assumed
name.) What does this tell you about Australian society during this time?
Do you think this family looks wealthy, poor or otherwise? What makes you
say this? Do you think this has any impact on Charles Ulm signing up?
Charles Ulm went on to be a famous aviator and contemporary of Sir Charles
Kingsford Smith. Do you think that the War attracted people in search of an
Boats and Supplies at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 1915
Acknowledgement – Reproduced courtesy of National Library of Australia
TLF ID R3004
Discussion questions
Where was this photo taken?
By their uniforms can you identify the countries of the people involved here?
Why do you think this place is recognisable to most Australians?
Simpson with his donkey at Gallipoli, 1915 – asset 1 TLF ID R2993
Acknowledgement – From the collection of the National Archives of Australia. Photograph by J A O'Brien.
Discussion questions
This is a picture of possibly our most well known Anzac. What do you know
about him?
Where do you think this photo was taken?
What does this photo tell you about conditions the Anzacs were living and
working in?
What word might best describe the atmosphere created in this photo?
Mateship is often talked about in regards to the 'Anzac spirit'. Do you think
this would affect people's decisions to sign up to go to war?
Gallipoli and Anzac Cove are recognisable to most Australians but Australians were
not, however, the only people involved here. To investigate how different countries
reacted to war we watched the documentary The Front Line Experience: Gallipoli,
directed by Turkish director Tolga Örnek. This film simultaneously tells the story of
the Gallipoli campaign from the perspective of all sides involved, and sets out to
capture the human dimension within the general structure of the battle. The campaign
is told through the diaries and letters of two British, three New Zealand, three
Australian and two Turkish soldiers. The film portrays the historical importance of
Gallipoli based on facts and from the perspectives of these soldiers who are
representative of the thousands of soldiers from both sides.
See attached question sheet The Front Line Experience (Appendix 6). These questions
were adapted from the ATOM study guide for this film by Robert Lewis.
The questions on the sheet for the students were deliberately targeted at the
experiences of the soldiers rather than of more militaristic aspects of war. After
watching the film as a class we discussed the various people's reasons for going to
We also listened to Alec Campbell's recollection of the Anzac landing.
Alec Campbell recalls the 1915 Anzac landing TLF ID R4387
The men of the First Australian Imperial Force were selected under some of the
toughest criterion of any army in the First World War. Recruits were rejected unless
they had a chest measurement of at least 87 centimetres and a minimum height of 168
centimetres. Recruits had to be aged between 19 and 38 years old, though men as old
as 70 and many younger men managed to enlist. 3
Why do you think these measurements were used?
How do you think these men would have looked as a unit?
Morning at Passchendaele, 1917
TLF ID R2924
Acknowledgement – Reproduced courtesy of National Library of Australia
This is a composite photo taken by the famous photographer Frank Hurley. Hurley
has imposed the background onto the foreground to compose this picture (much like
we use programs like Photoshop to create images).
Discussion questions
Can you tell by the image which army these soldiers belong to?
What feelings do you think the photographer was trying to convey by
composing this picture?
Do you know where this is?
Do you know what the word propaganda means? See if you can find a
definition of the word.
Do you think this type of photo could have been used as propaganda in
Australia? How could it have been used?
If you could give this image a title, what would you call it?
Macdougall, p.32.
TLF description of the photo that was shared with the students after they had
completed their questions:
This is a black-and-white composite photograph, taken by Frank Hurley on the
morning after the first battle of Passchendaele during the First World War, showing
Australian infantry survivors laying out and placing blankets over dead soldiers
around a blockhouse near the site of Zonnebeke Railway Station in Belgium on 12
October 1917. This asset is a scene taken after the Third Battle of Ypres on the
Western Front following the Allies' attempt to take Passchendaele Ridge from the
Germans – after heavy rains the ground was waterlogged, fighting took place in
appalling mud, in which many men drowned or died when their internal organs were
crushed as they were pulled out by rope; the name Passchendaele has become a
synonym for mud and slaughter.
