Countries Unite For Battle Of Gallipoli Anniversary

Nations that were once bitter enemies during WWI came together today to commemorate the Battle of Gallipoli and the huge number of lives lost on both sides of the war.

The Ottoman Empire And Germany

Before WWI began, Germany started to increase its influence in what was then the Ottoman Empire of Turkey. Due to the economic problems and civil unrest in Turkey, it was feared that Russia would try to take over the nation, and thus Germany offered its help. At that time, Britain, along with the other countries that would later become the Allied nations, possessed good relations with Russia. Thus, they allowed their relations with Turkey to sour, in fear of giving off the appearance that they were siding against Russia.

The situation continued to get worse, particularly after Britain requisitioned two battleship –  originally built for the Ottoman Navy –  for their own use for the upcoming war. Germany consequently offered to replace the battleships with two of its own. After refusing the demand from Allied powers to oust Germany missions from the country, the Ottoman Empire eventually entered WWI on October 31, 1914, joining the side of the Central Powers.

The Battle Over Access To Russia

Turkey sits at a strategic location concerning access to Russia and the Black Sea. Navigating from the Aegean Sea and around the Gallipoli Peninsula, through The Dardanelles straits, leads straight into the Black Sea and Russian ports.

The Allies wanted to assure that access to the Russian ports were unhindered, but the Central Powers wanted the opposite. As such, they took measures to block The Dardanelles. The Battle of Gallipoli, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign, began with a failed attack by French and British war ships on the Dardanelles Straits in February and March of 1915. It was followed by a major land invasion on April 25, 1915, that included British, Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC Forces), and French troops. There, they were met by fierce Turkish resistance and eventually, in December of 1915, the Allied forces began evacuation.

Today’s 100th Anniversary Commemoration Of Gallipoli

The Battle of Gallipoli resulted in 46,000 dead Allied troop members and 65,000 Turkish members, with a combined total of over 500,000 casualties.

The commemoration ceremonies held today pay tribute to the heroism of all those involved in what is considered one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War. The tribute took place on the Gallipoli peninsula with numerous high-ranking officials in attendance. Leading the ceremonies were President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Australia and New Zealand view the day as ANZAC Day in honor of their soldiers who fought in the battle. British Prince Charles and Prince Henry met with relatives of survivors of the battle aboard the HMS Bulwark after the ceremony.

The 100th Commemoration of The Battle of Gallipoli celebrates the lives of those who fought so bravely for their countries. Here is a glimpse of what soldiers everywhere experience: