World War I characterized as the “first modern war”1. Advanced machine guns, bombs, tanks, attack aircraft and submarines were widely used in the First War. It is also accepted as the first “total war”2, where most of the nations mobilised all resources for the war. The map of Europe has been changed by 1919, as big empires brought to the end and new countries, the nations were formed. Involvement of the USA in the war arose the country as the world’s new economic power. Soviet Russia was formed. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles plant the seeds for fascism, World War II and for other 20th century conflicts, like the Vietnam War.
On September of 1914, Britain withdrew its Naval Mission from Turkey. Mission role was modernised and strengthen both country’s naval defences, together with an “Armstrong” and “Vicker” subsidiary, “The Imperial Ottoman Docks”, “Arsenals and Naval Construction Company”3. By this time, fully paid for two modern battleships “Reshadieh” and the “Sultan Osman” had already been built and with their Turkish crews ready to board in order to move to Turkey were waiting at Armstrong’s and Vickers yards in Britain. But later Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary of State, “acknowledging Turkey’s financial and other losses, conveyed his government’s ‘sincere regret’, indicating that compensation for such losses would be given ‘due consideration’.”4
While it made Turkish leaders unhappy, it pleased Germans. At that stage Turkey was neutral. Germany took advantage of the situation. They had a two battleship the “Goeben” and “Breslau” in the Mediterranean and ordered to head for Constantinople and provided Turkey with those two battleships as “replacement” with the entire German crew under German control.5 It caused distress to British and Allied ambassadors in Constantinople protested it as a breach of neutrality and Turkey’s hostility in accepting the German ships.6 Turkey request unarming the ships was refused by Germany and compromise reached that the ships were “bought” from Germany and being renamed as “Jawus” and “Midilli”7
In October of 1914, those “Turkish” ships under command of Admiral Souchon were ordered by Germany to sail across the Black Sea and bombard Russian ports and Odessa and efficiently forced Turkey into the war. Despite Turkish government’s denying the act, on November 4, first Russia, then Britain and France, declared war on Turkey.8 The outbreak of war each country claimed that with “fighting spirit” and “dash” the conflict could be settled within “a few months” and the troops come back “home by Christmas”. 9
Australia was self- governing and united country when World War I started. But still was dominant of British Empire and obliged act according to the precepts of Britain. When the war was declared to Germany, Australia and all other countries of the Empire entered to the war on Britain side. Australia had offered expeditionary forces to the Mother country and there was great enthusiasm among Australian during the war.
The First Australian Imperial Force and the First New Zealand Expeditionary Force under the command of the General W.R. Birdwood five-month training began in Egypt. The name of Australia and New Zealand Army Corps was shortened as ANZAC. The major engagement of World War I for ANZAC was on the Gallipoli.
The brainchild of Gallipoli Campaign was Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Allies attack to Dardanelles also was submitted by him. It was reported in the “White Paper” on the 8th of March of 1917, as Report of the Dardanelles Commission. “The question of attacking the Dardanelles was on the initiative of Mr Churchill brought under the consideration of the War Council on November 25, 1914 as “the ideal method of defending Egypt”10
The initial part of the campaign plan started in March 1915 with the involvement of a naval attack by forcing a passage through the Dardanelles and bombards Constantinople. This plan failed. The way in to the Dardanelles had been mined. Two British battleships were damaged and three were sunk.
It was after this failure that the Secretary of War, Lord, unwillingly agreed to Churchill’s plan, amphibians landing of troops in Gallipoli. Before that Kitchener aimed to restrain all experienced troops for the Western Front. Insisted on all naval assault describing it as “..a cruise on the Sea of Marmora..”. He agreed released the 29th division and ANZAC troops. General Hamilton was appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the military campaign with the short message from Kitchener “We are sending a military force to support the Fleet now at the Dardanelles, and you are to have the command”.11 he also indicated that no aircraft were to be used. Anzac troops were under the command of Major General William Birdwood a British Officer.
A plan aimed to launch a land attack. Open a supply line to their ally Russia through narrow strait linking the Aegean Sea with the Mediterranean Sea and into the Black Sea. They hoped defeat Turks quickly and then march to the Constantinople, Turkish capital city. This would open up the desired supply lines through to Russia, and help the Allies to fight Germany and Austria from the east.
The Gallipoli Peninsula is 83.6km long with a narrow neck which widens 19.3km in the middle point is Cape Helles, and some beaches around are Anzac Cove, North Beach, Brighton Beach and Suvla Bay.
