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Anzac Day, again

April 25th, 2010

On this day, nearly 100 years ago, thousands of young Australians and New Zealanders ran on to the beaches of Gallipoli. Many of them died before the day was out, along with many more among the Turkish defenders and troops from Britain, Canada and many other places. By the time the campaign ended in failure, over 100 000 were dead and hundreds of thousands more severely wounded. A small toll by comparison with the main Western and Eastern fronts, but quite sufficiently horrific to be remembered a century later.

The Anzacs had no quarrel with the Turkish soldiers who were trying to kill them, nor did the people of Australia and New Zealand have any quarrel with those of Turkey. Their bravery and their lives were expended in the course of a bloody and pointless war between alliances of which the armies fighting at Gallipoli were tiny parts, over pretexts no one alive now, and very few at the time, could comprehend as the basis for a cataclysmic war.

By the time the Gallipoli attack was planned, the dreams of rapid and glorious victory that had led both sides to war had drowned in the mud of France and Flanders. It should have been obvious that this was a war no one could win. But, a peace that restored the status quo ante would mean an admission that it had all been for nothing.

Instead, the war planners kept coming up with futile strategic ideas like Gallipoli, secret weapons like poison gas, and new tactics previously considered unthinkable such as submarine attacks, without warning, on merchant shipping. By the time of the armistice in 1918, ten million or more had died, and the seeds of future wars had been sowed.

For all those who died, bravely following their country’s call to unknown battlefields, lest we forget.

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  1. Chris Warren
    April 25th, 2010 at 22:56 | #1

    WWI killed an enormous proportion of early 20th century young men.

    The effects were devastating, and families which large losses did not celebrate ANZAC Day.

    This is a day for survivors, the lucky ones, and modernist jingoists.

    In my case, every great uncle that went to fight was killed, but one grandfather survived with serious wounds (but the Military Medal).

    Of those that died, only their diary remains, which is well worth a read.

    Gallipoli and France

    For the families – the deaths were not worth it and 90 years of ANZAC days is no compensation.

  2. Savvas Tzionis
    April 25th, 2010 at 23:23 | #2

    Whilst what the Turks did to the Armenians and other minorities during this period is unforgiveable, consideration must surely be given to the fact that the Allies tactics in regards to the Ottoman Empire was a factor in precipitating the genocide.

  3. iain
    April 26th, 2010 at 10:29 | #3

    But we have forgotten. Tony Abbott is intent on planning more military adventures. Rudd still spinelessly supports illegal invasions of other countries. Both so-called leaders hypocritically observe a day which marked the use of chemical and biological weapons by the allies within an unjust Turkish invasion. The Anzacs were pawns – second rate cannon fodder – who mostly followed behind Indian troops who were often first in line. Young men with too much testosterone, blindly following orders from poor political leaders. This continues today, unquestioned. Lest we forget.

  4. April 26th, 2010 at 11:49 | #4

    Sadly, what we in the States mostly know about Gallipoli is that it was a battle that happened because one officer picked his second-best runner (Mel Gibson) to verify that there should be a battle that day.

    Decades later, we can only hope that later commanders learn from that mistake–only to note sadly that they make newer, even less understandable ones.

  5. Tristan Ewins
    April 26th, 2010 at 12:08 | #5

    ANZAC Day article – discussion welcome.

    ANZAC Day is the day on which Australians remember those fallen in war. In this article at Left Focus Tristan Ewins considers the real meaning and relevance of that day.


  6. pablo
    April 26th, 2010 at 14:10 | #6

    I’m looking forward to Prof Henry Reynolds take on the ANZAC phenomena. The failure of conscription for WW1 seldom gets a run in the modern day frenzy. Now Rudd has appointed Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke, along with an RSL worthy, to advise on what the day possesses post 2015. Fascinating!

  7. Peter T
    April 26th, 2010 at 19:05 | #7

    I am no more fond of war than Prof Q, but I think it’s better to try to understand the motivations that led populations to support wars than assume they were duped, or unwilling, or stupid. Even though the past is another country, it does keep coming round again and again.

  8. Jim Rose
    April 26th, 2010 at 20:56 | #8

    It is difficult as a matter of history to say that Australians and New Zealanders had no quarrel with Turkey or its allies.

    The Great War broke out during the 1914 Australian election, as I recall. Elections were suspended neither in Australia nor New Zealand during that war. The Australian and New Zealand armies that marched into battle were volunteer armies, as I recall.

    Peace candidates could run in these elections. Any evidence to the contrary would be welcome. Germany had elections and the Reichstag passed a peace resolution in July 1917.

    That, of course, does not change the status of World War I as blood bath born and perpetuated in imperialist skulduggery. That war was also popular at the time.

    It is easier to persuade people to change their minds if you start with the views that they actually have. This includes the popularity of the Great War when it was fought. If those views were mistaken, say so.

    The failure to quickly pursue peace feelers was bad enough. The desire of Wilson and other progressives in power in the USA to enter the war in Europe prolonged the Great War because the Allies thought that holding out for U.S. entry would strengthen their hand.

  9. Paul Norton
    April 27th, 2010 at 09:32 | #9

    Since many of the arguments that WWI was a disaster all round in which Australia should not have become involved come from people on the left like John Q and myself, it’s worth noting that the conservative historian Niall Brennan, in his book The Pity of War, presents a very convincing counterfactual history from a right of centre perspective to show that a much less bad set of outcomes would have resulted had Great Britain (and, by implication, the English-speaking world as a whole) stayed out of the war, and also that this option was plausibly available to the British government at the time.


  10. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 10:17 | #10

    @Jim Rose

    “It is difficult as a matter of history to say that Australians and New Zealanders had no quarrel with Turkey or its allies.”

    What quarrel did Australians and New Zealanders have with Turkey, that it would be difficult, as a matter of history, to say they didn’t have? What history book do you get this one from? Turkey didn’t even exist them anyway. Turkey being a creation that resulted from the war.

  11. Chris Warren
    April 27th, 2010 at 10:50 | #11


    Good, question.

    Maybe Australia as such had no quarrel, but we were taken into the quarrel Britain had with this region ever since Queen Victoria.

    As I recall Australian’s only had British passports at this time. We invaded Gallipoli as patsies for British geo-politics.

    As we were on the winning side – Australia reaped huge subsequent benefits, which finally enabled it to become an independent economy and nation.

