20th March 1915 (Saturday)

War – the ethics of foreign policy

Italy’s price for joining the Triple Alliance: After a long delay the Allies respond to Italy’s terms that they cannot accept complete Italian control of the Adriatic (because of Russia’s continuing support for Serbia). As the wrangling continues, the British political class confide in each other their private opinions of Italy and its people: “greedy and slippery” (Prime Minister Asquith); “the harlot of Europe” (Navy Minister Winston Churchill); “mere organ grinders” (Admiral Fisher); and “the most contemptible nation” (David Lloyd George).  [ Mark Thompson: “The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front 1915-1919”]

Britain’s price for a Russian Bosphorous: Meanwhile, also today, Britain and Russia sign a separate agreement where Britain will take control of oil rich Ottoman provinces in Mesopotamia in return for Russia taking control of its Black Sea route to the Mediterranean through the Bosphorous and the Dardanelles. [UK government national archives online]

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/britain-and-russia-divide-future-spoils-of-war

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/firstworldwar/battles/gallipoli.htm

The “Spectator” offers its opinion on “Russia’s prize” –  “It is quite clear that France as well as Britain will now welcome Russia’s entry into the warm water, and that winter will no longer mean for Russia the sealing up of all her chief ports. Russia will unquestionably get a great accession of strength by the possession of Constantinople, but no reasonable section of public opinion either here or in France will envy her. She has made great sacrifices for the common cause and deserves great rewards.”

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/the-spectator/2015/03/the-spectator-at-war-russias-prize/

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