STRAITS British Policy towards the Ottoman Empire and the Origins of the Dardanelles Campaign © 1997-2005 Geoffrey Miller





STRAITS : British policy towards the Ottoman Empire and the Origins of the Dardanelles Campaign © Geoffrey Miller



Map of Turkey
STRAITS British Policy towards the Ottoman Empire and the Origins of the Dardanelles Campaign © 1997-2005 Geoffrey Miller



Chapter 21




The Private War




 Prince Said Halim Pasha

Prince Said Halim Pasha

 Mallet’s problems during October resulted from his policy of staking all on Said Halim being able to control the situation; the initial hope that this policy might succeed proved to be short-lived. The Grand Vizier’s minor victory in the Council of Ministers in September was but a false dawn; worse, the result was counter-productive in that Enver now bypassed Said Halim in his dealings with the Germans and so further contributed to the Prince’s increasing irrelevance. There is some evidence that Mallet began to realize that he too had backed the wrong horse, all of which contributed to the added nervous strain he was under: ‘Even his saving sense of humour seemed to have completely deserted him’, wrote the Counsellor, Beaumont.[1] Mallet’s frustrations were voiced in a long and, in places, intemperate letter to Grey’s private secretary, William Tyrrell, on 16 October:



Although the Germans have reason to be well satisfied with the remarkable results of the presence of Goeben in this port, yet they have not achieved their main object which was and is the outbreak of war between Turkey and Great Britain & Russia. Another object is to achieve a protectorate by peaceful penetration which they have really achieved. It is extraordinarily difficult to know what is going on and I feel sometimes bewildered by the maze of lies and wild rumours which reach me every hour of the day. The most circumstantial reports based apparently upon unimpeachable evidence are flatly contradicted by equally circumstantial reports based upon similar evidence. It is quite impossible to believe anything at all, whatever the authority, and one has to fall back on probabilities relying on one’s own judgment & forming one’s impressions.

Turkish troops listening to the proclamation of a Jihad

Turkish troops listening to the proclamation of a Jihad

With regard to his many conversations with the Grand Vizier, Mallet was convinced that Said Halim ‘knows that the situation of the [Ottoman] Empire is desperate — that bankruptcy is not coming but already there, that the people are worn out with 3 years of war and unrest and with the prospect of another war with they know not whom, simply to gratify the vanity of a fatuous young idiot like Enver & a mad German general like Liman.’[2] Despite all the evidence to the contrary Mallet still could not give up hope that ‘if we still continue to exercise patience and if we still have successes as I do not doubt, we may pull it off, and that although we are at the mercy of an incident, it is not I but Wangenheim who will have to leave first. I confess that I should hate to be beaten now by Wangenheim, who is a typically unscrupulous and contemptible form of Teuton.’ And, as far as the Straits were concerned, ‘It will be impossible’, Mallet contended, ‘to allow this gate on a great highway to be in the hands of a set of epileptic lunatics for ever.’[3]

                On the day he wrote this, Mallet learned from a Greek source that extremists were allegedly plotting to assassinate him within four days. As a precaution he remained in the Embassy on the 17th, venturing out only briefly to see Giers who advised him not to attend the memorial service to be held the following day for King Carol of Roumania. Whether or not there was a plot afoot his circumspection was rewarded, for Mallet was still alive on the fourth day. No sooner had he thwarted the conspirators than Mallet heard of a planned armed demonstration against the Embassy: to counter this he borrowed Lord Gerald Wellesley’s motor and had it sent to collect the rifles kept in store for such an eventuality. Once more the attack did not materialize and, much to the annoyance of Lord Gerald, the upholstery on his car was badly stained by the oil smeared on the rifles.[4]

                The death of King Carol[5] – an ardent supporter of Austria – had upset perceptions as to the alignment of Roumania which, it was now thought, would gravitate towards the Entente. If the pendulum had begun to swing towards continuing neutrality, the arrival of the first shipment of German gold on 16 October, and the apparently unequivocal conversion of Talaat and Djemal to intervention, sealed the fate of the Ottoman Empire. On 22 October Enver presented the Germans with his war plans. The War Minister maintained that, due to the continued uncertainty in the Balkans, substantial Turkish forces would have to remain in Thrace. The options that remained were, in the main, those that had been canvassed in the preceding months: the proclamation of a jihad against the Entente; the dispatch of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (though this would take some time); diversionary operations against Russian land forces in the Caucasus; seek out and attack the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Of the four options, only the last promised immediate results; the plans were unhesitatingly approved by the Germans. One final hurdle remained for Enver. Now, at the last minute, Halil and Talaat began to waver. There was even talk of Halil and Hafiz going to Berlin to plead for another six months’ neutrality as Turkish arms remained inadequate for the task.[6] It was too late. Enver promptly resorted to subterfuge by handing Souchon a sealed order to commence hostilities against Russia without a formal declaration of war. If, however, Enver found that he could not persuade his colleagues to acquiesce in such a radical course the Minister for War would instruct Souchon not to open the orders — this was to be the pre-arranged signal that, to force the issue, Souchon himself would have to manufacture an incident. Wangenheim, however, was not at all satisfied with this arrangement.[7] On 23 October the Ambassador sent the Commander of the German Naval Base, Humann, to see Enver who, typically, was not in his office. Humann thereupon dictated a note to Colonel Kiazim Bey, Enver’s A.D.C.:

German Ambassador is of opinion that Fleet Commander Admiral Souchon must have in his hands a written declaration from Enver Pasha if Souchon is to carry out Enver’s plan to cause Russian incident. Otherwise, in case of military failure or political defeat for Enver, a grave compromise of German policy with extremely fatal consequences is inevitable.

Enver’s subterfuge had been designed to override opposition from his own side and did not take into account Wangenheim’s last-minute faint-heartedness. In the circumstances, there was little that Enver could do but comply, which he did two days later:

War Minister Enver Pasha to Admiral Souchon                  October 25, 1914

The entire fleet should manoeuvre in Black Sea. When you find a favourable opportunity, attack the Russian fleet. Before initiating hostilities, open my secret order personally given you this morning. To prevent transport of material to Serbia, act as already agreed upon. Enver Pasha.

