New Zealand and World War One

New Zealand and World War One

New Zealand greeted the outbreak of World War One in August 1914 with enthusiasm and patriotism. Unlike other dominions where the population was less loyal to the British Empire, like South Africa, a large proportion of the New Zealand population loyally served in the war. The New Zealand Expeditionary Force was chiefly employed in the Middle East, although they also served on the Front Line.

A WW1 Story, Wellington New Zealand 14 April 1916
Wellington New Zealand 14 April 1916

New Zealand was the first dominion to offer up troops for the European cause. During the war, New Zealand kept a pro-British sentiment. Moreover, in 1909 the government brought in compulsory military service for all those over the age of 12.

In total 120,000 New Zealanders fought in World War One; 18,000 died in total. Of those deaths, 2,779 occurred during the fraught campaign at Gallipoli and around 12,000 on the Western Front. New Zealand’s population in 1914 only numbered one million, yet her contribution to the Allied victory was significant. The war also had a significant impact on New Zealand. Ormond Burton, a decorated war veteran explained:

“Somewhere between the landing at Anzac and the end of the battle of the Somme, New Zealand very definitely became a nation.”

 See also: Australia and World War One

MLA Citation/Reference

"New Zealand and World War One". HistoryLearning.com. 2015. Web.