what caused WWI? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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The First World War (1914-1918).
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By ingliz
#1816955
The speed of mobilisation made possible by the railways.

AJP.Taylor wrote:The First World War had begun - imposed on the statesmen of Europe by railway timetables. It was an unexpected climax to the railway age.

Gen.Von Moltke wrote:...from a military point of view every railway is welcome, and two are still more wecome than one...

Gen.Joffe wrote:This is a great railway war. The battle of the Marne was won by the railways of France
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By jimjilin
#1816971
If the British hadn't become involved the war would have been a quick German victory with minimal loss of life.

So who brought the British in? I think one individual deserves the most blame: Churchill. He was the most enthusiastic man in the cabinet for war.

Churchill also was involved in implementing a starvation blockade of Germany during WW I that killed 100's of thousands including many children.

Foreign Minister Grey also deserves censure. If he had made it clear to the Germans that Britain would fight alongside France war might have been averted.

Also King Edward did much to aggravate hostility between Britain and Germany.
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By QatzelOk
#1818281
So who brought the British in? I think one individual deserves the most blame: Churchill.

Well, the British signed the Balfour Declaration, which apparently ended that war.

So they were definitely involved.
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By Ombrageux
#1818298
The Europeans' means of destruction had expanded faster than their awareness of it.
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By QatzelOk
#1818330
The Europeans' means of destruction had expanded faster than their awareness of it.

Often, the same elite that controls the means of destruction (and production) often controls the media and the "awareness" or lack of.
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By Ombrageux
#1818371
The notion that human beings control their lives, whether as individuals, as nations or as some conspiratorial elite, is not much more than a comforting myth.
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By Notorious B.i.G.
#1818429
jimjilin wrote:So who brought the British in? I

King Leopold of Belgium when he signed a pact with England to protect the neutrality of Belgium. Or it could have been Schlieffen who came up with the plan to invade France via neutral Belgium. Or the blame can rest on the German government who approved implementation of the plan to invade neutral Belgium which they new would bring the UK into the war.
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By jimjilin
#1818457
Dumbteen, so that statement you made - you were compelled to make it, so why should we believe that it is true? And if someone shoots you why should they be punished since they were compelled to shoot you?

Notorious, I am sympathetic to the Germans because I believe generally the other European powers should have accepted German aspirations rather than denying them. The British, Russians, and French ruled most of the world. They should have allowed the Germans influence in the Balkans and the Mideast.

Britain was not required to go to war by the 1839 treaty.
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By Ombrageux
#1818468
Should they be punished? I don't know if there is any moral basis for vengeance. The threat of punishment is useful because it dissuades people from doing the actions you describe. That suffices. (Incidentally, the myth of human agency is socially and politically useful as well as comforting.)
By guzzipat
#1819154
The contention that Germany would have hestitated if Britain has made it's position of protecting Belgium's independence clear, is not a sensible conclusion.
First; It had been British policy for centuries to try to keep a balance of power in Europe, their opposition to Germany conquering France was an obvious continuation of that policy. Any objective assesment at the time could only conclude that British invloment was inevitable.
Second; Britains army was small and poorly equipt and trained for a continental war, "a contemtable little army", Germany described it.

The claim that it was Britain's responsibility because they prevented a quick German victory, not only vastly overestimates the strength of Britains army it, it is tactically ignorant. I would suggest more investigation into the relationship between stalled attacks and logistics, especially in the days when most supplies moved at horse speed.
In any case how is a country to blame for a war when the main accusation agianst it was that it's participation prevented a victory after it started?
It seems like a proposition formed by anti-Brtiish attitudes rather than any objective look at the situation.

I was born of Irish parents and don't defend Britain out of patriotism, but out of reason. I try not to let anti-Brit biase affect my attitude to such questions.
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By Doctor State
#1819177
Often, the same elite that controls the means of destruction (and production) often controls the media and the "awareness" or lack of.