[Secret order] The Turkish fleet should gain mastery of Black Sea by force. Seek out the Russian fleet and attack her wherever you find her without declaration of war. Enver Pasha.[8]

Wangenheim, too, had some final instructions for Souchon: ‘(1) put to sea immediately, (2) no aimlessness, but war by all means, (3) if possible, report soon to Berlin on operative intentions.’[9]

                Souchon now had a surprise for Enver. Rather than an incident at sea, the Admiral had determined upon the far more provocative scheme of attacking the Russian coast! On that afternoon the German officers began to leave the congenial environment of the steamship General to rejoin their ships, German or Turkish, which were congregated around Goeben. Aboard Breslau orders were issued to set out for the Black Sea for scouting practice; Lieutenant Dönitz later recorded that word had been received that the Russians were sowing mines at the entrance to the Bosphorus and that Souchon planned to cut off their retreat![10] In reality the plan was for a simultaneous attack at four locations – Sebastopol, Theodosia, Novorossisk and Odessa – early on the morning of 29 October. Goeben, accompanied by two torpedo boats and a gun boat, would go to Sebastopol; the targets for Breslau (accompanied by Berk) and Hamidieh would be Novorossisk and Theodosia respectively; while Odessa would be attacked by three torpedo boats. The fleet sailed on the evening of 27 October. One of the torpedo boats detailed for Odessa developed engine trouble and turned back; the remaining two (Muavenet and Gairet) sighted the lights of Odessa at 3 a.m. on the 29th. On a moonless night the boats were unsure as to how to enter the harbour when, fortuitously, three steamers emerged, the first showing lights. The Turkish vessels quickly ran past the emerging ships, into the harbour and, from about 70 yards, put a torpedo into the Russian gunboat Donetz. One French and three Russian steamers were also damaged, as were shore installations and a sugar factory.[11]

                The premature bombardment had, though, ruined Souchon’s plan for simultaneous attacks, as Goeben was still some hours away from Sebastopol. At 4 a.m. she intercepted a Russian W/T message, en clair, reporting the Odessa action so that when, just before 6.30 a.m., Goeben sighted her target, the shore batteries had been alerted and were prepared for action. Goeben’s bombardment of fifteen minutes’ duration did not go unanswered and she received at least three hits from heavy shells, one of which resulted in a boiler being shut down. This action was witnessed by Engineer Lieutenant Le Page, who had been seconded to the Russians by Limpus. While this was going on the Russian minelayer Pruth (loaded with 110 mines) blundered on to the scene and was promptly scuttled by her crew who viewed their ship as being no more than a giant floating bomb waiting to be detonated. Three modern Russian destroyers attempted to chase the fleeing attackers but abandoned their effort when the leading boat was hit.

                At the same time Hamidieh arrived at Theodosia. With no opposition evident a German and a Turkish officer proceeded on shore to give notice of the coming bombardment, to enable civilians to evacuate the area. A similar warning was delivered at Novorossisk by Berk which eventually opened fire shortly before Breslau arrived. Breslau did not, in fact, reach the port till 10.50 a.m., having first laid a barrage of 60 mines in the Kertch Straits, then, with her engines stopped, she commenced a leisurely bombardment of over 300 shells in two hours concentrating first on the oil tanks on shore, before shifting her aim to the ships in the harbour, ultimately sinking 14 vessels including (in contradiction to the German Official History) the British registered steel schooner Friedericke. All the Turco-German ships returned safely to the Bosphorus.[12]


The photograph, above, of the ship's bell from Friederike was kindly supplied by Mikhail Bobryshev (UMS-Novo Commercial Director).
The bell was found at Novorossiysk Harbour.


                News of the attack, which was received in London at 5.45 that evening, 29 October,[13] was already common knowledge in Constantinople that afternoon. Djemal, dining at the fashionable Cercle d’Orient, was reported to have reacted furiously when he became aware of the news and to have denied vehemently any knowledge of the attack; when Vere (the Armstrong-Vickers representative) saw Djemal at 9.30 that night to ask if the rumours were true, the Pasha – still professing to know nothing about the Black Sea incident – lost his temper and shouted, ‘That swine Admiral von Souchon has done this.’[14] While Djemal’s protestations of innocence may, or may not have been, genuine even Liman von Sanders subsequently denied any foreknowledge of the attack upon the Russian coast.[15] For the personnel at the British Embassy the absence of the Turco-German fleet from the Golden Horn did not presage the events which had now followed; even so, an aura of calm prevailed as if, at last, a burden of uncertainty had been lifted and everyone now knew where he stood. Ryan, for one, had left the Embassy, as usual, at 5 p.m. while, twenty minutes later, Mallet – sanguine to the last – telegraphed Grey that ‘Unless there are military reasons to the contrary, I think that HM Government should continue to avoid a rupture with Turkey.’[16] Precautions were, nevertheless, still taken and when Ryan returned at 6 p.m. he ‘found the Chancery being packed up, so well-prepared were we for a sudden removal.’[17] Grey was, in the meantime, waiting to hear what the Russian attitude would be: ‘Unless Grand Vizier is strong enough to arrest and punish those responsible for this outrage and make immediate reparations to Russia’, he informed Mallet, ‘I do not see how war can be avoided, but we shall not take the first step.’ Grey continued to be deeply concerned of the effect upon the Muslim population of the Empire if Britain should be cast in the rôle of aggressor; nonetheless, he could not accept Mallet’s advice.[18]

                Mallet saw Giers and Bompard that evening and they agreed between them to suggest that, as the Ottoman Government must have had prior knowledge of, and authorized, the attacks, the Porte should be instructed to ‘choose between rupture with Triple Entente or dismissal of German naval and military missions.’[19] Mallet should have been spared the necessity of having to make such a fatuous demand as the following day – 30 October – Giers was instructed to ask for his passports and Mallet, following his own instructions, proposed to do the same; however his telegram informing Grey of his intention crossed with one from the Foreign Secretary directing Mallet to send in a note to the Porte expressing ‘the utmost surprise of the wanton attacks made upon open and undefended towns of a friendly country without any warning and without the slightest provocation.’ Mallet was to demand that the Turkish Government dismiss the German missions and repatriate the German sailors; they would have twelve hours to produce a satisfactory reply to the note, otherwise Mallet was then to ask for his passports.[20]

                At thirty-five minutes past midnight that night (30/31 October) a warning telegram was sent by the Admiralty to all Mediterranean commands informing them of the twelve hour time limit.[21] The countdown to war now appeared a formality. Yet Mallet, encouraged by what he believed to be credible internal opposition on the 30th, still held out a last lingering hope. The shock of Souchon’s fait accompli had reverberated throughout the Porte that day in a series of confused and emotional meetings convened by the Turks. At the first of these the vote was 17-10 in favour of intervention upon which Said Halim, Djavid and three other ministers promptly resigned. Enver had not, apparently, counted on Said Halim taking so principled a stand and the Minister for War promptly went to work: he could not afford to lose Said Halim as the Grand Vizier was a useful figurehead who might, additionally, be able to buy time by continuing to string along the Entente Powers. So it was that, subject to heavy pressure at the second meeting that day, Said Halim returned to the fold — reluctant as ever to give up the sybaritic pleasures of his post. In one sense the arguments were irrelevant as Souchon’s action had moved the debate away from being a purely Turkish decision: Russian soil and Russian ships had been shelled; Russian sailors and civilians killed; and, incidentally, a British ship had been sunk. Souchon could no longer be disavowed.[22]

