Gallipoli: Through the Soldier’s Lens | The Public Domain Review

Originally posted on The Public Domain

To mark the 100 years since Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) fought the Gallipoli campaign of WW1, Alison Wishart, Senior Curator of Photographs at Australian War Memorial, explores the remarkable photographic record left by the soldiers. Made possible by the birth of Kodak’s portable camera, the photographs give a rare and intimate portrait of the soldier’s day-to-day life away from the heat of battle.

2015 marks the centenary of one of the most commemorated events in Australia’s military history. One hundred years ago, at dawn of 25th April, boatloads of Australians and New Zealanders quietly landed on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula at a beach that became known as Anzac Cove.

Had Australia’s military commanders and elected leaders known how significant this event was to become in Australia’s history and the development of its national identity, they might have thought to send official photographers or war artists. But they didn’t. Instead, the photographic record of the nine month Gallipoli campaign relies primarily on the images taken by soldiers.

Fortunately, Kodak had released its ‘Vest Pocket’ camera in 1912, which made taking a camera to the front more feasible. Kodak encouraged enlistees…

Read original: Gallipoli: Through the Soldier’s Lens | The Public Domain Review.

Gallipoli 4: Fumbling Incompetence … And Too Few Stokers

First World War Hidden History

Goeben and Breslau entering the Dardanelles

The escape of the Goeben and Breslau in their mad-cap dash across the Mediterranean to the safety of the Dardanelles has become part of the folklore of the First World War. The escape was astonishing; the consequences staggering. Mainstream historians claim that from the German perspective it was a blessing that verged on a miracle; for the British it was a great embarrassment. Churchill ranted that it was a ‘curse.’ [1] The truth is somewhat different. Evidence now proves that the British Foreign Office and the Admiralty in London knew precisely where the German warships were in the Mediterranean and, crucially, where they were headed. Far from attempting to destroy the Goeben and Breslau, the Secret Elite in London took active steps to keep them from harm and ensure their safe passage to Constantinople. Had the sinking of the German cruisers been the real objective, neither the Goeben nor…

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Gallipoli 3: David and Goliath

First World War Hidden History

On 31 July, the day after Russia demanded seizure of the two Turkish dreadnoughts, the British Cabinet, with its attention drawn to the crisis in Serbia, accepted that they should be retained by the Royal Navy. Churchill later said he requisitioned the ships on 28 July. His memory, though suspect, always ensured that he took all the credit.

sultan osman 1914

British sailors boarded Sultan Osman 1 that same day and the Ottoman ambassador was informed that the warship was being detained for the time being. [1] Buoyed by the seizure of the Turkish dreadnoughts, and confirmation by telegram from France that the government there was in ‘hearty high spirits’ and ‘firmly decided on war,’ [2] Russia continued full speed with the general mobilisation of her armies on Germany’s eastern border. At 4 pm on 1 August, the French also ordered general mobilisation. There was no turning back. It meant war. [3] Over…

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Gallipoli 2: Promises, Promises

First World War Hidden History

For a true appreciation of what Gallipoli was about we must take a brief step back in time. In the early years of the twentieth century the Secret Elite in London saw Germany as a rapidly growing economic, industrial and imperial threat to the British Empire, and began planning a European war to destroy her. However, Britain could never destroy Germany on her own in a continental war and had to create alliances with France and Russia. [1]

Constantinople

The Entente Cordiale between England and France, signed on 8 April 1904, marked the end of an era of conflict between the two that had lasted nearly a thousand years. But it was much more important than that. The Entente included secret clauses hidden from the British Cabinet and parliament that grew into a commitment to support each other in a war against Germany, [2] a war in which France would regain…

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Gallipoli 1: The Enduring Myth

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First World War Hidden History

Map showing Constantinople, the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli PeninsulaThe infamous Gallipoli campaign of 1915 was set up to fail. 180,000 allied soldiers were sacrificed, wounded or dead, for a strategic policy which served the imperial designs of the British Empire by failing. This is the essential truth which the next series of blogs will prove. Over the last century, in both Britain and Australia, Gallipoli has been turned into a heroic-romantic myth; [1] a myth promoted by court historians and pliant journalists in order to hide the stark truth. It was a ruse, a sop to the Russians to keep them out of Constantinople in the belief that allied forces would capture the city on their behalf. Put into the hands of incompetent generals and admirals, starved of determined leadership, ill-equipped, ill-advised and certain to fail, the attack on the Dardanelles obligated the Russians to turn back to the eastern front and wait. As an integral part of…

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Lest We Forget: The Great War and Cinema – CURNBLOG

Originally posted on CURNBLOG

by Pete Johnson

This August sees the centenary of the First World War. This tragic conflict destroyed nations, took millions of lives, and changed the map of the world. Many films have been made about this war, and this seems a suitable time to examine some of them. I normally seek out lesser-known films for my posts; but on this occasion, I have decided that the circumstances warrant a reminder of the best films made about this terrible war.

At the end of hostilities in 1918, films soon began to appear. They mostly portrayed the victors, justly winning a noble and worthwhile war. Although the first film in this list is from sometime later, 1930, by which time there had been a chance to reflect on the loss, and perhaps to question the validity of all this carnage.

Please be aware that all these reviews contain plot spoilers.

All Quiet On The Western Front (1930)

So much has been written about this film, I feel little need to add more. I will though, for the benefit of anyone who has never seen it. The film is a faithful adaptation of the German novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque, published in 1929. Although it follows the fortunes of a group of young Germans, the film was made in the USA, directed by Louis Milestone, and starred Lew Ayres and Louis Wolheim. Like the book, the film takes an obviously anti-war stance. We see impressionable schoolboys…

Read more Lest We Forget: The Great War and Cinema – CURNBLOG