Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Winston Churchill and the Extraordinary DARDANELLES DISASTER of World War I

The extraodinary story of the British Navy's disastrous attempt to pass through the Dardanelles to Constantinople marked a turning point in World War I. In a new book, acclaimed naval military expert Dan van der Vat offers a fascinating retelling of the story, and analyzes the role of the young Winston Churchill. As First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill attempted to break the deadlock of the First World War with a daring plan to force the Dardanelles Straits. The plan quickly faltered and subsequent attempts to land troops at Galipolli resulted in massive Allied casualties. The failure also brought about Churchill’s removal from office. In The Dardanelles Disaster, Dan van der Vat argues that the disaster at the Dardanelles prolonged the war by two years, led to the Russian Revolution, forced Britain to the brink of starvation, and contributed to the destabilization of the Middle East.

With a narrative rich in human drama, The Dardanelles Disaster highlights all the diplomatic clashes from Whitehall to the Hellespont, Berlin to Constantinople, and St. Petersburg to the Bosporus. Van der Vat analyzes Churchill s response to the obstacles he faced and describes the fateful actions of the Turkish, German, and British governments. With never before published information on Colonel Geehl s minelaying operation, which won the battle for the Germans, The Dardanelles Disaster is essential reading for everyone interested in great naval history, Churchill s early career, and World War I.

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