Anzac Day, again

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.

76 thoughts on “Anzac Day, again

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Freelander,

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Freelander,

    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.

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

  9. 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.

  10. Freelander,

    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.

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

  12. “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.

  13. Freelander,

    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.

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Freelander,

    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.

  18. 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.

  19. Freelander,

    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.

  20. Freelander,

    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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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’.

  23. 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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