How the Battle of Gallipoli helped Australia and New Zealand forge national identities

The Battle of Gallipoli

On April 25, 1915, Anzac forces joined British Empire and French troops at Gallipoli, Turkey, landing at what is now known as Anzac Cove.

As part of their plans to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula and open the Dardanelles to Allied navies, the troops set out to capture the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople, which is present-day Istanbul.

Upon arrival, the Anzacs encountered the Ottoman Turkish defenders and faced an uphill battle over the next eight months.

By the end of 1915 the military objectives had not been successfully achieved and over 8,000 Australian soldiers had been killed.

How is Anzac Day celebrated in Australia and New Zealand?

While the eight-month campaign brought tragedy and troops failed to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, the sacrifices made by the Anzacs left a profound effect on those left behind and became a source of national pride in Australia and New Zealand.

The ‘Anzac legend’ quickly forged an important part of the identity of the two countries and in 1916 the first commemorations took place on April 25, with several ceremonies across Australia, a sports day in the Australian camp in Egypt and a march of 2,000 Australians. and New Zealand troops in London.

Patriotic events continued to be held on April 25 over the following years and during the 1920s Anzac Day was established as a public holiday in Australia. In 1927, each state organized some form of commemoration.

By the 1930s, dawn vigils, memorial services, and two-person games became annual traditions to honor the Anzac, many of whom continue to play an important role in modern commemorations.

Later, 25 April became a day of recognition for Australians and New Zealanders who died in World War II and since 1942 Anzac Day has been honored at the Australian War Memorial.

Today, Anzac Day is a national occasion to remember all those who have served and died in all wars and peacekeeping actions.

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