                Mallet subsequently had a ‘very painful’ interview with the Grand Vizier, who was said to have pleaded ‘Do not abandon me’. This, and Djavid’s report of that day’s meeting, given to the French Ambassador, resulted in Mallet informing Grey that he was ‘unwilling to leave if there is slightest chance of change in situation during next twenty-four hours.’ The situation, however, deteriorated rapidly: Giers left on 31 October, while Morgenthau, the American Ambassador, advised Mallet in strict confidence to go as soon as possible for, from the information at Morgenthau’s disposal, there was ‘no chance of favourable solution.’ Mallet, who planned to leave that same evening, responded to one final plea from the Grand Vizier and consented to stay over till 1 November to allow another interview to be scheduled. This last act of consideration for Said Halim was unnecessary: at 5.05 p.m., 31 October, the order went out from the Admiralty to all ships, ‘Commence hostilities at once against Turkey. Acknowledge.’[23] The smoke that rose from the Embassy garden told its own forlorn story: ‘the documents and records of British achievements in Turkey for over one hundred years were slowly burning before the eyes of the Ambassador and his Secretaries. It was the funeral pyre of England’s vanishing power in the Ottoman Empire.’[24]

                Mallet and Ryan drove out to Said Halim’s country residence late on the afternoon of 1 November but, as Ryan had foreseen, ‘the meeting produced no change in an irremedial situation.’ Together with the French, Mallet and his staff left that evening by train to Dedeagatch (the only exit as the Dardanelles remained closed) and there boarded the SS Ernest Simon on 2 November.[25] From Dedeagatch they proceeded via Athens and Malta to Marseilles, then by train to Dieppe, finally reaching London on 11 November.[26] After Mallet had taken his leave on the evening of 1 November, Said Halim had other visitors: the Grand Vizier was again wavering and Enver and Talaat arrived to ensure his final adherence to the cause. Although now abandoned, and with war inevitable (and Talaat reminded Said Halim that it was he who had signed the alliance with Germany and would, therefore, be responsible for the consequences) it apparently still took a threat to his life to persuade the Prince to comply.[27]


As the prevailing attitude in London regarding Turkey had already become firmly established, this allowed the Foreign Office officials time to rehearse their arguments to explain the unavoidable rupture of relations. The Press Bureau was, therefore, suitably quick off the mark in issuing a lengthy statement on the morning of 31 October in defence of Foreign Office policy:

…Ever since the German men-of-war, the Goeben and Breslau, took refuge in Constantinople, the attitude of the Turkish Government towards Great Britain has caused surprise and some uneasiness. Promises made by the Turkish Government to send away the German Officers and crews of the Goeben and Breslau have never been fulfilled. It was well known that the Turkish Minister of War was decidedly pro-German in his sympathies, but it was confidently hoped that the saner counsels of his Colleagues, who had had experience of the friendship which Great Britain has always shown towards the Turkish Government, would have prevailed and prevented that Government from entering upon the very risky policy of taking a part in the conflict on the side of Germany. Since the war, German Officers in large numbers have invaded Constantinople, have usurped the authority of the Government and have been able to coerce the Sultan’s Ministers into taking up a policy of aggression…[28]

Somewhat embarrassingly, Sazonov hesitated over declaring war on Turkey even though the attack upon his homeland had been flagrant and unprovoked and the Ambassador had been withdrawn on 31 October. Such unexpected circumspection was the result of Sazonov’s desire for Turkey to remain intact until at least 1917, when Russia would be strong enough herself to force the issue of the Straits — his quarrel was with Germany and Austria-Hungary. Rather like the Grand Vizier, Sazonov seemed to believe that, by ignoring the problem, it might go away; only a direct order from the Tsar secured the Russian declaration of war against Turkey on 2 November. This unanticipated Russian intransigence resulted in Britain involuntarily leading the way to strike back at the Turks.[29]

                At the Cabinet on 2 November Grey reported that the situation in Turkey was still obscure; despite this, the general opinion was that, after what had happened, there should be a vigorous offensive and every effort should be made to bring in Greece, Bulgaria and, above all, Roumania. ‘Henceforward’, Asquith reported to the King, ‘Great Britain must finally abandon the formula of “Ottoman integrity” whether in Europe or in Asia.’[30] While the politicians debated, far away, off the Dardanelles, the last futile act of the drama was being played out. On the back of the Admiralty copy of Grey’s telegram to Mallet of 30 October, which set the Turks a twelve hour time limit to respond to the British ultimatum, Churchill had written in blunt red pencil, ‘1 S[ea] L[ord]. Admiral Slade shd be asked to state his opinion on the possibility & advisability of a bombardment of the sea face forts of the Dardanelles. It is a good thing to give a prompt blow.’[31] Slade replied the same day:

A bombardment of the sea face of the Dardanelles Forts offers very little prospect of obtaining any effect commensurate with the risk to the ships. The Forts are difficult to locate from the sea at anything like the range at which they will have to be engaged. The guns in the Forts at the entrance are old Krupp and would probably be outranged by those in the Fleet, but it is not known where the new guns 16.5" Krupp said to have been mounted by the Germans are situated. It may be possible to make a demonstration to draw the fire of these guns & make them disclose themselves trusting to lack of training of the gunners — but it would not be advisable to risk serious damage to any of the battle cruisers as long as the Goeben is effective — A little target practice from 15 to 12 thousand yards might be useful....[32]

The following day, 1 November, the order was sent to Admiral Carden: without risking either his own or the French ships a demonstration was to be made against the forts on the earliest suitable day from long range and with the ships underway. Approaching soon after daylight, Carden was instructed to retire before return fire from the forts became effective; and, lest Carden should entertain any doubts that this was just another of Winston’s caprices, Churchill ended the signal by declaring that the First Sea Lord concurred.[33]

                This reassurance might not have been as comforting as Carden imagined. Battenberg, at the end of his tether after constant attacks in the press questioning his patriotism, was unwell and no longer up to the job. The whispering campaign had been so effective that, as early as 30 September, Commander Domvile recorded in his diary that ‘There is a persistent rumour that P[rince] L[ouis] is shut up in the Tower...’[34] Churchill’s own performance was also coming under increasing criticism after a series of failures[35] and, to protect his own position, a change was required at the Admiralty — a First Sea Lord with energy and ideas. It was, apparently, Haldane who first suggested, on 19 October, that Fisher should return to the Admiralty (in addition to Admiral Sir Arthur Wilson).[36] Churchill received Asquith’s approval for the change the following day; the Prime Minister had not found in Prince Louis a congenial colleague when Churchill’s absences had forced them to work together. ‘I think’, Asquith informed Venetia Stanley that afternoon, ‘Battenberg will have to make as graceful a bow as he can to the British public.’[37] The changeover was not all plain sailing however as the King, who was, on the one hand ‘a good deal agitated’ about Battenberg’s position, was equally horrified at the prospect of Fisher’s return. The pretext Churchill required was provided on 27 October when the new super-dreadnought Audacious struck a mine and was lost.[38] The First Lord saw Asquith that morning to report the catastrophe and was described by the Prime Minister as being ‘in a rather sombre mood’ — a considerable understatement. ‘Strictly between you & me’, Asquith confided to Miss Stanley, ‘he has suffered to-day a terrible calamity on the sea, which I dare not describe, lest by chance my letter should go wrong…He has quite made up his mind that the time has come for a drastic change in his Board; our poor blue-eyed German will have to go, and (as W. says) he will be reinforced by 2 “well-plucked chickens” of 74 & 72…’[39]

