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Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Scott McIntyre was sacked from SBS for what I wrote on the History Channel's H100 website by John Tognolini
Myth 1. The ANZACS were defending Australia and New Zealand by invading Turkey at Gallipoli
The ANZACS were fighting for the British Empire, not Australia and New Zealand’s defence. World War One was fought over empires and access to colonies. The main reason Germany went to war was to gain colonies like Britain and France. The Turkish Ottoman Empire was massive and was known as “The Sick Man of Europe” because it was crumbling. Prior to World War One, the Ottoman Empire had already lost its colonies in the Balkans. In addition, Britain and her allies, France and Russia, wanted to carve the rest of it up. Russia would get Constantinople and access to the Aegean Sea, France would gain Syria and Lebanon and Britain would have Palestine and Iraq. Even then Iraq’s massive oil reserves were highly valued with the British navy converting from being fuelled by coal to oil.
A major problem though for Britain was that the Turks were far more pro-British than pro-German. Australian writer Les Carlyon, describes in his book 'Gallipoli', the actions taken by First Lord of the Navy Winston Churchill to align the Turks with Germany. Carlyon calls Churchill’s actions against Turkey “an essay in provocation”. Britain seized two Turkish war ships that had been built in British shipyards, one was operational the other was nearly finished and Turkish sailors had been sent to Britain to crew both of them. The ships were given Turkish names and the ship building company was paid seven and half million pounds. The funds for the two ships had been raised by public subscription with Turkish women selling locks of their own hair to raise money for their purchase. After the War, Britain and France, gained their new colonies from the Ottoman Empire. The success of Russia’s Revolution and Lenin’s Bolsheviks ruled out the ambitions of the former Russian Czar.
Major General Sir (later Field Marshal Lord) William Riddell Birdwood (of Anzac, Bt), GCB, GCMG, CIE, DSO, was selected from the Indian Army 1914 to command the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
He supervised the corps during its training in Egypt and let it during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. (Photo: AWM)
Myth 2. The British landed the ANZACS on the wrong beach
The Anzac Cove landings on 25 April 1915 were organised by senior ANZAC officers Lieutenant General William Birdwood (the British officer commanding the ANZACS), and Australians Major General William Throsby Bridges and Colonel Brudenell White. They convinced the Allied commander of the 80,000 strong invasion Sir Ian Hamilton, to change their goals - and time of the first of three invasion waves to pre-dawn from dawn. This was after their intelligence officer Major Charles Villiers-Stuart, flew over the Gallipoli two weeks earlier. He told the Birdwood, Bridges and Brundell White of the formidable Turkish defences including artillery batteries that he had observed during his flight.
Hugh Dolan, a former Australian Air Force Intelligence Officer bought this all to light in his tenaciously researched book '36 Days: The Untold Story Behind the Gallipoli Landings'. The documentary 'Gallipoli From Above' is based on his book and first screened on the History Channel in 2012. Dolan told the Canberra Times on 24 April 2012:
''They did something extraordinary….They sent their military intelligence officer, Major Charles Villiers-Stuart, on an aerial reconnaissance mission over Anzac Cove on April 14, 1915. He sat in the back seat [of the two-man biplane] with a pair of binoculars and a 1/40,000 scale map. He was able to determine the strength and position of the Turkish forces on the ridges [behind Anzac Cove].''
''That led to a reappraisal at Anzac headquarters. Here something special happens,'' says Dolan.
''Instead of landing and advancing [across the Gallipoli peninsula] to Maidos on the Dardenelles, they gained Hamilton's permission to change their orders.''
Mustafa Kemal, in the Ottoman trenches in Gallipoli circa 1915
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Myth 3. The Turks were poor soldiers
Winston Churchill said “A good army of 50,000 men and sea power – that is the end of the Turkish menace.” The toll of dead Allied soldiers and sailors was far greater than that.
The Allied invasion was not taking place in the Turkish Ottoman colonies of Palestine, Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq and Kuwait) or Syria, but in the Turkish homeland. The Turks had a good, clean cause to fight and die for. They were also well led. When Turkish troops were retreating inland, there they were met by Colonel Mustafa Kemal, who told them to go back and fight. They told him that they had no bullets. Kemal looked at them and said, “You have bayonets. I’m not ordering you to fight, I’m ordering you to die.” These men turned around towards the base of Chunik Bair to meet a force of Australians. Kemal went with leading them with his own troops of the 19th Turkish Division, the main reserve of the Turkish Fifth Army. His leadership throughout the nearly nine month campaign, including the August Battles was a decisive factor in the Turks victory at Gallipoli.
There is debate and controversy about the numbers of men that died at Gallipoli but it is believed that over 100,000 died, between 56,000 – 68,000 Turkish and 53,000 British and French soldiers in the Gallipoli Campaign. There were 43,000 British soldiers killed or missing, including 8,709 Australians, 2,721 New Zealanders, nearly twenty five per cent of those who had landed there. The British Indian (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) troops killed 1,358 and 49 Canadian Newfoundlanders. In this total are those who died from disease.
Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey. September 1915. Colonel J. M. Antill of 3rd Australian Light Horse, on Rhodendron Spur.
(Photo: Australian War Memorial)
Myth 4. All the suicidal attacks were organised by British Senior Officers who were incompetent
In Peter Weir’s 1981 film 'Gallipoli', a British officer is shown telling Australians to get out of their trenches to attack the Turkish trench at the Battle of the Nek.
It was an Australian officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jack Antill, the Bull ant, who threw the 3rd and 10th Light Horse against the five Turkish machine guns at the Nek. The survivors of the 10th Light Horse from the Nek later fought at Hill 60. Antil sent four waves of the Light Horse against an area the size of tennis court that the Turks had covered by five machine guns. The Turkish officer commanding the Nek was in tears, yelling out to the Australians “Stop charging us.” Antill also had the 9th Light Horse in reserve who were waiting to go over the top until Antill’s madness was stopped.
There were also incompetent British officers at Gallipoli such as Major General Aylmer Hunter-Weston who sent Australian 2nd Brigade’s battalions, the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Battalions and the New Zealand Infantry Brigade’s Auckland, Canterbury, Otago and Wellington Regiments, into the Second Battle of Krithia at Helles. That battle took place on May 6 and 8, the Australian and New Zealand troops fought alongside British and French soldiers.
Nearly one-third of Hunter-Weston’s force was killed or wounded due to his decision to attack in broad daylight, and the battle was finished a long way short of Krithia. There was no organisation for the wounded. The small number of stretcher bearers did a herculean job of carrying them from the distant battlefield to the beach, but once the wounded were taken off the beach, the overwhelmed hospital ships were reluctant to take them on board.
The Turks kept the British and French forces at Helles confined south of Krithia until the last Allied troops were evacuated from there on 9 January 1916. Hunter-Weston came to be called by his troops Hunter-Bunter. When he was challenged by the British Naval Division’s General Archibald Paris about the massive casualties that were suffered during a later Battle of Krithia led by Hunter-Weston in July, he replied, “Casualties, what do I care for casualties?” Hunter-Weston, along with his golf clubs and two huge arm chairs, was evacuated from Gallipoli, not due to enemy fire, but from illness.
There were, however, capable British senior officers at Gallipoli. Major General Harold Walker, a British regular officer who took command of the Australian 1st Division after its Australian commander, Major General William Throsby Bridges died from a bullet wound at Gallipoli is an example. Walker opposed the attack on Lone Pine but after being forced to agree to it, he meticulously planned for it including stealthily digging a trench across No Man’s Land for the surprise attack on Turkish trenches. Lone Pine was the only successful battle of the August Offensive.
Informal portrait of C E W Bean working on official files in his Victoria Barracks office during the writing of the Official History.
The files on his desk are probably the Operations Files, 1914-18 War, prepared by the Army between 1925 and 1930 and are now held by the A.W. Memorial as AWM 26. (Photo: Australian War Memorial)
Myth 5. The only organised campaign was the retreat.
There has been debate about whether or not the Turks knew the ANZACS were going. According to Charles Bean’s The Story of Anzac (Vol II), p. 866, one unnamed soldier/diarist described his departure on one of the two nights, an event involving more than 41,000 from Anzac Cove as follows:
“At once I thought – ‘My goodness, if the Turks don’t see all this as it goes along they must be blind’. But as I went along behind them I began to notice how silently these mules behaved. They had big loads but they were perfectly quiet. They made no sound as they walked except for the slight jingle of a chain now and then … I doubt if at 1,000 yards [914 metres] you could see them at all – possibly just a black serpentine streak.”
Macquarie University’s Professor Harvey Broadbent, who spent five translating over 2,000 pages of Turkish archives, including soldiers' diaries and letters from the Gallipoli Campaign to produce his book Defending Gallipoli: The Turkish Story has looked at evidence as to whether the Turks knew about the evacuation. He told ABC Radio on 2 March 2015:
"A lot of historians have been trying to find the answer to this over many years," he said.
"I found a number of documents which related to that particular event in December 1915…I wasn't able to find a document which said 'we knew they were leaving on the 20th of December and we let them go'.
"What we do have is a number of documents [with] which you can piece together a scenario.
"That is, the Turks knew there was an evacuation being prepared but they didn't know exactly when and they didn't know where [the troops] were going.
"I think that you can say that it's possible they let them go. [But] it's still an unresolved issue."
So is it a myth? Whether it is or is not is still open to debate. However, it is true that not one ANZAC soldier lost his life or became wounded in the two nights leaving Gallipoli.
"A petty reason perhaps why novelists more and more try to keep a distance from journalists is that novelists are trying to write the truth and journalists are trying to write fiction." Graham Greene
Guests I've had on Radio.
Russell Crowe, Amanda Dole and myself outside Radio Redfern, May Day 1989. Russell had just performed a few songs on my show, Radio Solidarity. Amanda is an organiser for the National Union of Workers.
