Conscription in the British Empire

When Great Britain declared war on Germany, it committed the Dominions of the British Empire to the conflict as well.

The self-governing dominions had the freedom to decide whether to send troops to support the British on the Western Front. Many did. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Boer leaders in South Africa all rallied to the British cause.

Britain’s role in the war would have been limited without the resources and, more importantly, the manpower provided by its dominions. Over 2 million men from Commonwealth nations signed up in 1914.

In 1915 there was a decline in the number of men enlisting and the issue of conscription was raised. The social and political climate of each nation was unique and they each responded differently to the call for compulsory military service.

Out of all the countries only Australia and South Africa did not introduce conscription.