This book is unlike many other First World War histories. The author examines the drama, tensions and events in Britain and Australia during the last days of peace in July and August 1914.
Douglas Newton has an interest in peace and war in the period 1890 to 1919 and his approach and ideas will fascinate and stimulate discussion.
Britain had been leaning towards neutrality but suddenly declared war in August 1914. However, before that decision was made members of the Australian cabinet leapt ahead, and encouraged by the Governor General, offered Britain an expeditionary force of 20,000 men.
Newton believes this rashness resulted in Australia’s leaders being unable to set limits, to weigh objectives or insist upon consultation with the British and in doing so needlessly exposed Australian soldiers and their families to the full horror of the mechanised slaughter that was to come.
In short they were hell-bent.