Who was responsible for what went wrong at Gallipoli? Essay

The sources show various views of Anzac soldiers from different perspectives. Source A, a primary source, shows a biased view of Anzac soldiers but does not give much information because it is a drawing and done by an Australian artist. It is limited because there are only so many things that can be learnt from pictures, to show the effectiveness of the source it needs to be backed up by another, more informative, source. It does show, however, how easy going and laid back the Anzac soldiers were but to validate this fact another source must be used.

Source C, another primary source, even though it was only published recently, It was written at the time so it is still original, gives a good evaluation of Anzac soldiers but does not give the full picture as it is just a small subjective extract from a diary. It is very limited in the information that is given but this is because the extract is only small. It does, on the other hand, show how brave and spirited the Anzac troops were. It is from a neutral perspective that was present at the time, so most of the views that have been put forward are likely to be true but this may still need backing up by another source that has more information or has definite facts within it.

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Source B, a secondary source gives the most information about the Anzac soldiers as the writer has had a chance to gather information from other different sources before writing this mainly objective account. It does, nevertheless, have certain limitations. Because it is a secondary source it may be found to contain untrue facts if the writer has got carried away or has been falsely informed by other sources. Source B does follow up the other two sources and makes them both more efficient. It shows that a common viewpoint was taken about the Anzac troops being easy going and laid back, source B validates source A because the picture shows similar emotions to those being described in John Keegan’s description. Source C is also authenticated by source B and this shows that a combination of sources can show a trend in the facts.

Although source A is the vaguest and is possibly the most biased, you can learn a lot from it if it is backed up by a definite source. The information it gives is hidden beneath the surface so you have to be very perceptive to find the meaning and message in the picture.

Source C is also vague but as the information is there and written down it is easier to understand what the writer is saying about the Anzacs. It could be very useful if more of the diary is revealed and read with source C.

Source B, however, is the most formative and useful source out of the three. It gives descriptive details of the lifestyles of Anzac soldiers and it also serves as a follow up source to validate the facts in the other two and make them useful for use as evidence. It is a very useful source and gives the reader significant facts that tell you plenty about the Anzacs.

2. Target: Main Target – Evaluation of an Interpretation for Sufficiency (AO’s 6.1, 6.2 & 6.3

A suggested reason for the failure at Gallipoli was poor planning. Source E gives a good insight into the theory of poor planning. It is an original source even though the soldiers in question were writing after the war. It tells us of how badly organised the troops were at various beaches and it even claims that come troops did nothing all day! They sat around because of the lack of orders from the Generals & Commanders. The high ranking men were based on warships in the Aegean Sea. They were unable to relay orders to the troops on the beach and officers were sent out too late to take command of the troops who were slaughtered quickly and easily. Source E gives a good account of the poor planning at Gallipoli but it may be biased towards the troops if the soldiers were unhappy with the way the Generals had been treating them. It could be a good source but needs a more reliable, unbiased source to validate Source E so it can be used as evidence.

The Turkish resistance was also much more fierce than expected. The Turks were ready for the Anzacs and most of the troops were totally taken by surprise due to this.

Source D has a small part about poor planning but does not give enough detail. It is an original subjective source but it gives similar details as source E, showing that both are likely to be true facts and are able to be used as decent evidence. This document is fairly reliable as it is written by a Captain that fought at Gallipoli so he is unlikely to be making it up.

Another reason for failure at Gallipoli was the involvement of Winston Churchill. Source H, secondary source, believes that it was his error of judgement that caused such vital losses at Gallipoli. His original idea was to break the stalemate on the Western and Eastern fronts and he saw the possibility of attacking Turkey through the Dardanelles to do this. Churchill was adventurous and knew that if the plan succeeded he could gain some glory. He thought that there was a possibility of knocking Turkey out of the war and even bringing it to an early end.

Churchill’s enthusiasm won him sufficient support to gain the back up of the Cabinet but the plans were not popular with all concerned and from the start there was a lack of commitment and belief in the possibility of success. The plan, however, was flawed. Churchill was quite unpopular and Lord Fisher, the man in charge of the navy, was very reluctant to send in many battleships from the North Sea Fleet, so he allowed the use of older battleships that were regarded as expendable. This would make the operation difficult as there would not be enough back up for the troops, but Churchill still went ahead with it, showing his brash and arrogant personality which would cause the demise of this procedure.

The commanders and generals used is also another possibility to why the campaign at Gallipoli failed, they were not fit for the job. Hamilton, Fisher and Kitchener were always having arguments and did not co-operate with each other. Not enough troops were sent in for the work and the commanders were always at loggerheads about where the new troops should come from, whether they should be brought down from the Western front, Anzacs sent in from Australasia or newly trained troops from army barracks in Britain.

In the end they decided to continue using old troops who were tired and had virtually no hope of surviving. Source D also shows how the communication between the commanders was poor as well. Telephone lines were being broken due to the high amounts of shrapnel being blown through the air. This is shown in the film “Gallipoli” which gives this fact another dimension and proves that it is likely to be real. The Turkish commanders however were much better organised than expected, had a good plan and this surprised the British.

Geographic features also hampered the attack on Gallipoli. A.J.P. Taylor explains in source G how stupid it was to try and “widen the crack” by sending in lots of troops. He claims that they would only have made it more congested and my looking at the maps in sources F ; I shows how true this is. It shows high mountains and thin beaches, it was rugged, steep terrain with many gulleys. This made it easy to defend because the Turks were given easy shots at the troops advancing on them. The Dardenelles was littered with mines which prevented ships sailing up it an even if they could the waterway was too thin to sail up more than two wide and this would have been absolutely no use to the British as the ships would have been quickly sunk. Strategically the idea of going through Turkey was badly thought-out as the Russians were weak, the Western front was more important and most of the commanders were focussed on this.

The final possible reason why things went wrong was the Turkish strengths. Generals and Commanders were amazed at how effective the Turks were at fighting and this could have been realised earlier had they taken the time to look into the depths of the manoeuvre and had a more thorough and detailed plan of attack. All of the Gallipoli beaches were in range of Turkish gunners and heavy artillery; this was totally overlooked by the British Commanders and Generals. The Turks were clever, they were under the hands of a good commander, Ataturk, who had fought in many battles and they were certainly no pushover.

In conclusion I feel that it wasn’t just Churchill or poor planning that were responsible for what went wrong at Gallipoli; it was a various number of things as set out above that all had an effect on the outcome of the operation.


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