QANTASforever
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Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 6:32 pm

Hello everyone,

Considering how much I have learned from people on this site to date, I felt this was the correct place to go to.

I'm in a bit of a dilemma concerning ANZAC day. For those who don't know it is the national day of remembrance for Australia and New Zealand - specifically relating to a bloody battle in Gallipoli, Turkey - between Imperial and Turkish forces in WWI.

I may be offending people by saying this, but I don't know what to feel about this day. I look at the historical event in question and I realise that my nation was attempting to invade another country. These young soldiers were fighting for a cause that I do not believe was justified. To me, that removes any feelings of gratitude I might have to the soldiers for this event - as they weren't involved in a campaign that I though brought about any benefit at all. It just seems like senseless carnage - an unnecessary loss of life that should have been prevented. So, because I cannot feel a sense of gratitude, and because I cannot see their loss of life as a sacrifice - I'm struggling to place my thoughts on the legacy of the ANZACs at Gallipoli.

I recognise that it was a tragic event that should never have happened, but beyond that I cannot reconcile my feelings. I hear people in the media going on about how "...they died for us." - but I really cannot see it that way in the slightest.

Can anyone help me out? I'd appreciate it if others could share how they feel about ANZAC day and Gallipoli, and why?

QFF
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Banco
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 6:51 pm

It's important to remember that Turkey wasn't neutral, so that campaign wasn't one that's comparable to, say, the German invasion of Belgium. Quite how committed they were is questionable, since they'd essentially been blackmailed on to the German side by the guns of the Emden.

Nor was it an invasion of occupation. It was a massive war, both geographically and logistically. Once it had started the theatres moved.

It's debatable how the campaign in the Dardanelles was conceived though. Was it a brilliant idea poorly executed (the back door into Germany), or was it always doomed to failure? Hard to say.

I'll leave the Australian bit to those you asked for an opinion.
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QANTASforever
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 7:04 pm

Quoting Banco (Reply 1):
It's important to remember that Turkey wasn't neutral, so that campaign wasn't one that's comparable to, say, the German invasion of Belgium.

Even so, I don't think Australia should have been involved in WWI. I understand that there was a belief that one could gain a back-door into the German nations, and ensure supply though the Dardanelles - but it was a bungled mission, conceived by the incompetent fools at the top of the British Military. I personally believe the whole thing was doomed to fail from the start.

QFF
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gkirk
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 7:13 pm

Even if you dont think the reason for the fighting was there, you should still honour those soldiers who died, whether you believe it for a good reason or bad reason.
I think that you should feel something for the poor chaps who lost their lives, but perhaps hatred towards your government at the time?
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Banco
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 7:23 pm

Quoting QANTASFOREVER (Reply 2):
Even so, I don't think Australia should have been involved in WWI.

You have to be careful not to look at these things through 21st century eyes.
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QANTASforever
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 7:43 pm

Quoting Banco (Reply 4):
You have to be careful not to look at these things through 21st century eyes.

I can't help it - I'm a 21st century person. I know that people saw the Empire as a blanket of protection, but even if I was around in those days I'm certain I would have had severe misgivings about sending Australians off to Europe to die for a foreign country and an unjust cause.

Quoting Gkirk (Reply 3):
Even if you dont think the reason for the fighting was there, you should still honour those soldiers who died, whether you believe it for a good reason or bad reason.

The thing is, that I don't even think there was a reason. The conservative media in Australia are always raving on about the sacrifice of the soldiers at Gallipoli, - I don't think it was a sacrifice at all. While it the massacre was completely tragic, I cannot separate the way I feel about something like the attempted invasion of Turkey from the Port Arthur Massacre, columbine - or any other event that saw a large loss of life.

I also cannot help but see parallels between WWI and Gulf War II.

QFF
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Banco
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:12 pm

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 5):
I can't help it - I'm a 21st century person. I know that people saw the Empire as a blanket of protection, but even if I was around in those days I'm certain I would have had severe misgivings about sending Australians off to Europe to die for a foreign country and an unjust cause.

But it wasn't seen as a foreign country. There's another point, in that hindsight makes everything seem so much easier. You can make an argument that Britain shouldn't have involved itself in WWI either. The UK responded to what it felt was unwarranted agression, for a whole host of altruistic and self-interested reasons. Looking back now and saying that we should have done this or that is pretty pointless, unless one considers the realities of the time. In exactly the same way as happened in Britain (and France, Germany and even the USA, when the horrors were better known), thousands upon thousands volunteered.

Anzac troops didn't know they were going to a slaughter field any more than the thousands of Britons both in Gallipoli and on the Western Front.

In many ways, for all the abuse heaped on the generals from this day and age, it's hard to see that they could have done that much more. Undoubtedly, they could have been a bloody sight more careful with the lives of the troops, but the technology of destruction far outstripped the technology of mobility. Horrendous trench warfare was the result.

My overriding emotion is sadness rather than anger. It was truly, truly appalling, but second-guessing doesn't answer the critical issues of the war, its conduct and the motives of nations.
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:27 pm

Quoting QANTASFOREVER (Reply 2):
Even so, I don't think Australia should have been involved in WWI

I think we both agree that our countries shouldn't have been involved, however we didn't have a choice. Your country and mine both got royally screwed over by being a member of the Commonwealth so basically we had to fight for 'our master' whether we wanted to or not.

I agree with you, it's odd to know how to feel about Gallipoli, it's such a long way away and such a long time ago that it's hard to relate to the whole situation with our countries and our people today, so this is the way I look at it to help me see the reality. These guys were young and because of enlistment were forced to give up their lives back home, to go and fight a war they knew nothing about, with only Allied propaganda to go by. They thought that they'd all be on the boat home in a few weeks, but in reality they ended up as cattle to the abatoir and lost their lives in perhaps the most futile advance in both world wars. And as a result we lost an entire generation of New Zealand men.

