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The fall of Baghdad

17 March 2017

March 16th, 1917

THE capture of Baghdad by the force under Sir Stanley Maude is an achievement of the first importance. It was carried through with wonderful dash and cleverness, so that the astonished Turks, who never counted on the amazing activity of their enemy, incontinently fled, and left Baghdad undefended. Their good friends, the Germans, are so full of sympathy with them, saying that they will feel their loss not a little, that they have apparently not yet considered how they themselves are affected. Perhaps, when they come to reckon up the amount of their new War Loan, they will find that the fall of Baghdad and the amount subscribed are not unrelated. For German imagination had marked it out as the terminus of the Berlin to Baghdad railway, which was to extend the Kaiser’s Empire to the Far East and to destroy our Eastern power. But it will be useless to start trains from Berlin that will only run into a British terminus. General Maude’s great feat, therefore, is as significant as it was brilliant. It means the arrest of German ambition in that direction, the loss of Turkey’s prestige, and the creation of a new spirit among the Arab peoples. Not the least gratifying feature in General Maude’s laconic report is the statement that he is in a position to provide for the safety and support of the troops in his command. His confidence is reassuring, for anxiety was felt lest, owing to the nature of the country, he might find himself in straits. This expedition, however, seems to have been organized with masterly forethought.


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