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LORD KITCHENER INSIDE A TURKISH FORT An inspecting trip to one of the captured Turkish fortifications on the Gallipoli peninsula in company with Colonel Sir
Henry McMahon and a French General, during the ill-fated attempt to force the Dardanelles.
Asia Minor, so that the Central Powers could draw no further supplies from that source.
An attempt was at first made to force the passage of the Dardanelles with the allied fleet. Some of the forts at the entrance were bombarded and silenced, and allied vessels proceeded for some distance up the strait. But Germany had sent submarines overland to Constantinople, where they were placed in the Bosporus and thence went down to the Dardanelles, and the waters were thickly sown with mines. After the loss of several vessels from these causes the allies abandoned the attempt to force the passage with ships alone, and an army was sent to cooperate with the fleet.
THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN The ensuing campaign was one of the most gallant but most fruitless of the war. The almost unprecedented feat was performed of safely landing a considerable army on the Gallipoli Peninsula, in the face of a hostile force much superior in numbers and powerfully entrenched. This was done on April 25th, and was repeated in the landing of a second army in June, further up the peninsula at Suvla Bay. Numerous minor engagements were fought, and the allies made some progress during the early part of the summer. Early in August a great battle was fought, lasting five days, in which the allies aimed to drive the Turks from the lower part of the peninsula. In this they failed, and the battle terminated indecisively.
In one respect, however, it was decisive. It convinced the British military authorities of the folly of attempting to pursue the campaign further. They held their ground for some time longer, however, until the entrance of Bulgaria into the war enabled the sending of German troops
and supplies to Constantinople, and a succession of phenomenal storms and floods almost swept the camps out of existence. At the middle of December Suvla Bay was abandoned, and on January 9, 1916, the last position of the allies on the peninsula was evacuated.
THE RAPE OF SERBIA
Bulgaria's entrance into the war, on October 6th, was the signal for a concerted attack upon Serbia, for the
purpose of eliminating that nation from the map of Europe. Bulgaria armies, reinforced by Turks, poured into Serbia from the east, while a German and Austrian army, under German command, crossed the frontier at the north. The purpose was not alone to destroy Serbia but to compel Greece to join the Central Powers or else share the fate of Belgium, and thus to give the Central Powers possession of the entire Balkan Peninsula, with a great frontage on the Mediterranean.
Disregarding Greek neutrality, or with the permission of the ministry, the allies began rushing troops to Salonika, to be sent to the defense of Serbia. But it was too late. The Serbians earlier in the war had been able to hold the Austrians in check, but they were unable to stand against a German army, while a Bulgar-Turkish force was attacking their flank. The German and Bulgarian armies met and joined forces at the end of October, and a few days later captured the important Serbian city of Nish. Before the end of the year every foot of Serbian soil had been conquered, and a large part of the Serbian people had been massacred.
For nearly a year the Teuton-Bulgar forces had undisturbed possession of Serbia, looting it and desolating it at will, while a polyglot army of allies, British, French, Serbian, Italian and Russian, stood at bay at Salonika. At last, however, the allies moved northward through Macedonia, and succeeded in redeeming a small part of Serbia, the Serbs reoccupying their city of Monastir, or what was left of it, on November 19, 1916.
THE ROUMANIAN BLUNDER Early in the war agitation arose in Roumania for entry into the conflict. But lack of preparedness, and realization of the futility of the fortifications of Bucharest against modern artillery, restrained the government from taking that step until the latter part of August, 1916—more than two years after the outbreak of the war. Immediately after the declaration the Roumanian army invaded Transylvania through several narrow mountain passes, which they strangely neglected to guard after their passage. The result was that the passes were seized by the Germans behind them, and they were all but annihilated.