Absurdity of the ANZAC Myth

“What is ANZAC day all about?” we asked our Australian colleagues Al and Chloe this morning. We often ask them to explain something that seems foreign to us when we encounter something about the country we don’t understand. We were trying to figure out what the spirit of ANZAC day is. Does it commemorate a historic sacrifice by ordinary men for some extraordinary goal?

Though we like being irreverent, we have, like everyone else in the modern world, become sensitized about saying things that offend other people or make them “uncomfortable.” We don’t want to be accused of hate speech or anything. Still, we had to just come out with the question as bluntly as we could to see if we were getting thing wrong.

“So let’s see if we have this straight. ANZAC day celebrates the fact that a fully independent Australia happily went to the defense of the British Empire and sacrificed thousands of its best and brightest young man to the inept strategies of Britain’s generals? Is that about right? Are we missing something?”

Al and Chloe assured us that there is an acknowledgement of the absurdity of the sacrifice in the unofficial ANZAC mythology. We hope they are right…

Dan Denning
Markets and Money

Dan Denning

Dan Denning examines the geopolitical and economic events that can affect your investments domestically. He raises the questions you need to answer, in order to survive financially in these turbulent times.

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3 Comments on "Absurdity of the ANZAC Myth"

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ANZAC day is about the men on that beach, Dan. Every Australian knows that the British strategy was flawed.

But the focus is on the heroism of the men in helping their mates and doing their duty proudly not as British subjects but as citizens of an independent country. They fought for Australia, despite the fact that Australia still towed the line with Britain.

It’s about the non-militaristic warrior ethos, and the futility of war.

Dan, regarding ANZAC, you have to remember that Federation was achieved in Australia in only 1901 and hadn’t really been bedded down. To many (including overseas) it was a waste of time. Australia was largely still a collection on British colonies now called states in the Australian Commonwealth. Along comes WW1 and the British request help. The prevailing sentiment was that we should help and it was our chance to show the country (internal) and world (external) they we had matured as a nation. And that we did. ANZAC cove was a planning disaster which should have resulted in our… Read more »
‘ANZAC day celebrates the fact that a fully independent Australia happily went to the defense of the British Empire …’ Actually, no. Few Australians ever get to read or hear much about the state of the nation in WWI, except through the excessive romanticism of the Anzac myth. In reality, the majority of Australians were opposed to our young lads racing off to defend the British Empire. The young lads seem to have felt much the same. By 1916, enlistments had dried up to a trickle, leading the increasingly desperate Hughes government to hold a referendum on conscription. (He knew… Read more »
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