Learning Curve, The Great War
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Useful notes: Source9
Extracts from a letter by Admiral Sir John Fisher to Winston Churchill, May 1915
(Catalogue ref: CAB 63/4)
  • Admiral Sir John Fisher was Second Lord of the Admiralty at the time of this letter, 11 May 1915. He was writing to his boss, Winston Churchill, who was First Lord of the Admiralty.
  • You may have seen in source 2 that Fisher refused to comment on the plan when it was discussed in January 1915. He had already spoken to the Prime Minister in private to express his opposition to it.
  • He was an extremely able commander and proved to be a good leader of the Navy, building up Britain's Dreadnought fleet and sacking incompetent officers. He was also a close friend of Winston Churchill. For this reason, he put aside his original objections and agreed to the Gallipoli attack.
  • By May 1915, he was openly arguing that the campaign should be abandoned.
  • He was particularly upset that Churchill planned to use reserve ships from the navy in the North Sea to help at Gallipoli. He resigned on 15 May 1915.
  • When the campaign was finally abandoned in November 1915, Churchill himself felt that he had to resign.
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