How War Came to Gallipoli

Winston Churchill is widely credited as the man who committed British, French and - above all - untested Australian and New Zealand forces to the ill-fated campaign to seize control of the Dardanelles Straits and western Turkey.  Indeed, although it was Churchill's drive and aggressiveness - not to mention cunning - which resulted in the campaign actually taking place, the notion of capturing the Turkish Dardanelles Straits had long been given consideration.

 

It was widely believed however - at least in professional circles - that a purely naval attempt to win the Straits was bound to end in failure.

 

 

But why attempt the Straits in the first place?  The answer lay in the great strategic value control would give the Entente Powers.  The Straits linked the Mediterranean Sea with the Sea of Marmora.  This not only gave ready access to the Turkish capital Constantinople and much of the Turkish Empire's industrial powerhouse, but also provided a lane to the Black Sea.

 

Just as importantly, if not more so, access to the Sea of Marmora was bound to give Britain and France supply route access to their eastern ally, Russia.  Therefore it was quite feasible that should Britain and France gain the Straits they could succeed in not only eliminating Turkey from the war, but in also drawing Greece and Bulgaria into the war against the Central Powers.

 

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