The British-Israel World Federation (BIWF) has called a fast for this Saturday for the peoples of “the Covenant Nations.”
The British-Israelites formed their federation in 1919, but their beliefs can be traced back to the previous century. As the British Empire expanded during Queen Victoria’s reign and America was spreading westward fulfilling its “manifest destiny,” so the number of believers grew. Their belief is based on God’s promises to Israel in Genesis 48, that the two sons of his son Joseph would grow into a “company of nations” and “a great nation” – the British Empire and the United States of America.
It was a widely-held belief in the trenches of World War I, when men from all over the British Empire fought against Imperial Germany. The losses were so great that people became disillusioned with both religion and the empire.
As Britons turned increasingly away from their Christian heritage, so BIWF lost some support. The organization was supported by some prominent members of the British establishment, the most famous of which was Princess Alice, one of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters. In the 1930’s, as the Countess of Athlone, she was married to the Governor-General of South Africa; from 1940, following the sudden death of John Buchan, the popular Governor-General of Canada, she and her husband moved to Canada in war time, so that he could serve there, replacing John Buchan. They remained in Canada until 1946. On two occasions, they hosted President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor-General. King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II, also made supportive statements reflecting a belief in BI. A former prime minister of New Zealand was also a member. They have branches in a number of countries, including all the “covenant nations”.
The idea still persists, in spite of Wikipedia’s claim that the theory has been disproved, for which they give no evidence. Yair Davidy’s Brit-Am organization in Israel supports the theory with archaeological evidence. An American organization called “Truth in History” publishes a magazine, which also upholds the teaching. Additionally, the Churches of God that came out of Herbert W Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God, continue to believe – their interpretation of prophecy is heavily influenced by British-Israelism.
Some are dogmatic in their support of BI, while others are equally dogmatic in their dismissal of the belief. There are those who believe the evidence supporting BI is overwhelming, but there are others who don’t consider it conclusive and reject the teaching.
Whether you believe the theory or not is largely irrelevant. The fact Is that the “covenant nations” are in deep trouble, hence the call for a fast. Coincidentally, the date chosen for the fast is also the Jewish Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year for Jews. On this day, believers are expected to fast completely, abstaining from all food and drink. The idea is for everybody to humble themselves before God, to be “at-one” with God, through prayer and Bible Study, as well as worshipping Him with others of like mind.
It’s also a day for repentance. Repentance means to change, to overcome sin and return to God with great fervor. It’s unlikely that the peoples of the “covenant nations” will go that far.
Followers of BI believe that Ephraim is the ancestor of the British peoples and nations that became dominions after independence (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa). Note what God said to Ephraim in Hosea 7:8-10:
“Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned. Aliens have devoured his strength, but he does not know it, yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it. And the pride of Israel testifies to his face, but they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek Him for all this.”
A little over seventy years ago, the descendants of Joseph, the peoples of the covenant nations, the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples, dominated the globe. The British Empire and the United States had emerged victorious after World War II and it seemed as if God had given them supremacy all over the globe. But things started to go wrong immediately. The British lost their empire in the twenty years after the war; and the United States and Britain now seem unable to win any conflicts.
The Commonwealth has largely unraveled and may not survive the death of the Queen and ascension of her son, Prince Charles.
Certainly, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are not as close as they once were. They no longer form an effective military force and no longer see themselves as fulfilling a common destiny. They have also taken in millions of people from other cultures who do not share the same values inherited from Britain. (“Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples”; “aliens have devoured his strength.”)
At the present time, the greatest threat comes from Brexit and this is why BIWF has called for a fast. Brexit negotiations are not going well. The United Kingdom seems to be intimidated by the European Union, lacking in self-confidence, its stance somewhat reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain prior to World War II. (“Grey hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knows it not.”)
BIWF’s call for a fast and a day of prayer has this to say about Brexit: “On 29th March 2017, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was triggered for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. We need to pray that the LORD will deliver the United Kingdom completely from the Babylonish EU as the difficult negotiations proceed.”
