On the home front and air force, 1917 was again the hardest year, economically and politically.
However, 1915 was almost worse on the Homefront as well as a very good year economically. In 1915 the war had a massive economic impact on the Homefront. The war had a great effect on the Australian economy, and the impacts of these changes were mixed. One of the earliest impacts of the war was the government’s cancellation of existing trade agreements with Germany and Austria-Hungary. So, Australian firms in industries such as steel-making and pharmaceuticals suddenly found themselves taking up contracts that had previously been filled by German rivals – and fortunes were suddenly available to firms such as BHP and Nicholas. The government was keen to make sure that Australian wheat, wool and meat reached Britain and helped the war effort there.
So, it passed a law giving it the power to compulsorily acquire the whole wheat and wool harvests – an impossible action under the Constitution, but able to be done under the War Precautions Act. While this was good for the British and all the soldiers are being harder for the Australians staying in Australia as more of their own food had to be sent to those fighting in the war. It was also a very bad year as a lot of money was spent sending all of the troops to war and supplying food, weapons and shelter. In 1917 The Australian economy received a huge boost from the war, as most consumer goods were restricted, meaning that people could not spend on stuff that they didn’t really need. Strict rationing of food also meant that people spent less. This helped the Australians’ personal savings rise greatly. As well as this, man-powering and essentials industries meant that there was close to full employment, of course accelerating the economy. Japan and China’s economic development required resources and Australia had the resources and was taking in workers to harvest these resources.
As well as on battlefields the Australians fought in planes and Jets. At the outbreak of the war, aerial technology was still only beginning and Australia did not have its own air force. It was, however, the only British dominion to contribute a flying corps. A number of Australian pilots were trained in Britain for service on the Western Front. Unfortunately, many pilots died and the cost of the fighter jets and training was very expensive. Overall, 1917 was the worst year in the air but not necessarily at the Homefront.
1915 was the worst year at the Homefront because of its massive impact on politics and the economy.