To what extent were the ideals of young Australian soldiers shattered by the reality of their experiences at Gallipoli? Was anything salvaged from such a military disaster?'

Essay by cocopocoA+, May 2008

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The ideals with which the young Australian soldier went to Gallipoli were those of patriotism, the opportunity for adventure, independence and a response to the call of mateship that was aroused by war. These ideals however, were to be tested by the realities of the war experience. These realities took the forms of the realisation that they were significantly unprepared, the shocking conditions of trench warfare and the staggering and unnecessary loss of life. The Anzac’s sense of adventure and their quest to see beyond the shores of Australia were quickly questioned by the realisation that their present experiences would cause them to confront on a daily basis, the deprivation of food and water, the death of their mates and the horrors of the reality of war. In this setting, what was to be tested was their ability to adapt, to persevere and to overcome. While their ideals of the war experience were ultimately shattered, out of the military disaster and carnage that was Gallipoli, emerged a new set of qualities that would come to define the Anzac spirit and so set in motion the development of a legend.

It can be said that the ideals with which the young Australian soldier went to Gallipoli were unrealistic. Ultimately, they had absolutely no idea of what they were entering themselves into. To them it was a chance for adventure, to fight for their country and to stand alongside their mates during what would inevitably become a turning point in Australian history. The opportunity for these experiences played a major role in the conscription of Australian men to the war effort. This was greatly taken advantage of by the widespread propaganda advertisements that were created. The idea of patriotism was a big selling point. The idea that ‘your country needs YOU’ hit...