THE past year had been one of harsh disappointment for the Entente: they had enjoyed good success in none of their undertakings great or small. Unity of command was impossible; as Lloyd George said in March 1918, any government which had proposed at an earlier date that its troops should be commanded by foreigners would have fallen instantly. Unity of direction, hitherto so sadly lacking, offered no such impossibility of principle. The difficulty was to unite in a common agreement three great Powers so widely differing in needs, aims, capacities, and government, and geographically prevented from combining forces at will. The democratic governments of England and France had to secure the support of Parliament, and were sensitive to the supposed breath of public opinion. The Russian autocracy was riddled with intrigue and corruption. Italy at present was allowed to wage her own war, without either let or help; and until she declared war against Germany her influence on major strategy must be feeble.
Again, even if unity of direction were nominally achieved, would its purpose in action be loyally maintained against the urgent push of so many private temptations assailing each member of the Alliance?
Broadly speaking, the Allied Governments accepted the principles laid down at the Chantilly Military Conference in December 1915. The 'principal fronts' were defined as those where the enemy maintained the largest part of his forces: Eastern ( Russia), Western ( France), Southern ( Italy). Co-ordinated offensives on these three were to seek a decision with the available maximum of men and material. Only the minimum of effectives were to be retained in subsidiary theatres. The expedition to Salonika was to preserve its existing strength, and Egypt was to be adequately defended. This scheme was powerfully