“Commercialised patriotism and commercialised sentiment”

Anzac Day on the Esplanade, 1928

Anzac Day on the Esplanade, 1928

Dodgy Perth missed Anzac Day this year, by virtue of being abroad. However we did discover a bar in Manchester which served Little Creatures Pale Ale, and so a glass was appropriately raised last Saturday.

So, to make up for our failure to attend a service, we offer the thoughts of someone from 1930, who did manage to get to such an event on the Esplanade.

Our writer first notes that the setting is perfect. The Swan River with its white yachts at anchor and the wooded slopes of Mt Eliza extending to the water’s edge making a beautiful and peaceful background to the scene.

As ever, there was a raised platform on the Esplanade for politicians, clergy, businessmen, leading citizens and military officers. In front of the platform were a sorrowful and subdued crowd.

The celebrations claimed to be in remembrance of “gallant fellows whose bones now repose on many of the battlefields of Europe”. But our observer is not so sure that it was.

He had a nagging feeling that the day was nothing more than sneaky way of instilling war propaganda into the receptive minds of young children.

The speeches, he scoffed, were nothing more than “commercialised patriotism, commercialised sentiment, commercialized reverence and commercialised Christianity”.

All he heard was humbug and cant about the glories of war, and nothing of its horror, its resultant sorrow, misery, poverty, and hardships.

Taking a sudden turn to the Left, the writer remembers the huge profits to be made from international disputes.

“Let those who make wars fight them,” he declares.

Complaints about the capitalist adoption of Anzac Day? Criticism of politicians’ motives for engaging in war? At least this could never happen nowadays.