World War I

Man on horse, text ENLIST NOW

A British recruitment poster: Forward to victory. Enlist now.

NAA: A9503, 48

The call to defend their nation and the British Empire inspired over 52,000 Australians to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in 1914. As the war dragged on, and Britain asked Australia to provide more troops, the Australian government adopted various strategies to encourage further enlistment. These campaigns often aimed to persuade the entire community, not just those men eligible to enlist. The community’s response to the call for more soldiers was varied and, at times, divisive. By the end of the war 416,809 Australians had enlisted.


Get thinking

  • What strategies were used to encourage recruitment during World War I?
  • What sections of the Australian population were targeted in recruitment campaigns? How did this change over time?
  • Why did so many Australian men volunteer to enlist in World War I?

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