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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

The Responsibility of Australia and New Zealand

page 269

The Responsibility of Australia and New Zealand.

In this matter the people of New Zealand are not one whit better than their kinsfolk of the Old Land, of Canada, of South Africa, of Australia. The people of New Zealand cannot preen themselves in the knowledge that they were prepared for war. The advocates of preparedness had been for years voices crying in the wilderness. A little reasoning here may be of value. For of what use is experience and history if we do not measure our shortcomings?

Ultimately New Zealand maintained a Division in the Field. At the end of the war—in that we had twelve, instead of nine battalions of infantry—we had the strongest division in all the Allied Armies.

Australia maintained five, and always four, divisions in France. Now the August offensive in Gallipoli took place just one year after war had been declared between Great Britain and Germany. Yet New Zealand—because, before the war, the people refused to comprehend the German challenge for world dominion—could not put into the field more than two brigades. It was not that the public was not warned, but the English-speaking peoples will not see that if we must do the world's work we must use worldly tools. We are men in a world of men, and despite the visionaries and the dreamers, the last appeal is to force. This may be regrettable, but unfortunately it is true!

If the Australians could have placed their four magnificent divisions at Anzac and Suvla; if New Zealand could have loosed a full division at Chunuk Bair, while the Australians went for Hill 971 and Suvla—there perhaps would be no talk of “the Gallipoli failure.” Admitting that the New Army divisions were not of a calibre required for desperate fighting in rough country, they were certainly better from a soldier's point of view than the excellent material not yet available from Australia and New Zealand.