12/11/1915 Kitchener visits Gallipoli, Churchill resigns from the cabinet

Lord Kitchener, Britain’s war minister, is in Gallipoli. He is visiting Allied positions there to see if there is any prospect of the campaign being turned around and proceeded to a victorious outcome. General Charles Monro, the new Allied commander in Gallipoli, has already reported that there is no realistic chance of Allied forces breaking out of their enclaves and forcing open the Straits, still less effecting an overland march to Constantinople. Now that he is here in person Kitchener can see for himself how easy it is for the Turks to keep the Allies bottled up. It is easy for Monro to persuade him that the only thing to be done in Gallipoli is prepare the Allied forces for evacuation.

The main political architect of the Gallipoli operation was Britain’s Winston Churchill. At the time he was Britain’s naval minister but after the initial failures of the campaign he was demoted to the ceremonial position of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a demand of the Conservatives as a price for their entry into the coalition government. Churchill remained a member of cabinet but found himself increasingly sidelined and denied an opportunity to assist in the direction of the war. He finds this intolerable and today he resigns from the cabinet. He retains his seat in the House of Commons but decides that he will go to France and serve there as an army officer.

image sources:

Monro, Kitchener and other officers (Auckland Libraries; originally from Auckland Weekly News 24/2/1916)

Winston Churchill, earlier in 1915 (BT)

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