To me Gallipoli reminds us to learn from mistakes that have been made in history and reminds us never to be complacent about our place in the world. At this time I also hope for New Zealand to never again fall into the trap of fighting for a cause we aren't sure about.
I feel proud that these men and women went off to fight for what they believed was to save their own country, but once in the horrific reality that greeted them, and realised they'd all been lied to they kept fighting anyway, even though these guys weren't hardened soldiers, they were civilians like you and me and that's what I admire most - The strength of our nation that developed in this period of huge hardship. That's why I thank the ANZACs for making the sacrifice.
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QANTASforever
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:28 pm

Quoting Banco (Reply 6):
You can make an argument that Britain shouldn't have involved itself in WWI either.

The UK did not have as much discretion potentially as Australia did. There was a war on your doorstep, a war that could easily have turned toward the United Kingdom geographically - and eventually did thirty years later.

Quoting Banco (Reply 6):
Anzac troops didn't know they were going to a slaughter field any more than the thousands of Britons both in Gallipoli and on the Western Front.

Can I just make the point that I do not believe that British Generals singled out ANZACs to participate in "Operation Human Shield". I understand more than 20,000 Britons died in the Gallipoli campaign. My anger stems from the fact that a foreign military command sent soldiers of my nation off to die in a futile mission. I in no way wish to detract from the tragic deaths of British Soldiers in Turkey.

Quoting Banco (Reply 6):
In many ways, for all the abuse heaped on the generals from this day and age, it's hard to see that they could have done that much more.

Ensuring the soldiers landed at the correct beach could have helped.

Quoting Banco (Reply 6):
My overriding emotion is sadness rather than anger. It was truly, truly appalling, but second-guessing doesn't answer the critical issues of the war, its conduct and the motives of nations.

Just automically, sans logique - my immediate reaction to it all is one of absolute anger and bewilderment. I'm astonished so many Australians freely joined up to fight a foreign war on the other side of the world, that governments in Australia and in Europe did not properly train their soldiers, that the military command was too antiquated and archaic to understand the full potential of modern technology on warfare, that military commanders could be so incompetent as to make an absolute blunder of the entire Dardanelles operation, and lastly - that I am expected (in a popular, mainstream sense) - to be grateful about it all.

Hence this thread - I am utterly, utterly, perplexed.

QFF
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QANTASforever
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:32 pm

Quoting Aerorobnz (Reply 7):
feel proud that these men and women went off to fight for what they believed was to save their own country, but once in the horrific reality that greeted them, and realised they'd all been lied to they kept fighting anyway, even though these guys weren't hardened soldiers, they were civilians like you and me and that's what I admire most - The strength of our nation that developed in this period of huge hardship.

But, because they continued to fight despite realising that there was no reason to - why should we then admire them? Would it not have been better to stop fighting and return to New Zealand or Australia? I don't get it.

I think I'll have to go and watch the movie again.

QFF
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:36 pm

Quoting Gkirk (Reply 3):
Even if you dont think the reason for the fighting was there, you should still honour those soldiers who died, whether you believe it for a good reason or bad reason.

Kirkie's right (Ooh. Did I just say that ?  Smile ) - regardless of whether the sacrifice was worth it or not, the soldiers at Galipoli did make the ultimate sacrifice, their lives. You can debate whether the campaign, or even the war, was worth their sacrifice (I'd be inclined to agree that it probably wasn't), but don't devalue their action - the decision to go to war and to participate in that campaign was not theirs - that's where they ended up, and they did the job they'd come to do. It is of course a terrible tragedy what happened, but the entire World War 1 was a stupid pointless tragedy from start to finish - this makes the sacrifice of those who died all the more poignant, and in remembering them, and honouring them, we remind ourselves that we don't want it to happen again !

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 5):
The conservative media in Australia are always raving on about the sacrifice of the soldiers at Gallipoli, - I don't think it was a sacrifice at all.

As per above, regardless of the reason or the value of the sacrifice they made, they nonetheless made it - perhaps we should honour them all the more (I know it seems odd, but bravery in the face of pointless military incompetence is no less honourable than bravery in the face of a sensible, attainable military objective). I'm no militarist, far from it indeed, and I can see why an Australian would question his country's participation in a pointless, senseless, ill-concieved and selfish European war - but it happened, it's history now, we observe and learn from it.
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Gman94
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:42 pm

You may not agree with Australians fighting in WWI, but you should look at this way. Germany declared way on France, the Schlieffen plan meant that the Germans had to go through Belgium which brought Britain into the war due to an alliance between us and the Belgians. I also believe that we would of declared war on Germany if they had not invaded Belgium and gone straight for France due to the Entente Cordialle treaty between Britain and France. The result of this would of been the Empire countries, what we would now call the commonwealth declaring war on Germany and coming to defence of a fellow member much like the NATO alliance would do today, an attack on one is an attack on all. Also if Australia had been threatened, Britain and other countries of the Empire would of certainly sent forces to the Pacific region to help Australia.

Once one country declared war on another the die was cast, all sorts of alliances and pacts came into play that brought all sorts of countries into WWI. Was the whole sorry affair mismanaged, of course it was. Military force only comes into play when the politician's screw up. Were the campaigns and battles poorly lead and managed, most definitely. But I believe your scorn should not be leveled at the soldier in the trench, they had no say in what they done or where they went, they may not of sacrificed for you but they sacrificed for their country. You should heap the blame onto the people that sent them there, the politician's that messed up. The vast majority of soldiers were the normal men in the street, you and me that could be called up to fight if it all goes pear shaped again. I honour the soldiers that fought and died for my country, whether the campaign was right or wrong, they just do what they are ordered to do.

