The Great War is now typically regarded as senseless and futile, but most New Zealanders at the time considered it to be a war to preserve security and freedoms, to punish an aggressive enemy and to win a better world. Yet the war years proved a tumultuous time, and bitterness and animosities ran alongside idealism and sacrifice. Families were broken up as soldiers departed. Civil liberties were curtailed as the government wielded unprecedented powers. Divisive issues, economic volatility and a rising death toll all threatened resolve. Finally, in the last weeks of the war, a devastating influenza pandemic arrived in New Zealand and extracted a deadly toll.