Churchill and the Dardanelles

Churchill and the Dardanelles

by Christopher M. Bell


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In 1915, Winston Churchill's political career was nearly destroyed when the Allied fleet failed to force a passage through the Straits of the Dardanelles. For over a century, Churchill has been both praised and condemned for his role in launching this highly controversial naval campaign. For some, the Dardanelles offensive was a brilliant concept that might have dramatically shortened the First World War. To many others, however, Churchill was a reckless amateur who drove his unwilling and misinformed colleagues into a venture that was doomed to fail.

Churchill and the Dardanelles, based on exhaustive archival research, provides a detailed and authoritative account of the Gallipoli campaign's origins and execution, stripping away the layers of myth that have long surrounded these dramatic events, and showing that no simple verdict is either possible or fair. Naval historian Christopher M. Bell untangles Churchill's complicated relationship with the dynamic First Sea Lord, Admiral Jacky Fisher, and reveals for the first time the behind-the-scenes machinations that led to Churchill's removal from office as First Lord of the Admiralty - including Fisher's covert campaign to undermine support for the Dardanelles operation, and the leaks by figures in high places that fueled a bitter press campaign to drive Churchill from power.

Attention is also given to Churchill's reaction to the results of the Dardanelles offensive in the years that followed: as Bell shows, Churchill spent a good deal of time trying to refute his critics and convince the wider public that the campaign had in fact nearly succeeded. These efforts were so successful that they transformed how the Dardanelles offensive was regarded in popular memory and ensured that is legacy did not stand in the way of Churchill becoming Prime Minister in May 1940. Now, with the aid of archival research, Christopher M. Bell presents a fresh account of how this transformation came to pass.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198702542
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 05/01/2017
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 822,730
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Christopher M. Bell is Professor of History at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has published widely on twentieth century naval history, and is the author of The Royal Navy, Seapower and Strategy Between the Wars and Churchill and Seapower and co-editor of Naval Mutinies of the Twentieth Century: An International Perspective and At the Crossroads Between War and Peace: The London Naval Conference of 1930.

Table of Contents

1. Stalemate and Frustration: The First Months of War
2. The Origins of the Naval Offensive
3. 'A Great Experiment': The Naval Plan Approved
4. 'I will find the men': The Plan Remade
5. 'Groping round without a plan'
6. From the Dardanelles to Gallipoli
7. Jacky Fisher's Crisis
8. The Duchy of Lancaster goes to War!
9. Exile
10. The Dardanelles Commission I: The Preliminaries
11. The Dardanelles Commission II: The Naval Staff under Scrutiny
12. The Dardanelles Commission III: An Instalment of Fair Play
13. The Cabinet Minister as Censor: The Official Histories
14. The Battle of the Memoirs
15. From Millstone to Myth: 'The Great Movement of Opinion'
Conclusion: What about the Dardanelles?

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