  12. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 11:09 | #12

    I am not sure Britain had any real quarrel except sourced in its desire for empire, and I doubt Australia or NZ had any direct reason other than to follow the leader, or the old country, or whatever. After all the Ottoman empire was far away. I doubt they had a navy that ever ventured into these waters. Churchill’s dumb idea, Gallipoli was a big waste of life, on both sides, as was WWI, the war to end all wars, itself.

  13. Paul Norton
    April 27th, 2010 at 11:47 | #13

    One of the striking aspects of WWI is that all the major contending powers formluated their war aims **after** the war had started and a quick breakthrough by one side or another had not been achieved.

  14. TerjeP (say Taya)
    April 27th, 2010 at 15:07 | #14

    WWI also screwed up the world monetary system, although it’s enemies had already had a few victories just prior to the war starting.

  15. TerjeP (say Taya)
    April 27th, 2010 at 15:11 | #15

    A defence force can easily become an aggression force so long as it is government run. We ought to have more well armed patriots and less professional soldiers. And I’m inclined to agree with JQ that our surface navy should be history.

  16. Peter T
    April 27th, 2010 at 15:23 | #16

    Chris and others

    Individual Australians may have had no quarrel with individual Turks, but “Australia” was, at the time, firmly part of the British Empire, it’s citizens British subjects, and mostly loyal to the Empire. So Australia had a quarrel, as part of the Empire, with the Ottoman Empire – much, say, as Australia (but not individual Australians) had a quarrel with Manchukuo after 1941, or with Finland, Hungary and Slovakia from 1939. It’s a nonsense to confuse the motives of individuals with those of states.

    By the way, Empire day was still celebrated in the 50s, and we still sang God Save the Queen. The ties were very real.

    Terje – an a student of military history I can confidently say that the chances of a citizenry armed with light weapons against professionals with armour, aircraft, artillery and the rest of a full defence force are on a par with the chances of a mob of rabbits against a pack of wolves. They may choke them to death. You may also care to consider the many acts of aggression carried out by militia – against aborigines, Amerindians, Africans, Tutsis, Darfuris, Bosnians……The government is no defence against our baser desires.

  17. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 15:47 | #17

    Australia had no quarrel with the Ottoman empire. It is not clear that the UK did. The Ottoman empire and the UK were dragged into the conflict due to their relationship with the initial parties to the dispute. The same way Australia and NZ were due to their relationship with the UK. It is obvious that, in the sense in which the original having ‘a quarrel with’ is being used that what is being talked about is not being dragged into the war, which is a matter of history that everyone know (Australia was dragged into the war), the sense is having a primary quarrel with, not joining someone else who was just joining some others anyway.

  18. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 15:51 | #18

    If the original post wasn’t in that sense then it was a very silly post. And to assume it was silly would be to not exercise the principle of charity. In fact, to assume it silly would be extremely uncharitable.

  19. Jim Rose
    April 27th, 2010 at 18:47 | #19


    Australia and New Zealand was filled with first and second generation migrants happy to rally to defend their mother country. Do you have any other explanation for why so many volunteered so quickly in 1914? The people and governments of that time were British to their boot straps. The union jack was in their flags for a reason.

    You may think them mistaken, but these same people are deemed competent to vote and drive cars. Questioning their support of that war calls into question the capacity of the democratic process to handle even the biggest question: war and peace.

    Hayek suggested that there were only a certain amount of topics that a democracy can agree upon give the cost of become well-informed and organising to persuade others.

    It is hoped that one topic within democratic control is war and peace. It was more so in Germany. The Reich chancellor in office since 1909 quit after the Reichstag passed a peace resolution proposing a negotiated peace with no territorial gains in 1917.

    The blood-bath that was world war one did not encourage much learning.

    Cabinet and other papers published in the Dominion Post recently show that in 1939 the socialist government of New Zealand knew that war was imminent in Europe. A government led by several people imprisoned for resisting the First World War decided that it wanted to declare war on Germany a few moments as possible after the UK did so. The telegraph messenger was delayed in London by air-raid alert and New Zealand’s declaration of war was delayed to later in that day.

  20. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 20:17 | #20

    @Jim Rose

    Yes. I though you couldn’t support the ‘quarrel’ claim. As for willingness to support the mother country, this was more so in the case of New Zealand than Australia, because in Australia, there were more than a few who didn’t look on Britain as the mother country, those with Irish backgrounds, for example.

    World War II was a different story. WWII which had its seeds in the unnecessary WWI, was a rare war that was worth the cost, and even former pacifists new that. The Nazis had to be stopped. Lesson seem rarely learnt from War. One lesson from WWI was the danger of alliances and ‘defense’ treaties dragging countries into wars that sober reflection would have indicated were wars to be avoided.

    The Nato alliance should have evaporated when the Warsaw pact evaporated and the Soviet empire collapsed. Following 911, the US used the treaty to ‘dirty up’ its allies and drag them into an unwise conflict with the muslim world, which until they had been dragged into it was really the US’s fight and then only a fight against a minor part of al Qaeda. The Taliban had not attacked the US, it wasn’t even al Qaeda that had attacked the US as the Americans found out from documents they obtained when they invaded Afghanistan, it was a splinter faction within al Qaeda that had done it, and al Qaeda proper were none too happy when they found out what they had done. If instead of the cowboy invasion, the slow and careful approach had been taken, the likelihood is that as well as avoiding the deaths of large numbers of Afgahanis, several Americans and allied soldiers, and the effective recruitment of a massive number of new terrorists, and the deaths from bombings in the UK, Spain and Bali, the US would have gotten bin Laden, and would have achieved its objectives in smashing that splinter group, and they wouldn’t have a problem with Afgahani poppies, or with Afghanistan being the mess it is today.

    But I digress. Joining the American cowboy adventure under the guise of Nato, and in a way the treaty was never intended for, was sheer madness and the ‘allies’ should have told the US to get lost when they made the request.

    Nato, otherwise has been being used, since the Communist collapse, to try to provoke Russia, with the obvious intent of starting a new cold war, so the US military-industrial complex (as Eisenhower called it in his warning in his farewell speech) will have a good excuse to continue to get large quantities of American taxpayer’s money to create yet more new and highly profitable ‘defense’ weapons. Profit is why Rumsfeld was so keen on an American defense force that didn’t need many soldiers. There is little profit for the military industrial complex in funding large numbers of soldiers, the profit is in fancy new weapons.

