Saturday, 4 July 2015

The Gallipoli Campaign: 100 Years On

by Katie O'Flaherty

Gallipoli played a key role in establishing
Australian and New Zealand identity
It is the 100th anniversary of one of the less-known events of the First World war. On the 25th April 1915, an attack was launched on the coast of Turkey, along the Gallipoli peninsula. Much as the Gallipoli campaign, otherwise known as the Dardanelles campaign, can be considered as a dramatic failure for the Allies, it was a cloud with a silver lining. 

During the First World War, the Allies made the decision in 1915 to attack Turkey from the Aegean Sea through the Dardanelles, along the Strait of Gallipoli. This was due to the stalemate along the front line in France; therefore, they made the decision to attack Turkey on its 'soft underbelly', and so open up a new front to attack, to gain further ground.

21,255 British soldiers were killed, with total casualties of 187,959 for the Allies, and 174,828 for the Ottoman Empire. If for no other reason, the Gallipoli campaign should be commemorated for the massive loss of life, to remember those who died or were wounded in service.

Not only this, but it gave Australia and New Zealand, both of which used to be British colonies, a sense of nationhood, as their freedom had been born of referendums and debates, not war. This is a fact which is still widely considered to be the consolidation of Australia and New Zealand's national identities, and is seen as a symbol of Australia's achievement and existence. 

To add to this, the lessons all nations learned from this are invaluable. The Gallipoli campaign taught Britain the importance of planning, and good intelligence on the people we are intending to attack. Although there was a lot of mapping of the coastline of Gallipoli, the intelligence did not penetrate very deeply into the Turkish military, instead focusing on the geographic features of the coastline. 


This therefore gave us the lesson that we must know our enemies if we are to defeat them, and so gave us an insight as to what is needed in the future in order to succeed. These lessons came at a massive human cost, however, and this cannot be forgotten. Therefore, it should be better known as to the events which happened, not only to remember the lives lost, but also the mistakes made, to ensure they cannot be made again.


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