What Happened to Returning Australian Soldiers after WWI and WWII? Essay

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What was expected of soldiers on their return to Australia after WWI and WWII? How did soldiers respond to these expectations?

The process of repatriation of servicemen who had fought in the First and Second World War was uneasy, as these men returned to a society that had undergone great transformations. The responses to the socially accepted standards of behaviour were widely variable, however this essay will aim to demonstrate some of the ways that returned soldiers negotiated the transformed social milieu that they had returned home too. This essay aims to also explore how expectations placed upon returned soldiers was shaped by the influence of pre-war gender roles as well as the emergence of the culturally mythology of the ANZAC legend and how both these forces influenced the public and private behaviours of returned servicemen. For example how returned servicemen were able to take advantage of their status as national figures to assist in their campaign to achieve higher levels of welfare benefits. The second argument that will be discussed relates to the assertion that upon return soldiers were expected to maintain a level of masculine dependency as highlighted by the Solider Resettlement Program. The final argument explored will examine how to ‘culture of silence’ forced men to internalize their wartime experiences, which caused tensions with the relations they had returned too.

Soldier returned to the home front, not just as individual men but also as public representations of the ANZAC mythology. In response return service men, united together as a political entity were able to exploit the attention that this national sentiment perpetuated as leverage for their own political gains. The combined cultural fo...

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Muir, Kristy, “Public Peace, Private Wars: The Psychological Effects of War on
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Nelson, Elizabeth, Victims of War: The First World War, Returned Soldiers, and
Understandings of Domestic Violence in Australia, Journal of Women's History 19, no.4, (March 2007) pp. 83-106
Stewart, Elizabeth, and War Wounds: Medicine and the Trauma of Conflict, (Wollombi,
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Slater, Elizabeth, ‘The First World War, Returned Soldiers, and Understandings of
Domestic Violence in Australia’, Journal of Women's History 19, no. 4, 2007, p. 83- 96. .

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