Classic History Books


W.T. Massey - How Jerusalem Was Won. Allenby's Campaign in Palestine

officer and man in the Army; and though from the moment that goal had been attained all energies were
concentrated upon driving the Turk out of the war, there was not a member of the Force, from the highest

on the Staff to the humblest private in the ranks, who did not feel that Jerusalem was the greatest prize of

the campaign.

In a second volume I shall tell of that tremendous feat of arms which overwhelmed the Turkish Armies,
drove them through 400 miles of country in six weeks, and gave cavalry an opportunity of proving that,

despite all the arts and devices of modern warfare, with fighters and observers in the air and an entirely

new mechanism of war, they continued as indispensable a part of an army as when the legions of old

took the field. This is too long a story to be told in this volume, though the details of that magnificent

triumph are so firmly impressed on the mind that one is loth to leave the narration of them to a future

date. For the moment Jerusalem must be sufficient, and if in the telling of the British work up to that

point I can succeed in giving an idea of the immense value of General Allenby's Army to the Empire, of

the soldier's courage and fortitude, of his indomitable will and self-sacrifice and patriotism, it will indeed

prove the most grateful task I have ever set myself.

April 1919.

 

CHAPTER I. PALESTINE'S INFLUENCE ON THE WAR

In a war which involved the peoples of the four quarters of the globe it was to be expected that on the
world's oldest battleground would be renewed the scenes of conflict of bygone ages. There was perhaps a

desire of some elements of both sides, certainly it was the unanimous wish of the Allies, to avoid the

clash of arms in Palestine, and to leave untouched by armies a land held in reverence by three of the great

religions of the world. But this ancient cockpit of warring races could not escape. The will of those who

broke the peace prevailed. Germany's dream of Eastern Empires and world domination, the lust of

conquest of the Kaiser party, required that the tide of war should once more surge across the land, and if

the conquering hosts left fewer traces of war wreckage than were to be expected in their victorious

march, it was due not to any anxiety of our foes to avoid conflict about, and damage to, places with

hallowed associations, but to the masterly strategy of the British Commander-in-Chief who manoeuvred

the Turkish Armies out of positions defending the sacred sites.

The people of to-day who have lived through the war, who have had their view bewildered by
ever-recurring anxieties, by hopes shattered and fears realised, by a succession of victories and defeats on

a colossal scale, and by a sudden collapse of the enemy, may fail to see the Palestine campaign in true

perspective. But in a future generation the calm judgment of the historian in reviewing the greatest of all

wars will, if I mistake not, pay a great tribute to General Allenby's strategy, not only as marking the

commencement of the enemy's downfall, but as preserving from the scourge of war those holy places

which symbolise the example by which most people rule their lives. Britons who value the good name of

their country will appreciate what this means to those who shall come after us - that the record of a great

campaign carried out exclusively by British Imperial troops was unsullied by a single act to disturb the

sacred monuments, and left the land in the full possession of those rich treasures which stand for the

principles that guided our actions and which, if posterity observes them, will make a better and happier

world.

A few months after the Turks entered the war it was obvious that unaided they could never realise the
Kaiser's hope of cutting the Suez Canal communications of the British Empire. The German

commitments in Europe were too overwhelming to permit of their rendering the Turks adequate support

 

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