On 25 April 1915, the Allied troops, Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, India and the British dominion of Newfoundland landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula. At down, ANZAC troops rowed to the shore in small boats. They were spotted, unexpected night current swept their boats away from intended landing place Gaba Tepe to kilometre north to Anzac Cove where incline on the cliff was gradual. They faced cliffs up to 100 metres high instead of level country and heavy resistance from the Turkish forces. The plan was to make seven kilometres of progress in the day but ended up barely with one kilometre. 600 Australian soldiers were killed on that day and General Hamilton ordered to the troops to “dig, dig, dig until you are safe”.12 The campaign was supported by success news of the Australian submarine AE2 captained by Lieutenant Commander Henry Stoker RN, which became the first Allied warship to go through the Dardanelles on 25 of April. Submarine attacked Turkish shipping until it was damaged and sunk on 30 April. The crew were captured and taken to the to Istanbul. It was found in 1998. 13
12,000 Australians had landed by the end of the 25th. The first landed Australian was Lieutenant Chapman of the 9th Battalion and one of the first killed Australians was Captain Joseph P. Lalor of the 12th Battalion, the grandson of Peter Lalor of the Eureka Stockade battle in 1854.14
‘The Nek’ attack was a slaughter and the men of the 8th and 10th Regiments were completely wiped out. After the Armistice 326 unidentified burials took place in “The Nek Cemetery”. Many of them would have been from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade killed on the 7th August 1915.
During the August offensive in one day Australians won seven Victoria Crosses. Australians kept possession of Lone Pine until the evacuation. The name ‘Lone Pine’ comes from the only pine tree which was left after all the others had been chopped down. Lone Pine contains 1167 known graves, memorial contains 4930 names, 4221 of them Australians and 709 New Zealander soldiers.
There was respect on the battlefield. A ceasefire agreement was made to hold fire in order to both side could bury the dead solder respectfully according their culture and traditions.
Conditions in tranches were not well. The troops landed in the Turkish spring, the sweltering, scorching summer and bitterly cold winter followed. During the rain, the battlefields becoming mud and the trenches were flooded with rain. There was a shortage of water and fresh food. Daily ration food contained canned meat and hard biscuits. Poor sanitation, health conditions and diseases such as trench foot, dysentery, diarrhoea and gastroenteritis were widely spared in the damp conditions of the trenches.
After visiting Kitchener the front and the trenches he recommended withdrawal. It was planned by an Australian Lieutenant Colonel Brudnell White. It allowed 83,000 men, horses and guns were removed from the battlefields. In order to hide the fact of evacuation, they wrapped the horse’s hooves in cloth to muffle the sound, attaching tins to the rifles trigger mechanisms with string to fire at random in order give feeling that they were still in trenches. This known as the ‘ghost guns of Gallipoli’ The last soldiers were evacuated between on 18–20 December, Cape Helles were evacuated by 9 January 1916. Known as one of the most successful parts of the Gallipoli campaign with only two casualties.
After evacuation a great number of Australian soldiers were taken to the Western Front. They were involved in trench warfare until November 1918. Some of the Light Horse remained in the Middle East continued to fight with the Turks, especially in the Australian and Anzac Mounted Divisions and the Imperial Camel Corps.
The total casualties during the Gallipoli campaign were 8,587 killed and 19367 were wounded Australians.
Alan,Seymur and Richard, Nile . “ANZAC: Meaning, Memory and Myth”. 1991
Ian, Buckley. “Australia’s Foreign Wars: Origins, Costs, Future?! ”
John, Rickard. “Australia a Cultural History” 1988
Francis, Clarke. “Australia; A Concise Political and Social “1989
Oxford Big Ideas History 9. “Australia”
Matt, Walsh. “Gallipolli a Social Perspective” 2005
1 Brynn Holland. “History Vault: WWI: The First Modern War” http://www.history.com/news/history-vault-wwi-the-first-modern-war April 8, 2017
2 “Total War” The Editors of Encyclopedia Britanica
3 Anthony Allfrey, Man of Arms: The Life and Legend of Sir Basil Zaharoff, p 95, 135, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1989.
4 Winston Churchill, “The World Crisis”, Vol 1, p. 208-9, (1911-14) Thornton Butterworth, London 1927
5 Barbara Tuchman,” August 1914, The First Month of the First World War”, p 158/9, Papermac, London 1980
6 Winston Churchill, “The World Crisis”, Vol 1, p. 492, (1911-14) Thornton Butterworth, London 1927
7 Barbara Tuchman,” August 1914, The First Month of the First World War”, p 160, Papermac, London 1980
8 Barbara Tuchman,” August 1914, The First Month of the First World War”, p 160/1, Papermac, London 1980
9 Martin Gilbert, “A History of the Twentieth Century”, Vol.1, p 362, Harper Collins, Lond. 1997
11 Winston Churchill, “The World Crisis”, Vol 2, p. 208, (1915) Thornton Butterworth, London 1927