                By the 28th Asquith was adamant that Battenberg must go; Churchill had had a difficult interview with the Admiral made all the more poignant as Prince Louis’ nephew had been killed in action the previous day. Now thoroughly dispirited, ‘Louis behaved with great dignity & public spirit, & will resign at once.’ Still, though, the King had an ‘unconquerable aversion’ to Fisher. Asquith played his part in the coup to the hilt, declaring to the King’s private secretary that nothing would induce him to part with Winston, ‘whom I eulogised to the skies, and that in consequence the person chosen must be congenial to him.’[40] Battenberg resigned, a broken man. It was, the Prime Minister admitted, a much more difficult job to get the King to consent to Fisher’s appointment than it was to get his approval of Battenberg’s resignation. At an interview with the King, after lunch on 29 October, Asquith wrote that

He gave me an exhaustive & really eloquent catalogue of the old man’s crimes & defects, and thought that this appointment would be very badly received by the bulk of the Navy, & that he would be almost certain to get on badly with Winston. On the last point, I have some misgivings of my own, but Winston won’t have anybody else, and there is no one among the available Admirals in whom I have sufficient confidence to force him upon him. So I stuck to my guns, and the King (who behaved very nicely) gave a reluctant consent. I hope his apprehensions won’t turn out to be well founded.[41]

The old reprobate was back at the Admiralty on 30 October, the day Churchill had determined that Carden should bombard the Dardanelles’ forts. By this time Churchill had already – in as much as it was possible for him – developed a grudge against Turkey; but it is also tempting to suggest that the precipitate order to Carden owed more than a little to Churchill’s desire to impress Fisher and to demonstrate to his critics that the Admiralty was now under new management, with past disasters forgotten, and resolute action to come. However difficult it might be to untangle the swirling mix of motive and emotion wrapped up in the order to Carden, it is without question that it was to have the most damaging consequences.

                The infallible Captain Richmond was, as usual, less than impressed with the Admiralty’s way of conducting business; it was an infelicitous attribute of Richmond that he always believed he could do the job better himself. ‘Of course’, he recorded on the day the order was sent, ‘Sturdee has no notions of what to do [about Turkey] beyond the crude one of sending a ship to fire upon their troops between Gaza & El Arish, & even that I had to suggest to him…It is pitiful to see the lack of co-operation between Army & Navy in this matter…’[42] Limpus, now ensconced at Malta, also became aware of the order to Carden and was so concerned he sent Sturdee a personal telegram on 2 November urging caution:

My knowledge of Turks leads me to think result would be reported widespread in Constantinople Allied Fleet have attacked and have been repulsed with serious loss. Naturally have no knowledge of plan, but it seems to me that first thing to free passage of Straits is a land attack on forts on Asia side.[43]

As far as Richmond was concerned, this looked like the end of the matter. He noted on 3 November that orders had been sent to bombard the forts, ‘but Limpus pointed out that such an action could not be conclusive & the Turks would use our necessary withdrawal to boast of a victory. So I dare say we shall not do it...’[44] For once, Richmond was wrong. At 5.45 that morning Carden’s ships had opened fire, his objective being ‘to do as much damage as possible in a short time with a limited number of rounds at long range, and to turn away before the fire from the forts became effective.’ To accomplish this, he allowed a mere eight rounds per turret.[45] Britain had commenced hostilities before the official declaration of war![46]

                The immediate results were better than expected, particularly those obtained by the British battle cruisers, and included the destruction of Fort Seddel Bahr when its magazine exploded after being hit. ‘It seemed to me’, noted an onlooker on Dublin, ‘to be a deliberate bombardment of practically every building in sight, care being taken not to hit the minaret. This would be because of its use for range finding and also perhaps of a wish not to offend religious sensibilities. The main target was certainly the fort, which we made a mess of, culminating in a huge explosion. There had been sporadic return fire from several positions but we certainly weren’t hit and it was all a most one-sided affair.’[47] Djevad Pasha, the Turkish commandant, testified after the war that this attack, though more or less a reconnaissance, caused more damage than any succeeding attack.[48] ‘The Turkish guns were quite outranged’, noted the commander of HMS Harpy, ‘and as far as I could see, only a few ricochets came near us…I hope this war will be prosecuted with vigour, and that we shall not be content with a 20 minute bombardment occasionally.’[49] Asquith, however, was less impressed: ‘The shelling of a fort at the Dardanelles seems to have succeeded in blowing up a magazine’, he wrote, adding cynically, ‘but that is peu de chose. At any rate we are now frankly at war with Turkey…’[50] This was, in a formal sense, still incorrect.

                In Constantinople von Usedom admitted that the long range shooting had been remarkably good and the demonstration had produced near panic in the capital, resulting in a conference being convened of Government representatives and town authorities to discuss the measures to be taken to safeguard the city, its treasures, valuables, holy places, and the Sultan. There was even talk of laying a minefield in front of the Golden Horn[51] while steam was raised in Goeben so that she could sail to the Dardanelles and assist if necessary.[52] In London the Cabinet reached the conclusion that, due to the bombardment and destruction of the fort, ‘a final declaration of war against Turkey could no longer be postponed.’[53] On the afternoon of 4 November Tewfik Pasha, acting under instructions from Constantinople, called on Grey and asked for his passports. The following day Britain and France declared war on Turkey. Churchill would not let up; he asked Carden four days later to report on any way the Turks could be injured ‘without undue risk or expenditure of ammunition.’[54] Carden was not keen, replying that there was not much that could be done at present without using a full charge in the 12-inch guns.[55] Undeterred, Churchill again asked Carden for his proposals for injuring the enemy.[56] Almost in desperation, Carden replied that, apart from preventing contraband entering through the Dardanelles or Smyrna, which he was already doing, the only other option was a further bombardment.[57] ‘The bombardment should be repeated’, Churchill instructed on 16 November before Vice-Admiral Oliver’s timely intervention prevented another futile demonstration. ‘Possibly’, the Admiral minuted, ‘the guns have not enough remaining life to make it advisable to bombard again with full charges.’[58] The proposal lapsed — for the time being.

