chapter  III
62 Pages

The Search for an Accommodation: the Moratorium March, 1915 to November, 1916

The failure to keep the Ottoman Empire neutral opened up the possibility of a pan-Islamic holy war against the Allies, with Britain having the most to lose. This, plus the fact that by early 1915 the war in Europe was obviously bogged down, the race of armies and trench lines to the north having ended in a dead heat, encouraged some British officials to look outside Europe for means to break the stalemate or to protect existing interests. In combination these events were enough to divert Britain's concentration from the war in Europe, but they were not sufficient to make clear the line of policy to pursue. Even in Europe the Liberal Asquith government stumbled along with pre-war organization, which meant limited coordination between departments, and difficulty in deciding what to do and how to do it. It is not surprising, then, that in the Middle East dithering should have been an essential element in decision-making.