BIWF publishes a book called “We Have a Guardian” recording historical evidence that shows God’s intervention to help Britain in times of trouble. “Dunkirk” was one example in 1940. They are calling for God to intervene again, to save Britain through Brexit and to restore the country to its former self, when many of the people were devout Christians. They are mindful of the Queen’s Coronation Oath, to maintain the laws of God and the true religion, two promises that all the queen’s governments in each of her dominions have conveniently forgotten.
They are also mindful of the threat to the United States and the rest of the world posed by North Korea, calling upon their members to pray about the situation so that a devastating war can be avoided. Such a war would finish off North Korea, but may also set back the United States, allowing other nations to fill the vacuum.
Remember to pray for your country on this fast day.
With three young grandchildren in the house, including a baby that recently turned one year old, I’ve taken to watching silent movies on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). There’s no dialog to hear, so surrounding noise isn’t a problem.
I started by watching the 1925 version of “Ben Hur,” which many consider the best of the three versions. It certainly has the best chariot scene, made at a time when animal rights were not taken into consideration. (Not that I advocate hurting animals – it was just so REAL!)
Recently, I watched “Love” with Greta Garbo and John Gilbert, made the following year. The two actors were more famous than Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio are today.
The movie was an enactment of Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina.” The title was changed thanks to the tabloids. The gossip papers had revealed that, while making the film, Gilbert and Gabo had started their own relationship. This enabled the movie’s producers to put the following on marquees across America: “Garbo and Gilbert in Love.” The movie was a sensation, a bigger hit than anything Hollywood turns out nowadays.
It wasn’t only the title that was changed. Producers chose to make the movie with two alternative endings. They referred to one as the “Russian ending,” with Anna, as in the classic, killing herself in front of a train after an adulterous affair that led to her losing her son. Another ending was made for Americans, with Anna’s husband dying, thereby leaving her free to marry her lover, Vronsky, and keep her son. It was felt that American audiences couldn’t handle Anna’s death. The “American” version missed the whole point of the novel.
Interestingly, the Russian ending was shown in New York and on the West coast. It was only Mid-western sensibilities that they were concerned about.
If Hollywood can’t even get a novel right, why would we expect them to be accurate when it comes to non-fiction?
Another Russian “story” caused a problem for Hollywood a few years later, by which time sound had replaced the old silent movies. This movie dealt with “Rasputin and the Empress” (1932). It’s depiction of Prince Felix Yousoupov, the principal murderer of Rasputin, was so inaccurate it led to a major lawsuit; since then movies carry the words “all characters in this film are fictional,” or similar, to protect themselves from expensive lawsuits. Now, no attempt is made at accuracy.
I’ve yet to see a Hollywood movie depict the American Revolution with any degree of accuracy. In Hollywood, everything has to be black and white. Real life is rarely like that. The Revolution was not Americans against the king; the country was equally divided — one third rebelled against the crown, one third were loyal and the other third couldn’t spell “crown.” On the eve of Yorktown, 40% were loyalists, with support for the Patriots down to 30%.
Rather than the claim that the king was acting selfishly, it can be argued that the leaders of the Patriots were. They were heavily in debt to British banks, following a bad crop in 1773 – one way to get out from under the debt was to ditch the Crown. It’s not surprising that wealthy indebted landowners led the revolution – the only revolution in history where those rebelling were richer than those they rebelled against! This issue was finally resolved after the war when the belligerents got together in Paris.
I was thinking about this over the Fourth of July, when I read a review in The Economist by their American correspondent. He reviewed a book titled: “Scars of Independence: America’s violent birth,” by Holger Hoock of the University of Pittsburgh. Mr. Hoock “. . . concluded that selective amnesia took hold soon after the war, as victors told their version of history, and the British displayed their genius for forgetting defeats. In the republic’s earliest decades, stone monuments charging the British with “cold-blooded cruelty” rose on battle sites from Lexington, Massachusetts to Paoli, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile orators told Americans that their revolt had been unusually civilized: one public meeting in 1813 declared the revolution “untarnished with a single blood-speck of inhumanity.” (The American Revolution Revisited – a Nation Divided, Even at Birth)
I have an extensive library of books on the Revolution, all of which were written by Americans. The following quote from The Economist is an accurate observation:
“Browse through school history books, with names like “Liberty or Death!” and the struggle to throw off British rule is sanctified as a victory of American patriot-farmers and artisans against battle-hardened British redcoats and foreign mercenaries, defending ideals crafted by orators in periwigs. Yet go back to contemporary sources, and they called it what it also was: a brutal civil war.” (Economist review.)
