papalagi (papalagi) wrote,

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 ноя 1874 - 24 янв 1965) The World Crisis Part II 1915

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 ноя 1874 - 24 янв 1965) The World Crisis Part II 1915

To All Who Tried



The whole of the new army sent by France and Britain from the French theatre, amounting to seven additional divisions, was assigned to the defence of Salonika. Apart from the Anzacs, scarcely any of these twenty divisions of Allied troops ever fought against the Germans during the rest of the war. Scarcely one came into any direct contact with any enemy for nearly six months, and during the same period thirteen out of the twenty liberated Turkish divisions were added to the hostile strength in other theatres. Eleven went to the Caucasus and two to Galicia, in both cases adding to the burden which Russia had to bear. Thus the first fruits of the evacuation of Gallipoli may be variously computed at a total loss of strength to the Allies of from thirty to forty divisions, half the Army of a first-class power. It was evident that a very grave prolongation of the war must arise from this cause alone.

By 1918 seven British and Indian divisions, composing an army of two hundred and seventy thousand men (exclusive of followers), were operating in Mesopotamia. The defence of the Suez Canal and subsequently the attack upon Turkey by the invasion of Palestine grew into a separate war which in any other period would have absorbed the attention of the world. Instead of thrusting at Constantinople, the heart of Turkey, or striking at her arm-pit at Alexandretta, or her elbow at Haifa, we began our attack from her finger-tips upwards.

In the end six hundred and thirty thousand Allied soldiers stood on the Salonika front.

There ended with the Dardanelles all hope of forming direct and continuous contact with Russia. A railway 1,200 miles long might be built to Murmansk; Vladivostok might continue to pass supplies across a distance of 4,000 miles; but the intimate co-operation in men and munitions, the vast exportation of South Russian wheat, the expansion of a vitalizing trade, which could alone spring from the opening of the Black Sea, was for ever denied us.

England had not really tried to force the Straits. From the moment when she had conceded the Russian claim to Constantinople, she had not been single-hearted, she had lost her interest in the enterprise. Her infirm action and divided counsels arose from secret motives hidden in the bosom of the State. And this while Russia was pouring out her blood as no race had ever done since men waged war. Such were the whispers which, winged by skilful German propaganda, spread far and wide through the Tsar’s dominions, and in their wake every subversive influence gained in power. Lastly, the now inevitable prolongation of the struggle was destined to prove fatal to Russia. In the war of exhaustion to which we were finally condemned, which was indeed extolled as the last revelation of military wisdom, Russia was to be the first to fall, and in her fall to open upon herself a tide of ruin in which perhaps a score of millions of human beings have been engulfed. The consequences of these events abide with us to-day. They will darken the world for our children’s children.

secret motives hidden in the bosom of the State...

The entry of the Navy into the war was vehement and successful; the dash into the Heligoland Bight paralysed at the outset the German initiative; the

Dogger Bank confirmed our prestige. The Germans waited solidly and passively for the next blow; they believed that they were about to receive it at the Dardanelles; but it never came. Slowly their diligent exact minds recovered confidence; slowly they divined the infirmities and misgivings which lurked behind the overwhelming Armadas of their opponents. It was very dangerous to leave them so long to think.

And by all these means they drew upon our limited resources to such an extent that in 1918 the equivalent in men and material of fifteen or twenty divisions was denied to the hard-pressed fighting line on land; and Fisher had to coin the biting sentence, ‘Can the Army win the war, before the Navy loses it?’

There was nothing left on land now but the war of exhaustion—not only of armies but of nations. No more strategy, very little tactics; only the dull wearing down of the weaker combination by exchanging lives; only the multiplying of machinery on both sides to exchange them quicker.

Good, plain, straightforward frontal attacks by valiant flesh and blood against wire and machine guns, ‘killing Germans’ while Germans killed Allies twice as often, calling out the men of forty, of fifty, and even of fifty-five, and the youths of eighteen, sending the wounded soldiers back three or four times over into the shambles—such were the sole manifestations now reserved for the military art. And when at the end, three years later, the throng of uniformed functionaries who in the seclusion of their offices had complacently presided over this awful process, presented Victory to their exhausted nations, it proved only less ruinous to the victor than to the vanquished.

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