Conscription Australia WWI Student worksheet Classroom resource

Conscription – Australia WWI

During WWI in Australia, the Conscription debate was not just a major event but a significant turning point in Australian history. It divided the nation and sparked heated debate, leaving a lasting impact on Australian society. This worksheet will provide a comprehensive overview of the conscription issue on the Home Front during the Great War, highlighting its profound influence on our country and focusing on the pivotal role of Prime Minister Billy Hughes.

The Conscription debate began in 1916 when Prime Minister Billy Hughes called for a national referendum to decide whether or not to introduce conscription. The 1916 referendum resulted in a narrow defeat for the conscriptionists.

The Conscription debate was not just about military manpower but fundamental values and beliefs. The conscriptionists believed that Australia had a duty to support Britain in its hour of need. At the same time, the anti-conscriptionists argued that conscripting young men to fight in a foreign war went against the nation’s traditions and values.

Billy Hughes, a prominent figure in the Conscription debate, played a decisive role that divided the country. His strong advocacy for conscription, arguing that it was necessary for the empire’s survival and Australia’s interests overseas, was a stance that sparked intense debate. Hughes believed that conscripting young men was a sacrifice that needed to be made for the greater good, a belief that still resonates today.

The Conscription debate also brought to the forefront the issue of class and wealth in Australia. The conscriptionists comprised the wealthy and middle-class, while the anti-conscriptionists were from the working-class and rural areas. The conscriptionists saw conscription as a way to protect their wealth and status, while the anti-conscriptionists saw it as a way for the wealthy to avoid serving in the war.

To complete this worksheet, students will access two websites and read about the Conscription debate during WWI in Australia. They will then answer comprehension questions to test their understanding of the issue and its impact on the country. This worksheet is perfect for educators teaching the Australian Curriculum and is an excellent way to engage students in their country’s history.

Conscription Australia WWI Student Worksheet

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Resource Information

Description:Access to a computer and the internet is needed for this lesson. Students read a website while completing comprehension questions.
Estimated lessons:1-2
Ages14-18 years
Format Word Document

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