Annotated Graphic Exercise Essay, Research Paper
HistoryCAT 1: Annotated Graphic Exercise During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Australia was adopting a sense of national identity. The chains that bound Australia to Britain were slowly being broken and some Australian’s welcomed the newfound feeling of independence. This emerging sense of national identity was based on the bushman ethos which suggested qualities of independence, resourcefulness, humourous, strength, athleticism, courage, being strong willed and anti-clerical . This ethos developed in the early colonial times, when the bushmen supposedly relied on each other to get by and when the wide open spaces opted for more physical work and less mental exertion. However, this image only applied to the Australians that lived in the rural areas, which was only a small contingent of the population. When World War 1 emerged, it was seen as Australia s first propaganda war and served as the perfect way for Australians to prove themselves to the rest of the world whilst boosting their sense of national pride . During the early campaigns, war journalists and correspondents, Ashmead-Bartlett and C.E.W. Bean were instrumental in further developing the ANZAC legend. Censorship prevented any of the bad news from getting home; thus Ashmead-Bartlett and Bean were able to feed the public only the positive news, increasing support for the war effort and ANZACS away from home. So the rugged Aussie bushman was turned into the Australian Digger , thus the Anzac legend was born. The Charge of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade at the Nek , George Lambert s graphic depiction of the fatal charge during the Gallipoli campaign further boosts ANZAC legend and improves the feeling national unity. It portrays the 3rd Light Horse Brigade which was made up of the 8th Light Horse Regiment form Victoria and the 10th Light Horse Regiment from Western Australia, heroically charging the heavily armed Turkish trenches at the Nek in Gallipoli. The painting was commissioned and acquired at a time when Australia was in great need of national unity and required a boost in national pride. Lambert s painting embodies and exploits all the factors and characteristics that were associated with the typical digger at the time; athletic, courageous, anti-clerical, high emphasis on mateship, high spirited, jolly and hard working . However inspiring and pride inducing the painting is, it can be inaccurate when all factors are taken into account. Several aspects of Lambert s depiction have been argued to be questionable. Before the charge, the ANZACS were told to dress in a specific order. Khaki shorts, khaki shirts with their Pith helmets, and the bare minimum webbing . But the painting depicts the ANZACS wearing an array of clothing from dirty white shirts, to long khaki pants, and the symbolic akubra being worn instead of the Pith helmets . This boosted the idea of the ANZACS individualistic attitudes, that they would rather have worn what they felt comfortable in than wear what they were ordered to wear. Many impressions are sent across in Lambert s painting. Those of courage – the men not retreating and going forward regardless of the impossible odds, those of athleticism – the soldiers all have good physique and are all looking fit, and those of individuality – the way the ANZACS wear their uniform, totally disobeying the orders. Combine this with the colours that are reminiscent of the Australian bush back home, and you have many aspects that relate directly to the ‘bushman ethos’. The values and ideas that are evident in this painting can all be found in the ANZAC legend. There is an emphasis placed on the courage, individuality, gallant and noble actions of the men of the 3rd light horse brigade. In the painting there appear to be a number of ANZACS reaching bayonet-striking distance of the Turkish trenches. As we now know, this was inaccurate only one or two soldiers made it to the Turkish parapet, and those who did died shortly after. In the painting there is no blood covering the ground, however, with all the carnage of the initial charges and considering the frequent use of bombs, the ground across No Man s Land should been awash in blood. The devastating use of machine guns by the Turks is also left out of the representation. The threat of the Machine Guns was supposed to be non-existent. A plan was created that involved the artillery heavily bombing the Turkish trenches until precisely 4:30, when they would cease fire and allow the ANZACS time to make their charge before the Turks could reposition themselves behind their Machine Guns. The plan failed due to a lack of communication. The commanding officer of the in charge of the artillery attack had his watch set seven minutes before that of the officers in the trenches. This lull allowed the Turks to emerge from their tunnels and re-man their trench. This use of these machine guns was instrumental in the outcome, Owing to a deadly machine gun fire the attack did not get home , and instead the bodies of the ANZACS were piled up along the parapet. ‘Of the first line, most were killed within the first five yards of the attempt to leave their own trench and few from the second line got much further.’ But in the painting, the bodies of the dead and wounded are scattered around No Man s Land, as opposed to the first few feet as referred to by Lane. The painting s lack of blood and portrayal of the enemy s arsenal contributes to the ideal that the attack was remotely successful and not a tragic failure, which was the reality.
Lambert’s painting of the charge at the Nek goes in accordance with Ashmead-Bartlett s first article to Australia and C.E.W. Bean s publication, The ANZAC Book , in that it supports and promotes the ideas and conceptions that were popular with the Australian public. All three of these resources were heavily scripted and controlled by the government before release in Australia, thus they all helped the ANZAC legend to grow and assisted in trying to increasing national unity. In flowing with the attributes of the true ANZAC, especially courage, there is no evidence of any soldier retreating, trying to crawl back into the trenches or hiding. Indeed, it appears that there is not one ANZAC facing the Allied lines with the intent of returning. However, Lane refers to the evidence of some ANZACS hiding and returning to their trenches after dark. ‘The youngest man in the regiment, C.H. Williams, finding himself between the sergeant and the sergeant major, was told that there was no hope for them and that he must lie down immediately after he got out of the trench. Once out, he was in fact pulled down and, with a small party, which had taken similar action, he found cover in a slight dip. They stayed there until dark and then crawled back.’ The artillery attack from the ocean would have left many small and large craters and dips as mentioned above, possibly another example of Lambert’s inaccuracy. The charge was part of an offensive that was aimed: ‘to take the strongly held Turkish trench system on Baby 700 and the Chessboard, a labyrinth of Turkish trenches stretching south from Baby 700′ . The assault from the Australians would be made up of four lines of 150 men, these lines consisting of men from the 8th light horse regiment from Victoria in the first two lines and the 10th light horse regiment from Western Australia. If such an attack were to go unaided, it would be suicidal, so it was arranged that there would be flanking support from the New Zealanders advancing downhill from Chunuk Biar (to the rear of the Turkish lines). In addition to the New Zealand contingent, a heavy artillery bombardment was to take place from the ocean; it was planned to stop at 4:30 precisely. Lambert’s depiction of the charge at the Nek was commissioned to help boost the ANZAC legend and to bring unity to a nation divided. With this intent, he included only the flattering and complementary factors of the ANZACS and their stereotype. He relates all of these factors back to the bushman ethos, thus increasing the feeling of national identity.