WW I is not much thought of in the Netherlands. No wonder, as a neutral power we didn't participate. Not that it passed unnoticed: we took in over 100.000 Belgian refugees on a population of just over 6 million. (Compare such generosity with todays!). If WW I is mentioned in the Netherlands it always concerns the battles in Belgium and northern France. Understandable, as the massacres there were of an unspeakable nature.
Travelling through Australia two years ago we could not but notice that there views on things are different. ANZAC is a notion that has great meaning for the Australian national identity.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Armed Corps. This was a combined expeditionary force of the two then very new countries that was the first to be sent abroad in order to participate in a conflict elsewhere in the world and therewith proof that these countries, as young as they were, claimed their position in the world community.
Disaster. In April 1915 ANZAC was put into action on Gallipoli, the peninsula that dominates the Dardenelles straits and as such the sea route to Istanbul and the Black Sea. The idea of this British/French initiative was to capture Istanbul and thus put Turkey (ally of Germany and Austria) out of the war and be able to supply the Russian ally with arms and goods. The campaign lasted for 8 months, only to end in a retreat and no achievement what so ever. 500.000 men were involved, 150.000 killed. Mostly Turks,then British, French, Australians, New Zealanders and Indian.
Today we visited the sites of the landings and battlefields and the numerous memorials. Also for the Turks this period of war is still felt of immense importance, as the commander of the Turk forces then was a young officer called Mustafa Kemal, who presented himself here as a great leader and who only a few years later founded the modern new Turkish state. Now he is considered the father of all Turks: Kemal Atatürk.