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 4: Fumbling Incompetence … And Too Few Stokers

First World War Hidden History

Goeben and Breslau entering the Dardanelles

The escape of the Goeben and Breslau in their mad-cap dash across the Mediterranean to the safety of the Dardanelles has become part of the folklore of the First World War. The escape was astonishing; the consequences staggering. Mainstream historians claim that from the German perspective it was a blessing that verged on a miracle; for the British it was a great embarrassment. Churchill ranted that it was a ‘curse.’ [1] The truth is somewhat different. Evidence now proves that the British Foreign Office and the Admiralty in London knew precisely where the German warships were in the Mediterranean and, crucially, where they were headed. Far from attempting to destroy the Goeben and Breslau, the Secret Elite in London took active steps to keep them from harm and ensure their safe passage to Constantinople. Had the sinking of the German cruisers been the real objective, neither the Goeben nor…

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Gallipoli 3: David and Goliath

First World War Hidden History

On 31 July, the day after Russia demanded seizure of the two Turkish dreadnoughts, the British Cabinet, with its attention drawn to the crisis in Serbia, accepted that they should be retained by the Royal Navy. Churchill later said he requisitioned the ships on 28 July. His memory, though suspect, always ensured that he took all the credit.

sultan osman 1914

British sailors boarded Sultan Osman 1 that same day and the Ottoman ambassador was informed that the warship was being detained for the time being. [1] Buoyed by the seizure of the Turkish dreadnoughts, and confirmation by telegram from France that the government there was in ‘hearty high spirits’ and ‘firmly decided on war,’ [2] Russia continued full speed with the general mobilisation of her armies on Germany’s eastern border. At 4 pm on 1 August, the French also ordered general mobilisation. There was no turning back. It meant war. [3] Over…

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