6% of America’s population died in the Revolutionary War, as against 2% in the War Between the States eight decades later. (By 1861 the population was much higher, but the percentage gives an idea of the relative suffering of the people.)
Note the following: “At the war’s end, about one in 40 Americans went into permanent exile, the equivalent of some 8m people today.” (ibid.)
The Revolutionary War was a civil war. Most battles took place without the presence of British soldiers – brother fought brother, to death, with little mercy shown. Ironically, if the Revolutionary War had not taken place, the “Civil War” would never have happened – the imperial parliament in London abolished the slave trade in 1808 and slavery itself 25 years later. No battles were fought over the issue. Additionally, states’ rights would never have been a factor or cause for conflict. Canada was spared both civil wars.
So, what did Americans gain?
FACTS TELL A DIFFERENT STORY
Consider the following gleaned from a variety of books on the subject:
>>>American historian Gordon Wood, considered the foremost expert on the Revolution, wrote in his book: “The Radicalization of the American Revolution,” that England in the eighteenth century was the freest country in the world and that the colonists were even freer. The king was the guarantor of freedom – never again could a commoner like Oliver Cromwell take power and become a dictator. Celebrations for King George III’s coronation in 1762 were greater in the colonies than in England. So, what went wrong and why, then, did some Americans want more freedom?
>>>The French and Indian Wars were fought by Britain and the colonists to defend the latter against a French Catholic take-over. George Washington, serving “King and Country”, fired the first shots. The seven-year war left the British government with serious debts, which they tried to recoup by taxing the colonies. Americans did not want to pay for the war. Over two centuries later, Americans still do not like to pay for wars.
>>>Contrary to what is often thought today, all thirteen original colonies had a democratic form of government. All property-owning males could vote, with a 90% turnout at elections. After independence, there was no immediate widening of the franchise. In 1789, when the first election was held, only 6% of the population could vote. Both the United States and the United Kingdom extended the franchise during the nineteenth century and both gave women the vote after World War One. America lagged behind England in voting rights, not catching up until the Voting Rights Act of 1964.
>>>The Right to Vote and the Right to Bear Arms were in force before 1776. Indeed, the revolution would not have been possible without these rights.
>>>It has often been pointed out that the leaders of the Revolution were richer than the people they rebelled against.
>>>In 1772, the monumental Somerset Decision sent shock-waves through the American colonies. A slave had taken his owner to court. The court ruled that nobody in the British Isles could be owned by somebody else. If extended to the colonies, this would have ruined prosperous farmers who needed free labor.
Wikipedia has this to say on the subject: “Somerset v Stewart 98 ER 499 is a famous judgment of the English Court of King’s Bench in 1772, which held that chattel slavery was unsupported by the common law in England and Wales.”
>>>Rather than the claim that the king was acting selfishly, it can be argued that the leaders of the Patriots were. They were heavily in debt to British banks, following a bad crop in 1773.
>>> Paul Revere did not ride through Lexington, Massachusetts, shouting: “the British are coming.” This would have made no sense as everybody was British. It would be like somebody today, seeing the police approaching, would shout out the warning that the Americans are coming. Rather, Paul Revere warned that “the Regulars are coming,” a reference to full time professional troops.
>>>Geoffrey Wawro, a distinguished scholar of military history who teaches at the University of North Texas, led a discussion some years ago on “Global View” (History International Channel). The panel concluded that the separation of England and America weakened the English-speaking world considerably.
>>>By 1800, almost twenty years after independence, Americans were paying more in taxes than they had ever paid under colonial rule.
