By Eleanor Dugdale
Is the Kokoda campaign more important in Australian history than Gallipoli?
The Kokoda campaign and Gallipoli are both crucial parts of Australian history; however I believe that the Kokoda campaign was slightly more significant.
Kokoda was arguably Australia's most significant campaign of the Second World War. More Australians died in the seven months of fighting in Papua New Guinea, and the Japanese came closer to Australia than in any other campaign.
Americans General Douglas MacArthur and William F. Halsley oversaw the plans to drive the Japanese from the Pacific, particularly New Guinea. The campaign was called Operation Cartwheel, part of a larger campaign to drive the Japanese back from the Pacific.
The mission of Operation Cartwheel was to bypass Japanese strongholds in New Guinea and land troops in less defended areas, neutralizing strongholds and minimizing casualties from confrontations. It was to be fulfilled through an elaborate co-ordination of air attacks, amphibious landings, and group campaigns. Australians filled an important role in the offensive by fighting in New Guinea and Papua, coinciding with American activities in the Solomons and Guadalcanal.
The primary concern for Australian troops and leaders was to prevent Japan from gaining control of the administrative capital of Papua, Port Moresby. If the Japanese gained control of Port Moresby, they could use the city as a base for further attacks. Australian troops bravely fought in tremendously difficult conditions in Papua. Their endurance in tough situations exemplified the ANZAC spirit and helped save countless lives.
Gallipoli did however, have a lasting affect on Australian history. The Gallipoli campaign was the scene of the first major fighting by Australian soldiers. Devised by Winston Churchill, the plan was intended to push the forces to Turkey's capital to bring her down and bring the war to an early end. The forces comprised Australian and...