You say you are struggling to place a legacy on men of Gallipoli, whether you agree or disagree with the campaign, it's now part of Australian history and is a small part of what makes you Australian. Same as I look at Britain's history, I look at both the good and the bad parts and whatever the rights and wrongs of that history it makes me and my country what it is today and I am proud of my country and I think you should be too.
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aerorobnz
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:57 pm

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 8):
I'm astonished so many Australians freely joined up to fight a foreign war on the other side of the world

Some did, but many were just sent away. These guys were teachers,farmers,accountants,students etc. provided they were old enough, they were drafted sent because they had to by law and by the terms of the Commonwealth.

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 9):
but, because they continued to fight despite realising that there was no reason to - why should we then admire them? Would it not have been better to stop fighting and return to New Zealand or Australia? I don't get it.

They could only have been (and were) courtmarshalled and shot for insubordination - they wouldn't have made it home anyway, they had to continue - knowing they would die,and knowing it's better to be remembered by their family in NZ as a gallant person who died a hero than a traitor. Remember all the kiwis back home were being fed British propaganda....Admire them because they were only civilians that died a soldier's death in inhuman conditions they faced if nothing else.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 10):
it's history now, we observe and learn from it.

That's the most important thing of all.
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Banco
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:05 pm

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 8):
The UK did not have as much discretion potentially as Australia did. There was a war on your doorstep, a war that could easily have turned toward the United Kingdom geographically - and eventually did thirty years later.

Perfectly true. I wouldn't argue that in the slightest. I merely make mention of it to say that 20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 8):
Quoting Banco (Reply 6):
In many ways, for all the abuse heaped on the generals from this day and age, it's hard to see that they could have done that much more.

Ensuring the soldiers landed at the correct beach could have helped.

I meant in terms of the war overall, rather than a single campaign. But in terms of Gallipoli, you're right. Not withdrawing the capital ships so soon is another point. So is taking so damn long to land them in the first place, allowing Turkish positions to be set up.

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 9):
But, because they continued to fight despite realising that there was no reason to - why should we then admire them? Would it not have been better to stop fighting and return to New Zealand or Australia? I don't get it.

Again, you can say the same for all the troops throughout the war. I do think this is incredibly hard for us to comprehend. The slaughter was so horrific, yet they still stood it. I'm just not sure that you or I can understand that.

As an aside, my grandfather, who as you know fought at Gallipoli, told my father that the soldiers would sometimes shoot the officers, to prevent the order to go over the top being received, as it were. I never knew him, so I couldn't vouch for the veracity of that, but he had no reason to lie. Can't say I blame them either.

Quoting Aerorobnz (Reply 7):
Your country and mine both got royally screwed over by being a member of the Commonwealth so basically we had to fight for 'our master' whether we wanted to or not.

I think this is an error, once again because of a modern view of what happened. There was massive enthusiasm in both Australia and New Zealand for the war, and the men joined in their thousands. It's probably true that Britain expected them to send soldiers to fight for the "mother country" as it was seen, but I don't think there was coercion involved. It just wasn't necessary.
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aerorobnz
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:13 pm

Quoting Banco (Reply 13):
There was massive enthusiasm in both Australia and New Zealand for the war, and the men joined in their thousands

Only because they were scammed into believing it was not as big a situation as it actually was and that it was a good cheap way to see the world. It became the 'in' thing to do, and peer pressure overruled any sense of reason they may have had. It was made very difficult for those young men who did not go for whatever reason, as they were seen as soft and not fit men for their sweethearts to marry.
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QANTASforever
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:17 pm

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 10):
Kirkie's right (Ooh. Did I just say that ? ) - regardless of whether the sacrifice was worth it or not, the soldiers at Galipoli did make the ultimate sacrifice, their lives.

True. To me though, I cannot remove the feelings I have for the victims of other senseless tragedies (sept11, bali, port arthur) from my feelings for the troops in Gallipoli. I see no huge distinction between those at all. Am I weird to feel this way? I don't see the Gallipoli soldiers massacre as a sacrifice just as I do not see the victims of those aformentioned tragedies as sacrificial. They were victims, - so I guess if anything that will probably form the basis of my opinion: that these were victims of a senseless war, and while they may not have sacrificed their lives for the benefit of their country or for a just cause, - the tragic scope of the event must not be forgotten. This still does nothing to dilute my anger.

Quoting Gman94 (Reply 11):
Also if Australia had been threatened, Britain and other countries of the Empire would of certainly sent forces to the Pacific region to help Australia.

Well, we were threatened thirty years later. Like you we were on the verge of an invasion. Where was the UK then? It was a shaky agreement, one that I will eternally scorn the then British and Australian governments for.

In all - I shall despair for the loss of lives in a senseless war, remain eternally enraged by the actions of the Australian and British governments as well as the British military command, and poise to reflect on the lessons history teaches us.

Thank you guys. This has been truly enlightening.

QFF
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:22 pm

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 8):
My anger stems from the fact that a foreign military command sent soldiers of my nation off to die in a futile mission.

The battle of Gallipoli took place only 14 years after independence, a time when the bond between Australia and Britain was still very strong. The Australian gov't of the day agreed unreservedly to send troops, allowing them to fall directly under British command. If you really want to look back in anger then who do you blame? The Australian gov't?, the British gov't, British generals? - it's pointless to look at it this way. Anzac day is to remember all of those Australians and New Zealanders killed in action, not to debate the merit of the causes of various campaigns.
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:22 pm

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 15):
Well, we were threatened thirty years later. Like you we were on the verge of an invasion. Where was the UK then? It was a shaky agreement, one that I will eternally scorn the then British and Australian governments for.

