Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


9 January 1916

The British abandon Gallipoli.

On this date the last 200 Allied soldiers left the Gallipoli peninsula, ending one of the most ignominious campaigns of World War I. Gallipoli has become synonymous with a huge failure, because so many soldiers on both the Allied and Turkish sides died for such a grand ambition but for such small gains. The campaign was conceived as a strike at Constantinople in order to knock the Turks out of the war quickly and encircle the other Central Powers. The Turks did not take kindly to this invasion of their homeland (imagine that!) and fought much more fiercely than the British, among them that notable warmonger Winston Churchill (a perfect fit for WWII, but a lousy one in this war), thought they would. The Turkish army, led by Mustafa Kemal, better known as Atatürk, mounted a stiff defense, and the campaign quickly bogged down into trench warfare. Ten months later the British abandoned it.

Gallipoli doesn't resonate in the American mind, but it's very important in Australia and New Zealand, as those countries sent a lot of soldiers who, well, died. 25 April (the day the Allies went ashore) is ANZAC Day (ANZAC is Australia and New Zealand Army Corp), which is still celebrated in those countries, and the event spawned "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda," not only an excellent anti-war song but also an excellent anti-nationalism song (and covered by The Pogues on the brilliant Rum, Sodomy and the Lash), plus Gallipoli, a very good Peter Weir movie starring Mel Gibson before he became a crazy man. It's perfect for fiction - plenty of room for heroics but ultimately ends in disaster. I'm writing a novel in which few of the characters end up in Gallipoli - look for it in, hell, probably never, but maybe, what, 2010? 2011? We'll see.

Churchill got sacked for his part in the invasion, by the way. He was unrepentant. Winston seems like a big jerk. Lucky for us he was on our side in the 1940s.


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