ANZAC spirit
Overview
 
The Anzac spirit or Anzac legend is a concept which suggests that Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 soldiers possess shared characteristics, specifically the qualities those soldiers are believed to have shown on the battlefield in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. These qualities cluster around several ideas, including endurance, courage, ingenuity, good humour, larrikinism
Larrikinism
Larrikinism is the name given to the Australian folk tradition of irreverence, mockery of authority and disregard for rigid norms of propriety. Larrikinism can also be associated with self-deprecating humour.- Etymology :...

, and mateship
Mateship
Mateship is an Australian cultural idiom that embodies equality, loyalty and friendship. There are two types of mateship, the inclusive and the exclusive; the inclusive is in relation to a shared situation , whereas the exclusive type is toward a third party...

. According to this concept, the soldiers are perceived to have been innocent and fit, stoical and laconic, irreverent in the face of authority, naturally egalitarian and disdainful of British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 class differences.

The Anzac spirit also tends to capture the idea of an Australian and New Zealand "national character", with the Gallipoli Campaign often described as being the moment of birth of the nationhood of both Australia and New Zealand.

The concept was first expressed in the reporting of the landing at Anzac Cove
Landing at Anzac Cove
The landing at Anzac Cove was part of the amphibious invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula by Australian and New Zealand forces on 25 April 1915. The landing, north of Gaba Tepe on the Aegean coast of the Peninsula, was made by soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and was the first...

 by Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett
Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett
Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett was a British war correspondent during the First World War. Through his reporting of the Battle of Gallipoli, Ashmead-Bartlett was instrumental in the birth of the Anzac legend which still dominates military history in Australia and New Zealand...

; as well as later on and much more extensively by Charles Bean
Charles Bean
Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean , usually identified as C.E.W. Bean, was an Australian schoolmaster, judge's associate, barrister journalist, war correspondent and historian....

.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Anzac spirit or Anzac legend is a concept which suggests that Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 soldiers possess shared characteristics, specifically the qualities those soldiers are believed to have shown on the battlefield in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. These qualities cluster around several ideas, including endurance, courage, ingenuity, good humour, larrikinism
Larrikinism
Larrikinism is the name given to the Australian folk tradition of irreverence, mockery of authority and disregard for rigid norms of propriety. Larrikinism can also be associated with self-deprecating humour.- Etymology :...

, and mateship
Mateship
Mateship is an Australian cultural idiom that embodies equality, loyalty and friendship. There are two types of mateship, the inclusive and the exclusive; the inclusive is in relation to a shared situation , whereas the exclusive type is toward a third party...

. According to this concept, the soldiers are perceived to have been innocent and fit, stoical and laconic, irreverent in the face of authority, naturally egalitarian and disdainful of British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 class differences.

The Anzac spirit also tends to capture the idea of an Australian and New Zealand "national character", with the Gallipoli Campaign often described as being the moment of birth of the nationhood of both Australia and New Zealand.

The concept was first expressed in the reporting of the landing at Anzac Cove
Landing at Anzac Cove
The landing at Anzac Cove was part of the amphibious invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula by Australian and New Zealand forces on 25 April 1915. The landing, north of Gaba Tepe on the Aegean coast of the Peninsula, was made by soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and was the first...

 by Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett
Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett
Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett was a British war correspondent during the First World War. Through his reporting of the Battle of Gallipoli, Ashmead-Bartlett was instrumental in the birth of the Anzac legend which still dominates military history in Australia and New Zealand...

; as well as later on and much more extensively by Charles Bean
Charles Bean
Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean , usually identified as C.E.W. Bean, was an Australian schoolmaster, judge's associate, barrister journalist, war correspondent and historian....

. It is regarded as an Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n legend, although its critics refer to it as the Anzac myth.

Historical development of the concept

The British war correspondent Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett
Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett
Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett was a British war correspondent during the First World War. Through his reporting of the Battle of Gallipoli, Ashmead-Bartlett was instrumental in the birth of the Anzac legend which still dominates military history in Australia and New Zealand...

 provided the first reports of the landing at Anzac Cove by the newly formed Australian and New Zealand Army Corps
Australian and New Zealand Army Corps
The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps was a First World War army corps of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force that was formed in Egypt in 1915 and operated during the Battle of Gallipoli. General William Birdwood commanded the corps, which comprised troops from the First Australian Imperial...

 (ANZAC). His report was published in Australia on 8 May 1915:
They waited neither for orders nor for the boats to reach the beach, but, springing out into the sea, they waded ashore, and, forming some sort of rough line, rushed straight on the flashes of the enemy’s rifles.


