On August 6, 1914, Australia joined the British Empire in its contretemps with its European neighbours. Nationalists opposed Australia’s involvement. However, the popular mood was about supporting the “motherland.” By the end of the war, 60,000 Australian lives were lost. Another 156,000 Aussies were gassed, injured, or imprisoned. This staggering figure was from a population of less than five million. Those losses have become abstract when looking back upon them now. They’re just figures. They don’t describe the greater carnage inflicted on two generations of Australians. Mothers lost sons, wives became widows, and children grew up fatherless. Those men who did return often turned to drink to deal with what was undiagnosed back then as PTSD. The anger of those men and their sense of estrangement was wrought on their families. It was not a happy portrait at all.
Enter The Anzacs
World War I began on July 28, 1912. A secret pact between Germany and the Ottoman Empire was ratified on August 2. This accord served the dual purpose of strengthening the ailing Ottoman Empire while providing strategic access for Germany. The Austro-Hungarian Empire then joined that alliance. The pact lasted five short years, essentially the duration of the First World War. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Austro-Hungarian empire’s heir, sparked the tragic conflict. He and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, 18, a Bosnian Serb nationalist. Princip claimed he was aiming for Oskar Potiorek, Bosnia’s military ruler. Princip belonged to a fiercely nationalist terrorist organization, Ujedinjenje ili Smrt, popularly known as “The Black Hand.” They aimed to destroy the Austro-Hungarian rule in the Balkans and unify the southern Slavs. Austria-Hungary demanded Serbia suppress its nationalist movement. It didn’t. They declared war.
While the shooting of the Archduke provided the excuse for the war, the reasons were manifold. A flexing of militaristic muscles and a showdown between empires. Led by treaties, it involved artificial loyalties that served self-interested empires. On August 4, Britain broke its policy of “splendid isolation” and joined the war against Germany. They did so in anticipation of a German attack on France. In a secret 1894 treaty, France allied with Russia. Meanwhile, Russia came to Serbia’s defence. Britain’s entrance into the war was even more complicated. It wasn’t out of honour for France that they joined the fray, but of fear of German forces reaching England. Likewise, Germany was growing as an empire, and Britain risked losing global prestige. Germany attacked France on August 20, 1914. Japan and Italy eventually joined on the side of the Allies. Australians, New Zealanders (Anzacs), and others were brought in.
Anzac Cove & An Australian Legacy
The ANZAC tradition that we commemorate originated from an ill-devised plan conceived by the First Lord of the Admiralty. Winston Churchill was that man. Russia’s war with Germany was at a stalemate. Russia asked for help, fearing a Turkish offensive against their southern flank. This predicament fostered the Dardenelles campaign. The Anglo-French plan involved seizing control of the Turkish Straits. If they achieved this, they would reestablish sea ties with Russia via the Black Sea. This meant ensuring a year-round supply route. Best of all, they would push the Ottoman Empire out of the war. The operation would begin with a massive naval bombardment using obsolete ships that were useless against the German navy. However, things didn’t go as planned. For a variety of reasons, the Allied fleet was thwarted. The Turks on the ground proved adroit. This called for the landing of troops to remove their gun emplacements.
The new plan was to land men at two separate locations. On April 25, 1915, the British 29th Division disembarked at Cape Helles, while the Anzacs arrived north of Gaba Tepe. Later, this would become known as Anzac Cove. Tragically, the Ottomans put up fierce resistance, pinning down the Brits and Anzacs. The landings devolved into trench combat and any area gained painfully with a massive loss of life was recaptured. Gallipoli became a graveyard where the dead still fired rifles. The bastard summer heat only aided the enemy. Food went bad, and swarms of black copse flies festered among the men. A fresh assault was attempted in August. The soldiers had to take the hills around Chunuk Bair. Instead, they took a beating. A landing at Suvla Bay also failed. Evacuations began in December and lasted till January. It was a major victory for the Ottomans.
