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Byron Shire
June 2, 2023

Churchill’s role in Gallipoli

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Anzac Day is always a solemn day for Australians and New Zealanders – and for good reason. 

In WWI, Australia had only been a nation for 15 years, and was still tied to the apron strings of the British Empire. 

In the context of the era, it’s understandable there wasn’t a lot of questioning of patriotism, and so young men bravely set sail to defend their King and country on the shores of Gallipoli, Turkey.

According to Australian War Memorial, www.awm.gov.au, ‘At 64.8 per cent [for WWI], the Australian casualty rate (proportionate to total embarkations) was among the highest of the war’.

It left Australia devastated at the time, and largely without a population of young men. It took generations to rebuild.

8,000 odd Australian and New Zealand Anzacs died in the Gallipoli campaign. 

In what history now judges as a poorly orchestrated attack, the Anzacs were led by the remote, uncaring British. With the luxury of hindsight, it appears that young men were expendable to the man who planned it: British First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill (1874–1965).

In the same year as the diastrous Gallipoli campaign, Churchill also led the Dardanelles naval campaign – a failure. 

Churchill is often mistaken for a great leader, yet his evil accomplishments are up there with Belgium’s King Leopold III (1901–1983), who was responsible for the deaths of 10 million Congolese.

Apart from military disasters that cost the lives of thousands, during World War II Churchill prioritised the stockpiling of food for Britain over feeding Indian subjects during the Bengal famine. That cost the lives of up to three million people, according to www.britannica.com.

Such short dives into history generally reveal that ‘leaders’ such as these are the reason for the suffering and misery of everyone else. 

A remarkable poem that reflects the personal and tragic side of this war is by English war poet, writer, and soldier, Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967):

Suicide in the Trenches

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

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  1. It is clear that the attitude and actions of many British ‘leaders’ was worse than appalling.

    Good to note that extreme callousness of Churchill and some other decisionmakers during war, is not necessary nor universal. During and after combat Monash looked after the troops as much as he could.

  2. Frederick the Great addressed his soldiers: Dogs do you want to live forever. This quote is for all who advocate war in any form or shape, be it a Churchill or a Biden or a Putin.

  3. Don’t forget when he helped set up the first concentration camp in 1902 starving 50,000+ women and children to death. And of course, those he killed in Dresden for no strategic purpose. And on and on.

    • Actually he was a journo then with no political clout. He did have ambitions above his ability that cost people dearly in ww1,ww2 and in post war reconstruction. But you are esquire, promoted yourself Christian, still doesn’t make your comments more less nonsensical but still keeps us amused.

  4. The was a Doco on the History channel about Churchill’s failures, it’s probably on utube. The list is long and horrific, some completely ridiculous, even insane. It makes you wonder how the allies managed to win WW2 with him obstructing the planning and the chaos and confusion he was responsible for. At least the people of Britain had the opportunity to remove him and the conservatives from office, at the first election held after the war and elect the Attlee Labor Govt, the person that was really responsible for the management during WW2.

    • The Soviet Union won WW2 and annexed half of Europe. I heard a rumour there were a few other countries that pretended to help them, mostly by selling them weapons.

      • Surprised you don’t think it significant that the Allied forces gradually managed to take back western Europe from the Nazis, in spite of the arrogant stupidity of Montgomery. Without that the Soviets might have occupied countries as far as the Atlantic and Mediterranean shores.
        Japanese researchers believe Stalin was also hoping to invade Japan. So insane for Putin to be an expansionist given he’s seen the demise of the Soviet Union.
        We are so lucky to live in Aus. and in this day and age.

        • Then why would Putin not start with all the little countries to Russia’s south? There was civil strife in Georgia, Russia invaded, sorted it out, then left. There was a revolution in Kazakhstan, Russia invaded, dealt with it, left. There was an 8-year-long civil war in Ukraine, killing 14,000 civilians. Russia is still working on that one.
          Big countries really don’t like trouble in the surrounding countries, such as military coups in Fiji, or Chinese bases in the Solomons. Who told you Putin is an “expansionist”? That doesn’t even make sense.


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