You may not of noticed but the British forces in the Pacific region were beaten by the Japs and we had a few problems on our own doorstep, we were in no shape to to send much help other then the Navy which was still the biggest and most powerful in WWII.
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:23 pm

Quoting Gman94 (Reply 11):
You may not agree with Australians fighting in WWI, but you should look at this way. Germany declared way on France, the Schlieffen plan meant that the Germans had to go through Belgium which brought Britain into the war due to an alliance between us and the Belgians. I also believe that we would of declared war on Germany if they had not invaded Belgium and gone straight for France due to the Entente Cordialle treaty between Britain and France. The result of this would of been the Empire countries, what we would now call the commonwealth declaring war on Germany and coming to defence of a fellow member much like the NATO alliance would do today, an attack on one is an attack on all. Also if Australia had been threatened, Britain and other countries of the Empire would of certainly sent forces to the Pacific region to help Australia.

Once one country declared war on another the die was cast, all sorts of alliances and pacts came into play that brought all sorts of countries into WWI.

Don´t forget about Germany´s blanc cheque towards Austria, which promised them assistance in whatever they were doing. Austria attacked Serbia, Serbia was an Ally of Russia, Russia declared war on Austria and Germany (being allies), Russia, being again an ally of France. Germany tries to beat France first by executing the Schlieffen plan, invading neutral Belgium on the way, while the Russians are still mobilising, in the hope to get a quick victory in the West before having to take on Russia. The German offensive gets stuck in Northern France and the central powers find themselves in a two front war. Now Russia desperately needs supplies from her western Allies, but Turkey, allied with Germany and Austria controls the Dardanelles. In my opinion the execution (on staff level) of the Gallipoli campaign ranks with the disastrous battles of the Somme (100.000 allied dead in 24 hours). Besides a multitude of cock ups, like the British withdrawing their heavy warships, which were supposed to give heavy artillery support to the landing parties after a German submarine was rumoured to be in the area, landing troops on the wrong beaches, not having dedicated landing craft etc., the ANZAC troops also had the bad luck in meeting with troops commanded by one of the most capable Turkish generals, Kemal Pasha. He was the one who later overthrew the Ottoman government and was later known as Kemal Atatürk.

Jan
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QANTASforever
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:26 pm

Quoting Banco (Reply 13):
There was massive enthusiasm in both Australia and New Zealand for the war, and the men joined in their thousands. It's probably true that Britain expected them to send soldiers to fight for the "mother country" as it was seen, but I don't think there was coercion involved. It just wasn't necessary.

Absolutely right. At first there was a huge amount of enthusiasm, yet like almost everywhere else in the world (including Germany) - things got very very very bad along with public opinion of the war. If anything, that serves as another reminder that war, no matter how joyfully entered or how just and correct it's cause is perceived to be - things change. Thus that is another reason why we must be absolutely vigilant to ensure the whole thing doesn't happen again.

At a government level I'm certain there was pressure to join the war. The UK basically wanted Australian doctors, farmers, accountants, government employees, labourers, builders etc to go away and fight in a war that they would probably die in. The potential economic calamity this would cause was not lost on the Australian government. Sure, Imperial furver was at a fever pitch - but to chop the legs of (what was then) a rising primary industrial economic power took some coercion.

For the public there was a huge amount of advertising - it was the same in the UK. Men were given the impression that if they did not fight they were cowards, women were compelled to pressure their men to join up, the Germans were demonised, and the whole war was presented to be a jolly fine jaunt through the old country - complete will Gerry-hunting and billy beef. As we have mentioned, the reality was quite different.

QFF
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QANTASforever
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:31 pm

Quoting Yukimizake (Reply 16):
If you really want to look back in anger then who do you blame? The Australian gov't?, the British gov't, British generals? - it's pointless to look at it this way. Anzac day is to remember all of those Australians and New Zealanders killed in action, not to debate the merit of the causes of various campaigns.

I blame all of them. Perhaps my original comment wasn't clear enough - the Australians sent their troops to Europe under British command. Through their recklessness and incompetence the British placed the Australians in a morbidly dangerous situation. I understand the point of Anzac day is to remember those who died, but what I'm grappling with - is what is their legacy. What is it that we remember them for. Don't confuse this discussion for one of my republican tirades - I'm in no mood for an argument with you.

Quoting Gman94 (Reply 17):
You may not of noticed but the British forces in the Pacific region were beaten by the Japs and we had a few problems on our own doorstep, we were in no shape to to send much help other then the Navy which was still the biggest and most powerful in WWII.

I did - Australian troops were still fighting in Europe while the Japanese invasion force was making its way south through PNG. But that is not the point. What I was saying was that the UK and Australian governments are both to blame for blunders in the official organisation of, and the execution of the mutual defence of their respective nations.

QFF
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:38 pm

Qantas,

What do you think what happened in Germany? Troop trains with chalk drawings like "Wiedersehen auf dem Boulevard" etc. The guys signed up in masses, because everybody wanted to see some action, everybody believed the war would be over by Christmas.

Then the stupid ideas of respective generals, like the French insisting that frontal attacks were the only right way to fight for a French soldier, eveything else was cowardly, even in the face of dug in machine guns.
The British, sending their soldiers into battle just with 10 rounds in their Lee Enfields, telling them use the bayonet as the primary weapon. Mass attacks one hour after the artillery bombardment in walking pace. The soldiers were not allowed to run or use today´s tactics of moving from cover to cover. They had to walk in the open, keeping 5 yards from each other.
Then the lousy conditions British soldiers lived in in the trenches (the German trenches were usually much more comfortable and had proper dug outs for the soldiers to sleep in). The reason was the thinking of the generals, that if the dug outs and trenches were too comfortable, the soldiers would be reluctant to leave them for attacks.
WW1 for example, terrified France until well into WW2. They lost most of the males of the WW1 generation. There was a huge surplus of women after the war. The French military went from a purely offensive way of thinking into a purely defensive one.