  21. Jim Rose
    April 27th, 2010 at 21:13 | #21


    Their quarrel was that Turkey joined Germany and others to be war with the UK and others. Removing Turkey from that war would strengthen Russia. A stronger Russia would weaken Germany and its allies.

    Do you have an explanation for why the great war was popular at the time, and as evidence of this, why so many volunteered to fight both before and after 1915?

  22. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 21:17 | #22

    So there was no Australian quarrel with the Ottoman empire. Thought so. Thanks for clearing that up.

  23. Jim Rose
    April 27th, 2010 at 22:55 | #23


    If Australia had no quarrel with the Ottoman Empire, was it by chance that Australian troops turned up on its shores aiming to take the capital?

    It is common knowledge that the aim of the Gallipoli campaign was the knock Turkey out of the war. At the time, Turkey was also known as the Turkish Empire or the Ottoman empire.

    In May 1915, Turkey passed issue the Tehcir Law which started the deportation of ethnic Armenians, particularly from the provinces close to the Ottoman-Russian front. This resulted in the Armenian Genocide. Is genocide grounds to quarrel?

    Australia and New Zealand were not dragged into the two world wars. In both cases, their governments were keen, regarding it as a matter of course that they were also at war. The reasons given for going to war were seen as a sufficient a quarrel by the voters at subsequent elections. Volunteer armies fought a war with majority support at elections.

    As mentioned in a previous post, the New Zealand Government’s main concern was declaring war at the same time as the UK did in 1939. The state of war with Germany was officially held to have existed simultaneous with that of Britain. In fact, the declaration was not made until official confirmation had been received that the British ultimatum to Germany had expired.

  24. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 00:40 | #24

    @Jim Rose

    The first question had already been answered above. The second, well, as far as “In May 1915 … This resulted in the Armenian Genocide. Is genocide grounds to quarrel?”goes… First, not clear that Australia or NZ cared less. Second, given that Australia entered the war in August 1914, unless you are suggesting precognition, it is not clear to me how the Armenian Genocide motivated that entry, even assuming that they did care.

    Not clear also, what WWII has to do with it? Bringing WWII into things is requiring an even greater level of precognition in 1914.

  25. Jim Rose
    April 28th, 2010 at 10:44 | #25


    You and Professor Quiggin seem to have some serious reservations about democracy as a means of discovering what people want and what the majority viewpoint is even on a matter as profound as war even in the time of citizen volunteer mass armies.

    Governments in Australian and New Zealand fell over themselves to declare war and pledge troops.

    Parties wanting to pursue those wars were elected or re-elected to office.

    In the September 1914 election, both Andrew Fisher and Joseph Cook stressed Australia’s unflinching loyalty to Britain, and the nation’s readiness to take its place with the allied countries. Voters returned a Labor government led by Fisher.

    Fisher’s campaign pledge was to “stand beside the mother country to help and defend her to the last man and the last shilling.” He won majorities in both houses. Warmonger Billy Hughes and his nationalist party won the 1917 election in a landslide.

    Do either of you know of a superior mechanism to elections for measuring the will of the people? Are elections inadequate to the task of deciding if the people support a war and that support of the public is based well-founded reasons?

  26. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 14:20 | #26

    @Jim Rose

    You seem to have some magic ideas. People can see into the future to justify their actions, even when they couldn’t care less about that thing that happens in the future. What happened to the Armenians which wasn’t really known until later, that is after the war.

    That when something happens back when they didn’t have polls elected representatives magically new what the electorate wanted.

    Again with the magic what the politician found out in 1917, wining by a landslide, they knew, in 1914, would happen if they ran their policies of supporting Britian.

    Magic. Magic.

    And libertarianism and market magic.

    Do you believe in magic? Apparently so, and not just in a young girl’s eyes.

    With such a strong belief in magic I would think either you are a policy advisor to the New Zealand government or a former policy advisor to the Icelandic government. Which is it?

  27. Jim Rose
    April 28th, 2010 at 22:02 | #27


    You mention that “What happened to the Armenians which wasn’t really known until later, that is after the war.” In an earlier post, you say that “The Nazis had to be stopped.” Why?

    In common with the Armenian genocide in 1915, Hitler’s genocide wasn’t really known until late in the Second World War. Little was done to stop Hilter’s genocide such as bombing the railroads leading to the death camps.

    In 1939, Hitler was another grubby European dictator playing the race card to a rather receptive German public. Territorial revisionism, territorial conquest and racial persecution were all too common in that era. The only known mass murder in 1939 was Stalin. He and Hitler were allies in 1939. They divided up Poland. Stalin switched sides when Hitler turned on him.

    Political parties in Australia did not have to wait to 1917, as you suggest, to test whether their support of the war in Europe would be popular with the voters.

    There was an immediate test of whether there was public support for Australia joining that war. The September 1914 Australian election was held a few weeks after war broke out in Europe on 5 August 1914. Fisher’s promise to stand beside the mother country to help and defend her to the last man and the last shilling was made before that war was even declared. 12 per cent of total population of New Zealand volunteered to fight; 13 per cent of the male population of Australia volunteered to fight.

    The 1914-1918 war was popular. Better to explain why that was so, rather than pretend that it was not popular.

    As for your stereotyping of the Irish, New Zealand’s Prime Minister in 1914 was an Irish protestant; after the 1915 election, he formed a coalition and an Irish catholic became his deputy.

  28. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 22:40 | #28

    Stalin wasn’t really threatening to interfere with places we might want to spend our holidays, clearly Hitler was, and having a decent holiday in the areas in which the Turks dealt harshly with the Armenians was not really threatened before or after the war by any of the Ottoman policies. It is hardly a stereotype to suggest that Irish catholics of that period whether of convict colonial stock or otherwise, tended to be none to happy with the British. Of course, I recognise that this would not be true of every Irish catholic and that some Irish are ‘proddies’. They all have funny accents though.

  29. Freelander
    April 29th, 2010 at 02:33 | #29

    By the way, Australia was in WWI in August which is the month before September, but anyway, 1914 is the year before 1915, and if you work your way forward you find, 1914 is also before 1917, the landslide year you referred to, and that 1914 is before that is as I indicated. Worth knowing which month comes after which and what the next number is, that is, the number you get when you add one. You never know when that sort of knowledge will come in handy.