>>>As the Patriots called themselves the “Sons of Liberty,” the Tories referred to them as the “Sons of Anarchy.” Partly because of what happened a century earlier when England itself became a republic, many loyalists feared a total breakdown of law and order if the country became a republic, a country without a king. A Biblically literate population was aware of the warning at the end of the Book of Judges: “There was no king in Israel in those days; every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 25:25). No king meant anarchy!
>>>Many of today’s super-patriots, those who celebrate the 4th of July most vigorously, ironically, would probably have been Tories in 1780. Conservatives don’t like change or uncertainty.
>>>This brings us back to the Russians. Newt Gingrich’s book “Yorktown” brings out that Catherine the Great of Russia offered to mediate between the British government and those rebelling against it. One idea proposed was that Americans would keep their unitary nation, but remain within the Empire. On the eve of the final Battle of Yorktown, this was acceptable to most Americans, including members of the Continental Congress. This would have resulted in America being more like Canada. It would, of course, also have meant there was no need for Canada – loyalists would have stayed where they were. Catherine’s mediation attempt got nowhere – the autocratic Russian Empress was hardly a credible mediator between two sides that both believed in democracy.
>>>The victory at Yorktown would not have happened without the French navy. After the battle, the situation was unclear. It wasn’t until the King asked parliament for more money to fight the rebellion that the war finally ended – parliament refused his request.
>>>Cut off from the empire’s trading system, the US struggled financially after independence. Even in the 1930’s, the nations of the British Empire recovered from the Great Depression quicker than the US. America was anxious to break into the imperial trading club without becoming a part of the empire.
The question remains: what did Americans gain from independence? One thing comes immediately to mind – that the new country was no longer bound by British treaties with the “Indians;” they could now expand westward.
Ironically, it was a British bank that financed the Louisiana Purchase and British investors who helped build the railways that opened up the West. So the Brits did their part to make the country expand anyway.
On the other hand, if those treaties had remained in effect, California may never have entered the Union and Hollywood might not exist – some would say, those are two very good reasons for remaining loyal to the Crown!
So, why did Americans revolt and why did the rebels (patriots) win?
Decades after the American Revolution, the Anglo-Israelite movement believed that the British Empire and the United States of America were the fulfillment of a prophecy in Genesis 48; that the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, would become a great company of nations (Ephraim; the British Empire and Commonwealth) and his brother would become a great single nation (Manasseh, the United States). As the “company of nations” (Genesis 48:19) was united by the Crown, the great single nation had to break away from the crown, which is exactly what the United States did. Note: ”He set Ephraim before Manasseh (verse 20)”. Britain was the world’s superpower before the United States. In relative terms, Britain was also greater than its successor. After the loss of the American colonies, the British went on to develop the greatest empire the world had ever seen.
In other words, God determined the outcome of the Revolutionary War in order to fulfill Bible prophecy.
Pauline Hanson is an Australian Member of Parliament. She has her own political party, “Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party,” and often speaks out on immigration and related issues.
This week she spoke out on autism. Specifically, she is calling for autistic children to be separated from other children, so that the others are not held back in their education.
Our eldest grandson, Aubren, who is five, is autistic. I drive him to school most days and collect him from school seven hours later. Because of this, I interact with his teachers a great deal.
All are aware of his autism. Their approach is very different to Ms. Hanson’s.
About half of the pupils in his pre-kindergarten class do not have special needs. Those who do have special needs participate in everything. In addition, they have private sessions with speech therapists and others to help them keep up with the other children. From what I have seen, this works very well.
There could be a case for separating autistic children if it is found that they will benefit. What Ms. Hanson is suggesting is that autistic children be educated separately as their presence in the classroom is having a negative effect on non-autistic children. Again, I’ve not seen any evidence for this. And with so many children with autism, normal children need exposure to this to understand it, handle it, and see these children as potential friends, not objects of scorn and derision.
Nobody knows for sure what causes autism. There are plenty of theories. Some of these are put forward quite volubly by their adherents, but it remains the case that nobody knows for sure what causes the problem. What is known is that the number of autistic children is increasing. It is now one in 68.
