William Hughes

by Carl Bridge

The First World War marked the emergence of the Dominions on the world stage as independent nations, none more so than Australia. The country s sacrifice at Gallipoli in 1915, and the splendid combat record of Australian troops on the Western Front not only created a national awakening at home, but also put Great Britain in their debt, ensuring them greater influence at the Peace Conferences. Australia was represented at Versailles by the Prime Minister, the colourful Billy Hughes, whom Woodrow Wilson called a pestiferous varmint after their repeated clashes over Australia s claims to the Pacific Islands its troops had taken from Germany during the War. Hughes was also the most vociferous (though by no means at all the only) opponent of the racial equality clause put forward by Japan. Indeed, it was fear of Japanese expansion that drove Australia s territorial demands in the Pacific.

PROFESSOR CARL BRIDGE is Head of the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies at King s College, London. He has both a PhD in History and a Diploma in Education from the Flinders University of South Australia. He is co-editor of London Papers in Australian Studies and Reviews in Australian Studies. His publications include (with Bernard Attard) editing Between Empire and Nation: Australian External Relations from Federation to the Second World War (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2000).Professor Alan Sharp is Provost of the Coleraine Campus at the University of Ulster. He joined the History Department at Ulster in 1971 and has been successively Professor of International Studies, a post in which he helped to set up degrees in International Studies and, later, International Politics and Head of the School of History and International Affairs. His major publications include The Versailles Settlement: Peacemaking in Paris, 1919 (1991) amongst others.

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