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The Great War, A Conflict Spanning Four Years From 1914 To 1918, Drew Countries From Across The Globe Into The First World War.

1441 words - 6 pages

The Great War, a conflict spanning four years from 1914 to 1918, drew countries from across the globe into the First World War. The power struggles in Europe between old and emerging empires erupted into open warfare with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Hapsburg Empire. A Bosnian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, shot and killed the Archduke and his wife in Serbia , creating the flashpoint for the outbreak of war. The central powers of Europe, namely Germany and Austria-Hungary fought against the European powers of France, Britain and Russia. When King George V formally declared war against the German nation on 3 August 1914, Australia, India, and New Zealand and others, were also at war as part of the British Empire. This essay will examine the role that Australian soldiers played in the Great War through the use of two case studies; the Gallipoli campaign and Australia’s involvement at Pozieres. Even though other Dominion countries including New Zealand, Canada and India all provided men and materials for Britain, this essay will focus primarily on the Australian forces.On the 25th of April, 1915, British Imperial forces, including the Australian contingent, landed on the shores of Gallipoli. The invasion was part of the grand strategy of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. The stated strategic aims of the Gallipoli campaign were threefold: “to secure Egypt, to induce Italy and the Balkan States to come in on [the British] side, and, if followed by the forcing of the Bosporus, would enable Russia to draw munitions from America and Western Europe, and to export her accumulated supplies of wheat.” Other advantages could be drawn from the potential success of the campaign, including the potential to attack the Central Powers from the south. If the campaign could successfully “knock Turkey out of the war” then, with the assistance of the Balkan states, the allies could potentially create a new front against the Central Powers. A new front could relieve pressure on the deadlocked and static Western Front.The Australian force landed at Anzac Cove in the early hours of the morning. The terrain that awaited the assaulting Australians was difficult and varied, consisting of “scrubby knolls and ridges” , “ravines and rocky gullies” and “rugged cliffs loom[ing] over a narrow strip of sand.” The very nature of the terrain, coupled with the inexperience of the Australian forces, made coherency between advancing units difficult, if not impossible. Given the orders to “push on at all costs” through such difficult terrain, it is no surprise that the impetuous pursuit of retreating Turks led Australian soldiers into untenable positions or enemy reinforcements. Even though Australian forces enjoyed some measure of success in their landing, managing to storm the cliff tops with .303 Lee-Enfield rifles and bayonets, the “campaign at Anzac had gone...

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