Acknowledgement – © Curriculum Corporation and National Library of Australia
I then discussed with the students why the Gallipoli Campaign was so well known,
and other battles were not. I had students pick another battle that Australians were
involved in and summarise the event into a paragraph that was then displayed around
the room.
The list of military events that Australia was involved in included:
Capture of Bapuame, Capture of Beersheba, First Battle of Bullecourt, Second Battle
of Bullecourt, Battle of Fromelles, First Battle of Gaza, Second Battle of Gaza, Battle
of Jerusalem, Attack at Lagnicourt, Battle of Magdhaba, Battle of Megiddo, Attack of
Moquet Farm, Battle of Mughar Ridge, Capture of Pozieres, Battle of Romani, and
the Battle of the Somme.
Extension: Students were shown:
Postcard sent from France by Duncan McCallum, 1917 TLF ID R3694
This is an example of a postcard sent home from the front. Students were asked to
imagine they were a soldier about to go to the front and send a postcard home to their
families. Alternatively, they could imagine they were a family in Australia sending a
message to a soldier fighting in the front line of battle.
Australia at Home
The reaction to war in Australia was instant and permanently changed the way
Australia identified itself as a country. Of a population of 5 million more than 400 000
enlisted. At home, there were debates over conscription, pressure for young men to go
to war and for their friends and families to support this move.
Propaganda to sign up was wide spread. The following are a series of advertisements
made for then Prime Minister W M (Billy) Hughes in favour of conscription.
The students listened to these 'Referendum bullets' and discussed how they would
affect the people listening to them at the time – especially coming from the then
Prime Minister. Students had the concept of a referendum explained to them and were
told how the idea of conscription split the nation.
Referendum bullets TLF ID R1960 to R1972
The students were also shown the two posters listed below, both sources of
propaganda aimed at men signing up to go to war.
'A hero of Dardanelles', 1915 – asset 2
TLF ID R1570
Australia's peril
TLF ID R1327
Students were asked if in Australia there were any current events that also had people
split into sides of an important issue. They were then asked to think about what type
of advertising was used to talk about the issue. Has 'propaganda' changed in the last
90+ years?
Opportunity for extension: Create your own propaganda piece to either attract men
to sign up to war, or to encourage them not to go. You can use any media you choose.
Peter Dalton: enlistment and the call to war
Individually, students were asked to use the above TLF learning object and work
through the program to decide if Peter Dalton, a teenager, should sign up for war. This
is more of a secondary source and I discussed with the students whether they felt this
was as relevant as some of the primary sources they had seen. The program looks at
social pressure, family pressure and such things as white feathers that were given to
men anonymously by someone who thought the individual should sign up for war but
had not yet done so.
After working through this exercise, the class was split on deciding whether to
encourage Peter to go to war or not. They said it was difficult from their point of view
to encourage someone to go to war, but could see that societal pressure would have
been enormous.
The following song was played to the students in class. The students also had a copy
of the lyrics.
And the band played 'Waltzing Matilda' TLF ID R962
I then showed students the image:
Anzac Day in Gundagai in 1920 – asset 1 TLF ID R2422
This image shows a crowd of people gathered together on Anzac Day 1920. The first
Anzac Day was held in 1916, a year after the landing at Gallipoli. It took 7 years for it
to become a national holiday.
We discussed war as having both positive and negative impacts on all those involved.
To finish our unit, students had a choice of the following two essay topics to write
about. Students were asked to write a minimum of 300 words in reply.
The First World War helped Australia to develop an identity as a nation. Do
you agree with this statement?
Is Anzac Day still relevant to people in our modern Australian life?
Topics to follow up: The Treaty of Versailles. Was it too harsh?
The unit worked quite well. The students enjoyed using different types of media to
explore the Australian experience of the First World War.
Things that went well:
The use of the interactive smart board made viewing different content easy, as did
having access to the school's computers.
Things that didn't work well:
The school's internet failed on one occasion, so that meant postponing looking at the
Peter Dalton resource.
