PP Travel Blog
Generations End - Gallipoli
"The Loss of a Generation from the Battle of Canakkale",
After the allies disastrous naval failure of the "Dardanelles Campaign" it was decided that a land assault would be launched against the Central Powers at Gelibolu in Turkey. Thus to all the ANZACS and those Australians and New Zealanders who gather each year at war memorial services around the world, the conflict for control of the Dardanelles became known as the "Battle of Gallipoli" and it now holds its own place in reverential folklore for all Aussie and Kiwi's.
The battle left over 11,000 ANZACS Dead and more than 24,000 wounded or incapacitated by illness and disease. However, an adequate explanation and proper understanding of the Turkish perspective in this conflict is something rarely given enough thought as the "Battle of Canakkale" was something very different to the Turks than it was to the ANZACS being the pre-cursor to the Turkish War of Independence and an important pivotal point in their burgeoning history.
With the Ottoman Empire in an already obvious decline, neighbouring nations were lining up in the hope of obtaining more precious territory for their own expanding empires. The Ottoman Sultanate had initially sought protection from the West but were rejected by Britain, France and Russia, and so, having been pulled into the war against their will in an unsteady alliance with Germany, Turkey entered the war. The "Battle of Canakkale" was their first engagement of the invading forces and it concluded with a heavy price for the Turkish with over 160,000 casualties including somewhere between 56,000 and 66,000 dead.
At the conclusion of the Great War and by late 1923, after the formation of the Turkish Republic, the conflict at Gallipoli and the Ottoman involvement with the Central Powers had erased a generation of Turks. Aside from the Germans the British, French, Italians, Greeks, Australians and New Zealanders had all invaded Turkey and with every invasion the Turkish body count rose. More than 700,000 military deaths had occurred and many more civilian deaths are recorded. Perhaps as many as 4 million more. In Turkey there is a phrase they use often when referring to the "Battle of Canakkale" where many Turks describe the battleground as the place where Turkey "Buried a University" as many families were left with just the elderly, children and young widows. With the resultant educational vacuum, social disintegration was obviously inevitable as there were no teachers to teach, no professors to lecture and almost no schools that were able to operate.
If not for the brilliant military mind and political aptitude of the future Turkish President, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, it is likely there would not be a nation known as Turkey today. It was Ataturk who made it his life's work to rebuild the nation through political reform, modernisation, border security and the adaptation of European laws. For a very obvious reason his MAJOR focus was, and had to be, on education but it was to be another full generation and a half before Turkey would reap any rewards from Ataturk's vision.
To the ANZACS, the "Battle of Gallipoli" was one fought for the imperialistic, self-serving purposes of an empire which was fairly dominant in its control over young Australia and New Zealand's foreign policy.
For the Turks, it was simply about defending their nation from enemy invasion. I am sure we can all understand that.
To gain an even better understanding of how Turks viewed the ANZAC's during and after the war one only needs to recall those most famous of words written in 1934 that highlighted the humility and respect shown by a nation to ALL the fallen.
Written and Quoted by the mastermind of the Turkish victory and founder of the modern Turkish republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk:
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives. You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of our. You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.
Lest We Forget!,
#anzacday #anzacs #gallipoli #canakkale #gallipolicampaign #battle of canakkale #battle of gallipoli #war #mustafa kemal ataturk #world war 1 #dardanellesPosted: 30 January 2019 11:35:50 GMT by Mark
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