The correct name for autism is Autism Spectral Disorder. There is a wide spectrum when it comes to autism. Many autistic children function well in different areas; but there are others, at the other end of the spectrum, who find it difficult to carry on a conversation, or indeed, speak at all. Communication is a major challenge for autistic children. So are emotions and affection. In addition, many autistic people need “sameness” – they do not adjust well to a different environment or any change to their routine. We are anxious about Aubren’s first day at kindergarten in August – new school, new teacher, new environment; he may bolt, trying to escape from it as it could be overwhelming for him. His teacher, Miss Sue, from the last school year has volunteered to regularly take him to his new school and new playground to familiarize him with his future environment. The right teachers make all the difference!
Aubren is a delightful boy. Everybody loves him. He plays well with other children. He’s affectionate and loving. I for one am very much against the idea that autistic children should be separated from other children of the same age. After all, when they finish school at 18, they are going to have to mix with others in the working world. Why not start now?
The news from England can be quite discouraging, with terrorism and Brexit dominating everything. Britain’s position on just about everything reminds me of a verse in the Old Testament about Ephraim. In Hosea 7:8 we read: “Ephraim compromises with the nations; he’s a half-baked cake.” (International Standard Version.) A half-baked cake is of no use to anybody.
Julius Caesar put it somewhat differently, when he described Britain as “perfidious Albion.” England is no longer ruled by those ancient Britons, having been taken over by Angles and Saxons shortly after the Romans left the country. Perhaps it’s the weather, which is very unpredictable.
Whatever the reason, Mrs. May is perfecting “compromise.” It’s been the British way all my lifetime.
Consider the following:
After a “terror” attack outside of a leading London mosque, she had the opportunity to boldly speak some badly needed truths. The attack was by a “lone wolf,” a man from Cardiff in Wales who was obviously upset about recent terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists. He drove his car into a crowd outside of the mosque. Nothing can excuse this, but it provided Mrs. May with an opportunity to say that people are understandably scared after the recent terror attacks. Instead, she condemned “Islamophobia” and said the government was going to stamp it out. Islamophobia is a natural and reasonable response to Islamic terror – the only way to defeat Islamophobia is by Muslims themselves doing something about terrorism.
Also, was the driver of the car really a terrorist? He had no links to any terror organization, domestic or foreign. Describing him as a “terrorist” puts his act on a par with the real terror attacks that have taken place, when they are very different. His was motivated by a fear of Muslims.
Thirdly, Mrs. May is promising more security for mosques. There is no such protection for churches. What the prime minister is doing is inadvertently giving Islam a special status.
Today, there was yet more compromise, this time with the European Union, as Britain negotiates itself out of the 27-member organization.
Mrs. May announced this morning that 3 million people from other EU countries can remain in Britain after Brexit. Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, responded with: “It’s not sufficient.” Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, was equally dismissive. Neither man was elected by the people. They are professional bureaucrats — with all the arrogance that comes with it.
The UK is going to find that compromise doesn’t work with the EU – or with Islam! Britain will keep on compromising with both, until another Winston Churchill arises – if there is one.
It’s surely a depressing time for the Queen. The multicultural dream she has spent decades developing seems to be crumbling. It’s not just Islamic terrorism. Even the fire at the 24-storey apartment block in London brought it out. Most of the residents were from other cultures with no understanding of the way Britain works. After an incident like this, there’s usually a government inquiry and then changes are made based on recommendations received.
On this occasion, residents were quick to protest and even riot, storming the local county offices who are responsible for building safety. Mrs. May had to quickly promise new accommodation in a luxury apartment block. The taxpayer will have to foot the bill.
It turned out the fire was started by a faulty fridge. It spread quickly because of the insulation used.
In view of all these problems, it’s not surprising that nobody in the royal family wants to be king, according to Prince Harry in an interview this week.
MEDIA BEWILDERED BY VOTE
I don’t know if the Queen has ever been to Georgia, a colony (now a state) named after her ancestor, George II, who reigned from 1727-1760.
Georgia was the center of attention this week due to a by-election in the 6th Congressional district.
