11/11/2008 Remembrance Day 90 years after World War One

There is a lot of talk in Australia this remembrance day about how Australians place too much importance on the Gallipoli campaign when thinking of World War One and tend to ignore the European campaign that was by far the biggest part of the war. Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has caused quite a stir recently on this topic.

This article also has some interesting statistics about Australian troops in WWI:

  • 50,000 served in Gallipoli while 250,000 served in Europe
  • 8,700 died in Gallipoli while 46,000 dies in Europe
  • The fought 8 battles in Gallipoli and 40 in Europe
  • 9 Victoria Crosses were awarded to Australians in Gallipoli and 52 VCs were awarded in Europe
  • The Gallipoli campaign lasted 8 months while the European campaign lasted two and a half years

And perhaps most importantly, Gallipoli was a military disaster while on the Western Front Australians fought under Australian command for the first time and achieved many victories (as much as anything that happened in the horrific waste of life that was WWI can be called a victory).  The AIF only constituted 10% of Allied forces but won 25% of enemy territory, prisoners of war, arms and ammunition.  SO it’s about time more Australians gave them their due for what they really achieved.

The quote at the end is from the most famous poem from World War One – “Dulce et Decorum Est”

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “11/11/2008 Remembrance Day 90 years after World War One

  1. custador

    Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori…. That old lie. Wilfred Owen, one of many beautiful lives wasted.

  2. custador

    This extends to WWII as well. History gets re-written wholesale, usually by Hollywood. We tend to think that the 150,000 young American men who gave their lives to help overthrow fascism were somehow the sole reason that the war was won, with maybe some help from the 300,000 Brits who died. In places West of Poland, we all seem to forget about 8,000,000 young Russians, men and women, who fought and died in the most horrendous conditions, and without whom the war against Hitler could never have been won. Ironically, this common background of conflict should be all the motivation we need to be at peace with Russia, but it seems like we might actually end up fighting them.

  3. It is a little distrubing to see history rewritten by Hollywood.

  4. E0157H7

    If one thing must be remembered about both WWI and WWII, let it be the sheer, mind-boggling insanity and horror of such conflict.

  5. Smalltime0

    The single largest allied reinforcements of WWI and WWII were the ANZAC Troop transports…
    Whilst remembrance day is for WWI (signing of armistice), both groups achieved trerrific feats, the WWI ANZACs, like you said, conquered alot of Europe, but were also used as elite shock troops throughout the war for their heroism.

    The WWII ANAZCs, of course, secured the first military defeat against the empire of Japan, whilst retreating along the Kokoda track.

  6. God rest their souls. Very few WWII vets left alive today.

  7. custador

    Down to four survivors of the WWI trenches now :(

  8. E0157H7: That’s the lesson I hope we don’t forget.

    Smalltime: Efforts well worth remembering

    Sandra: And it’s important we never forget what they went through

    Custador: The last surviving Australian WWI vet died a little while ago

  9. Maldris

    I sent this to my grandfather (an artillery serviceman from WW2) and he asked me to reply with a thankyou for this as he had made several friends amongst the WW1 vets and dislikes to this day the underplaying of the European campaign

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