Togs's Place.Com is a massive blog/web site. To get around and find articles you want or just explore, use the SEARCH BLOG, if you enter Noam Chomsky, you'll not only come up with numerous articles, speeches, interviews by and with Chomsky, but also being referred to in articles by Robert Fisk, John Pilger and myself. With Blogger you've got to scroll down from the most recent till the oldest.
Every posting has a label ie, New Romans;Middle East from May 18 07 to today, this is a new system I've adopted for labels, previous labels on this topic were New Romans;Middle East 4, 3, 2, 1. These numbers go backwards to when I started this site in October 2006. New Romans;Middle East from May 18 07 to today will relabeled New Romans;Middle East from May 18 to June 10 07 for easy reference and the new label will be New Romans;Middle East from June 10 07 to today.
The Recent Posts is the quick link to my Recent Postings. The Links can take you to 170 different web sites in Australia and around the World.
It's been a learning experience for me operating this blog but there is an insatiable hunger for alternative news and opinion on a range of issues in Australia that is often ignored or sidelined by the corporate media and an increasing self censored ABC.
I've added Google translation is here in Arabic, Bulgarian, Croation, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Spanish, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Nowegian, Korean, Chinese, Romanian, Russian, Swedish and Greek.
"Bread and work and love, the poor man’s trinity, and by all three needs they chain him down." Christina Stead 1902-1983 Seven Poor Men of Sydney
"Every government is run by liars and nothing should be believed." I.F.Stone 1907-89
"I have made more friends for American culture than the State Department. Certainly I have made fewer enemies, but that isn't very difficult." Arthur Miler 1915-2005
"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." George Orwell 1903-50
"It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understandig the hidden agendas of the message that surrounds it." John Pilger
"Lots of people who complained about us receiving the MBE received theirs for heroism in the war - for killing people. We received ours for entertaining other people. I'd say we deserve ours more." Joesph Heller 1923-99
"Media is just a word that has come to mean bad journalism." Graham Greene 1904-91
"My experience in the First World War and now the Second World War [his son Barney was killed in the Battle of Singapore] changed my outlook on things. It is hard to believe that there is a God. I feel the Bible is a book written by man but for the purpose of preying on a person’s conscience, and to confuse him. Anyone who taken part in a bayonet charge (and I have) [Gallipoli], and has managed to retain his proper senses, must doubt the truth of the Bible and the powers of God, if one exists. And considering the many hundreds of different religions that there are in this world of ours, and the fact that many religions have caused terrible wars and hatreds throughout the world, and that many religions that have hoarded tremendous wealth and property while people inside and outside religion are starving , it is difficult to remain a believer. No Sir, there is no God, it is only a myth." Albert Facey 1894-1982 A Fortunate Life
"Now take my case. I’m twenty-nine and have two brothers—one in the Liberal Party and one serving six years for rape and arson. My sister Peg is on the streets and Dad lives off her earnings. Mum is pregnant by the boarder and because of this Dad won’t marry her. Last night I got engaged to an ex-prostitute and I wish to be fair to her: should I tell her about my brother in the Liberal Party." David Ireland 1927- The Unknown Industrial Prisoner
"Prime Minster Howard I’ve heard You met George Bush and the Pope too, I understand, Oh I liked the Pope much better, I only had to kiss his hand." L’Amour Denis Kevans 1939-2005
"The first law of journalism-to confirm existing prejudice rather than contradict it." Alexander Cockburn
"The Labour Party [ALP], starting with a band of inspired Socialists, degenerated into a vast machine for capturing political power, but did not know how to use the power when attained except for the profit of individuals[...] Such is the history of all Labour organisations in Australia, and not because they are Australian , but because they are Labour..." Victor Gordon Childe 1892-1957, How Labour Governs
"The trouble with a free market economy is that it requires so many policemen to make it work." Neal Ascherson, 1932- Games with the Shadows, Policing the Marketplace.
"The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket. There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism. It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. " Major General Smedley Butler,1881-1940
"What is the crime of robbing a bank compared with the crime of founding one." Bertolt Brecht 1898-1956
"Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?" Kurt Vonnegut 1922-2007
[Battler]" a conscientious person working against many odds to make a living; one whose life is a constant struggle.’ Battlers maybe men or women; black or white. They rarely deal with racism (the negative side of our tradition) because they sympathise with anyone facing adversity or unfair criticism. The term ‘battler’ is a state of mind-a traditional attitude which goes back to the convict era, when the battler was on a flogging to nothing but fiddled around the rules and held his masters in contempt. The battlers are aware that they are being lied to by....politicians; and they suspect that Keating’s warning that Australia could become a banana republic is in fact, happening before their eyes." Frank Hardy 1917-1994. Retreat Australia Fair 1990
I don't respect the law; I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer. Brendan Behan 1923-64
“I do what I do, and write what I write, without calculating what is worth what and so on. Fortunately, I am not a banker or an accountant. I feel that there is a time when a political statement needs to be made and I make it.” Arundhati Roy