                Carden’s few rounds had blown up a fort; this short term damage, and the temporary panic in Constantinople (which soon subsided), were however in no way offset by the long term consequences of Churchill’s folly. As a result of the First Lord’s ‘prompt blow’ the following improvements were made to the defences of the Dardanelles:

i.  damage done to Seddel Bahr repaired

ii.  number of 15 cm L/40 QF guns at Dardanos increased from 2 to 5

iii.   a new battery, 3 x 15 cm L/40 QF naval guns, had been completed at Messudieh on European shore

iv.  the minefield batteries had been greatly strengthened by addition of a number of fixed light QF guns removed from Turkish warships and by several mobile field batteries

v.    additional minefields had been laid

vi.    searchlights had been increased in number and power

vii.   between 50 and 60 mobile mortars and howitzers had been established in concealed positions on both sides of the Straits, between the inner and outer defences

viii.  the range-finding, fire observation and control systems had been improved

ix.    the emplacement of the heavy gun batteries had been strengthened by increasing the thickness of earth covering of traverses and parapets, and the provision of sandbag buttresses and revetments to protect gun crews and ammunition stores

x.    the construction of Djevad Pasha battery (3 x 15 cm L/26 Krupp guns) had been commenced near White Cliffs and was approaching completion at end of February 1915.[59]

This report made for depressing reading but contrasted markedly with Churchill’s own evidence at the Dardanelles Commission: ‘…as far as I can recollect’, he answered at that time,

the object was to see what the effect of the ships guns would be on the outer forts — whether they would injure them…It lasted only 10 minutes. We thought it would be useful to ascertain this, and also, the war having just begun and the Fleet having waited off the Dardanelles for some weeks, it seemed a convenient moment to exchange shots with the forts and to acquire any information about the effect of the guns on the forts…It did not seem likely to do any harm in the way of putting the enemy specially on their guard, and in fact it did not produce any evil consequences; the enemy took no steps in consequence of it...’[60]

Despite Churchill’s prevarication, the Report of the Dardanelles Commission concluded that the demonstration, which was characterized as “unfortunate”, was ‘a mistake, as it was calculated to place the Turks on the alert’ and it was made clear that the orders to bombard had emanated solely from the Admiralty — the War Council had not been consulted.’[61]

                Although, clearly, the Dardanelles defences were being strengthened before the bombardment the main purpose of this was to prevent the ingress of the Allied fleet and so give the Turco-German fleet a free hand in the Black Sea. Neither the troops nor equipment were then in place to have repelled a combined operation. Just as important, the emphasis of the Turco-German defences was altered: mines would now be adopted as the primary weapon, and the guns on both shores would be deployed to protect the minefields. It was this decision which would eventually seal the fate of the Dardanelles Expedition.[62] Churchill was obviously concerned enough about the advance warning he had provided of a possible allied attack for him to want to deny, in his evidence, the fact that this affected Turkish planning.[63] Lloyd George certainly ‘partly blamed’ Churchill for the war with Turkey: ‘The situation was not desperate even after the attacks by the Goeben on Russian Black Sea Ports’, the Chancellor maintained in Scott’s record of the conversation. The Turks ‘did not concern us and it was open to Russia to ignore them but the perfectly useless bombardment by the fleet of one of the Dardanelles Forts and the seizure of Akaba brought us at once into war.’[64] Churchill had, in effect, launched his own private war against Turkey.


Feroz Yasamee has argued that the three factors which ‘tipped the balance in favour of intervention’ were: ‘the German alliance, which Talat in particular was reluctant to betray; the presence of the Goeben and Breslau, which gave the Empire naval security against Russia, as well as an easy route into the war; and the Germans’ offer to subsidize the Ottoman war effort.’[65] Of the three, only the possession of the German ships, under German command, could guarantee Turkey’s entry into the war. It was feasible that, without the presence of the German ships, Turkey could, if so inclined, have kept out of the war indefinitely. Despite the fact of the Turco-German alliance on 2 August, little had happened since: on the day after the signing a British Admiral still remained in charge of the Turkish fleet and would continue to do so for another month. Despite a report to the contrary from the Military Attaché, the Turkish mobilization was lethargic, a result in part of dire economic necessity. By September, German hopes that Turkey would participate actively in the war rested with Enver Pasha, the Minister for War, whose position was not strong enough to allow him to take unilateral action. Enver’s first attempt to force the issue – his authorization to Souchon on 14 September to patrol in the Black Sea in an endeavour to manufacture an incident – soon fell foul of the anti-interventionists in the Turkish Cabinet. This rebuff was viewed so alarmingly by the Germans that von Usedom admitted that the various German technical missions existed ‘only through Enver, and depend on him for results’. Von Usedom further believed that if the anti-interventionists gained the upper hand ‘the prospect of working with the Turks will have passed.’[66]

                When dealing with these arguments, the wider strategic position should not be overlooked; indeed it would come to assume crucial importance. During August it appeared as if the German forces would soon achieve the victory that was widely expected. Not until early September was the German advance on the Western Front checked after which there would be an impending stalemate. Similarly, despite an initial crushing victory in the East, Austro-German forces had received a check at the First Battle of Warsaw while, further south, the Austrians were being hard pressed by the Serbs. By October, it was no longer possible to assume automatically that the only result of the war would be a German victory. Yet it was the chance to regain territory as a result of a victorious march with the Central Powers that weighed so heavily in the counsels at the Porte. Once the issue was in doubt, if only slightly, Enver lost a key bargaining point. Worse, if it appeared that the Entente Powers might actually be making some headway, the arguments in favour of continuing Turkish neutrality would be overwhelming. Enver had little choice but to force the issue before news was received of a setback to German arms.

                To accomplish this task his method of attack was two-pronged: a demand for German gold which, when forthcoming, at least invoked a moral debt for Turkey to enter the lists and second, if all else failed, a direct order to Souchon to attack Russian ships. The Turkish demand for T£2 million was quickly met by the Germans; however, this was not as conclusive as it might have seemed, as previous shipments had been sent to little effect. Mallet had already surmised that the Turks might be playing with the Germans, ‘and having obtained from them soldiers, sailors, cannons, supplies, money and promises they are now showing great and increased reluctance to pay the bill.’[67] Similarly, when on 23 October Mallet became aware of the latest shipment of gold, he maintained that this ‘need not indicate immediate declaration of war’.[68] A further complication had arisen for Enver following the death of King Carol of Roumania which cast some doubt on the prospect of Roumania aligning herself with the Central Powers; indeed, the very possibility that she might gravitate towards the Entente, when combined with the lack of German progress on the battlefield and the weak position of the Turkish forces, was enough to warrant talk of a Turkish envoy being sent to Berlin to plead for a further six months of neutrality.