They weren't aware either.
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By jimjilin
#1819541
guzz, France almost fell to the German invaders on several occasions. It is a highly eccentric opinion to believe that British support during the Battle of the Marne and other battles was trivial. Your position is as indefensible as Paris would have been without British help.

You also say that Britain was preserving the balance of power. Surely a strong Germany was necessary for the balance of power. Russia was just as much a power to be feared, with much greater potential power than Germany, though less actual power in 1914. And Britain's empire was threatened by Russia (You're familiar with the "Great Game" in Central Asia) more than Germany.
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By QatzelOk
#1819942
About the elites knowing about the means of destruction, Dr State wrote:They weren't aware either.

Sure they were. The elites of Europe were well aware of these weapons potentials because they'd experimented with them in their colonies. It was the general population that had no idea they were being set up for a slaughter by their own paranoid elites.

Dumbteen wrote:The notion that human beings control their lives, whether as individuals, as nations or as some conspiratorial elite, is not much more than a comforting myth.

Some human beings attempt to control the lives of millions of others. That they fail so dramatically to provide a semblance of a good life to their underlings is a good reason to take away their authority. But the media that these elites own is constantly obscuring this relationship between their incompetent stewardship and the disasters they bring about.
Last edited by QatzelOk on 03 Mar 2009 03:38, edited 1 time in total.
By guzzipat
#1820629

guzz, France almost fell to the German invaders on several occasions. It is a highly eccentric opinion to believe that British support during the Battle of the Marne and other battles was trivial. Your position is as indefensible as Paris would have been without British help.


The BEF in 1914 was tiny compared to the French or German armies. It consisted of 4 divisions some 70,000 men. It is little known that the bulk of that force wasn't even full time army. Some 70 battallions were in fact a part time militia, called the "territorial Army" they volunteered to serve in France because they could not legally be compelled to. They were intended for home defence alone.

It did have an influence during the Battle of the Marne, but not because of it's numbers or ability, but because of postition and circumstances. A gap developed between two German armies, due mainly to logistics. The BEF happened to be positioned in that gap and advanced. The halting of the German advance had little to do with the BEF apart from it's fortutitous position, it was mainly a matter of logictics. It is a crucial factor in any attack that as the attack is forced to operate on extended lines of supply and the defender operates on far shorter internal lines, the advance always slows and determined resistance can always regain some territory, untill supply lines are balanced again. That was the main cause of the German failure to take Paris not your contention that it was entirely due to the BEF, that is in pure military terms unsuportable. I have read no account of that battle that didn't stress the logistics as a main factor.

Your remark that France almost fell to Germany on several occasions is also untrue unless you mean Prussia, not the same thing. The last time before 1914 that France lost was in 1870 against Prussia before the German State existed.

I am still waiting for you to explain your pereception that it was the BEF stopping the German attack made Britain responsible for WW1.


You also say that Britain was preserving the balance of power. Surely a strong Germany was necessary for the balance of power. Russia was just as much a power to be feared, with much greater potential power than Germany, though less actual power in 1914. And Britain's empire was threatened by Russia (You're familiar with the "Great Game" in Central Asia) more than Germany.


You are ignoring the Austro Hungarian Empire.
It was also clear at the time that Russia despite a large army, was politcally and militarily weak. Russian revolutionaries were resident in London, Paris and other European Cities. The conclusion at the time that war could easily lead to domestic unrest was obvious.

I am aware of the "Great Game" , but it seems you aren't clear about it. It virtually ended with the Anglo-Russian Conference in 1907 some 7 years before WW1. Germany's territorial ambitions in Africa were more of a threat in 1914.

It must surely be clear that the British policy of a balance power in Europe could never ignore an attempt by Germany to occupy France, allied to the defeat of Russia. Certainly Germany from the start expected that Britain would take part, they didn't gamble they wouldn't, they discounted the influence of Britains small home army and it's ability to influence a fast conclusion.
You seem to be ignoring the fact that in previous wars Brtitain had sided with Prussia against France. It's policy was entirely according to it's own interests, not some beauty contest.

