This classic collection of thought-provoking essays by arguably the 20th century’s greatest naval historian was first published in 1974, but their continuing relevance fully justifies this reprint. It opens with a stimulating reappraisal of the naval attack on the Dardanelles, the success of which would have made the disastrous Gallipoli land campaign that followed completely unnecessary. Marder identifies a number of relatively minor issues that made a failure of what was in reality a great strategic opportunity to shorten the war.
Other chapters cover what the Royal Navy did and did not learn from the Great War, and Churchill’s controversial time at the Admiralty before he became Prime Minister in 1940, while Marder’s analysis of the inter-war Ethiopian Crisis – asking whether military aggression can be countered by sanctions – has powerful echoes of current political concerns. The final essay looks at one of the most contentious episodes of the Second World War, the British pre-emptive strike on the fleet of their one-time allies at Mers-el-Kebir outside Oran after the French surrender in 1940.
Because Marder’s view of history emphasises the human dimension over abstract forces, his work is always approachable in style and of as much interest to the layman as the professional historian. This book is no exception.
FROM THE DARDANELLES TO ORAN Studies of the Royal Navy in War and Peace 1915-1940
Author Arthur J. Marder was arguably the greatest naval historian of the 20th century. In this classic collection of essays he examines episodes of British Royal Navy involvement in operations ranging from the disastrous attempt to force the Dardanelles straits in 1915, to the controversial attack on the French fleet at Oran in 1940.an essential text for historians of the period by one of the great historians of the Royal Navy.