How New Zealand, Australian, and Turkish National Identity Developed During the Flames and Fire of Gallipoli

Topics: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, World War I, Turkey Pages: 5 (1703 words) Published: August 24, 2013
HIST105 Essay
Question: 3. Why did the terrible loss at Gallipoli become such a key moment in the development of New Zealand, Australian and Turkish nationalism but assume an even more significant role in the case of Australia and Turkey? Although the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915 did not go down in the history books as one of the most significant battles of the twentieth century, it became extremely important for the development of nationalism in Australia, New Zealand and Turkey. This essay will investigate why Gallipoli became such a significant moment in the development of Australian, New Zealand and Turkish nationalism. Secondly this essay will discuss why the battle became even more significant in Turkish and Australian history than it did in New Zealand history. Before the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 New Zealand was simply just another dominion of the British Empire. As a nation the New Zealanders were yet to really emerge or prove themselves on the international stage. However, the historian Marilyn Lake argues that New Zealand’s participation in the Gallipoli campaign puts the country on the map. Lake contends that once New Zealanders or indeed any other nation’s soldiers land on the shores of Gallipoli in 1915 a nation emerges on the world stage from a terrible loss of life. Although New Zealand troops had fought overseas before they had only played a minor role usually in support of the British however, at Gallipoli New Zealand troops play a crucial role. Unfortunately for the New Zealand soldiers involved in the battle; many of them were to pay a heavy price and indeed for such a small country New Zealanders did lose a disproportionate amount of soldiers. However historians like Lake argue that this sacrifice by the soldiers was not in vain, “At war, their sons might make the ‘supreme sacrifice,’ but their collective death would bring forth immortal life, the birth of a nation.” New Zealand emerges out of world war one and especially Gallipoli as a new born nation, a nation which suffered, yet out of this crucible of suffering they cast a national identity. Over the years New Zealand develops into a strong young nation born out of suffering caused by their British parents. Likewise across the ditch in Australia the Gallipoli campaign was to carve out a national identity. Australia was also a dominion during the First World War however; it still had very strong ties with its British parents as did New Zealand. As the historian K.S. Inglis argues Australia as with New Zealand had been a minnow on the world stage up until Gallipoli and that their young modern history was somewhat dull and uneventful. Unlike New Zealand where there had been the Maori Land Wars which was arguably a significant conflict, Australia had only had minor skirmishes in the Frontier Wars which were hardly recognized in an international context. The historians Mark McKenna and Stuart Ward pose an important question here to those who study history, “Why a young nation at the far ends of the earth should have turned this one military disaster in 1915—this failed invasion of Turkey—into its key national narrative?” Well for a start Gallipoli and subsequently Anzac day celebrations were to become points for what some historians have termed a ‘national creation myth,’ special days with significant meanings when stories and heroic tales of militarism are told and a unique national sense of pride emerges. The historian Bruce Scates argues that no more were places like, “Anzac Cove, Shrapnel Gully, Quinn’s post were not abstract or empty place names- they resonate with meaning, with the saga of ‘the landing.’ These are places where Australian nationalism and pride was born. Where every year young Australians still travel to from a distant land on the other side of the world to reminisce on now hallowed turf, that back in 1915 were hills of death and destruction. Lake argues that like New Zealand, Australian nationalism emerges in what he identifies...
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