When Turkey entered the First World War on the side of Germany, the Allies hoped to penetrate the Dardanelles by sea, capture the capital of Istanbul, and thus keep open the supply routes to Russia through the Black Sea. When this proved impossible, the Australian 1st Division and the New Zealand and Australian Division were deployed as part of an Allied invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
For months stubborn Turkish resistance held the invaders close to the landing sites. A second offensive in August proved no more successful, and so after eight months on the peninsula the Anzacs withdrew in December 1915, as part of an Allied withdrawal that was completed a month later. This was the first major battle for the Anzacs and the new nation of Australia.
The feats and the sacrifices of the Anzac soldiers are commemorated in Australia and New Zealand each year on the anniversary of the landings, the day that has become known as “Anzac Day”. In Australia, the day has also come to symbolise our sense of nationhood.
The Anzac legend was born at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.