In short your claim that the Brits were responsible for starting WW1 doesn't seem to be based on more than conjecture and anti-Brit prejudice. Cetainly the claim that they halted a German attack on Paris after it started as evidence that they should be blamed for that war is at best illogical. Even if I accepted the basic premise which I don't, How the hell can something that happened after the start be evidence of who is to blame for it begining.
None of the replies you posted address that, even if I were to grant all what you say it still doesn't ammount to any evidence whatsover that Britain started WW1.

Incidently I don't blame Germany for WW1 either, but that's another story.
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By jimjilin
#1821312
I am not saying there would have been no war, I'm saying the war - I'll call it the War of 1914, not the Great War nor World War I - would have been brief. Europe would not have been destroyed, millions would not have died, Lenin and Hitler would have remained obscure cranks. If Britain had only preferred peace the world would have been spared all this suffering.

guzz, you seem to have conceded the argument without realizing it. You write that the BEF "did have an influence during the Battle of the Marne" and was in fact "the main cause of the German failure to take Paris"!

Russia was disorganized in 1914, but surely Russia possessed far greater potential power than Germany. Wouldn't it be better to accept a strong Germany as a counterpoise to a strong Russia? Isn't that preferable to fighting both nations at different times (Germany during the World Wars and Russia during the Cold War)?
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By Thunderhawk
#1821838
If Britain had only preferred peace the world would have been spared all this suffering.

Really?
How do you know a Nazi-esque regime would not have come to power in France or Russia? A quick loss for Russia might have limited public outcry and support of the Bolsheviks while stirring Revanchism. Why would the German Emperor stop?


Russia was disorganized in 1914, but surely Russia possessed far greater potential power than Germany. Wouldn't it be better to accept a strong Germany as a counterpoise to a strong Russia?

Look what it took Stalin to organize the Soviet union. The Tsar would have had more to do and will less ability. Russia, if allowed to develop and organize in peace, might eventually surpass Germany. But in 1914 Germany was clearly leading Russia by a large margin.
By guzzipat
#1821926

guzz, you seem to have conceded the argument without realizing it. You write that the BEF "did have an influence during the Battle of the Marne" and was in fact "the main cause of the German failure to take Paris"!




Don't take what I say out of context to pretend I said something I didn't. That is a shabby unnaceptable trick, here is the full text to which you refer;



[ Quote ]Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:34 pmQuote:

It did have an influence during the Battle of the Marne, but not because of it's numbers or ability, but because of postition and circumstances. A gap developed between two German armies, due mainly to logistics. The BEF happened to be positioned in that gap and advanced. The halting of the German advance had little to do with the BEF apart from it's fortutitous position, it was mainly a matter of logictics. It is a crucial factor in any attack that as the attack is forced to operate on extended lines of supply and the defender operates on far shorter internal lines, the advance always slows and determined resistance can always regain some territory, untill supply lines are balanced again. That was the main cause of the German failure to take Paris not your contention that it was entirely due to the BEF, that is in pure military terms unsuportable. I have read no account of that battle that didn't stress the logistics as a main factor


Never at any time did I say or even suggest that the BEF were the main reason for Germany halting the attack. Between the two sentences you quote there are another 8 lines of text, the whole piece stresses the importance of logistics in the halting of the German advance. Taking two sentences out of the whole to try to totally change the meaning of what I posted isn't acceptable. In no part of that did I say that the BEF was the main reason for halting the German advance. Either you didn't read it or deliberately misrepresented what I posted.
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By Doomhammer
#1823258
The degeneration of Empire (Austrian and Ottoman) was important for the nature of the relations between Russia and Central Europe.

I don't want to pin the blame on a single factor or nation but Germany was most responsible for encouraging Austria. Why? Because Germany was afraid that Russia (which was, by now, growing stronger day by day), if not contained, would pose a threat to Germany and so it would be wise to keep them in check while the Russians were still comparatively weaker.
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