Jan
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:47 pm

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 20):
I understand the point of Anzac day is to remember those who died, but what I'm grappling with - is what is their legacy. What is it that we remember them for. Don't confuse this discussion for one of my republican tirades - I'm in no mood for an argument with you.

On this issue I fully understand where you are coming from. It's such an integral part of Antipodean culture and belief system that when you try and trace your finger back as to Why we do what we do, the waters get very clouded and confusing at times.
It's our equivalent in National Importance to something like the Declaration of Independence is to the US or the French Revolution is to France.
It's an event that as completely changed and shaped our Countries and the way we think from then on, so it is important to be able to relate it to you personally.
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DeskPilot
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:49 pm

My view is that all war/conflicts/etc are tragic and a waste of lives.

I visited the Australian war graves in Thailand in the early 90's. What saddened me the most was that these men were younger than me and never had a chance to live a full life. However, I’m guessing that they died, as did the ANZACS at Gallipoli, fighting what they thought was a just war. It’s not for me to judge what they did, or their reasons for going. I wasn’t in their shoes – I haven’t had to fight in war and I hope to God my son never has to either.

So, to me ANZAC day, remembrance day, etc, is about recognising the sacrifice they made, and their will to overcome a bad situation. Back in Thailand, a trip to the camps at the River Kwai brought home the later.

I have the utmost respect for the ADF. I don’t agree with a number of conflicts they’ve been sent to fight in by various Australian governments, but the ADF has always performed it duty as directed.

So, on April 25th, as on the 11th November, I take time out to remember the ADF members who lost their life in all conflicts.
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QANTASforever
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:53 pm

You're right Aerobnz. I've just been looking at the Returned Services League website - they seem to take the position that it was instrumental to our two nations forming some sense of nationhood - that it introduced us to the dealings of nation to nation warfare. In an Australian context, it also served to blast away petty disagreements between states and promote federal unity. It was a defining moment, and was instrumental to the formation of our national characters. For this reason I believe a special day of remembrance is warranted. Gallipolli was our moment of realisation - where we saw as nations the futility of empire, and started to consider ourselves Australiand and New Zealanders rather than "subjects" of you-know-who.

QFF
Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.
 
bill142
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:56 pm

Quoting QANTASFOREVER (Reply 2):
but it was a bungled mission, conceived by the incompetent fools at the top of the British Military. I personally believe the whole thing was doomed to fail from the start.

This is true. The British could have shelled the Turkish till there were no more. Instead they tested them to see their capabilities, this lead the Turkish to realise that they had a weakness. The British and French sent a fleet of 18 ships through the Dardenells to get to Constantinople, now Istanbul. They lost 3 and 3 came back crippled and the Turkish ammo supplies were almost gone but the fleet turned back, when they could have quite easily made it.
After this planning for an attack on Gallipoli began and what could have quite possibly been a preventable loss of life occured.
 
DeskPilot
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:00 pm

Quoting QANTASFOREVER (Reply 24):
Gallipolli was our moment of realisation - where we saw as nations the futility of empire

And yet QFF, Australian troops happily marched off to support UK again in September 1939 ! My view was the Pacific war was different, that was in our areaand was a threat to Australia and its neighbours.
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:04 pm

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 15):
I cannot remove the feelings I have for the victims of other senseless tragedies (sept11, bali, port arthur) from my feelings for the troops in Gallipoli.

The scenarios are fundamentally different - the victims of Port Arthur, Bali etc were just victims in the wrong place at the wrong time - they could have been absolutely anyone, they were victims of random acts of mindless violence. Soldiers in wartime are place deliberately and knowingly in harm's way, in full awareness (most of the time) of the situation, and yet they fight on anyway - there is more of the notion of conscious sacrifice, rather than just a random position in space/time and getting blown up or shot by a nutjob with issues.
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QANTASforever
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:19 pm

Quoting DeskPilot (Reply 26):
And yet QFF, Australian troops happily marched off to support UK again in September 1939 !

That was absolutely different. That was a war against tyrrany and facism, not a war exclusively participated in out of respect to the UK. In my belief the allied efforts in WWII were absolutely, 1000% justified. It is an infinitely different situation to WWI and not worthy of comparison.

Quoting DeskPilot (Reply 26):
My view was the Pacific war was different, that was in our areaand was a threat to Australia and its neighbours.

It was, what I talked about earlier was while we had gone to the assistance of allies in europe when they were threatened, help when we were about to be invaded was not forthcoming. Anyway - it's a separate issue to Gallipoli.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 27):
Soldiers in wartime are place deliberately and knowingly in harm's way, in full awareness (most of the time) of the situation, and yet they fight on anyway - there is more of the notion of conscious sacrifice, rather than just a random position in space/time and getting blown up or shot by a nutjob with issues.

I've since made a distinction. Many soliders had no choice - they were drafted. However I have pointed out that because it was such a defining moment in the development of the Australian psyche, it warrants a special day of remembrance and a distinction as an event in the minds of Australians. Of course, for those soldiers who chose to be there your argument is entire relevant.

QFF
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Banco
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:38 pm

Quoting Bill142 (Reply 25):
They lost 3 and 3 came back crippled and the Turkish ammo supplies were almost gone but the fleet turned back, when they could have quite easily made it.

Just on this bit, be slightly careful. Knowing the situation of both sides in later years isn't the same as those who had to take the decision at the time. They had no knowledge of the Turkish situation, all the admirals saw were their capital ships being sunk and/or heavily damaged.

