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The Purpose of the Gallipoli Campaign

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Aspects that encouraged World War One to arise was politics, secret alliances, imperialism, and the nationalistic pride. All these aspects were between the countries Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy and France, Britain and Russia.

A few years before World War One arised, the countries of Europe, were endlessly making alliances with each other creating power between themselves. An alliance was made between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy in 1881 to arrange to defend each other if France ever decided to attack any one of the countries. Although, at this point, Italy went to France and made a secret alliance with their government to not assist or help Germany if they were ever attacked. Because of Germany’s alliance between, Austria-Hungary, and Italy, in 1907, the triple entente (trio of countries. This was named by France) was assembled between Britain, Russia and France. After this alliance was made, Germany felt deliberately attacked and felt like there was a real threat to their country. Therefore, the alliances and politics all contributed to the rise of World War One. New Zealanders were sent over to be apart of the alliance with France, Britain and Russia as New Zealand was involved in the British Empire.

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Imperialism is another area which encouraged World War One to start. Imperialism is when a country develops to try expand and create power for their own country to become a large empire. Just before World War One began, France and Britain did exactly that and created their own large empire. Although, Russia and Germany were trying to do the same thing, create a rich and large empire. Because both of these countries were enemies, they therefore, caused conflict and competition to arise between many countries. With this situation happening in Europe, it created destruct, and hatred between many of the European countries. Many believed that one more international event will cause a war to erupt. Because of this, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand air to the throne of Austria, Hungary on June 28th 1914 caused Austria to declare war on Serbia on July 28th, as they believed that the Serbian government arranged the assassination.

Austria believed that Serbia’s ali, Russia would not put danger on their country to help out Serbia. Although, they were incorrect and Russia started to construct their troops for the beginning of war. This was only the start of declarations of war. After Hungary declared war, it encouraged other European empires to do the same. Therefore, Germany (Austria, Hungary’s ali) declared war on Russia, and Germany declared war on France and attacked Belgium. Britain then announced war on Germany. World War One had finally begun.

World War One quickly nearly fell down to a draw in the end of 1914 across the Western Front. The Triple Entente, France, Britain and Russia wanted to end the stalemate and also wanted another way to attack the axis powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey). Britain also needed a way to export supplies and troops to the West of Europe. This is only achieved by going through the Dardanelles. Therefore, they wanted advantage over the Dardanelles, not just to get to the West of Europe, but to also receive easy entrance to the Black Sea, and to cut through the straights to gain power over the capital of Turkey, Constantinople. This plan would eventually drive the axis powers to surrender. Therefore, they agreed to fight on Gallipoli. On the 25th of April, 1915, the Gallipoli Campaign begun.

Trenches and conditions

The conditions in Gallipoli were completely different to what the soldiers were expecting when they arrived on Gallipoli. The Anzacs were supposed to land on Gaba Tepe, however, they landed 2 km north of their expected landing area. They landed on a significantly smaller piece of land called Anzac Cove. When they arrived, they saw less than 6 km of land which all soldiers that landed on Anzac Cove had to live on. Before the Campaign begun, the environment was different to what you would see now. Before any soldier stepped foot on that land, there were flowers and crops that grew. However, the battle changed this as it was so brutal. Another aspect that they saw when they arrived, was the insane amount of uneven landscape. The soldiers were not trained nor used to this type of landscape, as they trained and lived on flat land in Egypt. Therefore, the Anzacs would have found this challenging as they were practically living on top of each other. We can understand this by looking at the picture to the side (The Anzac tents), as we can see that they used their uneven land to their advantage and tried to put their tents as close to each other as they could. Because of the hilly terrain, the soldiers were able to do this as the tents would not fall on top of each other. Also, with this hilly terrain, it would have been significantly hard to fight as they were not able to see their opposing team easily or even get a peripheral look around Anzac Cove. The Turk’s trenches were approximately 4 metres apart from the Anzacs trenches. This is majorly close to one another, which portrays the amount of soldiers that would’ve been easily killed from the opposing team being so close.

The weather on Gallipoli was quite different to what it is like in New Zealand. In 1915, during June – August, the weather would reach to about 37 degrees in the shade. Thus, the Anzacs, would not be used to this extremely hot weather and therefore, would have found it challenging. During this time, everything on Gallipoli rotted. This would include the dead bodies and food. This would not be hygienic for the soldiers as they could easily get sick and catch diseases. Also in summer, the trenches would get extremely hot that the soldiers would suck on rocks and use their own urine to get some moisture for their mouths. This is quite disgusting however, this is what they had to do to survive in these specific conditions. Even without the hot weather, there was already limited water on Gallipoli. The heat from the sun on the soldier’s steel cans, created their water to evaporate. This water was stored for drinking, shaving, washing and more. With the Turks poisoning most of the wells with water, the soldiers would often go without water, or some would take the risk and drink the water as they were so dehydrated. Therefore, the summer weather, was significantly difficult for the soldiers as they did not keep up with their hygiene and took risks which would end up with them catching a disease or even death. During, November – January, it was actually quite similar to New Zealand’s winter. In Gallipoli, they would receive wind and rain. Therefore, the soldiers still would have found this difficult to face even though they are used to this type of winter weather. It would have been challenging as there was not a lot of shelter to use. Although, their uniforms would have been very useful as it consisted of a lot of layers, but it would’ve not been helpful for the extreme hot weather in summer.

The food in Gallipoli, consisted of salty bacon, tea, bully beef, cheese, and apricot jam. Most of this food was the home for flies. Soldiers would get salty bacon and a mug of tea for breakfast. For their main, the soldiers would get bully beef which is a type of stew. Lastly, for supper, they would receive another mug of tea and a piece of cheese or apricot jam, which they would share with other soldiers. The Anzacs had the same food for over 8 months which tells us that they would easily get fed up of the same food each day. Although, this was the only thing they would get, so if they didn’t like it, they would just simply not eat anything.

Diseases were another thing that the Anzacs had to fight during the Gallipoli Campaign. Typhoid, body lice and diarrhoea were caught because of poor hygiene, lack of nutritious food, water, sleep and also because of the unburied bodies. Even if the soldiers had diseases and were unwell, they still had to fight as there were so many that were ill that if they were let off, and were able to rest, the Anzacs would be down many soldiers. For example, after 4 months of fighting at Gallipoli, 80% of the soldiers had dysentery. Therefore, with soldiers, not able to rest and to strengthen their immune systems, it was harder for soldiers to get rid of these diseases as they were not aloud to stop fighting. 

Another disease which is produced by flies, caught up with many of the soldiers. The Anzacs, had to vacate hundreds of soldiers each week which would have been very challenging for the Campaign as they did not have many soldiers fighting at this time. The lack of hygiene was a major part which encouraged diseases on the soldiers. Like said above, there was limited water on Gallipoli, so the soldiers would use the same water for everything. The soldiers would use the water to brush their teeth, have a shave, to do their laundry and after that is all done, they would have a cup of tea with the same water. The men would also sometimes have to wait a whole week to have a shave. This indicates that this did not include a shower. Therefore, with the lack of hygiene, diseases would have been easily spread and caught between all Anzacs.  

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