Sunday, 24 April 2022

#ANZAC: "year after year, the numbers grow fewer, who remember what it was we're not forgetting"



'Sacrifice,' by sculptor Rayner Hoff, inside the Australian War Memorial in Sydney's Hyde Park


"It's gratifying, in a way, that we start Anzac Day every year with a commemoration of a shambolic dawn landing that kicked off a pointless and wholly tragic military campaign that snuffed out some of the best young men of two young nations. It's not a victory march, but a sobering commemoration of the destruction of war.
    "This is healthy. This much is good.
    "'Lest we Forget!' we say"
    "It's said every year. And yet year after year, the numbers grow fewer who remember what it was we're not forgetting....

"THE MYTHOLOGY OF ANZAC is that the battle at the Dardanelles gave birth to two nations. If that’s true, it is an odd birth, fathered out of failure by way of disaster.
    "[And] the reason they embarked [was] not to beat the Hun, but to save the Czar [and] gift Constantinople to Russia.... as an altruistic gift to an 'ally' who was the most autocratic in Europe ... the price for the sacrifice to be paid for in the blood of those Australian, New Zealand and British young men and their families....
    "In the end, the attempted occupation [of the Gallipoli peninsula] was decided upon partly because in any bureaucracy once plans are begun they are very hard to stop, and partly too as an altruistic gift to an “ally” who was the most autocratic in Europe, who had shown no sign of earning British trust -- the price for the sacrifice to be paid for in the blood of those Australian, New Zealand and British young men and their families.
    "Such is the code of sacrifice under which the decision was made to go.... [in pursuit, said Churchill, of] 'a victory such as the war had not yet seen.'
    "It never would. It never could.
    "Instead, it all turned to omnishambles. The only thing in the end about which anyone had anything about which to boast was a successful and well-executed withdrawal.
    "It was a bloody mess that achieved nothing, that could achieve nothing, purchased at the price of a wholesale sacrifice of young lives that could have meant something. It was a total unmitigated disaster, but at least, now, dear reader, some reason for the whole, sordid shambles might be clearer.
    "The reason however for commemorating the shambles as the botched 'birth' (in some way) of our nation is very much less so."

~ excerpted from NOT PC's posts 'Lest we forget what?' and 'But what were the ANZACs fighting for, Grandad?'


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