As the election got nearer, TV news people were ecstatic at the prospect of a Democratic victory. It had to happen as Donald Trump is so unpopular! The election was even described as “a referendum on Trump.”
The party that represents the wealthy elite, the Democrats, spent more than eight times as much money contesting this seat, as the Republicans, now the party of the working man. In spite of this massive outlay of cash, the Democrats lost. If this truly was a referendum on Trump, he must be doing ok.
The BBC was totally discombobulated. Commentators kept repeating that the president has less than a 40% approval rating, so how could this possibly be the result? It won’t happen again when the mid-term elections take place in November next year, they assured viewers.
Haven’t they learned yet that polls are not reliable?
ISRAEL’S TICKING TIME BOMB
“The southern neighborhoods of Tel Aviv have been overrun in recent years. The number of African asylum-seekers and economic migrants now living there is approaching 100,000.
Some have been repatriated. But most remain in the country illegally.
Israel finds itself in a conundrum – how can it turn away or deport those in need considering the Jews’ own history? At the same time, how can the tiny nation of Israel absorb such numbers without taking a serious hit to its economy?
And time’s running out to find a solution.
According to Oved Hugi, a social activist from southern Tel Aviv, the “infiltrators’ birthrate stands at 10,000 per year. That means 50,000 children in five years, and that should cause the Prime Minister to lose sleep. South Tel Aviv is a ticking time bomb.” (Israel Today)
SAUDIS BETRAY REAL FEELINGS
On June 8, 2017, the Saudi national football team met the Australian national team for a match in Adelaide as part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The match began with a minute of silence for the victims of the London Bridge terror attack on June 3, among whom were two Australians. However, while the members of the Australian team observed the minute of silence, the Saudi players appeared to ignore it and continued moving around the pitch. (MEMRI 6-21)
Why are people surprised, when Wahhabism is the official religion of Saudi Arabia? Wahhabis support violence against infidels (non-believers) and believe violence is justified to spread Islam.
Canadian sniper makes record kill shot A sniper with Canada’s elite special forces has shot and killed an Isis fighter in Iraq from a distance of 2.1 miles, shattering the world record for the longest confirmed kill shot previously held by a British sniper. The shot took 10 seconds to reach its target and the sniper would have had to consider distance, wind and the curvature of the earth when taking aim. (Globe and Mail)
Refugees in Germany to be jobless for years Up to three-quarters of Germany’s refugees will still be unemployed in five years’ time, according to Aydan Özoğuz, the country’s commissioner for immigration, refugees and integration. The stark admission of the challenges Germany faces in integrating its huge migrant population comes as Angela Merkel seeks a fourth term as chancellor in elections in September. (FT)
Further to what I posted on Monday, here is the front page headline in Tuesday’s Daily Express, a conservative tabloid newspaper in the UK. “Migrants cost Britain 17 billion pounds a year” — that’s about $25 bn. (Remember to multiply by 5 for the US equivalent, as the American population is roughly five times that of the United Kingdom.)
It’s no coincidence that the country can no longer afford naval protection for either the Falkland Islands or Gibraltar.
And it’s not surprising that the country fell behind the NATO requirement that 2% of GNP be spent on defense. President Obama got rather angry with the British prime minister over that.
The irony is that, with even more migrants, the country will need to spend more on defense; but can’t because the migrants need the cash!
This reminds me of a passage in Hosea about Ephraim:
Strangers devour his strength, and he knows it not;
gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, and he knows it not.
The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
yet they do not return to the Lord their God,
nor seek him, for all this. (Hosea 7:9-10; English Standard Version)
The Woman in Gold is a movie that’s showing in cinemas right now. It tells the true story of an elderly American Jewish lady who takes the Austrian government to court to reclaim a family painting that was stolen by the Nazis during the 1938 Anschluss, when the vast majority of Austrians welcomed Adolf Hitler’s annexation of his home country.
The movie stars Helen Mirren as the elderly lady and Ryan Reynolds as her lawyer.
In one scene, Reynolds is sending a package to the Austrian government from somewhere in Los Angeles. The man behind the desk commented on how he had always wanted to go to Austria. His daughter, he added, loves kangaroos!