  30. Alice
    April 29th, 2010 at 07:15 | #30

    @Jim Rose
    Unhfortunately Jim Rose when you say Hitler’s genocide wasnt known until late in the war…is factually incorrect. The British government was being flooded with letters from jewish people seeking admission from 1940. They simply were not wanted in Britain.
    The more cynical amongst us are probably closer to the truth. The railways to the death camps were not bombed yet the location of every nearby factory or industrial complex was known closely enough to be bombed? No accident? Anti semitism wasnt exclusive to Germany.

  31. Jim Rose
    April 29th, 2010 at 08:56 | #31

    German Jews fled Germany in the 1930s because they were striped of their citizenship and other rights and the threats of violence. The mass genocide started after 1940.

    The Grojanowski Report reached London via Warsaw by June 1942.

    In December 1942, the Allies released a declaration that described how Hitler’s oft-repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe was being carried out and condemned in the strongest possible terms this policy of cold-blooded extermination. The events were reported regularly in newspapers and literary journals around the world. In 1943, the news about gassing Jews was broadcast from London to The Netherlands.

    The United States had several consulates throughout the Ottoman Empire until it joined the Allies in 1917. There were also numerous missionary compounds established in Armenian-populated regions.

    Hundreds of eyewitnesses, including the neutral United States and the Ottoman Empire’s own allies recorded and documented numerous acts of state-sponsored massacres. Many foreign officials offered to intervene on behalf of the Armenians, including the Pope. The wiki entry on the contemporary reporting of the genocide is instructive with a scan of 16 July 1915 U.S. diplomatic cable mentioning a campaign of race extermination.

    On May 24, 1915, less than a month after 25 April 1915, the Triple Entente warned the Ottoman Empire that in view of these new crimes against humanity and civilization, the Allied Governments announce publicly that they will hold personally responsible for these crimes all members of the Ottoman Government, as well as those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres.

    The starting date of the genocide is conventionally held to be April 24, 1915.

    The 1st Australian Imperial Force arrived a day later and had more moral reasons to fight the Ottoman Empire than did the 2nd Australian Imperial Force to fight the Nazis. That is, based on the evidence available at the time, rather than magical precognition about the monster that Hitler became in 1941 and after, fighting on to take Constantinople and depose a genocidal government was a just cause to save the Armenians from genocide.

    The original posting said that “The Anzacs had no quarrel with the Turkish soldiers who were trying to kill them.” They had every right to quarrel with the Turkish soldiers killing Armenians.

  32. Savvas Tziwnhs
    April 29th, 2010 at 09:16 | #32


    Didn’t the impending Gallipoli invasion help push the Ottomans into destroying ‘internal enemies’, such as the Armenians? Again, what the Turks did was unforgivable, but the Allies gave them a trigger to some extent.

    BTW….. both Iraq (2003) and Armenia (1915) sugget to me that if you are disarmed, watch it, you will be invaded/slaughtered, no matter if you ‘deserved’ it, or not!!!

  33. April 29th, 2010 at 09:57 | #33

    Paul [email protected]#9 said:

    the conservative historian Niall Brennan, in his book The Pity of War, presents a very convincing counterfactual history from a right of centre perspective to show that a much less bad set of outcomes would have resulted had Great Britain (and, by implication, the English-speaking world as a whole) stayed out of the war, and also that this option was plausibly available to the British government at the time.

    Its not only Niall Ferguson who argued for an Anglosphere “bye” to the World Wars. Its was also the option, argued retrospectively, by David Irving and Pat Buchanan. I daresay NF got the idea from them. The UK Right bitterly resent the way the US dismantled the British Empire with barely so much as a bye-your-leave. They also have a sneaking admiration for the Germans.

    Its easy to play the counter-factual game, loading the die to give a happy ending to History. But one can also play counter-factual to the counter-factual (and so on, leading to infinite regress…).

    Britain could have stayed out of WWI and kept much of its Asian Empire, leaving Germany to dominate the Continent and attack Russia. This was Cabinet’s option in both WWI and, less appealingly, in WWII.

    Of course this would have been a hard option for a British government to take as there was tremendous antipathy to Prussian militarism throughout the British Isles. Not without some justification, one might add.

    Had the British taken this option in WWI the Germans would likely have defeated the French after no more than a couple of years fighting, perhaps even in six weeks. They then would have made short work of Russia. The Austro-Hungarians would probably have cleaned up Italy with some German help.

    This would have given the Mettle-European dynasties hegemony over most of Europe during the 20thC. It certainly looks a better outcome than ten million deaths and the rise of Bolshevism and Nazism. But who says that the rule of Hohenzollern-Hapsburgs would have been a stable equilibrium?

    More likely it would have inaugurated an era of imperial civil war. European nationalization from, the French Revolution through to the EEC, was an unstoppable world-historic process. During the 19thC it happened to France, Germany, Italy, then Poland, Greece, et al. This nationalisation and ethnic cleansing process went on during the 20thC, before WWI (eg Turkey), after WWI (Versailles Treaty) & after WWII (expulsion of German Auslanders from Eastern Europe). It even occurred after the end of the Cold War (Yugoslavia, Baltic States, Czechoslavia).

    So had the Germanic olde European imperial dynasties achieved an early victory in WWI they were going to be ruling over a multitude of unruly European populations. I am not sure that guerilla and nationalist wars against the Hohenzollerns and Hapsburgs throughout the 20thC would have been a pretty sight.

    And that still would have left the sea-girt British Empire facing off the land-based German Empire for most of that time. With the Imperial Germans having all those Jewish physicists more or less on-side cooking up bigger and better bombs AND long-range rockets. Its not hard to imagine a nuclear holocaust emerging from that monumental antagonism.

    Maybe everyone could have found a way to just get along until the inevitable process of post-modernisation more or less sapped the will to power of the elites and turned the populi into happy little consumer capitalists/bureaucratic serfs.

    OTOH, its hard to imagine worse political outcomes than what actually happened. First Lenin, then Hitler and then Stalin dominating most of Europe. STALAGs & GULAGs from the Baltic to the Pacific. It still blows my mind to think of it.