Ashmead-Bartlett's account of the soldiers was unashamedly heroic:

There has been no finer feat in this war than this sudden landing in the dark and the storming of the heights... General Birdwood told the writer that he couldn't sufficiently praise the courage, endurance and the soldierly qualities of the Colonials (The Australians) were happy because they had been tried for the first time and not found wanting.


Also in 1915, in response to the reporting of the efforts of the great Australian troops, the Australian poet Banjo Paterson
Banjo Paterson
Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson, OBE was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales where he spent much of his childhood...

 wrote "We're All Australians Now", including the verse:
The mettle that a race can show

Is proved with shot and steel,

And now we know what nations know

And feel what nations feel.


The Anzac spirit was particularly popularised by Charles Bean
Charles Bean
Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean , usually identified as C.E.W. Bean, was an Australian schoolmaster, judge's associate, barrister journalist, war correspondent and historian....

, Australia's official war historian. Bean encapsulated the meaning of Anzac in his publication Anzac to Amiens:

Anzac stood, and still stands, for reckless valor in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship, and endurance that will never own defeat.


For the soldiers at Battle of Gallipoli
Battle of Gallipoli
The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign or the Battle of Gallipoli, took place at the peninsula of Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916, during the First World War...

, Bean argued, life would not have been worth living if they had betrayed the ideal of mateship. Despite the loss at Gallipoli, Australian and New Zealand soldiers were seen to have displayed great courage, endurance, initiative and discipline. The stereotype developed that the Anzac rejected unnecessary restrictions, possessed a sardonic sense of humour, was contemptuous of danger, and proved himself the equal of anyone on the battlefield.

1958 saw the publication of Russel Ward’s The Australian Legend. Promoting the egalitarianism of the Australian bush and its permutation into the Anzac soldiers as the Australian Legend, it soon became a landmark book in Australian historical writing.

During the 1960s and 1970s, due to lack of observance of Anzac Day
ANZAC Day
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. It now more broadly commemorates all...

 in general society, the idea of a unique Anzac spirit began to fade. Especially among baby boomers, interest in Anzac Day reached its lowest point in the aftermath of the anti-war demonstrations over Australian involvement in the Vietnam War. Vietnam veterans, especially those taken in the forced draft, were represented by some in the 1970s as lacking the Anzac spirit.

A resurgence in popular commemoration of Anzac Day in the 1980s (possibly linked to the release of the film Gallipoli) brought the idea of an Anzac spirit back into prominence in Australian political discourse. There has been an increase in people, especially youth, attending Anzac Day Dawn Services in Australia and New Zealand, where the Anzac spirit is often invoked.

The modern definition of the Anzac spirit relates not just to Australians and New Zealanders, but to the Turks
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

 also. It is felt the Turks shared this sense of mateship forged in honourable battle.

The Anzac spirit and national identity

Coming just fourteen years after the Federation of Australia
Federation of Australia
The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia formed one nation...

, the Gallipoli campaign was one of the first international events that saw Australians taking part as Australians. As such, it has been seen as a key event in forging a sense of national identity. According to Dr Frank Bongiorno, Senior Lecturer in History at the University of New England
University of New England, Australia
The University of New England is an Australian public university with approximately 18,000 higher education students. Its original and main campus is located in the city of Armidale in northern New South Wales....

:

The Gallipoli campaign was the beginning of true Australian nationhood. When Australia went to war in 1914, many white Australians believed that their Commonwealth had no history, that it was not yet a true nation, that its most glorious days still lay ahead of it. In this sense the Gallipoli campaign was a defining moment for Australia as a new nation.


Ernest Scott’s influential A Short History of Australia, which remained a standard school text for nearly four decades from 1916 and went through six editions in its author's lifetime, clearly enunciated this concept. In the preface to the book's first edition, Scott linked the European settlement of Australia with the idea of Australia becoming a nation on the battlefields of Gallipoli:

This Short History of Australia begins with a blank space on the map and ends with the record of a new name on the map, that of Anzac.


Charles Bean also propagated this view, extending the notion to suggest that New Zealand nationhood was also born in the First World War. In 1924 Bean wrote that:

Anzac Day now belongs to the past and during the war all energy was concentrated on the future but the influence of the Gallipoli Campaign upon the national life of Australia and New Zealand has been far too deep to fade… it was on the 25th of April 1915 that the consciousness of nationhood was born.


