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Lecture 6

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History 1810E
Margaret Mc Glynn

History 1810E Wednesday January 22 Lecture 6 Easterners Outline: I. A World War II. The Dardanelles (Gallipoli) III. The Tactical Problem 1. A World War • Generally, there was an enormous loss of life for what seemed like very little purpose (from both the Allies and the Germans) • The Easterners seemed more reasonable with their idea that we should try and attack somewhere else o They were packing hundreds of thousands of soldiers into northern France (the Western Front), and it wasn’t working o They argued that you shouldn’t reinforce failure by continuing to do the same thing in the same place and expecting a different result • David Lloyd George – a Welshman, a “street-fighting politician”, responsible for the legislation before the war that built the platform for the welfare state, became Prime Minister in 1916 o He didn’t like or trust Douglas Haig – thought he was too careless in the lives of his soldiers (the human cost) • Winston Churchill – Britain’s Prime Minister during the 2 World War o He began as a journalist and came to prominence during the war in South Africa o He wrote a best-selling memoir about his escape from captivity o He was the civilian head of the Royal Navy during World War I • Lloyd George and Churchill became the public face of the Easterners • The Easterners were not only interested in attacking in the East (they could more accurately be called “not Westerners”) • Places the Easterners Suggested to Attack: o Greece o Italy o North German Coast • All of the Easterners’ thinking hinged on one premise: o The German state was supported by a number of significant props: Bulgaria, Austria, Ottoman Empire (their allies) o Attacking Germany would be too costly (they were too big), but if you knocked out one of these props, Germany would collapse as a result (weaken them from within) • Greece o In the fall of 1915, the Greeks were fighting the Bulgarians, and things weren’t going well, so they asked the British and French for military assistance o In theory, this sounded like a good idea (to weaken Germany) o The force sent in achieved almost nothing, and the entire country of Serbia was lost o By 1916, the fighting in Greece had turned into trench warfare o Bulgaria hadn’t been knocked out of the war until September 1918 o Although Greece sounded like a good idea at the time, in practice it didn’t work • Italy o The Italians and Austria-Hungarians had been fighting since 1915, and they thought if they sent troops in to help the Italians, they would be able to take out the Austrian-Hungarians o But by the time they were able to do that, it was too late (1918) o What the British and French achieved was essentially to expand the killing (stalemated trench warfare) o Again this sounded like a good idea in theory, but it didn’t really work • “The Baltic Project” (North German Coast) o The idea was to create an enormous expeditionary force, send it through Britain, around Denmark and Sweden, and then land on the north German coast o The problems were:  There was nowhere on the coast you could land  It would be hard to find vessels the right size (they would have to be constructed from the ground up)  It would be hard to send an invasion fleet around through the Baltic without anyone noticing o This idea didn’t go any further than the idea stage 2. The Dardanelles (Gallipoli) • The great hope of the Easterners was against the Ottoman Empire (Turks), German’s largest ally who was weak and vulnerable o The plan was to capture the peninsula, the capital of the Ottoman Empire (which would force the Turks out of the war), keep the Russians in the war, take out the Germans… • This operation seemed to be a cure-all • The problem was that the battleships weren’t suitable to fight against the Germans in open warfare, but the British and French thought they would be able to scare the Turks with their ships • The Turks were more clever than anyone gave them credit for o When the Allies sent their battleships up the straight, half of them hit mines and sank (at this point, they gave up on sending in ships because they didn’t want them to be damaged) o This was the largest ship-born invasion in history at this time • In April 1915, there were a series of landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula o O
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