  34. Jim Rose
    April 29th, 2010 at 10:05 | #34


    I understand the Turks turned on Armenians, many who lived near the Russian border, because they were thought to disloyal in the context of the war with Russia. Some Armenians joined with the Russians in the hope of indepedence.

    The Turks could have joined either side of world war one. Both wanted them.

    Guilt lies with the Turks and no one else.

  35. Jim Rose
    April 29th, 2010 at 10:06 | #35


    I understand the Turks turned on Armenians, many who lived near the Russian border, because they were thought to be disloyal in the context of the war with Russia. Some Armenians joined with the Russians in the hope of indepedence.

    The Turks could have joined either side of world war one. Both wanted them.

    Guilt lies with the Turks and no one else.

  36. Paul Norton
    April 29th, 2010 at 11:39 | #36

    By jingo, here’s that pukka chap Greg Sheridan giving THE IDEOLOGICAL LEFT what-oh!


  37. gregh
    April 29th, 2010 at 11:45 | #37

    @Paul Norton
    note all the comments hating academics – such an easy target in this country

  38. Paul Norton
    April 29th, 2010 at 11:49 | #38

    True enough, gregh. On the other hand I’m not sure how I’d feel if Greg Sheridan were to describe me as “timeless, profound and beautiful”.

  39. Jim Rose
    April 29th, 2010 at 11:49 | #39

    Perhaps the most useful point in Sheridan’s esay is Australia’s awareness from its earliest days of a need to ally itself with a stronger power to defend itself from foreign domination in the short and longer term. Who this power was changed pragmatically.

    Simplistic peacemaking can cause war, while arms race, credible war threats and mutually assured destruction can reliably prevent war.

    Peace through weakness is foolish. If you want peace, you must prepare for war.

  40. Jim Rose
    April 29th, 2010 at 12:49 | #40

    As I recall, bombing the railroads to the camps was considered. Eisenhower rejected this because it would take resources away from finishing the war as quickly as possible. Defeating Germany as quickly as possible was the fastest way to finish all the horrors of the Nazis.

    Sending bombers on surgical strikes is one of the delusions of post-heroic warfare.

    An example is Iran. It is a delusion to suggest that it is possible to stop any nation with a reasonable supply of mountains and underground caves from acquiring the capability to assembly nuclear weapons. Dirt poor North Korea seems to have got them. Plutonium to make a bomb could be easily hidden in my refrigerator, or to evade radiation detection, it could be hidden at the bottom of the water in a well.

    Nuclear disarmament is a self-delusion. As Schelling pointed out in 1961, short of universal brain surgery, nothing can erase the memory of these weapons and how to build them. If total disarmament is to make war unlikely, it must reduce incentives. The most primitive war can be modernised by fully rearmament as it goes along.

    As for the recent proposals, Schelling compared the sleepy world of today with a world without nuclear weapons. That would be a world in which the United States, Russia, Israel, China, and half a dozen or a dozen other countries would have hair-trigger mobilisation plans to rebuild nuclear weapons and mobilize or commandeer delivery systems, and would have prepared targets to preempt other nations’ nuclear facilities, all in a high-alert status, with practice drills and secure emergency communications. Every crisis would be a nuclear crisis, any war could become a nuclear war. The urge to preempt would dominate; whoever gets the first weapons will coerce or preempt. It would be a nervous world indeed.

  41. Freelander
    April 29th, 2010 at 17:07 | #41

    Anzac Day, again, again

    Anzac Day will never be forgotten. The veterans may all be dead; if not they soon will be. But the day will never be forgotten, not as long as old codgers are rushing to fill their place, all to willing to reinvent or simply invent our ‘glorious’ past.

  42. Alice
    April 29th, 2010 at 22:16 | #42

    @Jim Rose
    says ” bombing the railroads to the camps was considered. Eisenhower rejected this because it would take resources away from finishing the war as quickly as possible. ”

    Could have been done. Could have saved many lives.

    Gloss Jim and if you beleive it you are subscribing to a history that is untrue and this is the alternative convenient “truth” (spin). The jews were not wanted in Britain. Its that ugly and that simple.

  43. Jim Rose
    April 29th, 2010 at 22:49 | #43

    The effectiveness of strategic bombing of Germany is subject to dispute starting as early as the Strategic Bombing Survey of Germany. German production rose in so many areas despite the bombing because the German economy did not go on a complete war footing until late 1942 and 1943. Up until then, many factories were onsingle shifts.

    One major strategic benefit of the bombing of Germany was repelling these bombers drew fighters and the vital 88mm artillery away from the Eastern front and elsewhere. Bombing people the Germans wanted to kill anyway may not have had that effect.

    There were countless camps spread out all over Germany. The military argued that aircraft did not have the capacity to conduct air raids on the death camps with sufficient accuracy, and that the Allies were committed to bombing military targets to win the war as quickly as possible. That did end the killing.

    Roosevelt permitted only a small number of Jewish refugees to enter, often leaving existing immigration quotas as much as 90% unfilled. He almost never publicly mentioned Nazi atrocities against the Jews. He refused to pressure England to open Palestine to Jews fleeing the Holocaust. Roosevelt rejected pleas to bomb the Auschwitz death camp in 1944, even though U.S. bombers were striking German oil factories nearby. Roosevelt also had a poor record on civil rights.

  44. Peter T
    April 29th, 2010 at 23:00 | #44

    World War 1 is probably best considered as starting as the last of the “old wars” – the ones fought by European powers every 20 or so years for 400 or more years. Everyone thought it would be a traditional war – and it was supported by most people for all the reasons traditional wars were usually supported (national pride, calculation of national interest, the opportunity for advancement, adventure and loot and more). Alas, the technology and the power of states to mobilise made it something else. It is ahistorical to cast modern attitudes and motives back to pre-1914, which was a real watershed.

    Alice – you do the allies a disservice. The UK, France and the US protested in the strongest terms to Germany about the treatment of jews before the war, and allowed entry to all the refugees the Nazis allowed to leave (there was some bureaucratic mucking about, but not a lot). By late 1939, about 75% of the jewish population of Germany and Austria had left – basically everyone who would leave had. The holocaust caught up with jews in the occupied territories, in the Soviet Union and in the axis allies – none of whom could be rescued except by force of allied arms. The allies became aware of the atrocities fairly early, and warned the Germans over the BBC and through third parties that they knew of it and would take retribution.

