Date of Graduation

Fall 2021


Master of Arts in History



Committee Chair

Sarah Panzer


The air forces of the Great War faced many challenges. These challenges included integrating air power into established military doctrine and coping with the ever evolving airplane technology. The hurdles identified had to be overcome in order for the belligerent nations to wage a successful aerial campaign and control the skies above both static and dynamic forces. For the members of the Australian Flying Corps, these shared challenges were augmented by being the lone British dominion to operate an independent air arm. But what were these additional challenges and how were they overcome? The goal of this thesis is to explore the unique challenges that faced the AFC, both the organization and the individual men of the corps. The majority of these challenges were the product of Australian nationalist and military goals. These dual goals centered on waging a successful military campaign while at the same time maintaining a distinct dominion identity. In achieving these goals, the dominion sought to raise its standing within the British Empire, a footing on par with that of England. While other nations with an independent air arm sought similar goals to various degrees, none were an imperial possession in the same manner as Australia. Unfortunately for the Australian military and government, these nationalist and military goals were not always compatible and often were at odds with each other. As the majority of the AFC historiography focuses on the combat experiences of the Australian airman, this paper focuses and explores the social and cultural challenges with the Great War as the context and catalyst. While it is impossible to quantify each nation’s unique obstacles, it is safe to assert that in overcoming their cultural and social challenges the AFC faced the one of more challenging paths to achieving its military and cultural goals in the First World War.


World War I, Australia, Australian Flying Corps, The Great War, aviation

Subject Categories

Military History


© Patrick Joseph Blizzard

Open Access