Remembrance Day Posters 2018

2018 Commemorative Posters feature four portraits of Australians who served at Gallopoli in 1915. These images combined hundreds of portraits of men and women who have served over the past century.  

Series: Remembrance Day posters

Wartime snapshot

The 2018 Remembrance Day posters feature four portraits of Australians who served at Gallipoli in 1915, which were created by combining hundreds of portraits of men and women who have served in our defence forces over the past century. Representing the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is a portrait of Commander Leighton Bracegirdle DSO. He commanded the 1st Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, in 1915. The Australian Army's portrait is of Private Frederick James Adams, 8th Battalion, who was killed in action during the landings at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. The Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) portrait is Lieutenant Alexander Finnie, 4th Squadron Australian Flying Corps (AFC), who was evacuated from Gallipoli with gas poisoning in August 1915 before joining the AFC. Sister Rachael Pratt represents the service of women in the defence force over the past century. She served with the Australian Army Nursing Service at Gallipoli and was awarded a Military Medal for bravery whilst serving under fire in France.

Background

Early on the morning of 11 November 1918, two delegations boarded a railway carriage in the forest at Compiègne outside Paris. One side was led by the commander of Allied forces on the Western Front, the French General Ferdinand Foch, the other by German politician Matthias Erzberger. In front of them was the Armistice document. Once signed, it would end more than four years of fighting in what had become known as 'the Great War'. Representing the victors, Foch had little sympathy for the men facing him across the table and when the Germans protested the Allies' terms, he offered nothing more than a curt 'Très bien!' (Very good). Three weeks before, Germany's allies in the Middle East, the Ottoman Empire, had agreed to an armistice ending the fighting there, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire had also signed an armistice to end the war in southern Europe. Germany was left alone. On 4 November the Allied Supreme War Council offered a peace proposal based on a framework for peace known as 'The Fourteen Points', first put forward by United States President Woodrow Wilson in January 1918.

Wilson's points included a return of French territory seized by Germany in 1871, and required German troops to evacuate all conquered lands. Though Wilson sought to bring about a lasting peace – 'a peace without victory' – there was a desire amongst the European allies who had suffered the greatest material loss, particularly France, to inflict a great humiliation on Germany and to prevent a return to war. The German delegates had no choice but to agree to the Allies' terms. In the field, their army was in retreat; at home, Germany's Chancellor had resigned and the Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, had fled to Holland. An Allied naval blockade had left people starving, the High Seas Fleet was in open mutiny and there were public demonstrations on the streets of Berlin.

The Armistice required Germany's armies to withdraw to Germany within two weeks, and to surrender thousands of guns and aircraft. Allied troops would occupy the country west of the Rhine River as well as bridgeheads on the opposite bank. To limit Germany's industrial capacity, the Armistice also called for thousands of locomotives, railway coaches and trucks to be handed over. The German High Seas Fleet had to surrender its dreadnoughts, U-boats and light cruisers, and German ships were interned in Allied waters. To maintain pressure on the German people, the naval blockade would continue until a formal peace treaty was signed.

That took place six months later at Versailles, but on 11 November 1918 the world welcomed the Great War's end. The Armistice came into effect at 11:00 that morning and for the first time since August 1914, the sound of gunfire ceased along the Western Front. Today 11 November is known as Remembrance Day to honour the dead of all wars, but it will be forever associated with the end of the war that shaped the twentieth century.

References

Joan Beaumont, Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2013

C E W Bean, The Australian Imperial Force in France, 1918: Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918, vol. VI, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1942.

Peter Stanley, Digger Smith and Australia's Great War: ordinary name – extraordinary stories, Pier 9, Sydney, 2011.

Bill Gammage, The Broken Years: Australian Soldiers in the Great War, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1974.

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