Gallipoli 8: Trouble With Russia

First World War Hidden History

Russian_prisoners_tannenberg

Once the immediate German threat to Paris had passed, and the Western Front stuck fast in what would become a four year-long stalemate of miserable trench warfare, London was faced with a serious problem. The Russians had been badly beaten on the Eastern Front. They had invaded Germany’s eastern borders but were driven back by the German defensive-offensive at the Battle of Tannenberg and the first Battle of the Masurian Lakes. Despite outnumbering the German Eighth Army under von Hindenberg and Ludendorf by almost two to one, the Russians had lost some 300,000 men by the middle of September 1914. Rather than face the wrath of the Czar, General Alexander Samsonov shot himself.

Russian morale plummeted. Such heavy and unexpected losses only six weeks into the war drained their enthusiasm. With the way to Constantinople blocked by the Goeben, some of the Czar’s advisors began to consider an armistice with…

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Gallipoli 7: Goading Turkey

First World War Hidden History

Vice-Admiral Sackville-Carden

Once Souchon and his warships were assimilated into the Turkish navy, Rear-Admiral Sir Arthur Limpus, who had been the naval advisor to the Turkish government for two years, was withdrawn from his mission by Churchill on 9 September 1914. Limpus knew the precise details of all the Dardanelles defences and had a prodigious knowledge of every aspect of Turkish naval planning. [1] Logically, he was the prime candidate in every sense for the post of Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean fleet but he was relegated to the desk-bound job of superintendent of the Malta dockyards while Vice- Admiral Sackville Carden, who had spent the past two years in this relative backwater, assumed command of the fleet. It was a strange decision by any standard. Sackville-Carden was considered slow and ineffective, [2] but the arrangement was apparently based on the need to reassure the Turks that Britain, as their natural…

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World War One: A Centenary

beetleypete

I hope that nobody is unaware of the fact that 2014 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the start of the First World War, in August 1914. To many of you, especially those still young, it might seem like a dusty old piece of history, played out on TV in black and white. You may well consider that it has no relevance any more, and it is of no interest to you whatsoever. You will have no intention of sitting through the endless documentaries, dramatised reconstructions, or worthy coverage of commemorations. Please think again. We can all learn much from the follies of this tragic conflict, and the reasons that it began.

My own grandparents were born in the year 1900. Both of my grandfathers were lucky enough to not have to serve in this war, as they only reached the required age of 18 as the war ended. Other…

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