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New Zealand And The Great War

1383 words - 6 pages

New Zealand’s involvement in World War I, while short, played an eminent role in the Battle of Gallipoli and in the shaping of New Zealand’s culture. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps were on the front lines of the Gallipoli Campaign. Although this battle would be won by the Ottoman Empire, many brave men fought and lost their lives for their country and their King. ANZAC Day, which is dedicated to the remembrance of these troops, is celebrated on the 25th of April every year. This day is used to remember the 2,721 New Zealanders and 8,700 Australians that died on that battlefield. New Zealand’s history was simply enriched after the end of The Great War.

New Zealand was first officially discovered by Abel Tasman on December 13th, 1642.
While the first British flag flew on the island on November 15th, 1769, it was not officially colonized until February 6th, 1840. Along with New Zealand, Britain had colonized other countries such as Canada or Australia. Australia and New Zealand’s armies would work side by side during the war. By 1914, the beginning of World War I, New Zealand was referred to as the Dominion of New Zealand instead of the Colony of New Zealand, which had been changed in 1907. As they saw the war coming, the government decided to take a few extra steps.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Sir Joseph Ward, saw the war coming fairly early. New Zealand’s economy depended on Britain so when the threat of a world war came about, they took initiative. In 1909, he ordered the construction of the HMS New Zealand which would eventually go on to serve in the Royal Navy. Along with this came the 120,000 troops that New Zealand would recruit and train. Recruiting began fairly early, as British Army Lieutenant-General Robert Baden-Powell started in 1907 at Brownsea Island. Come wartime, the troops had been trained and were set to depart. 103,000 soldiers were sent overseas to places such as Egypt or Samoa.

New Zealands first deal of business in the war had been given to them on the 6th August in 1914. They were to capture German Samoa, which they did fairly easily. The main body of New Zealand’s Expeditionary Force left the country on October 16, 1914. The plan was for them to fight in France, but this changed when the Ottoman Empire joined the war. Their basic training was completed in Egypt and they went on the fight the Battle of Gallipoli in April of 1915. There were detailed plans on the landing sites of the troops. The southern part of the peninsula, at Cape Helles and Sedd el Bahr, was the main focus. New Zealand and Australian troops would make a secondary landing 20 kilometres up the coast. The set date for this was April 23rd, however the weather delayed this. The initial landing was the first thing gone wrong, as they were 2 kilometres north of the spot in which they had planned to attack from. This terrain was much narrower and would prove to be harder to fight on. On top of this, the Australian troops landed four hours...

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