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HomeworkHistory → Gallipoli Campaign

The Gallipoli Plan was devised by Winston Churchill, who at the time was the Lord of the Admiralty. This was his first position of high power. He devised the plan to, in his own words, “stop men chewing barbed wire in Flanders”. The plan was devised 1915 with the intention of breaking the 'stalemate' or 'deadlock', where both sides were moving neither back or forth, this was due to the trench system which was a poor idea because it was incredible for defence but nobody could attack it.

The point of the plan were to try and persuade Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Italy to join the allies, in the hope the success of the Allies would prove to them the Allies’ strength, to be able to supply Russia better and to take control of Turkey. It was for these reasons that the plan was so brilliant in Churchill’s eyes.

William Churchill is better known for his role as Prime Minister during the Second World War; however he only achieved this post having first resigned as Lord of the Admiralty, who was the head of the navy. He resigned because the Gallipoli plan failed and at this point he thought his career was over. As we know now though, it was not.

It was not easy for William Churchill to use this plan, because parliament was divided into two sides, the Westerners and the Easterners. The Westerners believed that the war would be won by breaking the stalemate on the Western Front. The Easterners, who included Churchill, believed the stalemate could be broken elsewhere, for example Turkey.

Churchill’s idea was a good one, because creating yet another front for the Germans would force them to split their army still further as they would need to support the weak Turkish army. When the Germans went to assist the Turks, that would leave their lines weakened in the west or east and lead to a greater strength there for the Allies who would have a weaker army to battle. The Turks had joined the Central Powers in November 1914 and they were seen by Churchill as being the weak underbelly of those who fought against the Allies.

The Easterners agreed when Churchill suggested his plan, but the Westerners did not. In the end the Westerners agreed but only if the worst troops, from Australia and New Zealand could be sent. By this time the Turks had received warning of the attack and sent troops and improved their defences.

Churchill had contacted Admiral Carden – head of the British fleet anchored off of the Dardanelles – for his thoughts on a naval assault on Turkish positions in the Dardanelles. Carden was cautious about this and replied to Churchill that a gradual attack might be more appropriate and had a greater chance of success. Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, pushed Carden to produce a plan which he, Churchill, could submit to the War Office. Senior commanders in the navy were concerned at the speed with which Churchill seemed to be pushing an attack on the Dardanelles.

They believed that long term planning was necessary and that Churchill’s desire for a speedy plan, and therefore, execution was risky. However, because Churchill had so much enthusiasm, the War Council approved his plan and decided on February as the month that the campaign should be started.

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