The ANZAC Legend.

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The ANZAC Legend

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACS, and the pride they soon took in that name endures to this day.

The ANZAC legend began with the landing at Gallipoli on April 25 1915, signaling the start of the disastrous Dardanelles campaign on the Turk Peninsula. This campaign saw thousands of ANZAC fatalities before its conclusion in January 1916. Significantly, the ANZAC legend is the result of a devastating loss, rather than a great victory. The soldiers are remembered for maintaining courage and determination under hopeless conditions.

The ANZAC legend owes much to wartime correspondents who used the Gallipoli landing to generate a specifically Australian hero. Among the many reports, which reached Australia, were those of Ashmead-Bartlett. His Gallipoli dispatches described Australians as a 'race of athletes ... practical above all', whose cheers, even in death, 'resounded throughout the night'. Ashmead-Bartlett helped instigate intense pride in an emerging image of Australian identity.
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Ashmead-Bartlett did however, romanticize the horrors of the tragic Gallipoli campaign. In wartime propaganda, the ANZAC forces were portrayed as the loyal sons of the British Empire, fighting as much for the 'mother country' as for their own. Beyond the military campaign, the ANZAC soldiers represented the ethos of their rural Australian background. The values of equality, good humor and mateship were transplanted to the situation in Turkey.

It is easy to understand why the ANZAC legend became so popular. The Gallipoli campaign was described as the baptism of the newly federated Australia, and a chance for ...

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