He’s not the only person who is ignorant of Australia. Americans, in particular, have difficulty telling the difference between an Australian and a British accent. I’ve often had people ask me which part of Australia I come from. Unlike many of my compatriots, this does not upset me – I consider it a great honor to be taken as an Aussie. If I were 24, instead of 64, I would move there. Australia has an American lifestyle without the frenetic pace that makes life in the US so stressful.
Tomorrow, April 25th, is Australia’s special day – ANZAC Day, a commemoration of Australia’s losses in the wars of the last century. ANZAC stands for the “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.”
It’s exactly a hundred years since the great battle that was a defining moment for the new countries. Australia became a Dominion of the British Empire in 1901; New Zealand in 1905. Dominion status meant they were independent but still a part of the Empire, which was transforming into a Commonwealth, united in a common loyalty to the Crown, fulfilling the biblical prophecy of “a multitude of nations” (Genesis 48:19), descended from the patriarch Joseph’s son, Ephraim.
When the British went to war in August 1914, these two dominions, together with the other dominions and colonies of the Empire, went to war as well. The Australians quickly took over German territories in the Pacific. But it’s the Battle of Gallipoli, which is remembered most and commemorated on this day, the day the conflict started. It was to last over eight months.
Gallipoli is a peninsula in North West Turkey. It’s sometimes called the Dardenelles. At the time, Turkey was called the Ottoman Empire. In November, 1914, it made the fatal mistake of allying itself with the two central European empires, Germany and Austria-Hungary, against Great Britain and its allies. Less than ten years later, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and was replaced by the Turkish Republic. The founder of the republic was Kemal Ataturk, who was one of the military commanders on the Ottoman side at Gallipoli.
The battle was a military disaster for the Allies. Australians, New Zealanders, the British and French all fought there and lost a great number of men, many on the first day when soldiers were landed on a thin strip of beach, looking up cliffs at Ottoman positions, cannon fodder for the enemy. They fought valiantly. Ataturk afterwards talked of their bravery. Turkey’s president is hosting a commemoration today, a gathering of world leaders including Prince Charles and Prince Harry. Harry is currently serving with the Australian military. Commonwealth ties remain, even though they have been weakened in recent decades. The prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand laid wreaths. The President of Ireland was also present, a reminder that Ireland was then a part of the United Kingdom and lost many of its native sons in this battle.
74,000 Anzac troops fought at Gallipoli. 10,000 died. To understand the full impact of that loss, let’s remember these were troops from two new countries, that were thinly populated. At the time, the United States had just over 100 million people, the UK 40 million. Australia’s population in 1915 was under five million. New Zealand’s was a little over one million. To compare the losses to the US, we need to multiply the figures by twenty. The 10,000 dead was the equivalent of 200,000 American losses, or 80,000 British servicemen.
The British lost 25,000 at Gallipoli, out of a total of 350,000 men. The French also suffered heavy losses, 10,000 out of 79,000 men.
On the other side, the Turks lost 86,000 out of 400,000 combatants.
The figures are staggering, far greater than losses suffered in recent conflicts.
And the sobering reality is that the war was so unnecessary. Some wars were unavoidable – World War Two, for instance, when the Western powers had to defeat the evil of fascism. Ironically, if World War One had not been fought, there would have been no World War Two.
If the Ottoman Empire had not been defeated, its constituent territories would not have been carved up, ultimately creating the modern Middle East. The ripple effect of that first global conflict of the twentieth century continues to this day. The wars we are fighting now all originated in World War One.
Australia, it should be noted, is the only country to have fought in all these conflicts from beginning to end. Gallipoli was just the start (in fact, Australians had been fighting in the Empire’s wars even before independence). Australia was always ready to fight alongside the British to preserve freedom in a dangerous world. After World War Two, when America became the pre-eminent power, Australians fought alongside Americans in all America’s wars.
The land down under is an under-appreciated country. It’s time to publicly pay homage to a great nation that has done so much for the western world.
Let’s remember and give thanks for their many sacrifices on this ANZAC day.