Next time I would probably try to look at each section of my unit in a more balanced
manner. The first section, the outbreak of war, is such a complicated issue it deserves
to be a unit on its own. Another thing I would like to try would be a photo essay on
propaganda used during the war.
The students regularly use digital content in their classrooms, so the students are
comfortable with the media. They enjoy using the resources, especially if it makes it
easier to research a topic. They liked interactive resources rather than static ones.
They said that some of the voices were hard to understand on some clips, but having a
transcript available helped. Some of the students regularly participate in Anzac Day
ceremonies as school representatives, cadets and with their families – they enjoyed
the way that the digital resources helped to make the experiences of the soldiers more
personal and real.
Appendix 1
OUTCOMES - Society and History - The Tasmanian curriculum
Strand 1: Identity relationships and culture
 Recognise that Australian identity evolves over time.
Strand 2: Democratic values and processes.
 Recognise that some groups have shared values.
 Understand how democracy reflects personal beliefs and values
Strand 6: Historical inquiry
 Identify assertions, bias and assumptions and explain why people hold
particular views.
 Evaluate and use multiple sources of primary and secondary evidence to reach
a considered view.
 Understand how historical perspective and context work together to influence
evidence and viewpoints.
 Understand how tools such as propaganda can be used to portray individuals
and events.
Strand 8: Communication
 Understand how information is influenced by context, values and beliefs.
 Understand and synthesise information from varied sources.
 Understand how individuals and groups use tools such as propaganda to
Appendix 2
Primary and secondary sources
1. What are primary and secondary sources?
The people who lived before us left us clues about how their lives were lived. These
clues include books, government documents, letters, oral accounts, diaries, maps,
photographs, reports, written stories, artefacts, coins, stamps, and many other things.
These things are sources of information. Historians, in their research, break these
sources of information down into primary sources and secondary sources.
Primary sources are actual records that have survived from the past. Examples of
primary sources are letters, photographs, clothing, and diaries.
Secondary sources are explanations of the past created by people writing about events
sometime after they happened. An example of secondary sources would be text
books: Someone wrote most of your textbook long after historical events took place,
although in a textbook you might find some primary resources like photos and quotes.
Another secondary source could be a film made after the event re-enacting what
2. Limits of the historical record: holes in information
A: To find out about the limitations of the historical record, do the following activity:
Think about what you did in the last 24 hours. List as many activities you can
remember. For each activity on your list, write down any evidence you could have left
behind. For some activities you will have no evidence.
Then answer these questions:
1. Which activities left behind the most evidence?
2. Which activities left behind the least evidence?
3. What could a historian extrapolate from the evidence you left behind? (What
conclusions could be made from your evidence?) What does your evidence say about
the society in which you live?
B: Think about an event currently in the news (e.g. the proposed Gunns Pulp Mill)
and answer the following questions:
What kinds of evidence does this event create?
Who creates and records this evidence?
Who would keep this evidence and why?
Would there be opposing views recorded as part of this evidence?
3. What are the best types of sources to use in research?
The people who study historical sources analyse them in different ways. Primary and
secondary resources both have value, depending on how you analyse them.
These are some of the things that can help you analyse whether a source is useful to
you or not:
Prejudice and bias
Every source has some type of prejudice or bias in it. Sources only tell us what their
creator wants us to find out (a bit like reading a 99% fat free label on something
without checking how much sugar was used to make the product). This is why good
researchers will look at more than one piece of information and cross-check facts!
When and where (time and place)
The closer in time to an event a source is made, generally, the better (or more
accurate) it is. An example of this is eyewitness accounts taken by the police after an
Other things to ask about sources:
Who created it?
Was it planned carefully and deliberately or quickly and without planning?
Was the person actually there?
Does the creator have some type of investment in the source (e.g. an advertisement)?
Was it meant to persuade you in some way?
Was the creator actually there or did they talk to people/hear information after the
Did the creator talk to more than one person or many people?
Was the source meant to be made public or intended only for private use?
