Australia's National Identity Through The Events Of The Two World Wars.

1142 words - 5 pages

Tragedy of War to Source of Pride: Australia's Involvement in War and a Shaping of a Nation's IdentityWar memorials are a very significant and meaningful part of the Australian landscape, both literally and culturally. The presence of more than 4,000 war memorials throughout Australia, with the particular focus of these monuments upon World War One, World War Two and the Anzacs, points to a society that takes a great part of its national identity from these wars. The recurring theme of Anzac throughout these memorials raises several questions about a country that so values the events that transpired at the Gallipoli shore in defining what it means to be Australian. What does Anzac, as it is represented in war memorials, mean to Australia? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using this particular legend to articulate a national character? What does Anzac Day, Remembrance Day, and the war memorials that dot the country mean to Australia today? As a country that is still searching for its own national identity, war memorials provide insight into Australia's still emerging national character.Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance is a very important, much cherished site in the city, as are many war memorials throughout Australia. Most often the war memorials are a valued reminder of Australia's involvement in the Second, and in particular, the First World War. As an Australia, one cannot ignore the multitude of references and great admiration paid to actions of the men who fought in Gallipoli. But, what, with its great respect paid in memorials across the country, does this military venture really mean to this country? WWI was supposed to be the war to end all wars. For many, this was supposed to be man's greatest endeavour of the twentieth century. For Australia, a young nation attached to Great Britain with little nationalism and cultural identity of its own, this was the country's opportunity to prove itself on the world's stage. As a lieutenant going to his death wrote, this was Australia's chance: "It is going to be Australia's chance and she makes a tradition out of this that she must always look back on. God grant it will be a great one." As young men across Australia rushed to enlist, the country was excited to prove itself, no matter what the consequences. Another soldier wrote in his journal: "We have been told of the impossible task before us, of probable annihilation yet we are eager to get to it." The members of Anzac were the first to face this probable annihilation. The legend that was to grow from their actions would live up to their anticipation in every way. This legend would inspire a country.The legend of the battle of Gallipoli which helped to shape Australia's identity was developed mainly through the reports of the war's two chief correspondents, Englishman Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett and Australian C.E.W. Bean. As the story goes, the Anzac forces landed on the shores of Gallipoli to challenge the Turkish forces with the...

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