This article was written with the support of the Frederick Watson Fellowship from the National Archives of Australia.
The National Service Scheme: Citizenship and the Tradition of Compulsory Military Service in 1960s Australia
Article first published online: 20 MAR 2012
© 2012 The Author. Australian Journal of Politics and History © 2012 School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, School of Political Science and International Studies, The University of Queensland and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.
Australian Journal of Politics & History
Volume 58, Issue 1, pages 67–81, March 2012
How to Cite
Twomey, C. (2012), The National Service Scheme: Citizenship and the Tradition of Compulsory Military Service in 1960s Australia. Australian Journal of Politics & History, 58: 67–81. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8497.2012.01624.x
- Issue published online: 20 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 20 MAR 2012
Between 1964 and 1972, the National Service Act 1964 required Australian men turning twenty years old to register for national service. Unlike most scholarship on the national service scheme, which focuses on opposition to the scheme and its unpopularity, this article examines the reasons why most Australians supported the reintroduction of national service and why so many young men complied with its provisions. It argues that compulsory military service was seen as essential in the context of the Cold War, and as a way of ensuring that young men now coming of age were inducted into models of masculinity, citizenship and duty considered essential for a cohesive society. It was the scheme's break with accepted traditions of compulsory military service in Australia that is an overlooked, and important, element of the criticism it generated. In that sense, it was the legacy of earlier wars that fed into the contemporary response to national service.