A secret cabal of immensely rich and powerful men – the Secret Elite – was formed in England in 1891 with the explicit aim of expanding the British Empire across the entire globe. They planned a European war to destroy Germany as an economic, industrial and imperial competitor and, to that end, drew France then Russia into an alliance termed the Entente Cordiale. Their massive land armies were needed to crush Germany. France would be rewarded with Alsace and Lorraine, while Russia was conned into believing she would get Constantinople.2 Thereafter, seizing the Ottoman capital became a “widespread obsession, bordering on panic” in St Petersburg.3
Had Britain encouraged the friendship of Turkey in 1914, the disaster of Gallipoli would never have happened.4 The Turks generally disliked the Germans and their growing influence,5 and made three separate attempts to ally with Britain. They were rebuffed on each occasion.6 They also pleaded in vain with the French to accept them as an ally,7 and protect them against their old enemy, Russia.8 Poor fools. The French and British alliance with Russia was at the expense of the Turks, not an alliance with the Turks to save them from Russia. Britain and France planned to carve up the oil rich Ottoman Empire. To that end, the Turks had to be pushed into the German camp and defeated.
In July 1914 the majority of the Turkish cabinet was still well disposed towards Britain,9but their faith was shattered by the seizure of two battleships being built for them in England. As an essay in provocation it was breathtaking.10 “If Britain wanted deliberately to incense the Turks and drive them into the Kaiser’s arms she could not have chosen more effective means.”11 Winston Churchill (a loyal servant of the Secret Elite) seized the dreadnoughts because they were “vital to Britain’s naval predominance.”12 The truth ran much deeper.
Back in February, Russia laid plans for her Black Sea fleet to take Constantinople by landing 127,500 troops and heavy artillery from Odessa. Arrival of the dreadnoughts from England would destroy this plan.13 Russia’s Foreign Minister Sazonov issued a thinly veiled warning to London on 30 July: “It is a matter of the highest degree of importance that… these ships must be retained in England.”14 Fearful that Russia would renege on her commitment to war should the ships be released, the Secret Elite withheld them. It kept Russia on board and helped drive Turkey into the German camp (they signed a treaty on 2 August), but it created a major problem. How to prevent the Russian Black Sea fleet from seizing Constantinople? Two German warships provided the answer. On 4 August, while off the coast of Algeria, the battle cruiser Goeben and attendant light cruiser Breslau received orders to head for Constantinople.
Vastly outnumbered (73 to 2) by French and British warships, the escape of the German cruisers to Constantinople, 1,200 miles away, is described as a “fiasco of tragic errors” by “fumbling” British Admirals.15 The British Admiralty supposedly had no idea where they were heading, but the reality was very different. On 3 August, Kaiser Wilhelm telegraphed King Constantine to say that both warships would be proceeding to Constantinople. This information was transmitted to London,16 and to the British naval mission in Athens.17Naval Intelligence in London had intercepted and decrypted the actual encoded message from Berlin to Goeben: “Alliance concluded with Turkey. Goeben and Breslau proceed to Constantinople.” The Admiralty knew,18 but relayed information to the Mediterranean fleet that “was either useless or inaccurate.”19 Goeben and Breslau were allowed to escape in order to neutralise the Russian Black Sea fleet. Foreign Secretary Sazonov was outraged that the Royal Navy had failed to prevent it.20