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The First World War (1914-1918).
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By Rojik of the Arctic
#1832740
I heard Archiduke Ferdinand tripped and caused it. Your thoughts?


And then:

A/H wanted to humiliate Serbia who was competing for the spoils of the collapse of the European Ottoman Empire. So they happily gave Serbia a list of demands that couldn't be met.

Germany backed A/H with secret discussions.

Russia backed the Serbains and mobolised in a show of strength but found to it's dismay that it had no plans for partial mobilisation against Austria only and had to mobilise against Germany as well.

Germany, faced with the Russian mobilisation, needed to mobilise as well or risk being defenceless. The problem was the German plan for mobilisation involved massing most of the army on the French/Belgium border to knock the French out before the slower Russian armies could complete their mobilisation. This plan (the Schlieffen plan) involved a drive through Belgium to take the French on the flank.

Britain, who had been in a naval arms race with Germany since the Kiel channel was widened to allow Dreadnoughts, veiwed the occupation of Belgium with nothing short of horror and joined in. They also kept two battleships that Turkey had ordered and payed for "for the duration".

Germany then offered two ships that were in the Med as compensation to the Turks and, with German sailors decked in fez's promptly shelled Sevastopol bringing Turkey into the war.

Long story short - what should have been a minor war between A/H and Serbia ended up destroying 4 empires and the 19th century status quo (along with millions of lives) because the Great Powers of the time couldn't help but stick their nose into everybody elses buisness.
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By Doctor State
#1832756
This thread at its heart is less an exploration of the causes of WWI than an exploration of the definition of the word "cause."
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By Rojik of the Arctic
#1832767
What I wrote was the cause. None of it happened in isolation and you can't have a world war without all the big powers wanting to play. If you can point to one cause good luck to you as I can't see how any one thing could have created such an imbroglio.

Edit: Sorry didn't read your post properly. What do you mean? How did it get so big or how did it get so bloody?
By Mundame
#1835069
WHAT caused WWI, or WHO caused it?

I study WWI and I think the issue of cause is central. (And as for the Archduke Ferdinand, he didn't trip, he was pushed. 8) )

The question to me is whose deliberate, guilty act, singular, caused WWI? It has to be deliberate and guilty to satisfy me, so it can't be the chauffeur. He took a wrong turn at Franz-Josef Strasse and Crown-Prince-Rudolf Strasse in Sarejevo, and pulled up in confusion precisely opposite Gavrilo Princeps drinking coffee at a sidewalk cafe disconsolate because his band of assassins had not done at all well that morning. I don't blame the chauffeur, because his act was not guilty or intended. Princeps, on the other hand, leaped to his feet and rushed to the car and shot Sophie and her husband, June 28, 1914.

So that's one who caused WWI.

A few weeks later the Czar Nicolas of Russia was persuaded to oppose Austrian revenge on Serbia by upgrading his mobilization to full mobilization of Russian troops. That was the deciding move that pushed the Germans over the tipping point, not that a very hard push was needed. This was a nutzo thing for Nicolas to have allowed, and his wife's close advisor Rasputin advised strongly against it, but he was pretty fed up with his cousin Willie the Kaiser, and he did say yes. He had the IQ of an avocado, and was overpersuaded, but it was his yes.

So the Czar is the second who caused WWI. Without full Russian mobilization, the Schlieffen Plan would presumably not have been put into action: the Russians mobilized, and according to the Plan, Germans marched immediately into Belgium on their way to France.

My personal favorite, however, as the person who guiltily caused WWI is Crown Prince Rudolf, heir to the Hapsburg Throne of Austria-Hungary. He killed himself and his mistress in a spectacular murder-suicide at Mayerling January 30, 1889, age 31. Had he persevered with life there would have been no archduke in Sarejevo in 1914; things would have happened differently. Now, Rudolf was a mess: he had made his wife infertile and very ill with gonorrhea and also his new girlfriend, Mary Vecsara. He had dire syphillis and was quite ill with it and falling into very bad health and probably the mental effects, the syphillitic psychosis, and was addicted to both morphine and alcohol at high levels. There is no reason to suppose he could have lasted till 1914, but had he lived and died normally, the world would have been subtly different and Sarejevo might not have happened as it happened.

