Australia's national identity through the events of the two World Wars.

Essay by steady__eddieHigh School, 10th gradeA-, August 2003

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Tragedy of War to Source of Pride: Australia's Involvement in War and a Shaping of a Nation's Identity

War memorials are a very significant and meaningful part of the Australian landscape, both literally and culturally. The presence of more than 4,000 war memorials throughout Australia, with the particular focus of these monuments upon World War One, World War Two and the Anzacs, points to a society that takes a great part of its national identity from these wars. The recurring theme of Anzac throughout these memorials raises several questions about a country that so values the events that transpired at the Gallipoli shore in defining what it means to be Australian. What does Anzac, as it is represented in war memorials, mean to Australia? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using this particular legend to articulate a national character? What does Anzac Day, Remembrance Day, and the war memorials that dot the country mean to Australia today? As a country that is still searching for its own national identity, war memorials provide insight into Australia's still emerging national character.

Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance is a very important, much cherished site in the city, as are many war memorials throughout Australia. Most often the war memorials are a valued reminder of Australia's involvement in the Second, and in particular, the First World War. As an Australia, one cannot ignore the multitude of references and great admiration paid to actions of the men who fought in Gallipoli. But, what, with its great respect paid in memorials across the country, does this military venture really mean to this country? WWI was supposed to be the war to end all wars. For many, this was supposed to be man's greatest endeavour of the twentieth century. For Australia, a young nation attached to Great...