The popular belief that the Anzacs, through their spirit, forged Australia's national character, is still today frequently expressed. For example, in 2006 the Governor-General
Governor-General
A Governor-General, is a vice-regal person of a monarch in an independent realm or a major colonial circonscription. Depending on the political arrangement of the territory, a Governor General can be a governor of high rank, or a principal governor ranking above "ordinary" governors.- Current uses...

 of Australia, Michael Jeffery
Michael Jeffery
Major General Philip Michael Jeffery AC, CVO, MC was the 24th Governor-General of Australia , the first Australian career soldier to be appointed governor-general...

 gave an address in which he said that although the Anzacs lost the campaign they created a lasting identity for Australia:

We are summoned to recall the battle sacrifices of Australian farmers and tally clerks, teachers and labourers and to commemorate outstanding courage and strength of character in the face of sustained adversity... [The campaign] won for us an enduring sense of national identity based on those iconic traits of mateship, courage, compassion and nous.


An extension of this belief is the idea that the Anzacs set an example for future generations of Australians to follow, laying the bedrock of 'Australian values'. In 2007 the Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson
Brendan Nelson
Dr Brendan John Nelson is a former Australian politician and former federal Opposition leader. He served as a member of the Australian House of Representatives from the 1996 federal election until 19 October 2009 as the Liberal member for Bradfield, a northern Sydney seat...

 articulated this view, stating that the Anzacs "forged values that are ours and make us who we are, reminding us that there are some truths by which we live." Nelson had earlier argued that the story of Simpson and his donkey
John Simpson Kirkpatrick
John 'Jack' Simpson Kirkpatrick , who served under the name John Simpson, was a stretcher bearer with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during the Gallipoli Campaign in World War I...

 rescuing wounded men at Gallipoli "represents everything that's at the heart of what it means to be an Australian".

The Anzac spirit is also sometimes said to be exhibited during Australian civilian crises. For example, the Returned and Services League of Australia
Returned and Services League of Australia
The Returned and Services League of Australia is a support organisation for men and women who have served or are serving in the Australian Defence Force ....

 states:
The Spirit of the ANZAC continues today in times of hardship such as cyclones, floods and bush fires. At those times Australians come together to rescue one another, to ease suffering, to provide food and shelter, to look after one another, and to let the victims of these disasters know they are not alone.


In New Zealand, the Anzac spirit is similarly pointed to in some quarters as forming an important component of New Zealand national identity. The New Zealand Government's Ministry of Culture and Heritage states:

New Zealand soldiers distinguished themselves with their courage and skill, establishing an enduring bond with the Australians they fought alongside ... Great suffering was caused to a small country by the loss of so many of its young men. But the Gallipoli campaign showcased attitudes and attributes - bravery, tenacity, practicality, ingenuity, loyalty to King and comrades - that helped New Zealand define itself as a nation, even as it fought unquestioningly on the other side of the world in the name of the British Empire. After Gallipoli, New Zealand had a greater confidence in its distinct identity, and a greater pride in the international contribution it could make. And the mutual respect earned during the fighting formed the basis of the close ties with Australia that continue today.

Criticism

Professor Manning Clark
Manning Clark
Charles Manning Hope Clark, AC , an Australian historian, was the author of the best-known general history of Australia, his six-volume A History of Australia, published between 1962 and 1987...

, in his influential work A History of Australia, suggested a contrasting image of the innocent and honourable Anzac soldier. From a range of sources he provided evidence of the soldiers' bad behaviour. For example, he documented that, as recruits, some indulged in sex orgies with an 18-year-old girl at the Broadmeadows camp before being shipped to war. Others confronted police in violent scuffles on the streets of Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

. Clark also recorded that in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 some soldiers burned the belongings of local people, brawled, got drunk and rioted, and spent sufficient time in the local brothels for many of them to contract venereal disease.

Other scholars such as professor of politics
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 at La Trobe University
La Trobe University
La Trobe University is a multi-campus university in Victoria, Australia. It was established in 1964 by an Act of Parliament to become the third oldest university in the state of Victoria. The main campus of La Trobe is located in the Melbourne suburb of Bundoora; two other major campuses are...

, Robert Manne
Robert Manne
Robert Manne is a professor of politics at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.Born in Melbourne, Manne's earliest political consciousness was formed by the fact that his parents were Jewish refugees from Europe and his grandparents were victims of the Holocaust...