In fact, given the size of the German navy bottled up in Wilhelmshaven, and the absolute necessity of keeping there, the navies (the Royal Navy in particular) could absolutely not afford to lose these ships.

In the most horrible terms possible, sacrificing these men by withdrawing the capital ships may well have been the only thing to do. Lose 30,000 British, Australian and New Zealand troops and you have a slight manpower issue. Lose another half dozen battleships and you might lose the war.

Harsh as it may seem, by the time it had got to the stage that surprise was lost, withdrawing the ships was the only choice, given what they knew.
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ScarletHarlot
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 1:02 am

The best way I can relate to this is to tell you what I have in the trunk of my car ready to go to the post office. It's a parcel full of goodies for an American Air Force serviceman in Iraq. Do I think he should be there? HELL NO! The whole Iraq thing is a farce and should never have happened. But his wife is my friend and he left her and his two small kids behind to go and do a job his government said he should do. And what a crappy job - he's only been there like a month and he's already been fired upon and people in his vehicle were injured. I don't agree with why he's there, but he's there, and the least I can do is let him know I admire him for going and doing this job nobody should be doing.

So QFF - the soldiers at Gallipoli died doing a nasty job in the name of your country. Whether they were there for a good reason or not - they died for Australia. This alone is a good reason to remember and respect them.
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ltbewr
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 1:31 am

I have been in both Australia and NZ and seen their respective national memorials to all of their citizen-soldiers killed in all wars and police actions. I also drove thorugh many towns where in the middle of them towns were memorials to their soldiers lost in wars and buildings of organizations for those whom seved in their Military services. ANZACS day is a vary sacred day in Australian/NZ and while it commerates one of the most brutal battles in modern military history, that battle represents a comming of age for these countries, of honor and loyality to Great Britian.
In the USA, we have national monuments to wars in Washington DC (WWII, Vietnam, Korean wars) and almost every town has memorials to there war dead. ANZACS day is like our Memorial Day in the USA (last Monday in May) and is to honor all war dead from our Revolution to the current wars in Iraq and Afganastian, although it developed out of our Civil War of 1861-1865. That is why we don't acknologe Veteran's Day (Nov.11th, and as to WWI) as much as Europe and in Canada (there called Rememberance Day).
Let us not also forget that hundreds of Australian and NZ soldiers were killed in action in the Korean War due to UN treaties and well over 100 in the Viet Nam war due to mutual treaties with the USA.
Most of all, let us honor all those soldiers from Australia and NZ whom died and fought in wars.
 
bill142
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:22 am

Quoting Banco (Reply 29):

Just on this bit, be slightly careful. Knowing the situation of both sides in later years isn't the same as those who had to take the decision at the time. They had no knowledge of the Turkish situation, all the admirals saw were their capital ships being sunk and/or heavily damaged

True, the British did not have any idea of the Turkish ammo situation. But had they known the landing of troops at what is now anzac cove may not have happened. But that is all hearsay and conjecture now.
 
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:45 am

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 31):
Most of all, let us honor all those soldiers from Australia and NZ whom died and fought in wars.

Cheers to that - Outside of Europe that often goes unnoticed... Because of our small size we have lost proportionally more men in the great wars than some of the larger military countries. As I said earlier, we practically lost an entire generation of 18-25 year olds. It makes me proud that we box above our weight when the going gets tough, an attribute they instilled in many kiwis since. It's the only time I ever feel patriotic.
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QANTASforever
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 10:26 am

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 30):
So QFF - the soldiers at Gallipoli died doing a nasty job in the name of your country. Whether they were there for a good reason or not - they died for Australia. This alone is a good reason to remember and respect them.

They were there in the name of another country - they died for a foreign cause. They did not die for Australia, they died for a pathetic and insignificant reason. Reading what you all have written here has led me to this conclusion: Anzac day provides us an opportunity to remember the senseless nature of the Dardanelles operation - and serves as a reminder that we must never allow this to happen again. We must always be vigilant about the reasons why we go to war, and while soldiers are doing a job - they do not always die for our country or for a just cause. In these instances we must never forgive those who put these people in such a situation.

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 31):
ANZACS day is a vary sacred day in Australian/NZ and while it commerates one of the most brutal battles in modern military history, that battle represents a comming of age for these countries, of honor and loyality to Great Britian.

lol um, be very very very careful about that last part. I certainly don't believe that is something worth dying for, not in the slightest.

QFF
Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.
 
DeskPilot
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:30 am

Quoting QANTASFOREVER (Reply 34):
They were there in the name of another country - they died for a foreign cause.



Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 28):
That was a war against tyrrany and facism, not a war exclusively participated in out of respect to the UK

WW2, excluding the Pacific, was a foreign cause. Germany was not a threat to Australia's sovereignty.

A quick search found this….

“..The British Dominions of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa were automatically at war with Germany in World War I when the United Kingdom declared war in 1914. The situation was different in World War II. Each Dominion made its own declaration of war in 1939, after winning the right to be consulted by the Statute of Westminster in 1931. ..

Regardless of the method of entry (automatic or chosen), Australia supported the UK in both conflicts and I believe that this was with the support of the people. They thought the cause was just.
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787
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 2:23 pm

They put their lives on the line and died because of it. They did it for the country they are from, represent, and serve. Why is that so hard to understand? They died for their country and what it believed in. Honor the act not the reason.

Quoting QANTASFOREVER (Reply 34):
They did not die for Australia,

Oh? Who did they die for Peru? Come on, look deeper to the reason and try not to trivialize these men's deaths by putting your own 21st century reasoning to an act that was in different times.
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QANTASforever
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 3:28 pm

Quoting DeskPilot (Reply 35):
WW2, excluding the Pacific, was a foreign cause. Germany was not a threat to Australia's sovereignty.