    Precision bombing was not possible before late 1943, much of the extermination was not done in camps, the camps were deep in eastern Europe, and proposals to bomb the camps were rejected by jewish leaders – who were consulted.

    The inescapable fact is that Hitler asnd the Nazis were prepared to divert resources from war against the allies to ensure that as many jews as possible died, and there was very little that could be done. The story that allied neglect or indifference lost lives started in the late 60s, but the record does not support it.

    It’s well documented, if grim reading.

  45. Freelander
    April 30th, 2010 at 01:14 | #45

    WWII was hardly about the extermination of the Jews, just as the US Civil War had next to nothing to do with concern about or the freeing of the slaves. Even if Hitler had not exterminated the Jews, or the others. There were plenty of good reasons for even pacifists to oppose him. Unopposed Germany would have become the sole nuclear power and we would all be speaking German today. [Or maybe down here, Japanese would be our main language and German the second language.]

  46. Freelander
    April 30th, 2010 at 01:18 | #46

    Remembrance days are Great. Gives all the old fogies a chance to re-fight the war, all blanketed up, from the safety of their wheelchairs.

  47. paul walter
    April 30th, 2010 at 02:03 | #47

    Where are the Godwin police?
    Any rigour and you’d all be spending time on Xmass Island, dagnammit!
    I think, from memory, that the new economics well under way by the mid-late seventies, remember doing a matric econonomics subject in 1976, with the teacher exhibiting an almost mystical child like faith in the intellectual powers of Paddy Mc Guinness. Meanwhile, Fraser was adopting a confrontationist approach with unions, welfare etc.

  48. April 30th, 2010 at 02:58 | #48

    I think that one of the exceptions to Godwin’s is discussion related to WWII. As this is about war in general, it is possibly OK.

  49. Jim Rose
    April 30th, 2010 at 12:04 | #49


    It is good to see we are now in full agreement.

    First, neither world war were started to fight genocide. The Turks and Germans started their genocides against the Armenians and Jews after the two respective wars had started.

    Second, Australian troops had every reason to quarrel with Turkish troops to stop them from leaving the front to massacre Armenians. The Armenian genocide became quickly known and widely denounced.

    Australian troops were still fighting on Turkish shores after the Allies had promised to punish those who ordered the genocide and those who carried out those orders such as the Turkish army. Even pacifists had a reason to fight on and take Constantinople from that point in time in the same way than if it was the case that Australian troops happened to be on the German border in 1941 and after.

    These reasons to fight are in addition to the just cause of fighting militarism and territorial conquest, empire solidarity, regional security interests such as the growing number of neighbouring German colonies, and long-term Australian security. These are all reasons to quarrel. Some might not think these are not enough reasons to fight, but that is different from having no reason at all.

    Third, both wars have high levels of democratic legitimacy because elections were held within months, as you note.

    As you note, the Australian election came a mere month after the start of the war. Australian replaced the incumbent PM with a man promising to fight to the last man and the last shilling. The two major war parties got about 98 per cent of the vote.

    New Zealanders had even a better chance to reflect on the war-making choices of their leaders. Their election was in December of 1914. The passions of the moment had some chance to calm, and the fighting has started for real. The will of the people was a 90 per cent vote for the war parties. New Zealanders could have voted for the Labour MPs, several of whom were later imprisoned for their anti-conscription activities or for refusing military service.

  50. Freelander
    April 30th, 2010 at 12:09 | #50

    Well I don’t think we are in agreement. The Germans started their genocide against the Jews and others before the war had started.

  51. Jim Rose
    April 30th, 2010 at 12:34 | #51

    The deportations from the Jewish Ghettos to the camps first started in 1941. The mass executions in Russia and Poland could not have started until these countries were invaded. The Wannsee Conference which authorised the mass deportations from across Europe to the camps was held in January 1942.

  52. Freelander
    April 30th, 2010 at 12:41 | #52

    Sorry, busy. Will refute your apparent attempt at refutation later.

  53. paul walter
    April 30th, 2010 at 12:53 | #53

    God , wherever you turn, the thought police are there.
    Andrew Reynolds, I’ll accept your admonition, but why, if you are lurking out there, why have you not put your idle mind to something regarding the thread itself?
    As to the discussion, it has been ok, not too much rancour. Jim Rose has played devil’s advocate well enough for Frelander and others to feel moved to challenge and the result is an interesting turning over of old historical ground always deserving of a second look.

  54. Freelander
    May 1st, 2010 at 09:13 | #54

    As promised the response…

    To recap…

    Me “WWII was hardly about the extermination of the Jews, just as the US Civil War had next to nothing to do with concern about or the freeing of the slaves. Even if Hitler had not exterminated the Jews, or the others. There were plenty of good reasons for even pacifists to oppose him. Unopposed Germany would have become the sole nuclear power and we would all be speaking German today. [Or maybe down here, Japanese would be our main language and German the second language.]”

    Jim “In 1939, Hitler was another grubby European dictator playing the race card to a rather receptive German public. Territorial revisionism, territorial conquest and racial persecution were all too common in that era.”

    Comment: Of the other comparable European dictators of that era, there were two. Mussilini and Franco. Neither were playing the race card [or at least not to any comparable extent]. And with Hitler it was more than simply a card. He was a man with a mission, a grand vision. And he wasn’t alone.

    All powers were interested in territorial conquest of underdeveloped countries, which had been Western practice for a very long time, but others were not intent on grabbing territory from other European countries, and even if they had such thoughts in their minds, they did not invade or make territorial demands on other European states in that period before WWII. Hitler sure did.

    Jim “Hitler’s genocide wasn’t really known until late in the Second World War.”


    Jim “The Turks and Germans started their genocides against the Armenians and Jews after the two respective wars had started.”

    Me”The Germans started their genocide against the Jews and others before the war had started.”

    Comment: Hitler’s intentions were laid out in his “My Struggle” book. The Nazi were quite upfront about the list of ‘undesirables’ who had lives that were not worthy of life and who they intended to turn into past tense within their ideal state. These included the disabled, those with mental illness, and the mentally handicapped, homosexuals, Gypsies, Jews and so on. They had a clear hierarchy of desirability even among those they weren’t intending to get rid of. Immediately in power they started their genocidial process. If someone was not worthy of life, clearly they also were to be dissauded from producing offspring who would, by their theories, be also not worthy of life. Mid 1933, The Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring was passed. Bit early to start killing them all off or otherwise get rid of them on day one, but the Nazi were not letting any moss grow as they moved toward their objectives. They set up Hereditary Courts to start sorting people out. They started sterilising people, by 1934, 4000 already.