4. Using your knowledge:
Find an interesting newspaper article from The Mercury (or another newspaper) and
complete the following activities:
A. Summarise the article in your own words.
B. Use the above questions to analyse your selected article.
C. Be prepared to share your article and your analysis with the class next lesson.
A. See if you can find the same story in another newspaper, TV report or in any
other media. Compare it to your findings in your original article.
B. Select 5 things from your bedroom at home – what could a historian infer
about you based only on these pieces of evidence? Do you think this would be
an accurate interpretation of who you are? Why/Why not?
Appendix 3
Imperialism is most commonly understood in relation to building an empire. It is the
expansion of a nation's power by conquest of land and establishing economic and
political powers in other territories or nations. Colonialism can also be included under
this banner. The increasing global competition for markets and trade is an underlying
part to this cause for war.
You have been given two blank maps of the world. Label one 'British Empire 1914'
and the other 'German Empire 1914'. Using the internet, books from the library or any
other resource you would like, find out what pieces of land England claimed as part of
its empire in 1914. Colour them in on your world map. Then do the same for
1. In what part(s) of the world did you find that Germany had colonies?
2. From your prior knowledge, do these parts of the world have good natural
3. Still using what you already know about the world, compare Germany's
colonies to those of England in regard to the amount of land they controlled
and the natural resources available to them as a result.
4. Economically and politically how important do you think it was for the
countries of Europe to create empires?
Working with quotes:
Quote 1: In 1898 Germany added the tiny Caroline Islands in the Pacific to its
empire. This is how the Kaiser (Emperor) William II was told about the new colony:
'This success will stimulate people and the navy… to follow your Majesty along the
road which leads to world power, greatness and eternal glory.'
1. What does this statement suggest was behind Germany's drive for colonies?
2. Why do you think at this time naval power was so important?
Quote 2: In 1897 Admiral Tirpitz, the German Secretary of State sent a secret note to
the Kaiser:
'For Germany, the most dangerous enemy at the present time is England. It is the
enemy against which we most urgently require a [navy].'
1. Why would this note have been kept secret?
Quote 3: In 1900 the German Government publicly declared that:
'For the protection of sea trade there is only one means – a strong battle fleet.'
1. What reasons did the German Government give to the public for building and
maintaining a strong navy?
2. Why is trade so important to any country and at anytime in history?
(The above quotes are all from F. Fischer's War of Illusions)
Appendix 4
Countries sought to increase their strength by gaining allies. Europe was criss-crossed
by rival systems of military alliances. These alliances were dangerous because they
increased suspicion and fear. There was also the worry that a war breaking out
between two nations would result in many more countries becoming involved.
The war was spread by two major alliances. The Entente Powers initially consisted of
France, the United Kingdom, Russia, and their associated empires and dependencies.
Numerous other states joined these allies, most notably Italy in April 1915, and the
United States in April 1917.
The Central Powers, so named because of their central location on the European
continent, initially consisted of Germany and Austria-Hungary and their associated
empires. The Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in October 1914, followed a
year later by Bulgaria.
One of the goals of the foreign policies of the Great Powers in the pre-war years was
to maintain the 'Balance of Power' in Europe. This evolved into an elaborate network
of secret and public alliances and agreements. For example, after the Franco-Prussian
War (1870–71), Britain seemed to favour a strong Germany, as it helped to balance its
traditional enemy, France. After Germany began its naval construction plans to rival
that of Britain, this stance shifted. France, looking for an ally to balance the threat
created by Germany, found it in Russia. Austria-Hungary, facing a threat from Russia,
sought support from Germany.
When the First World War broke out, these treaties only partially determined who
entered the war on which side. Britain had no treaties with France or Russia, but
entered the war on their side. Italy had a treaty with both Austria-Hungary and
Germany, yet did not enter the war with them; Italy later sided with the Allies.
Perhaps the most significant treaty of all was the initially defensive pact between
Germany and Austria-Hungary, which Germany in 1909 extended by declaring that
Germany was bound to stand with Austria-Hungary even if it had started the war.
