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Gallipoli

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When dealing with the Gallipoli campaign, there is one question that always comes back again : 'How could this go wrong ?.' Well, over the years, all the facts have sufficiently been studied, but even so there's still an amount of doubt that lingers on.

There was the poor strategical planning of course. Politicians as well as military commanders were so fascinated by the prospect of a new crusade against Constantinople, that dreams were all too often taken for reality. Knocking Turkey out of the war, was a much tougher nut to crack than they could imagine at the time.

Apart from that, there was also a certain amount of bad luck. The fact that the Anzac forces landed at the worst possible spot on the coast of the Peninsula, is generally attributed to mistakes made by the Navy, although that judgment may be a bit harsh as well : under the circumstances, things could go wrong, and when they eventually did, one must admit that misfortune was one of the factors responsible for the outcome.

And then there were a number of tactical blunders. Once the campaign was on, it soon became clear that a number of the military decisions that were taken that were not ideal at all and often had grave consequences. Judging failure in retrospect is easy of course, but what Hunter-Weston did in Helles can hardly be called inspired leadership. And Suvla was a hundred times worse.

Nevertheless, when one starts rereading the history of the campaign, there is always this same strange phenomenon : you can't help feeling that this time things might not go so wrong, that the whole enterprise might succeed after all. Nonsense of course, but still something you can't avoid.

A very partial explanation for this feeling is the fact that you always fall back on the same sources. No matter who tells the story, the entire campaign is always seen from an Allied viewpoint. No matter whether the author

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