Churchill and the Dardanelles

ISBN : 9780198702559

Christopher M. Bell
464 ページ
135 x 216 mm

The failed naval offensive to force a passage through the Straits of the Dardanelles in 1915 drove Winston Churchill from office in disgrace and nearly destroyed his political career. For over a century, the Dardanelles campaign has been mired in myth and controversy. Many believe it was fundamentally misconceived and doomed to fail, while others see it as a brilliant concept that might have dramatically shortened the First World War and saved millions of lives. Churchill is either the hero of the story, or the villain.

Drawing on a wide range of original documents, Christopher M. Bell shows that both perspectives are flawed. Bell provides a detailed and authoritative account of the campaign's origins and execution, explaining why the naval attack was launched, why it failed, and how it was transformed into an even more disastrous campaign on the Gallipoli peninsula. He untangles Churchill's complicated relationship with Britain's admirals, politicians, and senior civil servants, and uncovers the machinations behind the bitter press campaign in 1915 to drive him from power.

Churchill and the Dardanelles explores the origins of the myths surrounding the ill-fated campaign, and provides the first full account of Churchill's tireless efforts in the decades after 1915 to refute his legion of critics and convince the public that the Dardanelles campaign had nearly succeeded. Largely by his own exertions, Churchill ensured that the legacy of the Dardanelles would not stop him from becoming Prime Minister in 1940.


Winston Churchill and the Dardanelles: A Riddle Wrapped in Myths Inside a Legend
1 Stalemate and Frustration: The First Months of War
2 The Origins of the Naval Offensive
3 'A Great Experiment': The Naval Plan Approved
4 'I Will Find the Men': The Plan Remade
5 'Groping Round Without a plan'
6 From the Dardanelles to Gallipoli
7 Jacky Fisher's Crisis
8 The Duchy of Lancaster Goes to War!
9 Exile
10 The Dardanelles Commission I: The Preliminaries
11 The Dardanelles Commission II: The Naval Staff under Scrutiny
12 The Dardanelles Commission III: An Instalment of Fair Play
13 The Cabinet Minister as Censor: The Official Histories
14 The Battle of the Memoirs
15 From Millstone to Myth: 'The Great Movement of Opinion'
Conclusion: What about the Dardanelles?


Christopher M. Bell is Professor of History at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has published widely on twentieth-century naval history, and is the author of The Royal Navy, Seapower and Strategy between the Wars (2000) and Churchill and Sea Power (2012), and co-editor of At the Crossroads between Peace and War: The London Naval Conference of 1930 (2014) and Naval Mutinies of the Twentieth Century: An International Perspective (2003).