Summarised from Wikipedia – World War I,
Appendix 5
Nationalism and Franz Ferdinand
People are willing to do whatever it takes to protect what they believe in.
What are you willing to fight for?
Since the beginning of history people have been prepared to fight for their homes.
They have also fought for the right to have a home and to call it theirs.
In the 1860's the Germanic states went from being a 'loose little group' of states into
forming the country of Germany. Prussia (the largest of these states) defeated Austria
and took the states north of itself under its control. The Prussian Army then went on
to defeat France in the Franco-Prussian war (1871) to take control of Alsace and
Lorraine – both belonging to France and situated on the border between France and
the newly formed Germany. Alsace and Lorraine had a mixture of German and
French speaking people living there. The Prussians thought that the Germanic
speaking people would prefer to belong to the new Germany.
It's a powerful feeling wanting to belong to a group, especially wanting to belong to a
group to whom your family has felt connections for many generations.
The Prussians fought two wars to unite what they felt was their country.
At the same time, on the Balkan Peninsula (south east Europe) three different empires
were in conflict over who had a right to control it: Turkey, Austria-Hungary and
Russia all had interests in the area. Austria-Hungary controlled the region at the time.
The people of the Balkans (Bosnia and Serbia, also known as Slavic people) wanted
to be free to create their own rule and preserve their traditions, language and religion.
The immediate cause of the First World War was an assassination on the June 28,
1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was
assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb citizen of Austria-Hungary and
member of the Black Hand - a group whose aims included the unification of the South
Slavs and independence from Austria-Hungary.
The assassination in Sarajevo set in motion a series of fast-moving events that
eventually escalated into full-scale war.
Austria-Hungary demanded action by Serbia to punish those responsible and, when
Austria-Hungary deemed Serbia had not complied (they did not meet one of the many
conditions), it declared war. Major European powers were at war within weeks
because of overlapping agreements for collective defence and the complex nature of
international alliances.
The majority of Australians at that time had strong ties to Europe – in particular with
Britain. Although some families had been in Australia for many generations, they still
felt that Britain was somehow home. Many Australians today still talk about where
their families came from before they came to Australia.
'Mother England' was calling her children back to help and who could possibly ignore
the call of their Mother if she was in pain?
Appendix 6
The Front Line Experience: Gallipoli - Film Study
Acknowledgement - The following questions (1–9) are reproduced with permission of ATOM,
1. We 'meet' several individuals – from England, Turkey, Australia and New Zealand
– early in the film. Why does each enlist in the war?
2. One of the most interesting characters is Guy Nightingale. Look at the quotations
from him during the course of the film. What are his initial attitudes and values
towards war? …Do any of these surprise you – such as his attitude towards fighting?
How do his attitudes and values change during the war?
3. There is a great amount of detail in the film on the Turkish soldiers. Why do you
think the film would give them such emphasis? Do you think this is effective?
4. There is also great emphasis in the film on the families of soldiers. Why do you
think there is this emphasis? Is it effective?
5. The film focuses several times on battles where men who are about to go into
action know they will die – yet they still go. One example of this is at The Nek. Why
do you think soldiers in that situation accept it and go to their death in this way?
6. The film also several times looks at leadership, and at the men who devise plans
that they know will send many men to certain death. How do you think leaders can do
this? Is the attitude of the filmmaker consistent in the way he shows this – for
example, does his attitude towards Mustafa Kemal ordering men to die differ from
that towards the British leaders?
7. A common image of war presented by films about the Australians is their bravery.
Many films stress the bravery of the diggers at the landing, or feature the work of
John Simpson in rescuing many wounded soldiers under fire, or stress the action at
Lone Pine where the Australians won seven Victoria Crosses. Does this film stress
such individual bravery?
8. The narrator says that while men saw terrible things and did terrible things, they
never lost humanity. Does the film effectively portray this idea to you?
9. Gallipoli is a key element in Australia's image of itself – far more so than other
countries, except perhaps Turkey and New Zealand. Why is this?