                The only sure means by which Enver could force his country into the war rested solely with the command of Admiral Souchon. Before it was too late, on 25 October 1914, Enver issued the fateful orders to Souchon.[69] Two things should be noted in Enver’s orders: first, that Souchon was directed to attack the Russian fleet and second, that the Turkish fleet was to gain mastery of the Black Sea. Clearly however, the second task would have been beyond the means of the Turkish fleet without the presence of Goeben and Breslau, while Souchon himself decided to go a step further and attack the Russian mainland. Between them, Enver and Souchon ensured Turkey’s entry into the war at the end of October 1914. The question remains, could Enver have achieved the same result without the presence of Souchon’s squadron?

                Captain Reginald Hall, the Director of the Intelligence Department at the Admiralty from October 1914, maintained in evidence before the Dardanelles Commission that, ‘From very certain information one could definitely say that the entry of Turkey into the war was forced by the guns of Goeben, by Goeben actually arriving there – that the entry of Turkey was by no means a unanimous opinion of the Young Turk party itself.’ When queried on this point, Hall reiterated, ‘Yes, there is unquestionable evidence that their arrival there forced Turkey into the war.’[70] Lloyd George also maintained that the escape of Goeben and Breslau ‘was directly responsible for the entry of Turkey into the War.’[71] Despite their insistence, the question of whether it can be established beyond doubt that the acquisition of the German ships caused Turkey’s entry into the war is fraught with imponderables: for how long could the Ottoman Government have resisted the unrelenting German pressure? What was the possibility of a Russian incursion on Turkey’s eastern frontier which would have resulted in war from another direction? Would the simmering dispute with Greece over the Aegean Islands have dragged the Turks into a wider Balkan conflict? Nevertheless possession of the two ships greatly facilitated the onset of war by ceding to Turkey at a stroke command of the Black Sea; furthermore Admiral Souchon had a degree of latitude available to him in his actions that did not fall to General Liman von Sanders, the head of the German Military Mission to Turkey. The Turkish game of avoiding action for as long as possible was transparent and Souchon certainly hastened its conclusion; as he himself declared, ‘I have thrown the Turks into the powder-keg and kindled war between Russia and Turkey.’[72]

                It is difficult to see what options would have been available to Enver if Souchon had not successfully escaped the clutches of Admiral Milne. With recollections still fresh of its poor showing against the Greek Navy in the Balkan Wars, the Turkish fleet, as it stood before Goeben’s arrival, could not have hoped to sortie into the Black Sea with any certain prospect of a successful encounter with the Russian Black Sea Fleet. With this path closed Enver would presumably have pushed for a Turkish advance upon the Suez Canal, yet with this option he faced the resolute objection of General Liman von Sanders who strongly doubted the value of this operation. Enver himself admitted that a sizeable proportion of the Ottoman Army would still have to be committed to a defensive posture in Thrace. It is reasonable to presume that Enver might have been placed in the position of having to rely upon a Russian incursion through Persia as a pretext but, with her hands full elsewhere, would the Russians have been so foolhardy? Otherwise he could have tried to force the Russians’ hands by closing the Dardanelles. Yet, when first approached by von Usedom early in September 1914 with a request to close the Straits and complete the mine barrier, Enver at first demurred as the result might be an Entente ultimatum which could lead to a war that the Turks were then anxious to avoid until assured of Bulgaria and Roumanian non-intervention. However, when, within a month, a new minefield had been laid and the Straits closed there was no ultimatum. Whether the Russians would have continued to accept this state of affairs if war against Turkey had not broken out in November is problematical; however, as pointed out above, they were hard pressed in the north and could ill afford the opening of a new front.

                If Enver could not have forced the issue in the way he did, and Turkey thereby remained neutral, within a month the news from all fronts would have been less than reassuring and certainly would have emphasized the fact that there was little expectation of a quick German victory.[73] Would much have changed if Turkey had maintained her shaky neutrality into 1915? It is difficult to imagine that the agonizing of the British Cabinet over the stalemate on the Western Front in December 1914 would not still have taken place. New troops were becoming available, including the Empire contingents, and there would still have been anxious debate in London before they were dispatched, as Churchill complained, to chew barbed wire in Flanders. In that case, presumably, Lloyd George’s suggestion of an attack upon Austria would have been canvassed more thoroughly.[74] Further, if the Dardanelles remained closed even though Turkey continued her neutrality (and this was always a distinct possibility), there would have been heavy pressure applied by the Entente Powers to force a re-opening. At any time an ‘incident’ might have occurred off the Straits. All these suppositions were rendered irrelevant by Souchon’s actions in the Black Sea on 29 October 1914. Germany had supplied the means and on that morning Souchon achieved the end. Souchon’s disregard for Enver’s orders revealed fully who was in control at the Porte. As Admiral Limpus noted in his last letter from Constantinople, ‘Patience, and events unfavourable to Germany, coupled with resentment against German presumption, may yet cause the Turks to discuss with Great Britain, or France, the means of ridding themselves of their present masters.’ Limpus believed that ‘even without menaces, patience and the logic of events will make it difficult for the Germans to persuade the Turks to make an irretrievable false step.’[75] Where persuasion failed, Souchon acted. Without Goeben how different it might have been.

Please click to go to the top of this page





[1]    Sir Henry Beaumont, unpublished typescript autobiography, p. 436.

[2]    It should be made clear that Mallet was here repeating the views of Said Halim.

[3]    Mallet to Tyrrell, 16 October 1914, Grey mss., PRO FO 800/80; see also, Heller, pp. 150-1.

[4]    Mallet to Grey, private, very secret, 19 October 1914, Grey mss., PRO FO 800/80; Beaumont autobiography, p. 436.

[5]    On 10 October 1914.

[6]    Buchanan to Grey, no. 598, 3 November 1914, PRO Adm 137/96; Yasamee, “Ottoman Empire”, in Wilson (ed.), Decisions for War, pp. 256-7; Djemal, Memories of a Turkish Statesman, p. 129; Heller, British Policy towards the Ottoman Empire, p. 152; Kurat, How Turkey drifted into World War I, p. 311.

[7]    Trumpener, Germany and the Ottoman Empire, pp. 53-4. Souchon’s foray into the Black Sea was in direct contravention of the third condition originally stipulated for Goeben to be able to remain in Constantinople: namely, the German ships ‘were not to enter the Black Sea until a firm commitment had been obtained from Bulgaria for common action against Russia.’

[8]    Humann to Enver, 23 October 1914; Enver to Souchon, 25 October 1914, both quoted in, Jackh, The Rising Crescent, pp. 116-7.

[9]    The instructions were contained in a letter from Humann to the Captain of Goeben, 26 October 1914, quoted in Jackh, p. 117. Humann had requested of the Captain: ‘You have two documents on board which perhaps one day will have great historical significance – Enver’s secret order and his note sent to Admiral Souchon yesterday. Even the Colossus, Goeben, is perishable. Wouldn’t you therefore want to deposit the papers here on land?’

