'Soldiers and Shirkers': An Analysis of the Dominant Ideas of Service and Conscientious Objection in New Zealand During the Great War.
Loveridge, S. (2009). ‘Soldiers and Shirkers’: An Analysis of the Dominant Ideas of Service and Conscientious Objection in New Zealand During the Great War. (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2762
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2762
During the First World War, ideas of duty and sacrifice were a dominantcharacteristic of public discourse in New Zealand. Specifically, concern centred on aperceived inequality of sacrifice, which saw brave soldiers die on the front lines,whilst other men remained on the home front, apparently avoiding duty. This thesischarts the prevailing and powerful ideas that circulated during wartime New Zealandaround these two stereotypes; on the one hand there was the soldier, the ideal ofservice and duty; on the other, the conscientious objector, a target for the derogatorylabel of 'shirker'.While there are a few select critical works which examine the experiences of NewZealand World War One conscientious objectors, such We Will Not Cease (1939) andArmageddon or Calvary (1919), there is a near complete absence of studies whichexamine the home front and ask how conscientious objectors were perceived andconsequently judged as they were. It is the contention of this thesis that ideas aroundthe soldier and the 'shirker' were interrelated stereotypes and that both imagesemerged from the process of mass mobilisation; a highly organised war effort whichwas largely dependent for its success upon the cooperation of wider civilian society.In sum, the thesis examines and analyses the ideas within mainstream New Zealandsociety as they appeared in public sources (notably newspapers, cartoons andgovernment publications), and in doing so, tracks how social mores and viewstowards duty, sacrifice and service were played out at a time of national andinternational crisis.
The University of Waikato
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