, have also questioned the veracity or the Anzac legend, arguing that it is more accurate to describe the concept as a mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

. Dr Dale Blair of Deakin University
Deakin University
Deakin University is an Australian public university with nearly 40,000 higher education students in 2010. It receives more than A$600 million in operating revenue annually, and controls more than A$1.3 billion in assets. It received more than A$35 million in research income in 2009 and had 835...

 suggests that:

While traits such as egalitarianism, resourcefulness and initiative are assumed and maintained in the nation's popular memory as a truthful representation, not only of Australia's First World War soldiers, but also, of the national character, they were not sufficiently evident in the experience of the 1st Battalion [at Gallipoli] to justify their advancement as characteristics general to Australian soldiers or the nation.


According to Blair, the official war historian Charles Bean "advanced an idealised view of sacrifice to provide the nation with higher meaning and comfort as compensation for the death of its soldiers". Professor Verity Burgmann of the University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne is a public university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is the second oldest university in Australia and the oldest in Victoria...

 argues that the prevailing picture of Anzac and later battles on the Western Front as the highest representation of national unity and shared sacrifice is a misrepresentation, because two conscription referenda
Referendums in Australia
In Australia, referendums are binding polls usually used to alter the Constitution of the Commonwealth or a state or territory. Non-binding polls are usually referred to as plebiscites.-Federal referendums:...

 were defeated in Australia, and many Australians were totally opposed to any participation in the war.

Other sceptics have questioned the idea that Australia's "national character" was forged on the beaches of Gallipoli. In 2008 an editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald stated:

But why should Australians now, 90 years later, be still so eager for some stereotypical reaffirmation of their character? Why the self-doubt? The danger in the transformation - as remembrance replaces memory, and nationalism replaces remembrance - is that the solemnity and the serious purpose of Anzac Day will be lost in an irrelevant search for some kind of essence of Australianness.


Similarly, historian Mark McKenna disputes the notion that the character traits that supposedly define the Anzac spirit are uniquely and demonstrably Australian, arguing that these virtues are in fact universal, being "found in Palestine and Iraq, in Darfur and East Timor, in Afghanistan and Zimbabwe."

Alan Young, a World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

  veteran and film maker, presents a different view of the origins of the Anzac tradition in his film
Forging the Anzac Tradition, The Untold Story. Young argues that "If Gallipoli is the birthplace of the Anzac acronym, then the Western Front is where
the Anzac legend grew up, stood tall and cemented their place in international history; and in our hearts". He points out that five times the number of men died in the "real war" at the Western Front than at the disastrous Gallipoli diversion, yet many Australasians know very little of this sacrifice.

Some have also critiqued the masculine
Masculinity
Masculinity is possessing qualities or characteristics considered typical of or appropriate to a man. The term can be used to describe any human, animal or object that has the quality of being masculine...

 underpinnings of the Anzac legend. According to popular notions of the Anzac spirit, the male bonding or mateship becomes the main characteristic in the description of Australianess, yet these characteristics are seen to imply that the true Australian is inevitably and only male. Some feminists
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

 have therefore described this notion as being exclusionary and discriminatory
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

, and contend that, as a result, it cannot possibly define what it means to be Australian. Professor Joy Damousi has questioned a view of an Australian national character which relies exclusively on militarism and heroism, arguing that this obscures a more complex, diverse and inclusive understanding of identity.

More broadly, Dr Martin Ball of the University of Melbourne argues that conflating the Anzac spirit with a collective Australian national character exposes an uncritically narrow understanding of Australian history:

The Anzac tradition holds many values for us all to celebrate, but the myth also suppresses parts of Australian history that are difficult to deal with. Anzac is a means of forgetting the origins of Australia. The Aboriginal population is conveniently absent. The convict stain is wiped clean. Postwar immigration is yet to broaden the cultural identity of the population.

See also

  • Anzac Day
    ANZAC Day
    Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. It now more broadly commemorates all...

  • Nationalism
    Nationalism
    Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

  • Western Front (World War I)
    Western Front (World War I)
    Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

  • Battle of Gallipoli
    Battle of Gallipoli
    The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign or the Battle of Gallipoli, took place at the peninsula of Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916, during the First World War...

  • John Simpson Kirkpatrick
    John Simpson Kirkpatrick
    John 'Jack' Simpson Kirkpatrick , who served under the name John Simpson, was a stretcher bearer with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during the Gallipoli Campaign in World War I...

  • Alec Campbell
    Alec Campbell
    Alexander William Campbell was the final surviving Australian participant of the Gallipoli campaign during the First World War. His death broke the last living link of Australians with the Gallipoli story....

    , the last living ANZAC at Gallipoli
  • Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association
    Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association
    The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association, often referred to as the Returned Services' Association but best known simply as the RSA, is one of the largest voluntary welfare organisations in New Zealand and one of the oldest ex-service organisations in the world.Wounded soldiers...


Sources

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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