Another ANZAC Day -
On 25 April 1915, eight months into the First World War, Allied soldiers landed on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula. This was Turkish territory that formed part of Germany's ally, the Ottoman Empire. The troops were there as part of a plan to open the Dardanelles Strait to the Allied fleets, allowing them to threaten the Ottoman capital Constantinople (now Istanbul) and, it was hoped, force a Turkish surrender. The Allied forces encountered unexpectedly strong resistance from the Turks, and both sides suffered enormous loss of life. The forces from New Zealand and Australia, fighting as part of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), played an important part in the Gallipoli campaign. At its beginning, people at home greeted with excitement the news that our soldiers were at last fully engaged in the war. New Zealand soldiers distinguished themselves with their courage and skill, establishing an enduring bond with the Australians they fought alongside.
It is interesting now how many people go out to celebrate ANZAC day nowadays compared to when I was a child. I don't remember it being very important when I was ten whereas my daughter aged 11 has been to at least seven ANZAC services (not today though as we all have colds and felt miserable and the rain did not help).
I am thinking that this is an excellent topic for us to teach at school - not the history stuff - although this is very important but the issues affecting us now, such as:
- where are the poppies made NZ vs China - what are the issues?
- is war a solution to a problem?
- should we have a holiday for ANZAC day - why or why not?
- why particular places or surroundings such as Gallipoli or other major locations where New Zealanders have fought are significant to people.
Any of these ideas would be great to do with classes. Maybe they could have an online debate; create a blog from a particular perspective then others could comment on this; maybe they could create a podcast or make a tv documentary on their chosen topic; Perhaps they could put themselves in someone elses shoes and argue from their point of view. What other ideas are there?