Loyalty and disloyalty : social and ideological conflict in Queensland during the Great War

Evans, Raymond (1981). Loyalty and disloyalty : social and ideological conflict in Queensland during the Great War PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Evans, Raymond
Thesis Title Loyalty and disloyalty : social and ideological conflict in Queensland during the Great War
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1981
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Total pages 548
Language eng
Subjects 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Formatted abstract This homefront history of Queensland society during World War One concentrates upon themes of social and ideological conflict in the realms of class and ethnic relations. An attempt is made to show how the ordeal of total warfare exacerbates rather than creates such crises and confrontations by a wider examination of the era from 1900 to 1920. During the war itself, class struggle, ethnic tensions and ideological confrontations all intensify considerably in vehemence, despite initial appearances of social unanimity. Demands for loyalty and charges of disloyalty become explicit, as anti-radical and anti-alien scapegoating reaches new peaks. The role of the State becomes more expansive and intrusive, as normal hegemonic controls fall under increasing stress, and social agitation and resistance mounts.

The introduction to this thesis attempts to place the work within its Australian historiographical context, presents a detailed and thematically coherent content analysis of this dissertation (see pp.iv-vii) and discusses methodological approaches to the issues encompassed herein. In Chapter One, a precursive range of pre-war crises is investigated, revealing dominant patterns of social consciousness and behaviour in peacetime Queensland. Boer War involvement, racial invasion scares, internal ethnic antagonisms and anti-socialist campaigns are all examined to show the predominance of Imperial, militaristic, xenophobic and anti-radical sentiment in the society. In Chapter Two, the loyalist response to the outbreak of the Great War is reviewed, and its degree of unanimity questioned. The waning of war support before the first conscription referendum and the State's attempts to buttress this by such bureaucratic procedures as censorship and propaganda are revealed. Warfront realities and homefront misperceptions are constantly juxtaposed, as a dawning awareness of warfare's actualities nevertheless encourages gradual social disillusionment and alienation.

Chapter Three deals with the growth of anti-Germanism as a pervasive ideology of war support, with profound consequences for the large German minority in Queensland. Anti-Germanism adds a new dimension to ethnic exclusiveness in the society, and provides a base upon which renewed anti-alien and anti-radical campaigns can develop. Chapter Four examines socialist, syndicalist and pacifist responses to the war situation in the context of burgeoning working class discontent over socio-economic conditions I war-induced psychological suffering and bureaucratic encroachments. Loyalist reactions to anti-war activists are similarly detailed as social polarization increases prior to the first• conscription plebiscite. Chapter Five deals in depth with the two conscription struggles in Queensland, with particular emphasis upon class, ethnic and ideological conflict. Invasion fears, and anti-radical, anti-alien alarms dominate each campaign, as social division, hysteria and violence become acute, and State and Federal governmental confrontation increases. Chapters Six and Seven return to the themes of alien and radical scapegoating, following the watershed of the two, failed conscription referenda. In Chapter Six, social and official loyalist responses to a number of non-British groups are highlighted; while, in Chapter Seven, loyalist mobilizations against an increasingly radical challenge in Queens land in the wake of the Russian Revolution are detailed. Antagonistic 'Stop the War' and 'Win the War’ initiatives encourage an expanding rift between State and Federal regimes, as Queensland becomes widely regarded as 'the most disloyal State’ in the Commonwealth.

Chapter Eight deals with the social and ideological crises accompanying the Armistice and the pos t-war reconstruction period. It demonstrates that anti-alien, anti-radical actions climax in a 'Bolshevik scare' period of 1918 to 1920, wherein loyalist/disloyalist conflict and violence once more become critical throughout many Queens land centres. Right-wing mass mobilizations of loyalist citizens; returned soldiers and the conservative press combine with official initiatives by the Commonwealth government to put radical and revolutionary activists to rout and to repress and intimidate certain members of non-British ethnic groups, including Germans, Russians and Southern Europeans. In conclusion, the outcome of social crises and conflicts, intensified by the ordeal of total warfare is reviewed and the contention that Queensland society exhibited the most active disloyalty in Australia during the war years is scrutinized. It ~ is suggested that, in Queensland, the precepts of Imperialistic nationalism, militarism and racism dominated social consciousness in this era, whilst minority affiliations with socialism, republicanism, pacifism and internationalism were curbed and depleted by the ferocity of mass loyalist assaults.

Keyword Social classes -- Queensland
Social conflict
Queensland -- Social conditions -- 1901-1922
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