    Early 1933, concentration camps started being opened: Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrück. They needed to start warehousing the most undesirable ‘undesirables’ somewhere.

    In 1933, they also started boycotts of Jews, those in various professions and boycotts of Jewish owned businesses. Started extinguishing their rights one by one. Early that year, they passed a law which booted all Jews out of the Civil Service. One problem in getting rid of ‘undesirables’ is that they are integrated into society, and having links through family, friends, and colleagues, immediate expulsion or extermination was recognised as being unwise. [In the same way, I could note that so called economic rationalism was not instituted over night.] To overcome this impediment, the Nazi worked on detaching the ‘undesirables’ from the rest of the community. As well as the law, the Brown Shirts were used as part of the process. As the Nazis gained greater and greater control, they did more and more to detach their targets from German society. In 1935, they passed the “Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor” no marrying between Jews and non-Jews. They also passed a law so Jews could not join the Army. Late that year they took German citizenship away from Jews down to anyone they deemed quarter Jewish. Then a process of segregation was implemented to remove Jews from the ‘Aryans’. Part of the process all throughout was also stealing Jewish property. Then they passed laws so Jews had to be identified as Jews. Then there was Crystal Night 1938 with killing and 20,000 sent to concentration camps, and then charging Jews a billion for the damage.

    Similar processes when on for the other ‘undesirables’ moving toward and getting the population used to what was in store for them.

    True once WWII started the process was ramped up massively to industrial levels, and in the expanded territory the Nazis got their hands on many more ‘undesirables’. A motivation for the ramp up was possibly because the Nazis recognised that they didn’t have all the time in the world to finish the job. But the genocide certainly wasn’t a sudden impulse at the Wansee Conference. That was an administrative thing, a further ramp up probably as a result of the war not going as well as they anticipated, and simply putting an official stamp on what they had been up to from the start. This final massive ramp up might have been a sick intention to leave a ‘legacy’. It is true that letting some escape from German territory, stripped of their possessions formed part of the overall genocidial strategy especially during earlier stages, but the intent was always to get rid of the whole list of people, one way or another. From day one they had a whole list of people they intended to turn into past tense within German territory.

    The Nazi had written and talked about their intentions well before gaining power in 1933 and in power they quickly and progressively moved toward fulfilling those intentions on all fronts. So it is entirely fair to say, the process of genocide [and genocide is usually a process rather than one out of the blue act] started well before the war and the deaths certainly did.

    Despite the above, which was known at the time. Wars tend not to be fought for humanitarian reasons. WWII was fought, by the allies, for long term self preservation, even if WWI had been fought for no sensible reason at all.

  55. Jim Rose
    May 1st, 2010 at 12:42 | #55


    Good to see we agree. The persecution of the Jews was moved up in steps, with the genocide starting on a mass scale after the war started.

    The USSR includes part of Europe. Stalin was the worst by far of the European dictators in 1939. There was the Great Famine, the liquidation of the Kulaks, the Great Purges, and the Gulags. How many minorities did Stalin deport?

    All Communist governments practiced widespread killing. The extermination of the bourgeoisie and the wealthy as a class was loudly proclaimed by them, although peasants were by far the majority of their victims. Communists have ordered the deportation and genocide of numerous ethnic minorities deemed disloyal.

    Why do you avoid mentioning socialist dictators while listing other anti-capitalists born of the Left? Mussolini found that he would appeal better to the working class if he married the anti-capitalism of socialism with nationalism. The Nazis had anti-capitalist and agrarian wings, and plenty of racists and a-moral careerists.

    Hayek mentioned in the road to serfdom that the fascists and communists hated he other so much because they knew they were competing for the support of the same working class and lower-middle class constituencies.

  56. Freelander
    May 1st, 2010 at 12:43 | #56

    Yes we agree that you have lost that one. Just accept it and move on.

  57. Jim Rose
    May 1st, 2010 at 12:44 | #57

    sorry, last para should read:

    Hayek mentioned in the road to serfdom that the fascists and communists hated each other so much because they knew they were competing for the support of the same working class and lower-middle class constituencies.

  58. Freelander
    May 1st, 2010 at 12:56 | #58

    But the fascists understood that they had no competition from the communists when it came to gaining the support of the middle and upper classes or people like Hayek himself.

  59. Jim Rose
    May 1st, 2010 at 13:05 | #59


    We agree. You can’t face up to the mass murders in the name of socialism.

    Your real mates vote for you when you are wrong.

    You can’t face up too even mentioning Stalin, much less expressing an opinion on him, and more so why socialists hate democracy and have a great contempt for what voters know and think and why they vote as they do.

    That is why the original posting and those made by you could not face up to the fact that the first and second world wars had mass support in words, votes and mass enlistment. Much better way to escape is to pretend that people had no quarrel with the other side and there were no reasons to fight.

    This way, you avoid admitting you have no good arguments against the reasons why people did fight: the just cause of fighting militarism and territorial conquest, empire solidarity, regional security interests such as the growing number of neighbouring German colonies, and long-term Australian security.

    These are all reasons to quarrel. There are many reasons to quarrel with sufficiency of these reasons, the failure to pursue peace feelers, and the great hostility to clarifying war aims such as was suggested in the Lansdowne Letter published in 1916 in that leftwing rag The Daily Telegraph.

  60. Freelander
    May 1st, 2010 at 13:21 | #60

    Mind reading now. And all without habitual heavy drug usage. Amazing.

  61. Freelander
    May 1st, 2010 at 13:27 | #61

    It is a bit boring when you insist on debating phantoms you choose to create and attribute their views and their claims to me. Posting you appear to be reading were not posted by me, or at least bear no relation to those I wrote and those appearing on my screen. As I never owned what I didn’t say I feel no compulsion to defend.

  62. Jim Rose
    May 1st, 2010 at 13:33 | #62


    We agree. Debate what others say, do and believe.

    You cannot bring yourself to extend that rule to why people chose to fight in world war I.

