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Student Archival Essays
- Australia and the Interwar Internationalism Movement
- In her study of the League of Nations Union in Britain, Helen McCarthy argues that “the League of Nations inspired a rich and participatory culture of political unrest, popular education and civic ritual." Was the same true in Australia?
- Interwar Internationalism: Refugees
- A Broad Unity for Peace: An historical examination of the International Peace Campaign’s Australian Peace Congress, 16th – 19th September, 1937
- Interwar Feminism in Australia and the League of Nations
- What were the primary factors in the failure of the League of Nations Union in Australia to create what Helen McCarthy terms a ‘rich and participatory culture of political protest, popular education and civic ritual’?
- Analyze how the ‘Myth of Collective Security’ was cultivated and evolved in Britain, compared to Australia by the LNU
- The League in Nations: the Effects of Identity
- Paths to Peace: A comparison of the voluntary peace groups in Britain and Australia
- The League of Nations: Lessons and Legacy
Browse Exhibits (5 total)
The Covenant of the League did not outlaw war, but rather placed limits on the instigation of war and promoted co-operative mediation with regard international disputes under Articles 11 and 12 as well as disarmament under Article 8. For this reason, a peace movement was pursued globally, drawing Australia into international relations. Not surprisingly for such a young country, Australia kept in line with the international, and British, agenda for disarmament. While theoretically approved by the Australian government, disarmament was considered to represent a reduction in armaments and an ideal that should be applied on an international level to other nations for world security but not necessarily on a national level. At the 1932 Geneva Conference (Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Arms), Australia pushed for the abolition of chemical and bacteriological warfare and for disarmament to be taken in stages. Moreover, it is interesting to note that the term ‘disarmament’ became a loaded word, used by politicians to connote peace and security, all the while armament policies continued to be pursued, merely at a reduced rate.
 Hudson, Australia and the League of Nations (Paramatta: Sydney University Press, 1980), 102.
 T.B. Millar, Australia in Peace and War: External Relations Since 1788. (Botany: Maxwell Macmillan Publishing, 1991), 86.
 T.B. Millar, Australia in Peace and War: External Relations Since 1788. (Botany: Maxwell Macmillan Publishing, 1991), 95.
During the interwar years, a women’s movement took place throughout Australia, in which White Australian women spoke on behalf of Indigenous women and children. This crusade was closely linked with a desire to have an active role as members in commonwealth politics in the post-Versailles world. For this reason, the interwar period was represented through a ‘distinctively feminist British-Australian voice’ with regard questions of native rights within the Commonwealth.
 Fiona Paisley, “Citizens of Their World: Australian Feminism and Indigenous Rights in the International Context, 1920s and 1930s”. Feminist Review. No. 58. (1998): 66.
The interwar years mark a period where peace was strived for, yet war was not outlawed. Therefore, a number of International Laws were implemented with the hopes of restoring world peace and organizing world order. The Treaty of Versailles, for example, marked the end of the Great War and legally required Germany to accept full responsibility for the war through the war guilt clause and also ordered territorial change. This resulted in 25 million minorities living in new states in the post-Versailles world. Similarly, the 1925 Locarno Pact, which improved European diplomatic relations and began the ‘spirit of Locarno’, resulted in the admission of Germany into the League and realistic hopes for world peace. Moreover, the Pact was seen to weaken the security system of the League.
The interwar years in Australia were marked by an increased interest in popular education. It was believed that schools needed to teach ‘current affairs abreast of social developments’, and thus the League of Nations and the peace movement became a part of the civic syllabus for the majority of Victorian schools. As in Britain, civic education was bestowed a crucial role in the school curriculum as a key contributor to the development and strength of individual character. There were two frequent themes in the Australian education system during the interwar period, namely the promotion of the ‘social imperatives for internationalism’ and independence of mind. Moreover, there existed a culture of public education through educational pamphlets and the work of peace movements and Australian institutions. It is evident therefore, that Australian education was brought alongside national and international movements and that the League arguably ‘inspired a rich and participatory culture of… popular education’.
 Julie McLeod, “Educating for ‘world-mindedness’: cosmopolitanism, localism and schooling the adolescent citizen in interwar Australia”. Journal of Educational Administration and History. Vol. 44, Issue 4. (2012); Hilary Summy, “Countering War: The role of the League of Nations Union”. Social Alternatives. Vol. 33, No. 4 (2014): 15 ; Nicholas Brown, “Enacting the International: R. G. Watt and the League of Nations Union”, in Transnational Ties: Australian Lives in the World, eds. Penny Russell and Angela Woollacott (Canberra: ANU E Press, 2008), 15.
 McLeod, “Educating for ‘world-mindedness’”
 McLeod, “Educating for ‘world-mindedness’”
 Helen McCarthy, The British People and the League of Nations: Democracy, Citizenship and Internationalism 1918-1945. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011), 1.
The League of Nations Union came to be in November 1918 through the conglomeration of the Leagues of Free Nations Association and the League of Nations society. It represents a voluntary organisation with British origins, led by Lord Robert Cecil, that intended to provoke mass support for the League of Nations and promote world peace and co-operation. In a similar manner to the League itself, the LNU was willing to countenance military intervention in order to maintain international law and world peace. Membership peaked in Britain, with over 400,000 members in 1931 and also had significant membership in France.
 Helen McCarthy, The British People and the League of Nations: Democracy, Citizenship and Internationalism 1918-1945. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011), 4.