January 9, 2014
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE ONLY WORTHWHILE ALLIED ACTION OF WWI:
Gallipoli was not Churchill's great folly (Ross Cameron, 4/14/11, Sydney Morning Herald)
The first land attack stalled and reports quickly reached London and Sydney of unprecedented carnage. Gallipoli would fall to become the seventh bloodiest campaign of the war but at the time it had no peer in casualties. Outraged critics, the public, the press and his own prime minister turned on Churchill and within a month of the first troops hitting the beaches he was sacked from the war cabinet.Churchill was relentless, publicly calling for 95,000 more troops to be sent to Gallipoli but securing only 25,000. Fresh boots made few gains and opposition to the campaign intensified. In October 1915 the British commander, General Ian Hamilton, was instructed to consider withdrawal but refused and was dismissed.Hamilton's replacement, General Charles Monro, arrived at Gallipoli and was sufficiently appalled to order immediate evacuation. Churchill said of Monro: ''He came, he saw, he capitulated.'' The Allies were out by January 1916 and the deeply unpopular Churchill spent the rest of the war near the front line in France.Russia had been warming to the world in the decades before the war and moving towards a democratic constitutional monarchy. But its promising future was cruelled by post-Gallipoli isolation. A year later Russia crumbled, the tsar abdicated and the world's first communist state was born. Its first act was surrender. More Russians died in the war than Germans and Britons combined - but life for ordinary Russians was about to get much worse as all Churchill's premonitions were made real.With Russia out, Germany hurled its fury at France and by mid-1918 was within sight of Paris. The Allies were saved years more carnage by a late American rescue. After the war Churchill led calls for the West to send troops to support Russia's anti-communist resistance. A modest force departed but Lenin prevailed and the USSR became HQ for every communist revolution of the 20th century.Communism enslaved one-third of the world by 1980 but there was nothing inevitable about its advent. When Marx died in 1883, 10 people attended the funeral of an obscure radical. No nation was threatened by communism before 1917.
Posted by Orrin Judd at January 9, 2014 11:54 AM