TURKEY AND THE BALKANS
'Now mark me well — it is provided in the essence of things, that from any fruition of success, no matter what, shall come forth something to make a greater struggle necessary '
Walt Whitman, The Open Road.
Mr. Churchill to General Sir Charles Douglas, Chief of the Imperial General Staff.
Secret September 1, 1914.
I arranged with Lord Kitchener yesterday that two officers from Admiralty should meet two officers from the Director of Military Operations Department of the War Office to-day to examine and work out a plan for the seizure by means of a Greek army of adequate strength of the Gallipoli Peninsula, with a view to admitting a British Fleet to the Sea of Marmora.
Thereupon I telegraphed, with the approval of the Foreign Office, to Rear-Admiral Mark Kerr, the head of our naval mission to Greece, as follows:
In order that the right and obvious method of attack upon Turkey (viz. by striking immediately at the heart) may be carried out, the Greek Army would, under superiority of sea predominance, have to seize the Gallipoli Peninsula, thus opening the Dardanelles and enabling the Anglo-Greek Fleet," in the Sea of Marmora, to fight and sink the Turco-German ships, and from there the whole situation can be dominated, in combination with the Black Sea Fleet of the Russians and their military forces.
The swift overrunning of Northern France by the German armies, the withdrawal of the French Government to Bordeaux, the fall of Antwerp, the tremendous victories of Hindenburg over the Russians, were events all of which dominated the Bulgarian equally with the Turkish mind. England, without an army, with not a soldier to spare, without even a rifle to send, with only her Navy and her money, counted for little in the Near East. Russian claims to Constantinople directly crossed the ambitions both of King Ferdinand and of King Constantine.