Abstract

On 25 April every year Australians and New Zealanders pause to remember the anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli in 1915. ANZAC Day1 is named after the acronym for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and has developed into Australia's national day. For outsiders, it is a somewhat difficult concept to grasp. We remember a generation of young Australian males that died so as to give "birth" to the nation. This came about during a defeat, not a victory, and it happened not in Australia, but in a country on the other side of the globe – Turkey. It leaves most non-Aussies or non-Kiwis scratching their heads. For instance, in order to provide some cultural signposts to the U.S. Study Abroad students who take my introduction to Australian history course each year I explain that ANZAC Day is akin to 4th of July celebrations mashed together with Veterans Day, but in a uniquely Australian context – we gained "independence" from the British, but not by fighting against them, rather we fought with them, blamed them (largely in an attempt to absolve ourselves and prove we are "better") for the loss at Gallipoli, and came to realize that while culturally we were of British stock, we were not actually British, but rather uniquely different. We did, however, still remain connected to the "mother country" for decades to come and to many Australians the bonds and affinity to Great Britain remain (except, of course, on the sporting field).


Keywords

Peer-reviewed, military history, Australia, Second World War, Review, 2010, Anzac

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Dr Peter Dean is a Contributing Editor for Global War Studies.

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The Author:

Dr Peter Dean