Of all the campaigns of World War I, none has had more ink spilled over it by historians and pundits than the 1915 effort by Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and France to conquer the Gallipoli Peninsula, force their way through the nearby Dardanelles, break into the Sea of Marmara, and then bombard Constantinople. Perhaps the Gallipoli campaign’s very attraction lies in the fact that it appears to have offered the only opportunity that might conceivably have lessened the terrible killing on the Western Front, which would last for three and a half more years. In retrospect, the campaign to break through the Dardanelles was, as the Duke of Wellington had remarked a century earlier, “a terribly close run thing.” But in this case, unlike at Waterloo, it resulted in Allied defeat.
The Gallipoli Gamble
A century ago, with the fighting on the Western Front stalemated, the Allies seized on a bold naval plan that eventually led to epic defeat.
By Williamson Murray