Rallying To The Empire & Away Again
The dissident voices against the war were few, to begin with. Such was the level of fervour that recruiting offices turned men away. During and immediately following Gallipoli, the enthusiasm for the imperialist adventure grew even stronger. The mindset hasn’t changed to this day: Australians should be sacrificed to protect one group of imperialists from another. Back then, it was mother England; today, it is America and “western values.” Yet, as the war dragged through 1916, Australian losses increased. Gallipoli was not the only theatre of war where Australians were engaged. They also fought in France and Belgium. Australians fought at the Somme, Bullecourt, Messines, Ypres, Hamel Spur, Mont St. Quent, Peronne, and the Hindenburg line. The increase in Australian losses was matched by the drop in recruits. By 1916, there weren’t enough volunteers to satisfy the British. Conscription was discussed and two referendums were held over the matter.
Prime Minister Billy Hughes made two unsuccessful pitches to Australia to appease England’s voracious appetite for Aussie lives. On October 28, 1916, he asked Aussies to mandate dying for Britain’s imperial interests in law. By that, we mean introducing conscription. Surprisingly, the Australian people resisted this tempting offer by 72,476 votes. Not to be deterred, the Anglophile tried again on December 20, 1917, just before Christmas. But this baffling reluctance to die so that England could gain ten yards of sloppy, blood-drenched French land continued. The referendum was defeated by 166,588 votes this time. Amazingly, by November 11, 1918, the Allies defeated Germany regardless. That’s not to denigrate the incredible fighting spirit demonstrated by our brave Diggers. But Australians were waking up to the fact that this war wasn’t exactly helping us prosper. Twenty years later, the world went to war again.
Commemorating Anzac Day
Anzac Day began in Adelaide in 1916. They replaced a festive eight-hour day holiday that occurred on October 13, 1915. This first ballyhoo was not in the sombre spirit of what it came to be. The Australians were still dug-in on the Turkish cliff-side and under fire. Indeed, this was by way of a fundraiser for the war effort. Anzac Day proper was first observed on April 25, 1916, after the full picture was revealed. The cheering had ended, and the whoops were replaced by dignified sniffles. The full tragedy of war had come home to a country that was hitherto eager to please its colonial parents. Initially, the day was less formal in the sense that it was commemorated by some states. It was not until the late 1920s that it was observed as a national holiday. As time went on, the myth of “the Anzac spirit” evolved.
Whatever we commemorate today has nothing to do with why our forebears marked April 25 as a special day. Back then, it was in memory of the dead and the sacrifice. The only thing that stopped it from being a futile sacrifice was that the Allies won. Although, once again, this is debatable. The Allies demanded reparations from Germany. The conditions of the Treaty of Versailles were monstrous. Stripping Germany of all dignity, they fostered the nationalist spirit that bred Adolf Hitler. Hitler served on the Western Front and often faced the English. Those veterans who returned to a demoralised Germany, succumbing to the poisons of communism, mirrored Hitler’s disdain. The next 20 years were just a breather. Some argue otherwise, but the second instalment of that war was unfinished business. More Australians died as a result.
The Anzac Heritage
The idea of Anzac Day is worth fighting for. We will have to. The sick proponents of woke anti-culture will make every effort to deprive Australia of its national day. And that’s the irony; we are beholden to the United States. We may not be the vassal state that China aims to make us, but that relationship belies our Anzac heritage. You may ask how? For one thing, it undermines the lessons Australia learned in naively sending its sons into war for ill-defined reasons. Broken down to its true essence, World War I was about keeping wealth in a few privileged hands. Every war that Australia has involved itself in on America’s behalf has had an ulterior purpose. It has invariably involved a geopolitical and industrial advantage. America is to us now what Britain was then.
If Anzac Day means anything, it means that it’s time to think about Australia first! After the First World War, we proved ourselves as a nation. We broke free of Britain’s apron strings. But we’ve never been free; we traded Britain for America. Australians have died in unjust wars such as Vietnam and Afghanistan. Our people died in Korea so that President Harry Truman could “get tough” on communism. That war technically hasn’t ended. But our slavish commitment to the US must end. What’s the Anzac Legacy worth when the next war with China is to be about “western values?” What are these western values that America dictates? They are multiracialism, transgenderism, paedophilia, culture wars, and all of the corporate oligarchs’ cultural and social contaminates. The “spirit” invoked by the insincere elites who manipulate the meaning of Anzac Day cancels out what that day should mean. Simply, lest we forget.