The Home Front : aspects of civilian patriotism in New Zealand during the First World War : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in history at Massey University
As yet, little concerted research appears to have been done on New Zealand society during the Great War. Some topics concerned with the period have either been covered in books on more general topics, theses, or historical articles, The position of the Labour movement during the war, for instance, is dealt with in Bruce Brown's The Rise of New Zealand Labour, B.S. Gustafson's thesis The Advent of the New Zealand Labour Party, and more closely examined in O.J. Gager's The New Zealand Labour Movement and the War, 1914-1918. However, no New Zealand equivalent of Britain's Arthur Marwick has emerged to provide a more comprehensive social history of the war. This thesis must, unfortunately, follow the former practice, and deal with only certain aspects of the effect of the Great War on New Zealand society. Hopefully this limitation will be partially compensated for by the fact that the themes explored in the following chapters are fundamental to an understanding of civilian behaviour during the First World War. As contemporary observers such as H.G. Wells (particularly in his novel Mr Britling Sees it Through) and the patriot/sociologist W. Trotter noted, many civilians, denied any active participation in the war, felt a desperate need to be of service. Although no corresponding New Zealand intellectuals appear to have commented on the subject, there is every reason to believe that New Zealanders felt a similar need, since they responded in virtually the same fashion. These effects were magnified by the gravity of the war, coupled with a propaganda campaign felt in New Zealand equally as in Britain, and this ensured a high level of emotional involvement on the part of civilians.