Brothers in Alms: Australian Army chaplains, Anglicanism and empire 1914-1939

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This paper examines the interplay of faith, conflict and empire through the experience of Australian Anglican Army chaplains. 175 Anglican Army chaplains (just under half of Australia'€™s total chaplaincy contingent) served in the Great War. Intimate contact with their wider empire and its first world war had a profound and enduring impact on their lives and ministries in the cataclysmic years between 1914 and 1939. The purpose of this paper is to chart that impact. As we shall see, several returned chaplains adjusted their pre-war imperialist lines of sight for nationalistic and Australian ones. In so doing, returned chaplains brought a distinctly Christian voice to bear in public discussions of an increasingly radicalised world order and its ideological contest â€Â' between the extremes of the right and the left â€Â' for the hearts and minds of Australians. Wartime acquaintance with the aspirations of working men â€Â' in metropole and colony â€Â' and a context of economic depression fuelled many veteran chaplains'€™ campaigns for social justice and equitable solutions to the post-war impasse between labour and capital. Chaplains also attempted to harness the esprit de corps and brotherhood experienced in war for their outreach to Australian men. The most striking expression of this priority was the creation by chaplains of a number of religious brotherhoods based on their experience of metropolitan Anglican religious orders. Finally, the experience of war imbued chaplains with a new vision for ecumenical cooperation, while their experience with other imperial chaplaincy corps provided suggestive models and resources for how to do Army chaplaincy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventWorld History Association Symposium 2013 - Notre Dame University, Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia
Duration: 03 Oct 201305 Oct 2013


ConferenceWorld History Association Symposium 2013


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