Learning Curve, The Great War
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Transcript: Source12
Extracts from a report by the British General staff, 22 November 1915
(Catalogue ref: CAB 42/5/20)


The arguments in favour of retaining our positions on Gallipoli are based mainly on conjectures as to the effect on the East of withdrawal, and on questions of Imperial and military sentiment. The arguments on the other side are based on cold calculations or military strategy.

The General Staff have examined both sides of the problem with the greatest care and throroughness of which they are capable. Far from underrating the considerations of sentiment involved, they feel them deeply themselves, and their feeling would have been one of considerable relief if they could have given an opinion against evacuation of ground that has been so hardly won and held; but they are unable to do so.

The problem is very complicated. There can be no certainty as to the ultimate results either of withdrawing or remaining. But one course or the other must be decided on at once, and, with a profound sense of responsibility in placing the opinion on record, the General Staff have arrived at the conclusion that, so far as it is possible to foresee, from a military point of view, withdrawal is likely to prove ultimately more advantageous than retention of our positions. Believing this, they must give their opinion in favour of evacuation, with the possible exception of Helles.

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