Academic journal article Military Review

Gallipoli

Academic journal article Military Review

Gallipoli

Article excerpt

GALLIPOLI

Peter Hart, Oxford University Press

New York, 2011, 544 pages, $34.95

PETER HART CLAIMS in the first sentence of his preface that his verdict of the entire operation in the Gallipoli campaign was "lunacy." He discusses the 1915 British campaign that was to seize the Dardanelles straits and knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war. The focus of Gallipoli is on individual soldiers' actions in the campaign as recounted from their diaries, letters, and personal memoirs. The book has three interwoven themes: the British War Cabinet was guilty of a gross error in strategy; the British Army failed completely in planning and carrying out the campaign; and the soldiers who fought in the campaign struggled valiantly under terrible conditions to achieve the impossible.

The 1915 campaign was an attempted turning movement on a grand scale. The Entente (Britain, France, and Russia) navies were to force the Dardanelles straits and enter the Black Sea. This would open sea lines of communications with Russia, knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war, entice the Balkan states to join the Entente powers, and open a new front against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria). Germany would be forced to move reinforcements from France to meet this new threat. Hart argues instead that the war could only be won on the Western Front; diverting naval assets weakened the Home Fleet and forced Britain's military to operate at the end of a long line of communications. …

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