[10]  Dönitz, The Cruises of the Breslau, (Berlin, 1917), English translation in PRO Adm 137/3896. This charge was also repeated by Kopp, Two Lone Ships, p. 88.

[11]  The auxiliary minelayer Beshtau was also set on fire: Nekrasov, North of Gallipoli, (Boulder, 1992), p. 24.

[12]  Der Krieg Zur See, pp. 5-13; Deposition by Dr Guy O. Shirey, 31 October 1914, Ryan mss., PRO 800/264; The Turkish Navy in the Dardanelles Campaign, chapter 12 of the Report of the Committee Appointed to Investigate the Attacks delivered on and the enemy defences of the Dardanelles Straits, PRO Adm 186/600; Engineer Lieutenant Le Page to Admiralty, 7 November 1914, PRO Adm 137/881; Consul-General Roberts, Odessa to Grey, no. 76, 29 October 1914, PRO Adm 137/881; Deposition of second mate Samuel Springhall of the ship Friedericke, 11 December 1914, PRO Adm 137/881; Nekrasov, North of Gallipoli, pp. 24-5.

[13]  Consul-General Roberts to Grey, no. 76, sent 12.57 p.m., received 5.45 p.m., 29 October 1914, PRO Adm 137/881.

[14]  Eastern Construction Committee to Churchill, 17 November 1914, enclosing report by Mr James Stewart, PRO Adm 137/881. See also, Ryan, The Last of the Dragomans, p. 105; Beaumont, typescript autobiography, p. 438. Dr Stuermer, Two War Years in Constantinople, p. 235, footnote. According to Dr Stuermer, Djemal’s words upon hearing of the attack were, ‘So be it, but if things go wrong, Souchon will be the first to be hanged.’

[15]  Liman von Sanders, Five Years in Turkey, p. 31. Yasamee [“Ottoman Empire” in Wilson (ed.), Decisions for War, p. 257] notes that Djemal issued orders to the Turkish Fleet to obey Souchon’s orders; however this still might have referred to an attack upon the Russian Fleet only. For, while an incident with the Russian Fleet might be explained away by asserting that the Russians had fired first, the option of pleading self-defence was lost when Russian cities were bombarded.

[16]  Mallet to Grey, private, 29 October 1914, Grey mss., PRO FO 800/80.

[17]  Ryan, The Last of the Dragomans, p. 104.

[18]  Grey to Mallet, 29 October 1914, WSC Comp. vol. III, pt. i, p. 233; see also, Bertie diary, entry for 30 October 1914: ‘I would not consider the Turkish (German) attack at Odessa as an act of war which we need to take up. Let the Turks attack us or declare war against us so that our Mussulman subjects may see that we are not the aggressors…’

[19]  Mallet to Grey, 29 October 1914, WSC Comp. vol. III, pt. i, p. 234.

[20]  Grey to Mallet, no. 727, 30 October 1914, PRO Adm 137/96.

[21]  Admiralty to All Medt Commands, 31 October 1914, PRO Adm 137/33.

[22]  Nevertheless, the attempt was still made! A communication was issued from Turkish Headquarters on the 30th that ‘the Russian fleet followed all the movements of the Turkish fleet and interfered with its exercises. The Russian fleet began hostilities to-day. The Russian mine-layer, three torpedo boats and a coal tender advanced to-day toward the Bosphorus with hostile intentions. The Goeben sank the mine-layer, took the coal tender, heavily damaged one torpedo boat…and successfully bombarded Sevastopol…It has been learned from prisoners that the Russians intended to mine the entrance to the Straits and destroy our fleet.’ Liman von Sanders, Five Years in Turkey, p. 31.

[23]  Admiralty to all ships, 31 October, PRO Adm 137/33.

[24]  Gilbert, First World War, p. 106 quoting Betty Cunliffe-Owen, the wife of the Military Attaché.

[25]  Ryan mss., PRO FO 800/264.

[26]  Mallet to Grey, 31 October 1914, WSC Comp. vol. III, pt. i, p. 241; Ryan, The Last of the Dragomans, pp. 105-6; Trumpener, Germany and the Ottoman Empire, pp. 56-7; Heller, British Policy towards the Ottoman Empire, pp. 152-3; Kurat, How Turkey drifted into World War I, pp. 313-4.

[27]  Trumpener, Germany and the Ottoman Empire, pp. 60-1.

[28]  Press Bureau statement, 31 October 1914, WSC Comp. vol. III, pt. i, pp. 238-40; Heller, pp. 152-3.

[29]  C Jay Smith, The 1914-15 Straits Agreement, p. 1030.

[30]  Asquith to the King, 3 November 1914, PRO Cab 41/35/56.

[31]  Minute by Churchill, 30 October 1914, PRO Adm 137/96.

[32]  Slade to Churchill, 30 October 1914, ibid. The underlining was Churchill’s. Slade suggested three other points at which to strike at the enemy: ‘1. A ship to be sent to Akaba to shell the wells and the stores said to be collected there. 2. The force at Bahrein to be moved up the bar of the Shatt al Arab at once ready to land directly the ultimatum expires. 3. To send a ship to El Arish to command the coast road to Egypt.’

[33]  Admiralty to Carden, no. 590, 1 November 1914, PRO Adm 137/96.

[34]  Domvile, diary entry, 30 September 1914, NMM Dom 24. A saner appraisal was provided by S. C. Colville, who wrote to the Second Sea Lord on 10 November 1914, ‘as regards P. Louis of course all that about his being a spy is “rot”, but from what one has heard & knows it is pretty well self-evident he had become a non-entity & a simple tool in W. C.’s hand…’ Colville to Admiral Hamilton, 10 November 1914, Hamilton mss., NMM HTN/117.

[35]  ‘Poor Winston is in rather bad luck just now,’ commented Asquith to Venetia Stanley on 21 October. Asquith Letters, no. 186, pp. 280-1.

[36]  Gilbert, Winston S Churchill, 1914-1916, pp. 143-7; Mackay, Fisher, p. 457.

[37]  Quoted in, Gilbert, Churchill, p. 147.

[38]  ‘It is far the worst calamity the Navy has so far sustained,’ declared Asquith, ‘as she cost at least 2½ millions. It is cruel luck for Winston…’ Asquith to Venetia Stanley, 28 October 1914, Asquith Letters, no. 192, pp. 290-1.

[39]  Asquith to Venetia Stanley, 27 October 1914, Asquith Letters, no. 191, pp. 287-8. Note: Fisher was in fact 73, not 74.

[40]  Asquith to Stanley, 28 October 1914, Asquith Letters, no. 192, pp. 290-1.

[41]  Asquith to Stanley, 29 October 1914, Asquith Letters, no. 193, pp. 295-7.

