In September 1915 a patriotic young Australian journalist named Keith Murdoch visited the Anzac battlefield at the Dardanelles where, just weeks before, thousands of Australian and British soldiers had been killed.
Murdoch's letter to Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes on the situation there led directly to the ending of the campaign. It also won Murdoch the trust of the British Minister of Munitions, David Lloyd George.
Patriots Three is the story of how Billy Hughes, Lloyd George and Keith Murdoch changed the conduct and outcome of the First World War and the course of British politics.
This six-part series as heard on Radio National's Big Ideas program is now available. Program details are as follows:
The young Keith Murdoch struggles to succeed as a journalist; fails in his bid to be Australia's official war correspondent; becomes the trusted protégé of the Prime Minister; risks all to end the Dardanelles Campaign, and is welcomed in the corridors of power in Britain.
Sir Ian Hamilton is recalled and Allied troops are evacuated from the Dardanelles; Lord Northcliffe takes up Keith Murdoch; Lloyd George takes on conscription and the trade unions; considers a negotiated peace, and threatens to resign; and Australia's Prime Minister Billy Hughes arrives on an imperial mission.
Keith Murdoch, Lloyd George and Lord Northcliffe promote Billy Hughes's Wake Up England speaking tour; the Australian Prime Minister proves to be the war leader the British have been longing for; Lloyd George wins the battle over conscription and falls out with fellow-Liberals; and Hughes wins his battle for a place at the Allied Economic Conference in Paris.
Billy Hughes is begged to remain in England but returns to Australia; fails to win a referendum on conscription; breaks with the Labor Party; forms the Nationalist Party, and loses a second referendum on conscription; Keith Murdoch tries to win AIF support for conscription; Lloyd George becomes Britain's Prime Minister - with an Imperial vision; America enters the war, and Woodrow Wilson announces his Fourteen Point program for world peace.
Billy Hughes fails to impress President Wilson; Keith Murdoch steps aside as Hughes's adviser; Lloyd George excludes Hughes from secret Cabinet meetings and the Allied Armistice Conference; Hughes wins popular support for his complaints about the Fourteen Points; and Woodrow Wilson settles the Armistice terms with Germany without consulting the Allies.
Billy Hughes maintains his attacks on the terms of the Armistice; Lloyd George appoints Hughes Chairman of an Indemnity Committee; the Committee provides Lloyd George with an irresistible election pledge; Hughes gets most of what he wants at the Peace Conference; John Maynard Keynes resigns from Treasury; and Keith Murdoch, schooled by Lord Northcliffe, returns to Australia to transform the Melbourne Herald.
Year of Production: 2004
Production note: © ABC TV
Duration: 6 x 60mins