100 Years Since World War One Started
Today we mark 100 years since World War One – The Great War started, and 99 years since the disastrous landings at Gallipoli in Turkey. We all have our own ways in marking both events as well as other wars New Zealand and Australia fought in.
For me personally I had family involved one way or the other in both World Wars One and Two on both the Allied or German sides. Whether it was on my German and Prussian side members of the family serving as Imperial Officers in World War One, or living in Nazi Germany during it tyrannical regime from 1933 until 1945 constantly not only facing the threat from the regime itself but also the Soviets and the Allies who were at war with Germany back then (1939-1945). Whether it also be on the British side my late grandfather in the Merchant Navy running the Atlantic U-Boat Blockades not knowing when that next torpedo would hit your ship next. And after the conclusion of the War he was sent as an Engineer to a devastated Germany to begin the rebuilding process. In his time in Germany he would meet my Omi and bring her back to an equally devastated England where they got married and would eventually have three daughters (the youngest being my mum who was actually born in New Zealand). A Brit and a German getting married so soon after the War would have been unthinkable but it happened. In the early 1950’s my grandparents (so my mum’s side) would set sail on a one of the Government sponsored migrant ships. Their destination? Well pretty much the southern Colonies who escaped the most savage aspects of World War Two (but who had still lost so much in the way of men). And so they landed in New Zealand where they lived (one of my Aunties would return to England to live later on) right up until this day (although my grandfather passed away in 2005).
And it is where I live today – in a free and democratic New Zealand.
I do not forget the sacrifices made both men and women, and the Country made in a series of events that started arguably back in 1870 and would not conclude until 1945.
But I also do not forget the history either.
For example there is this:
A man we held in such great esteem in World War Two was also personally responsible for the disaster that was Gallipoli in World War One. That person being Sir Winston Churchill. Yes he lead the British Empire with success against Hitler in World War Two and even saw the threat Stalin would become. But as First Sea Lord of the Admiralty in World War One Churchill was charged in sending the Navy through the narrow strait (where Gallipoli is situated) to prevent the Ottoman Naval Fleets from reaching the Mediterranean and harassing the Allied naval and supply lines. As history would tell us April 25 1915 which we now remember as ANZAC DAY would be the day the Australian and New Zealand troops would land on the wrong landing spot with little or no naval back up. The rest and its consequences you should know from the botched landings. As history would also teach us much later on those botched landings in the end were blamed on Churchill who I believe was later relieved of his command.
So yes as remember our War Dead who sacrificed so much so we can enjoy what we enjoy today, let us also not forget the events that lead up to April 25 1915, as well as the consequences of the World Wars that still continue to this very day.
He who is ignorant of history is doomed to repeat it.
Lest We Forget