Book Review-‘The War Lords and the Gallipoli Disaster: How globalized trade led Britain to its worst defeat of the First World War’ by N. A. Lambert,

By Matthew S. Seligmann, published February 2022


The declared aim of this book is to advance a new and explicitly revisionist analysis of the genesis of the Gallipoli campaign, the un-successful 1915 Allied assault, exclusively naval at first but subsequently also amphibious, on the narrow straits connecting the Medi-terranean to the Black Sea. This is not an under-researched area, a fact that the author, Nicholas Lambert, readily acknowledges. Nevertheless, he argues that a new assessment is badly needed, justifying this position on the grounds that all existing explanations for the origins of this operation have ‘erred’ (p. 3) by adopting what he calls an ‘outcome-based’ rather than an ‘intent-based’ (p. 261) approach to the question. Fixating on the ultimate Allied military failure, scholars prior to him, he asserts, have invariably worked backwards to uncover the roots of this battlefield disaster, a flawed teleological methodology that has largely led to an exclusive focus on military and naval considerations, when they should instead have been looking forward from the perspective of what decision makers knew, thought, and sought prior to authorizing the attack, an angle that, he contends, is both unique to his work and spotlights a series of important ‘domestic-political and global-economic aspects’  omitted from all other accounts…

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Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Administration | Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy

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