But the cause was completely justified - that is the distinction between the two world wars in my opinion.

Quoting DeskPilot (Reply 35):
A quick search found this….

“..The British Dominions of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa were automatically at war with Germany in World War I when the United Kingdom declared war in 1914.

Eek gad I'm glad things have changed. Sheesh - "British Dominions" - makes my skin crawl. Thank god we are not in a situation anymore where our foreign policy is dictated to us by tyrannical imperialists.

Quoting 787 (Reply 36):
They did it for the country they are from, represent, and serve. Why is that so hard to understand? They died for their country and what it believed in.

They didn't die for my country - they died for an unjustified cause. They did not die to protect things Australia believes in - and to me, that only heightens the respect I have for the men who died. They were victims of a senseless and brutal war.

Quoting 787 (Reply 36):
Honor the act not the reason.

And yet you rave on about some reason and not the act itself, interesting..

Quoting 787 (Reply 36):
Oh? Who did they die for Peru? Come on, look deeper to the reason and try not to trivialize these men's deaths by putting your own 21st century reasoning to an act that was in different times.

They weren't fighting for Australian interests in any way, shape, or form. They died for another country in an unjustified war. How dare you suggest I'm trivialising their deaths - I have come to a realisation they deserve honour and respect for being the victims of historical events that were sweeping them into a mortally dangerous situation.

I also resent your assertion that my reasoning is neccesarily 21st century in nature. Joe Bloggs could have told you at the time that Australia was not in any clear and present danger that warrented the potential sacrifice of thousands, he also could have told you that aside from "Supporting Empire" - there was no philosophical reason to enter the war. With an absence of both a geographic/political and philosophical motive to enter the war, I daresay I would not have been alone holding the position I do in 1913.

QFF
Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.
 
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 3:40 pm

Quoting QANTASFOREVER (Reply 34):
Reading what you all have written here has led me to this conclusion: Anzac day provides us an opportunity to remember the senseless nature of the Dardanelles operation - and serves as a reminder that we must never allow this to happen again.

The key to commemorating on ANZAC Day is RESPECT;

Respect - for those who have died fighting in wars that this country has, rightly or wrongly, committed itself to;

Respect - for the families who have lost loved ones in their countries name.

The Dardanelles landing was Australia's first major deployment of it's young people overseas of which quite a few didn't return. It's also there to remember those that paid the supreme sacrifice in their countries name in other conflicts from WW2, Korea, Vietnam & the Gulf War. It serves to remind us that the lifestyle we lead in Australia today and the freedoms we enjoy have had to be defended from time to time in war. It serves to remind us of the loss we as a people suffer when we fight a war BUT the stories of the ANZAC's also highlight the best aspects of the Australian & New Zealand peoples character.

Quoting QANTASFOREVER (Reply 34):
I certainly don't believe that is something worth dying for, not in the slightest.

The fact of the matter is that the Australian government, and the people at that time, did believe the principles they were fighting for were worth sacrificing our young people over. That is what we should remember.

If you need help feeling something then comiserating or celebrating isn't correct for the day. Simply pausing, remembering and respecting the fact that others have died to secure your country is what ANZAC day is about.
 
DeskPilot
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 3:58 pm

Quoting QANTASFOREVER (Reply 37):
But the cause was completely justified - that is the distinction between the two world wars in my opinion.

Agree in respect WW1, in that a couple of small events lead, through the treaty alliance system, to a world war. Again, regardless of events, Australians volunteered in droves for "King and Country".

However, there was one aspect of Britain's entry that was just in my view - defending neutral Belgium :

"..Britain, allied to France by a more loosely worded treaty which placed a "moral obligation" upon her to defend France, declared war against Germany on 4 August. Her reason for entering the conflict lay in another direction: she was obligated to defend neutral Belgium by the terms of a 75-year old treaty.

With Germany's invasion of Belgium on 4 August, and the Belgian King's appeal to Britain for assistance, Britain committed herself to Belgium's defence later that day. Like France, she was by extension also at war with Austria-Hungary.

With Britain's entry into the war, her colonies and dominions abroad variously offered military and financial assistance, and included Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa.



Quoting 787 (Reply 36):
by putting your own 21st century reasoning to an act that was in different times.

Remember QFF, there were plenty of volunteers until 1917 at which point the population wised up, and realised it wasn't very gallant to go OS and die in a trench - hence the rejection of the two conscription referendums.
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whitehatter
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:50 pm

Quoting Sydscott (Reply 38):
The fact of the matter is that the Australian government, and the people at that time, did believe the principles they were fighting for were worth sacrificing our young people over. That is what we should remember.

There is also the issue of political and legal linkage.

If Britain had been defeated and invaded, then there was a potential scenario where Australia would be subject to Germany as the governing power within Britain. The USA also had that in mind when they got involved due to the same issue with Canada.

Anyway as Kirky rightly says, it's not the event which should be celebrated. Glorifying battles is for mad Irishmen and other political outcasts. It's the people who are to be remembered, with that ongoing promise that we do our damnedest to ensure it never happens again if at all possible.
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QANTASforever
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 6:17 pm

Quoting Sydscott (Reply 38):
Simply pausing, remembering and respecting the fact that others have died to secure your country is what ANZAC day is about.

To whom do you refer? If you are talking about the soldiers at Gallipoli then I'm afraid I cannot agree with you as they didn't do anything to secure the country. Soldiers involved in the Pacific Second World War - that is another story.


QFF
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bill142
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:47 pm

Quoting 787 (Reply 36):
Oh? Who did they die for Peru? Come on, look deeper to the reason and try not to trivialize these men's deaths by putting your own 21st century reasoning to an act that was in different times.

