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The pursuit of Goeben and Breslau was a naval action that occurred in the Mediterranean Sea at the outbreak of the First World War when elements of the British Mediterranean Fleet attempted to intercept the German Mittelmeerdivision consisting of the battlecruiser SMS Goeben and the light cruiser SMS Breslau. The German ships evaded the British fleet and passed through the Dardanelles to reach Constantinople, where they were eventually handed over to the Ottoman Empire. Renamed Yavuz Sultan Selim, the former Goeben was ordered by its German captain to attack Russian positions, in doing so bringing the Ottoman Empire into the war on the side of the Central Powers.
Though a bloodless “battle”, the failure of the British pursuit had enormous political and military ramifications. In the short term it effectively ended the careers of the two British Admirals [one of whom is the author of this book] who had been in charge of the pursuit. Writing several years later, Winston Churchill - who had been First Lord of the Admiralty - expressed the opinion that by forcing Turkey into the war the Goeben had brought “more slaughter, more misery, and more ruin than has ever before been borne within the compass of a ship.”