Learning Curve, The Great War
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Useful notes: Source12
Extracts from a report by the British General staff, 22 November 1915
(Catalogue ref: CAB 42/5/20)
  • This extract comes from a long and very detailed document which was put to the British government in November 1915. It was produced by the General Staff – the senior figures in all of the British Armed Forces. They had been asked to recommend what to do about Gallipoli.
  • The General Staff consulted widely before writing the report. They asked for the views of the commanders on the ground in Gallipoli. Many of them, including Sir William Birdwood, wanted to carry on the campaign. He and Churchill and many other politicians feared that pulling out of Gallipoli would be a huge morale boost to the Turks. They also feared that it would damage Britain's prestige in the eastern world and maybe even threaten Britain's empire.
  • Despite these arguments, the General Staff decided that the best policy was to pull out of Gallipoli. They based their views on the heavy casualties and also the very limited chances that the campaign would succeed.
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