Anzac Day: Remembering the futility of wars for empire!

By   /   April 27, 2017  /   9 Comments

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Anzac Day is important to remember because of the utter futility of being part of an imperialist military alliance. New Zealand casualties in that war, killed or wounded, were 58%. That is equal to one-quarter of the adult male population. Our death rate of those who served at 16.6% was higher than that suffered by Germany!

Anzac Day is important to remember because of the utter futility of being part of an imperialist military alliance.

New Zealand casualties in that war, killed or wounded, were 58%. That is equal to one-quarter of the adult male population. Our death rate of those who served at 16.6% was higher than that suffered by Germany!

“The total number of New Zealand troops and nurses to serve overseas in 1914–18, excluding those in British and other Dominion forces, was 100,444, from a population of just over a million. Forty-two percent of men of military age served in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, fighting in the Gallipoli Campaign and on the Western Front. 16,697 New Zealanders were killed and 41,317 were wounded during the war – a 58 percent casualty rate.

Although numbers are difficult to estimate accurately the German losses are thought to be around 13% of those who served. (see War Losses Germany)

This was because of the utter contempt that the British empire’s officer corps (drawn largely from the more stupid sons of the aristocracy) had for their own working class and peasant troops.

Captured officers from the other side were treated in a far superior manner than those of their own troops.

This war was strongly opposed by the fledgeling Labour Party in New Zealand and some of its leaders were expelled from parliament and went to prison for their stand.

The British empire was a horrific colonial enslaver of hundreds of millions of human beings. Millions died as a direct consequence of their rule. (See “Five of the Worst Atrocities carried out by the British Empire“)

There is nothing in that history that needs to be celebrated.

What we should be celebrating is the heroic stand of the labour movement at that time. (See Voices Against War)

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About the author

Mike Treen

National Director of Unite Union

9 Comments

  1. CLEANGREEN says:

    WARS ARE CREATED BY CORPORATIONS/MUNITIONS MANUFACTURERS JUST FOR PROFIT AND WE ARE CANNON FODDER FOR THEM.

  2. Afewknowthetruth says:

    One of the cleverest tricks the money-lender-industrial empire played was to con the general populace into believing they were fighting evil people in other nations; the truth is, some of the most people evil on Earth were orchestrating wars and profiteering from them. Winston Churchill was a particularly despicable person -a member of ‘the club’- and was therefore celebrated by the mainstream culture as a hero rather than as the war criminal he actually was.

    Nothing has changed in the past 100 years: leaders of western nations continue to be psychotic sociopaths, exploiters and self-serving liars.

    .

  3. Mike in Auckland says:

    Quote:

    “Although numbers are difficult to estimate accurately the German losses are thought to be around 13% of those who served. (see War Losses Germany)”

    According to Wikipedia total deaths as a percentage of population in Germany were much higher than in NZ for WW1. So I wonder, did more NZers end up fighting than Germans, as per capita?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I_casualties

    For comparison WW2 casualties:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

    The horror of war should be the main focus at ANZAC Day, and of course the victims, those that fought, but also those that died as innocent victims (i.e. civilians). Simply only or mainly focusing on the fate of individual soldiers or soldiers in the ANZAC (corps) itself is turning this into an Australia-NZ centric, almost nationalistic event, that could run in danger of “celebrating” the “sacrifice” of past soldiers.

    Others died also, that must never be forgotten, and the causes can be argued about, more history education at schools may assist.

    Should not Waitangi Day be the main national holiday, after all?

    • Kevin says:

      To much fighting and disharmony to have Waitangi day as the main national holiday and to few citizens have any real emotional attachment to Waitangi day,other than a paid holiday.
      All the ANZAC day commemorations I have attended have been somber and respectful affairs and far from celebratory. My family lost three young men at Ypres ,none of their remains were recovered,my grandmother never got over the loss of her brothers,makes Waitangi day look quite trivial in comparison.

  4. Michal says:

    7 million civilians died in world war I. Hardly something they asked for.

  5. Andrea says:

    There seems to be a fashion for pointing out the awfulness of our ancestors in many places. The flaws and follies of many empires over the ages.

    We, the current iteration, are encouraged to feel guilt, shame, remorse – all second-hand, for events that occurred before most of us were even a twinkle in the eye, and regardless of ethnicity or affiliation.

    And then what?

    Three rounds of Kumbaya? Instant peace? Knowing our ‘true place’ in the world? Mea maxima culpa? Sackcloth and ashes in perpetuity?

    Or something more useful for all – other than another round of genocides. Most humans have a propensity for vileness. How might we develop the more beneficial traits in our species?