Thursday, June 2, 2011

War and Memory: And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Eric Bogle: And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda


World War 1 was one of the first modern wars, with its reliance on twentieth-century technology such as machine guns, chemical gases, tanks, telephones and wireless communication, and airplanes. All of the world's great powers of the day were involved, with over 70 million military personnel (including my grandfather). Nine million were killed and many more wounded, like the soldier in this song.

This song, written by Scottish-Australian Eric Bogle in 1971, describes the horror of the Battle of Gallipoli (Turkey), where the combined Australian, New Zealand, and British army suffered a bloody defeat by the Turks. It's a descriptive and bitter recollection of the battle, its cost in human life, and the ultimate pointlessness of war.

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