[42]  Marder, Portrait of an Admiral, entry for 1 November 1914, p. 122.

[43]  Limpus to Sturdee, no. 180, personal, 2 November 1914, PRO Adm 137/96.

[44]  Marder, Portrait, 3 November 1914, pp. 123-4. Richmond continued his entry for that day: ‘We go to war in a curious way. What more singular than that it was only yesterday that the Chief of the Staff gave instructions for the defence of the Suez Canal & that the whole question of how we should act if Turkey came into the war was raised. Yet Turkey might have come in any day during the last two months, & the least that could be done in view of her attitude was to have a clear idea of how we should act if she did come in.’

[45]  Carden to Admiralty, 14 November 1914, Lumby, no. 439, pp. 457-9.

[46]  Orders were also prematurely issued to the Indian Expeditionary Force on 30 October to sail from Bahrein. These, however, were cancelled in time and the force only departed on 2 November, arriving at Shatt al Arab on 5 November, the day of the British declaration.

[47]  Chief Petty Officer W. G. Cave, quoted in, Liddle, The Sailor’s War, p. 52

[48]  Report of the Committee Appointed to Investigate the Attacks delivered on and the enemy defences of the Dardanelles Straits, chapter 3, PRO Adm 186/600.

[49]  Diary of Admiral Sir Gerald Dickens, 3 November 1914, IWM 90/35/2.

[50]  Asquith to Stanley, 4 November 1914, Asquith Letters, no. 202, p. 309.

[51]  Report of von Usedom, 14 November 1914, PRO Cab 45/215.

[52]  Der Krieg Zur See, p. 17.

[53]  Asquith to the King, 4 November 1914, PRO Cab 41/35/57.

[54]  Admiralty to Carden, no. 620, 9 November 1914, PRO Adm 137/96.

[55]  Carden to Admiralty, no. 295, 12 November 1914, ibid.

[56]  Admiralty to Carden, no. 638, 13 November 1914, ibid.

[57]  Carden to Admiralty, no. 323, 15 November 1914, ibid.

[58]  Minutes by Churchill and Oliver, 16 November 1914, ibid.

[59]  Report of the Committee Appointed to Investigate the Attacks on and the enemy defences of the Dardanelles Straits, summary of chapter 2, PRO Adm 186/600.

[60]  Proceedings of the Dardanelles Commission, questions 1220-1, PRO Cab 19/33.

[61]  Report of the Dardanelles Commission, part 1, p. 14, PRO Cab 19/1. This was not all: the bombardment almost resulted in the Turks interning all foreigners. That the foreign residents succeeded in escaping owed much to the resourcefulness and determination of the American Ambassador. Morgenthau, Secrets of the Bosphorus, pp. 85-95.

[62]  James, Gallipoli, p. 15.

[63]  Charmley, Churchill, The End of Glory, p. 109, asserts that ‘Much nonsense has been spouted about this alerting the Turks to the dangers of a British attack, but it appears unlikely that the Turks would not, of their own accord, have realised that there was such a possibility.’ This ignores the fact that the main defensive arrangements at the Dardanelles in November 1914 were aimed at preventing the entrance of a fleet; they were not directed towards dealing with an assault by troops. And there is no doubt that all the defences were greatly strengthened after the November bombardment and before the first landings in April 1915 and that, crucially, the emphasis was altered from guns to mines.

[64]  C. P. Scott, Notes of a conversation with Lloyd George, 27 November 1914, WSC Comp. vol. III, pt. i, p. 281; Wilson (ed.), The Political Diaries of C. P. Scott, p. 110.

[65]  Yasamee, “Ottoman Empire”, in Wilson (ed.), Decisions for War, p. 259.

[66]  Report of von Usedom, 16 September 1914, PRO Cab 45/215 [my emphasis]. As a direct result of this political defeat Souchon, on 20 September, felt able to send only Breslau into the Black Sea and then for a matter of a few scant hours. This merely succeeded in spurring Enver on.

[67]  Mallet to Grey, no. 895, 30 September 1914, PRO FO 371/2140/54620.

[68]  Mallet to Grey, 23 October 1914, quoted in Kurat, p. 308.

[69]  Enver to Souchon, 25 October 1914, quoted in, Jackh, The Rising Crescent, pp. 116-7.

[70]  Proceedings of the Dardanelles Commission, questions 4904-5, PRO Cab 19/33.

[71]  C. P. Scott, diary entry for 27 November 1914, in Wilson (ed.), The Political Diaries of C. P. Scott, p. 110.

[72]  Souchon to his wife, 29 October 1914, quoted in, Halpern, A Naval History of World War I, p. 64.

[73]  The Bulgarians, for example (also wooed by Germany), waited until October 1915 before deciding that prospects were then more encouraging — at which they entered the lists on the side of the Central Powers. If Turkey had held out until that time it could not be said with all certainty that they would have joined the Bulgarians. With the memory of the Balkan Wars still undimmed and Bulgaria now facing the Serbs might Turkey not have used this opportunity to stab the Bulgarians in the back, in the way that, in the Second Balkan War of 1913, the Roumanians had so successfully done?

[74]  Though, as Hankey pointed out at the time, this presupposed either co-operation with the Serbian army (which would be difficult without Greek entry into the war) or a campaign through Montenegro, ‘and neither campaign would be easy to carry out.’

[75]  Limpus to Churchill, 8 September 1914, WSC Comp. vol. III, pt. i, pp. 102-3.



The Links Page :

As the range of our activities is so diverse, we have a number of different websites. The site you are currently viewing is wholly devoted to the second of the three non-fiction books written by Geoffrey Miller, and deals specifically with British policy towards the Ottoman Empire and the origins of the Dardanelles Campaign. The main Flamborough Manor site focuses primarily on accommodation but has brief details of all our other activities. To allow for more information to be presented on these other activities, there are other self-contained web-sites. All our web-sites have a LINKS page in common, which allows for easy navigation between the various sites. To find out where you are, or to return to the main site, simply go to the LINKS page.

Please click to go to the top of this page



HMS Berwick : Original artwork © 2004 Geoffrey Miller
HMS Berwick
[Original artwork © 2004 Geoffrey Miller]

  Geoffrey Miller can be contacted by:
01262 850943  [International: +44 1262 850943]
Postal address

The Manor House,
East Riding of Yorkshire, YO15 1PD
United Kingdom.




Secondary Navigation Copyright © 1995-2014
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be further reproduced by any means without the prior permission of the author, Geoffrey Miller, who has asserted his right in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
Click to go to top of page
Home Introduction Preface Search Contents Feedback Links Ordering Order Form
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9
Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18
Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27
Chapter 28 Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Bibliography Appendices Index Other books Order Form PDF

Web-site design & content Copyright © 1995-2013 Geoffrey Miller