Among the 100 marks coming up is Gallipoli, a vague factoid in my imagination until I saw the movie many years ago. More recently taken up with Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, I have become curious about WWI in the Middle East.
Scott Anderson's Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East though focused on Lawrence's efforts to organize the Arabs and Bedouin against the Ottomans looks closely at the alternative to Gallipoli. Britain's military establishment in Egypt including Lawrence, a lowly lieutenant, urged London and Churchill to begin the attack at Alexandretta, a lightly defended port in northwest Syria quite near Aleppo. It would relieve the Ottoman Empire of its Arab possessions, cut the railroad south to Medina, and remove the threat of an attack on the Suez Canal.
A bit of what-if history, but given the casualties of Gallipoli would it have been a better choice?
Australia and New Zealand, which supplied the troops at Gallipoli, will celebrate this 100th anniversary on Anzac Day, April 25.
"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives ... you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours ... You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well." 1934