Timeline and Major Events of World War 1

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Table of Contents

  • How World War 1 Began
  • The Changing Roles of Women in World War 1 in Australia
  • The Places Australians Fought During World War 1
  • The Trenches of World War 1

How World War 1 Began

World War 1 began in 1914 when a “head strong grammar student”, by the named of Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Franz Ferdinand, the Archduke of Austria-Hungary, and his pregnant wife Sophie, on the morning of Sunday 28th June 1914, with in the town of Sarajevo, (Woollacott, 2019. p.244). Princip was at the age of 19 and prepared to end his high school education and a part of a nationalist’s group who fighting against the immersion of Serbia into the Austrian-Hungary Empire, through acts of terrorism. Due to this, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia with the full force of Germany behind them, so Serbia reacted with France and Russia mobilising troops. Then Germany tried to invade France through Belgium and invoked the Treaty of London which in turn forced Great Britain to declare war on Germany.

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The Changing Roles of Women in World War 1 in Australia

While the men were fighting in the war who was looking after the economy and the livestock? Who was making all the munitions for the men in the war? It was the women. During the war women took up the positions of everything from farmers to police to munition makers and even aeroplane manufactures. Without the women the war would have not lasted very long. By the end of the war around 80% of the munitions were being made by women. Women also worked as switchboard operators, ammunition testers and stock takers. They went into every variety of factory and were dedicated to doing everything they may to assist the war effort, from the foremost dangerous places in munition plants to the fragile sewing in aeroplane factories. Women risked their lives to make ammunitions for the war. There was a group of the women that were called canary’s because they had to handle TNT (the chemical compound trinitrotoluene that is used as an explosive agent in munitions) which caused their skin to turn yellow. (

The Places Australians Fought During World War 1

It was strongly believed, by the Australian and New Zealand men going to war, that they were going to have great honour and would be home by Christmas to tell about acts of heroism around the dining table with the whole family, however this was not the case.

The war lasted four years and during that time Australian and New Zealand troop fought on all fronts. They fought in Samoa where a New Zealand force seized the German colony of Samoa on August 1914 and in counted no resistance. In New Britain on September 1914, Australian troops seized Germany's New Guinea colony, six Australians died fighting. On the Cocos Islands the first engagement of the new Australian navy on November 9, 1914 when HMAS (Her or His Majesty's Australian Ship) Sydney defeated German light cruiser Emden. At Broken Hill the war came to Australia on January 1, 1915 when two Muslim Afghan men, supporters of Turkey, opened fire on a holiday picnic train. Four died and seven were wounded before the men were hunted down and killed. In Gallipoli the Australian and New Zealand troops took part in the epic but unsuccessful and costly campaign to knock Turkey out of the war. This campaign lasted eight months. From the 25th of April 1915 to withdrawal of the last Australian forces on December 20, 1915.

In Western Egypt Australian and New Zealand troops fought with British troops. Little is known about the early stages of the Senussi campaign. With the support of Germany and Turkey, the Senussi Muslim group attacked British forces in Egypt from the west. The campaign ended in March 1917. In Mesopotamia a group of the Australian Flying Corps and New Zealand signallers participated in the appallingly managed and utterly disastrous British campaign to drive Turkish forces out of what is now Iraq. In Palestine Australian and New Zealand mounted troops fought a successful campaign to drive Turkish forces out of Palestine and the Sinai. The Western Front was the main event of WW1 for Australia and New Zealand. It involved the greatest number of troops, the heaviest fighting and the largest number of casualties. In Persia a small number of Australian and New Zealand troops participated in Dunsterforce, deployed in 1917 into what is now Iran to guard against the spread of Turkish and German influence. In 1919 about 150 Australian soldiers were recruited into British forces to fight on the side of white Russians resisting the Bolsheviks in 1919. (, 2018)

The Trenches of World War 1

During World War 1 most soldiers fought the war from trenches. Trenches were narrow ditches dug into the ground and most trenches covered over forty thousand kilometres, each trench was hand dug. To say life in the trenches were horrific was a real understatement. In the trench’s soldiers were forced to live in conditions that were not fit for animals. The trenches were wet, filth and muddy, there were dead body and rats everywhere. The smell was atrocious and could knock a man out on first hiff. The soldiers were always hungry and the only time they could sleep was in the afternoon. At the beginning of the war soldiers had substantial rations of meat and vegetables, there were also food packages sent from home to their fighting soldiers. As the war continued the ration became smaller and the soldiers without the proper nutrition started to weaker and their immune system started to deteriorate which increased the amount of death and disease, (, 2020).

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