They died for the British. The British needed to regain communications with Russia and a supply line and to do this was to gain control of the Dardenells.
 
DeskPilot
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:40 pm

Quoting Bill142 (Reply 42):
The British needed to regain communications with Russia and a supply line and to do this was to gain control of the Dardenells.

I thought it was from a Russian request for assistance to relieve pressure from a Turkish attack in the Caucasus.
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Banco
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:48 pm

Quoting Bill142 (Reply 42):
They died for the British.

On the same basis you could say that the British died for the Belgians or the French. WWI wasn't a war of conquest by the Allies.
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DeskPilot
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:51 pm

Withthe focus on the upcoming ANZAC day, let now forget the 80,000+ Turkish troops who died protecting their own land. If anything good came out of that campaign, it was the bond between the Australian and Turkish people.

"..When the Turkish Government agreed to Australia's request to rename the beach where the Anzacs landed at Gallipoli as Anzac Cove there were a couple of reciprocal concessions. One was that the Australian Government agreed to build a memorial to Kemal Ataturk in Anzac Parade, Canberra. The others were to name that part of of Lake Burley Griffin at the foot of Anzac Parade as Gallipoli Reach and to name the entrance to King George Sound at Albany as Ataturk Entrance. Recently an imposing monument to Ataturk has been built there...

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938) was the founder of the Turkish Republic and its first President.
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virgin744
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Fri Apr 22, 2005 12:29 am

One thing that hasnt been mentioned is that those senior people in the UK who were instructing this hopeless invasion were led by none other than...Britain's beloved - Winston Churchill, who was serving as Minister of Defense at the time.

Deskpilot,
I dont usually get emotional reading on this forum, but your quote certainly gave me goosebumps all over!

As a Turk, I honour all those who died in "Gelibolu" -Turks,Australians, NZ'ers and all soldiers from every nation, but the bottom line is war is war, and it stinks whatever side you look at it from.

Virgin744
 
dl021
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Fri Apr 22, 2005 1:01 am

I stopped reading the posts after the 10th one or so. What QFF seems to not understand is that the times were different and most Australians and New Zealanders considered themselves to be British to some degree (many were immigrants themselves, if not the 1st or 2d generation descendants), and the relationship between the nations was not far past the initiation of self governing dominion. Many of these men were volunteers and considered it their patriotic duty to perform this service.

One could say that WWI was the true transitional force for these nations that by the end of the war participated as equals in the Armistice and afterwards modified their relationships with the British Crown (all but India, which did not exit Dominion status until 1947 or 8) with the results of the Balfour report. Until this the various entities of the Commonwealth (not yet officially established as such) were not completely self governing and required British approval for various matters.

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 9):
I think I'll have to go and watch the movie again.

If you are serious perhaps you should consider getting the history upon which you base your feelings and opinions from other sources that are mroe responsible to truth and accuracy.


Quoting Aerorobnz (Reply 12):
Admire them because they were only civilians that died a soldier's death in inhuman conditions they faced if nothing else.

They were soldiers, and I believe that it is not your right to try and take that away from those men. The bugler still calls every morning in France, and the blood of ANZAC and British troops still lies at Gallipoli. War is made and directed by men, so mistakes and errors will happen, but the British did not start that war and had to pick sides. WWI was as much about the future of Empire as anything else, including the settling of old scores. I'd say that the results were fairly mixed, but the heroism of the troops was beyond reproach and thats what ANZAC Day is all about. Don't punish the troops for your modern day viewpoint (what we call here Monday morning quarterbacking).
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Fri Apr 22, 2005 1:18 am

The reason the ANZAC troops were used for the middle East, Bosporus and Northern Africa (together with troops from India), was simply that shipping them there from their home countries was much shorter than sending them through the mediterranean and Britain to fight on the Western Front.
The same happened in WW2. Australian, New Zealand and indian troops were fighting mostly in the mediterranean theatre of operations. Another thing is that the Australians had some experience in desert fieldcraft from back home.

Jan
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GDB
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RE: Australians: Need Help With Feelings On Anzac Day

Fri Apr 22, 2005 1:30 am

That's the thing, QFF, you've 'become' an Aussie citizen correct?
So, by 'becoming' a citizen of that nation, there is historical baggage, good and bad.
I've asked this before, but as you seem to dislike the British so much, maybe not such a smart choice to become a citizen of a nation that, like it or not, still has very strong links to the UK.

I think that the Kaiser gets an easy ride today, inevitably because of the far worse Hitler, but the Kaiser was an authoritarian dictator bent on conquest.
So, however the mechanism worked that found ANZACs fighting him and his Allies, it was in a just cause, the execution, as mentioned, was variable, but suddenly introducing a load of new technology into war does this.

In any case, we need to get away from the WW1 general stereotypes, Blackadder IV was a great comedy, but not fact, the truth of the WW1 Imperial Command is much more complex than easy stereotypes, usually deployed with hindsight and (like here) with an axe to grind.

Germany was seeking an Empire to match the British, and was working hard to get one, already that included territory in the Far East, your doorstep.
So the idea that had we been defeated, life down under would have carried on as before, is a nonsense.
And that's not even taking into account the much greater political and industrial links between the Dominion nations then.
(And if you think the British were oh so terrible, you might want to read up on life in the German African colonies, I'm not about to defend UK Imperial history, but genocide was committed by the Kaiser's Imperial foot-soldiers)

Honour the dead if you want to, keep quiet on ANZAC day if you don't.
But if you think the stable, rich, highly regarded progressive nation you have chosen to live in has nothing to do with their sacrifice, I'd question how committed an Aussie you really are.

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