The story of the 9 month campaign to capture the Gallipoli peninsula from the Ottoman empire in 1915, in which the British, Australian, New Zealand, Indian and French forces failed to defeat the predominantly Turkish defending army, in a series of pointless battled that killed nearly 400,000 men, for no gain but forging the founding narrative of modern day Turkey. Told by one leading historian from each side – Turkey and Britain.
From the day Turkey entered the war in November 1914, The British planned to capture the most strategic straits in Europe still out of their hands, the Dardanelles. The Ottoman Empire had lost most of its European territory, but now with a reformed Army was more ready than ever to face the most modern army and navy in the world. First in the naval battle for Canakkale and then on land at the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula, the Ottoman Army defeated the invading armies (British, French but also imperial contingents from Australia, New Zealand and India) under the brilliant leadership of generals such as Mustafa Kemal and the German adviser to the Ottoman army, Otto Liman von Sanders.
For the first time this story is told equally from the Allied and the Ottoman point of view through the voices of Kenan Celik, Turkey’s foremost Gallipoli historian and guide, and Stephen Chambers, of Britain’s leading historians of the Gallipoli campaign. Together they bring to life the defining moment for the future modern Turkey and the dismal failure of the over ambitious and arrogant British leadership that cost the lives of nearly 400,000 men over the nine months of campaign.
They visit the battle sites, and describe the key moments of the campaigns: how Mustafa Kemal stopped the Ottoman retreat on the day of the invasion, or the moment the British troops were slaughtered on the beaches of Cape Helles, or even when the British General Stopford disappeared from the battlefield. Anecdotal stories bring the generals to life and describe the pain and misery the campaign inflicted on both sides, only for the invaders to evacuate nine months later with no territorial gains achieved.