    The reason is, so far, that you have not advanced any reasons for why their reasons for fighting were misplaced in light of the alternatives open to them at the time in 1914 and after.

  63. Freelander
    May 1st, 2010 at 15:35 | #63

    “We agree. Debate what others say, do and believe” and in the next breath you violate what you state.

  64. Freelander
    May 1st, 2010 at 15:41 | #64

    “what others say, do and believe” My agreement is only to the first two – say and do. Or maybe only to the first one as I am not clear what debating what others do entails. As for debating what others believe, as I don’t claim to be able to read minds, what others believe, if they don’t say so, I simply wouldn’t really know. Even if I was fairly sure of my guess, I don’t know that I would bother debating the guess. I certainly wouldn’t do so, so regularly that I would assert doing so as a rule.

  65. Jim Rose
    May 1st, 2010 at 16:03 | #65


    Good. You want to debate what people do.

    No more putting thoughts into minds and suggesting whether soldiers did or did not have a quarrel with opposing soldiers in the battle field.

    We can debate what people were doing in the Great War.

    Most people voted for parties supporting the war and there was mass enlistment. Do you have any explanation for why people did this? You wanted to debate what people do.

    My explanation is that they were fighting militarism and territorial conquest, showing empire solidarity, protecting regional security interests and long-term Australian security. This is why the voters voted as they did, and men and women enlisted as they did.

  66. Freelander
    May 1st, 2010 at 16:05 | #66

    There is a difference between perfectly reasonable inference and claims equivalent to mind reading.

  67. Freelander
    May 1st, 2010 at 16:08 | #67

    Further, “have a quarrel with” does not require reading of minds to infer. One can believe one has a quarrel with someone, when, in fact, one doesn’t. Therefore, knowledge of the person’s mental state, in such a case at least, is not required.

  68. Freelander
    May 1st, 2010 at 16:10 | #68

    You see, beliefs can easily be delusions. But I probably don’t need to tell you that, as it is something you ought to know. Before you respond note my use of the words ‘probably’ and ‘ought’, hence, I am not open to accusations of mind reading.

  69. Jim Rose
    May 1st, 2010 at 16:20 | #69


    so you still have no explanation or even informed speculations for why the pro-war parties won 90 plus per cent of the vote in 1914 and so many enlisted.

    When left wing parties win elections, the reasons why must be an equal mystery to you. Could never be that they promised what the electorate wanted. But elections are held to answer that precise question. What do the votes want? Who do they want to govern them?

    Democratic legitimacy does not depend on whether a minority or a left-wing fringe also happens to agree with what the majority voted for in the election.

  70. Freelander
    May 1st, 2010 at 19:48 | #70

    I will leave it to who ever you are talking to to respond. Although you start with “Freelander”, nothing that follows seems to have anything to do with anything, any claims or statements, I have posted above. I am gaining more insight into the libertarian cultist mind and why they appear able to believe the nonsense they do. Seems to be related to a not even tenuous grip on reality.

  71. Jim Rose
    May 2nd, 2010 at 11:38 | #71


    The Left will never get anywhere until it tries to understand why its positions on war and peace are so deeply unpopular with the voting public and made it a sitting duck at elections for the last 100 years.

    The message of the Left may need better communications, or maybe the message is just not worth listening too.

  72. Freelander
    May 2nd, 2010 at 16:39 | #72

    Who is this ‘Freelander’ person you are talking too?

  73. Jim Rose
    May 2nd, 2010 at 18:38 | #73


    You should not be so easily taken in by what other people say. Especially if you otherwise are distrustful of what that particular source usually has to say.

    Judge by results and actions! The results of the ballot box matters too because otherwise social democratic change has no democratic legitimacy.

    Almost one-half of GDP is accounted for by the Icelandic government. It has high income tax rate, GST through the roof, wealth taxes, and death duties. That would your definition of paradise or close to it?

    Would you like to be more specific about what I made up?

    You should be more apologetic about your own errors. You tried to side-step the moral imperatives arising from the Armenian genocide by saying on April 28, at 14.20 in post 26 of this thread that “What happened to the Armenians which wasn’t really known until later, that is after the war.” Do you still maintain that this claim of yours is true?

    The 106th U.S congress in its joint resolution of the Armenian genocide found that
    • “On May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers, England, France, and Russia, jointly issued a statement explicitly charging for the first time ever another government of committing `a crime against humanity’” and
    • “The Armenian Genocide and these domestic judicial failures are documented with overwhelming evidence in the national archives of Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, the United States, the Vatican and many other countries, and this vast body of evidence attests to the same facts, the same events, and the same consequences.”

    Any member of the Left who is on the wrong side of history when it comes to the genocide should be drummed out of the regiment!

  74. Freelander
    May 4th, 2010 at 02:26 | #74

    Jim Rose :
    You should not be so easily taken in by what other people say….

    Very funny Jim. Given that you hang off all the words (and hang by them) of your various libertarian divinities. I am not to believe your deities claims that they had turned Iceland into a libertarian wonderland, a nirvana, one more poster child for all to see. Why disbelieve them? Because even they want to deny, deny, deny, disown, disown, disown, their own words. Iceland’s current ugly state is simply all to plain. and oh do Icelanders wish that was plain homely, not monstrously ugly.

  75. Freelander
    May 4th, 2010 at 03:12 | #75

    Politics is full of unintended humour…

    “jointly issued a statement explicitly charging for the first time ever another government of committing `a crime against humanity’” ”

    For any of these governments to charge another, in 1915 with ‘for the first time ever’ of committing a crime against humanity is a joke. Of course, this may have been the first example of this sort of grandstanding, but only if looked at very narrowly, the UK, for example, had but a few years earlier invented the concentration camp, a technology developed further during WWII and even broadly used today. One of Obama’s major challenges today is ‘what to do with their concentration camps?’ Not easy to answer because if you release the inmates next thing you know they will be talking and demanding compensation. Couldn’t have that? Look at the example of Germany post-war. I imagine some in the US are thinking, as a cost saving expediency, ‘leave no concentration camp victim unexterminated’.

  76. Freelander
    May 4th, 2010 at 03:16 | #76

    Worked for the American indians. The few left today give the americans very few problems. Let them prey on the wider population with a few gambling casinos and they’re happy. One can imagine the trouble if the numbers left had been many magnitudes greater.

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