World Dominions of 1914

The Dominions played a major part in World War One. Once Great Britain had declared war on Germany on August 4th 1914, not only was Great Britain at war but so were the Dominions. About 400,000,000 people lived in the Dominions and they potentially could provide the British war effort with an almost unlimited amount of manpower and supplies. The self-governing dominions could decide whether to send troops to support the British or not. In fact, they all did decide to send troops to support the British on the Western Front. Canadian troops fought with great success at the Battle of Vimy Ridge; Australian troops fought at the Battle of Fromelles (part of the Somme campaign) and the recently discovered bodies of about 300 Australian troops near Fromelles has led to the building of the newest Commonwealth War Graves cemetery. Australian troops also fought at the doomed campaign at Gallipoli. South African and New Zealand troops fought on the Western Front as did troops from India. One major issue thrown up by their participation was what role would they have both in the world and in the British Empire once World War One ended. Nationalism was already starting to grow in India – the belief in self-government. Others saw their future away from London and the British Crown.


“In India growing nationalism foreshadowed a transformation in the character of the Empire, while for all emerging nations the question was raised of the part they were to play in the post-war world.” (Christopher Falkus)


December 2012

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