I mean in the sense of numbers of people killed as a percentage of the total population.
Many would say the Civil War (1861-65), when 2% of the population died.
In fact, three times as many people, proportionately, died in the Revolutionary War, sometimes called America’s First Civil War, which took place almost a century earlier.
6% of the population died in the earlier conflict and tens of thousands fled the country when the war was over. As with the later conflict, families were divided, brother fought brother and there were intense feelings on both sides.
Both wanted freedom. The Patriots (or Rebels) wanted to free the thirteen colonies from British rule; the Loyalists (Tories) were convinced that, without a king, there would be anarchy. They referred to their opponents as the “sons of anarchy.”
Gordon Wood, an American historian who has written a number of books on the Revolutionary War and the events that surrounded it, brought out in one of his books that England was then the freest country in the world and that the people in England’s colonies were even more free; so why did some colonists want even more freedom?
It’s a good question.
There were legitimate grievances just as there are against any government, but the American Revolution is different from all other revolutions in that the people revolting were not the poor and dispossessed. They were, in fact, the aristocrats of the colonies. They were actually better off than the people they were revolting against.
It’s no wonder then that this was not a popular uprising as movies have sometimes suggested. The country was very divided. By some estimates, the division was a third, a third and a third – a third in favor of the revolution, a third who were loyal to the crown and a third that were largely indifferent.
Tired of war after six years of fighting, on the eve of the final battle, the number of people who were supportive of remaining under the Crown was higher than those who wanted to sever the tie and build a completely independent republic.
That final battle, the Battle of Yorktown in October 1781, was to be decisive.
In their latest novel (2012), “Victory at Yorktown,” Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen are fair to both sides, until near the end when it is clear where their loyalties lie.
They bring out that, immediately prior to the battle, many in Congress wanted to negotiate with London on British terms. Russia’s Catherine the Great had offered her services as mediator. The proposal was that the new United States of America should remain within the British Empire but would maintain its newly created federation. A total amnesty was proposed for those involved in the rebellion.
Washington had to persuade them to wait, to see first how the battle went. If the battle was lost to the Continental Army, then a peace treaty would have been signed in Britain’s favor and the US would have remained within the Empire, under the Crown, similar to the way Canada is today.
If the sole combatants had been Washington’s Continental Army and British regulars, the British would have won. But the French came in and made a big difference. The British lost and their army surrendered.
Even then, the British could have simply sent another military force to continue the war. Britain was the greatest military power on earth at the time but the parliament in London voted against further funds for the prosecution of the war. The subsequent Treaty of Paris in 1783 recognized the new United States of America as a sovereign nation, albeit one without a sovereign!
The French paid dearly for their support of the rebel forces. The country’s finances were in trouble as a result of the conflict and before the decade was out they had their own revolution, exacerbated by radical ideas brought back from America by French soldiers.
Following Washington’s victory at Yorktown, about 100,000 loyalists fled the country, mostly to Canada. That was roughly 10% of the country. Many loyalists remained – far more than left. Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson came from an Anglophile, East Coast family that always toasted the king on his birthday, right up until after World War II (“Picking up the Reins” by Norman Moss, 2002, page 65).
In reading the book “Victory at Yorktown,” you realize how easily the battle could have gone the other way. It’s too easy to say it was won because the French Navy was there.
There is also a biblical explanation.
Genesis 48 tells us that the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, were to become “a multitude of nations” and a “great” nation.
Many people in Victorian times and the early part of the twentieth century believed this prophecy was fulfilled in the British Empire and the United States. The British Empire comprised dozens of different countries, each different from the other. They were all united by a common loyalty to the Crown.
If the US had lost the battle of Yorktown and remained within the empire, it would have been a part of the multitude of nations. It had to be separated from the Crown even though, arguably, most did not want that separation in 1781.
The country went on to become what Winston Churchill called “The Great Republic.”
At the same time, the loyalists that moved to Canada made Canada the great Dominion of the British Empire, which it became.
The Battle of Yorktown was likely a foregone conclusion!
"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened." — Sir Winston Churchill