How do the attitudes towards WW1 revealed in the personal correspondence of Australians differ from the start of the war to the years after 1915? Why do you think their attitudes changed?
The attitudes of Australians towards the war in the years before it began were mixed feelings of anticipation, eagerness to help the Mother Country (Great Britain), a feeling of pride to act because Great Britain had asked us (Australia) to help in this war, and a feeling of loyalty to Britain. Although, towards 1915 and onwards, these enthusiastic feelings decreased, as Australians at home learned more about the conditions on the battle front, and the high rate of casualties overseas.
The general attitude of the soldiers in Egypt towards the war in 1914 was basically a “Bring it on” attitude. It seems like the Aussie soldiers were just living it up in Egypt. Without any clue as to what was happening outside of their camps in Cairo.
“Major Bennett said that we would be going to the front in 6 weeks time. We are not going to England first, but going to land in France, probably at Marseilles. We will probably get 2 weeks training in France first. Of course if Turkey decides to take possession of Egypt we will probably be kept here to dispute the matter with them. The men are playing up a treat here. They get into town, forget that they are Australians, forget their uniform, their self respect, & associate themselves with the very lowest vices & pleasures. We Australians have a bad name already, tho the men are no worse than the others, but our numbers predominate.”
This paragraph that was taken from a young soldier’s letter to his family clearly shows that most of the Aussie men weren’t really worrying about what they were going into. Most likely due to the fact that they hadn’t been told much about anything anyway. The only things these men would have known about the war is that Britain got into a war with the “Hun” and called on Australia to help....