Today's Part III introduces the politically divided players in London. Tomorrow we will look at the decision itself.
Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty and champion of the Gallipoli campaign (and who, it is easy to forget given his later career in the Conservative Party, was a Liberal MP during World War I) gave up the Admiralty and was given the relatively powerless job of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He remained on the Dardanelles Committee for the time being, however, though in November he would resign from the government to rejoin the Army. Replacing Churchill at the Admiralty was Arthur James Balfour, a Tory former Prime Minister (and future Foreign Secretary, as Middle East hands will be aware).
The reshuffle also brought Conservative leader Andrew Bonar Law to join the Cabinet as Secretary of State for the Colonies, and saw a Ministry of Munitions created under David Lloyd George, taking that task away from the War Office, which remained under Lord Kitchener. Sir Edward Grey retained the Foreign Office.
Perhaps most importantly, by bringing the Tories into the Cabinet, the coalition increased the likelihood that counsels would be split on certain controversial issues.
For the issues being considered in this series, the major divisions would be between the India Office and the War Office. Let's meet the players there.
The India Office in London
Since the Tories entered the coalition in May of 1915, the Secretary of State for India had been Austen Chamberlain. He was the son of Joseph Chamberlain, a onetime major figure in the Liberal Party who split with the Liberals over his opposition to Irish Home Rule, and joined the Tories. Austen was also the older half-brother of future Prime Minister of Munich notoriety, Neville Chamberlain.
|Sir Edmund Barrow|
The War Office: Kitchener
Kitchener's public popularity was not generally shared among his fellow Cabinet ministers, who found him difficult to deal with, or with his military subordinates, who found the imperial hero imperious and intimidating in manner. In normal times, the Secretary of State for War worked closely with the senior military command, headed by the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) and the General Staff. Between the outbreak of war in August 1914 and the end of 1915 four different men held the CIGS position. With the Field Marshal and Hero of Khartoum as their boss they found the job frustrating.
Kitchener had seen his powers reduced under the coalition. After the so-called "Shell Crisis" earlier in 1915, involving a reported shortage of artillery shells, Asquith had created a separate Ministry of Munitions under David Lloyd George. He was increasingly criticized for embarking on military adventures without consulting the General Staff, but he would again ignore divided counsels in the decision to go on to Baghdad.