The ‘second’ front

Today, Thursday 28 January 1915, the War Council met to make a final decision about the Dardanelles operation. Note that after the meeting on 13 January (see my post of that date) Carden had been appointed commander of the fleet that was to force the straits, he had been told that he would be given the super-dreadnought Queen Elizabeth, and Churchill had persuaded the French to join the operation. The prime minister, H.H. Asquith, informed the meeting today that ‘in view of the steps already taken the question could not well be left in abeyance’. He had travelled a long way since telling Venetia Stanley that he was ‘altogether opposed’ to the project (see my post of 5 December 2014). The fact is, everyone on the Council except the First Sea Lord, Fisher, was swept up by the desire to ‘do something’ about the deadly stalemate on the Western Front. Fisher tried to resign, but was persuaded back to the table by Kitchener. The Council then agreed that the Admiralty should be charged with carrying out the (purely naval) operation…a month later! To quote the official history: ‘The Germans had already had six months in which to improve the defences of the Straits, and the minefields were continually growing.’

Next entry: Two anniversaries

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About Patrick Miles

I am a writer who specialises in Anton Chekhov and is writing a biography of George Calderon.
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