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'gallipoli Was A Turning Point In Australia's History' Assess The Impact Of The Anzac Experience On Australia And Australians Since 1915.

1223 words - 5 pages

The ANZAC experience that first touched the lives of many Australians in 1915 has continued to have a significant impact throughout the 20th century. As old diggers pass away, their children proudly wear their medals and take their place in the Anzac Day service. The number of visitors to the Australian War Memorial has steadily increased each year as young Australians remember the ANZAC experience. After that fateful day at Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915, Australia was never the same again. No longer were we an extension of Britain; we had won for ourselves the right to be acknowledged as a unique and independent nation, baptised by 'fire'. The ANZAC experience is part of what and who we are as Australians.Prior to 1915, Australia was in every aspect a very young country. It had just become a nation in 1901, had little experience in war and still "clung" to England. Many people referred to Britain as home and idealised everything British. People were generally unsure of what Australians were meant to be. They did not know whether they were Australian-Britons or an independent nation with a culture and identity of its own. Before World War I, Australia was just a small new nation very dependent on Britain.Following Britain's declaration of war on Germany in 1914, Australians enthusiastically enlisted to support the 'mother' country in its struggle against the forces of oppression. These new recruits became the Australian Imperial Forces (A.I.F) and were to assist Britain who was allied with France to defeat the Germans. Many men went to war looking for adventure, and of course to stand by Britain. Andrew Fisher, the leader of Labor opposition at the time, said that Australia would back Britain to its "..last man and last shilling." (cited in Bean, 1961, p23) The A.I.F joined with New Zealand to become a force that was known as ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps). These Anzacs were to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, an area occupied by the Turks, an ally of Germany. This plan was put into action the morning of April 25th 1915. However the Turks had the advantage of higher ground and the operation of Gallipoli was a disaster. The Anzacs gained a few hundred meters on the first night but from then on, little more was gained. The various campaigns on the Gallipoli Peninsula resulted in the deaths of over "...8000 Australians..." (cited in Bean, 1961 p 181), causing some to view Gallipoli as a pointless event. This was not the case however, as Gallipoli was Australia's first combat as a nation and was seen as a test. Even though many were killed and in the end the Anzacs were withdrawn from Gallipoli, Australia passed this test with flying colours and the ANZAC spirit evolved. This spirit was the result of mateship, self-sacrifice, perseverance and that sense of humour that remains unique to Australia. As summed up in the words of the war correspondent C.E.W Bean,"Anzac stood, and still stands, for reckless valour in a good cause, for...

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