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Talk: The commemoration of Gallipoli in transnational perspective

Date published: 
Monday, 20 July, 2015

Australia has dominated the commemoration of Gallipoli and its historiography. If we look be-yond the A of Anzac to explore how other key participants in the campaign have commemorated it, the transnational exchange of ideas can be observed. Each country’s memory has followed its own path, but ideas from outside have had a strong influence. In particular, Australia has been a pervasive and vital influence in this process. New Zealand’s commemorations have closely fol-lowed in Australia’s footsteps, but have had their own distinctive characteristics. Australia’s and New Zealand’s deep interest in commemorating events at Anzac Cove have influenced the grow-ing interest in the memory of the Ottoman victory at Gallipoli in Turkey. The position of Mustafa Kemal’s reputation as the hero of the campaign and magnanimous statesman afterwards has been a prominent part of all three countries’ commemorations. Yet Atatürk’s speech regarding ‘those heroes that shed their blood’ only seems to have become well known since the 1980s, and lately Kemal’s special position has been diluted in Turkey by the AKP government. Meanwhile, over the century, the British role in the campaign has been marginalised in the commemoration of Gallipoli – willingly so at first – such that, today it is primarily remembered in local pockets with-in the UK, and often those places that do remember 25 April, do so because of an Anzac rather than a British connection. In Ireland, Gallipoli along with the rest of the First World War was for-gotten for decades. Where the campaign has been remembered, it was often under the cover of its Anzac connection. The Australian response to the campaign has been profoundly influential in the commemoration of Gallipoli in New Zealand, Turkey, Great Britain, and Ireland. Anzac Day may be Australia’s greatest export.
During July and August 2015, Dr Jenny Macleod is a University of Canterbury Visiting Canterbury Fellow. Her new book, Gallipoli (Oxford University Press) is published this week. It ex-plores the commemoration of the campaign and the relationship between the memory of war and national identity in Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Ireland and Turkey. She has previously published Reconsidering Gallipoli (2004) and is the co-founder of the International Society for First World War Studies.

Wednesday 22 July at 12 p.m.
Arts Lecture Theatre A8 University of Canterbury