Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History

The Lost Labour Force: Working-Class Approaches to Military Service during the Great War

Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History (2007), 93, (1), 161–176.

Abstract

Of the 330 000 Australian men who embarked with the Australian Imperial Force during the Great War, over two-thirds were from Australia’s working classes. Amongst these were many men who approached military service as a job of work; they enlisted for employment, for the pay, or for the benefits they believed they would receive upon discharge. Yet the traditional approach towards ‘histories of the military’ has largely passed by the daily work of these men in favour of combat related studies, whilst on the other hand labour historians have had a distaste for studies of the military in general. This article seeks to bring attention to the importance of labour history approaches to the military by focusing upon these working-class attitudes towards military service in the Australian Imperial Force during the Great War as a job of work.

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Details

Author details

Wise, Nathan

Table of Contents

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