That is the question dominating the minds of the British wartime leadership in 1914/15. Yes, as you will have guessed, I am already into "Churchill and the Dardanelles" by Christopher M. Bell and I am well and truly hooked! The fundamental problem which was both cruel and intensely frustrating is summed up in a simple fact I have mentioned before on this blog - the impossibility of moving infantry soldiers made up of flesh and soft tissue across several hundred yards of open ground against quick firing artillery and machine-guns firing 600 rounds per minute. By September 1914 the trench-lines which were to run from the Channel to Switzerland ha already begun and the result would be bloody stasis for years.
Almost the entire British leadership was forced to thrash around trying to find someway to circumnavigate this impassable block to progress and find a quicker route to victory. In essence, the choice was to attack on the Western front despite the cost of blood, or to try, almost literally, to 'dodge the bullets' and attack Germany's main ally, Turkey in the East, or, as both Churchill and Jacky Fisher were keen to do, to use the navy to attack Germany in the North Sea. Churchill was desperately keen to capture a German island off Jutland and use it as a base for operations in an effort to winkle out the German fleet from their harbour in Willemshaven. Fisher was equally determined to force an entry into the Baltic and land troops in north Germany.
Needless to say, the objections, and risks, to all these schemes were enormous but no-one, least of all Churchill, was prepared to sit back and let the slow but steady strangulation of Germany by means of our naval blockade take its toll. Admittedly, the Germans had the equivalent of a drip feed via the neutral ports of Holland but even so, by 1917 they were beginning to feel the pain. The motto of the High Command was the same then as it is today - 'just crack on'! Of course, the French, much of whose country was under German control, would not have approved a waiting game.
So all in all, it was a terrible dilemma and personally I pity the Generals, Admirals and politicians who had to work their way through it.