Crown Prince Rudolf was weak and allowed himself to become insane, and so he caused WWI.
By abralexander1
#13221177
WWI was caused by nationalism. When the war was declared on Germany, people burst out on the street celebrating in France and Britain. If the population had not been primed to support the war, the government might not have started it! Germany had a huge role in this. They fought for the independence of Morocco in an attempt to break the alliance between France and Britain.
By ayami123
#13221696
What caused World War One I also don't know but one things for sure the war would not have started if the rebel didn't assassinate the heir or something? I also want to know why did [Serbia?] was blame for it I want to know why.
Last edited by Siberian Fox on 04 Nov 2009 17:25, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Grammar and unreadability - Automatic translation programme?
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By Siberian Fox
#13223661
abralexander1 wrote:When the war was declared on Germany, people burst out on the street celebrating in France and Britain.


I would be interested to see the source for that. Certainly the public might be seen as enthusiastic to fight by the number of volunteers, but the British government certainly did not take the decision lightly and was not enthusiastic for a war with Germany.
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By Batko
#13279910
If the British hadn't become involved the war would have been a quick German victory with minimal loss of life.


A completely stupid and highly ignorant claim.
There were 94 german divisions against 93 French, 7 belgian and 4 British divisions involved in 1914. The 4 British divisions did a good job but weren't decisive in any way.

What really prevented a possible German victory, apart from the intelligent tactics of the general Foch during the battle of Marne was the involvement of Russia on the eastern front, certainly not the 4 tiny divisions of the BEF.
By pugsville
#13280934
Serbia - Serbia copped the blame as the assasins had come from serbia, had gotten arms from the serbia . the black hand the orgization behind the assasination was mostly serbian and most of the infuentia; members were part of the serbian militrary or intelligence/secret police. we know a fair bit about the assasination as two of the assassins only got 20 years as they were under 21, and I think at least one only died 80s? There was no doubt that at the least the assisnation was organizaed and equiped but serving Serbian Officers, though acting on their own initiative as members of the black hand.

BEF - Wasnt there actually 7 divisions (6 Inf, 1 cav) in france by early september at the latest? (further research inidcates 6th division to late to partcipate in the opening stages , but 6 BEF divisions in france by 22 August.)
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By Batko
#13281103
BEF - Wasnt there actually 7 divisions (6 Inf, 1 cav) in france by early september at the latest? (further research inidcates 6th division to late to partcipate in the opening stages , but 6 BEF divisions in france by 22 August.)


You're right, the BEF had, in fact, 7 divisions involved in the early days of Aug/Sept 1914, representing 4 army corps (3 inf, 1 cav), not 4 divisions like I mistakenly said.
The forces in presence on the western front in August were :
Germany : 2.020.000 men
France : 2.030.000 men
Belgium : 280.000 men
BEF : 132.000 men

Thus, the affirmation "If the British hadn't become involved the war would have been a quick German victory with minimal loss of life." is indeed completely absurd. The BEF did help locally but the vast majority of the fight was made by French and German armies.
The involvement of Russia, on the contrary, was extremely important as it permitted to fix a part of the German army and avoided the French and their allies to be submerged by overwhelming German forces.
Don't forget that German population was twice more important than the French one at the time.

To answer to the OP : "what caused WWI?"
I'll say without any doubt : the madness and the incredible hate, arrogance and illusion of his own strenght of Wilhelm II.
Wilhelm II caused WWI.
By pugsville
#13281191
Depends how close run a thing you think the august 1914 thing was, if it was down to the knife edge then a large number of small things could have been very very significant. The Role of the BEF has been pherhaps over represented in the english speaking litrature & media. Personally from what I think the "schliffen" plan (quotes coz I think schliffen would not have approved of the plan that bears his name, I think he was against all fixed plans) was pretty much doomed right off the bat, Motlke the younger was not the right man, his failure to plan and command certianly didnt help (and you can blame Wilhelm for that appiontment)

I think the failure of a workable descion making both in personel and process in the german empire. The absence of any real workable structure in the vague power setup that bismark had allowed to just sort of happen. The Crown, The Ministers (all independant of each other) and The Army all had vague responisbilities that really ddint make for a clear descion making process that allowed the blunder into war go on. The fact that Wilhelm, Motlke and Bethmann-Hollweg were all pretty week just made things worse. Whil eth egerman empire might have been advancing or leading the world in Industry, Economics and the Militrary, the sheer ramshackle vagueness of their government (at the top levels) came back to bite them.
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By Batko
#13281263
I can agree with your analyse, Pugsville. Though it's necessary to explain this and the reasons of German expansionism. At first, the big youth of the German unity, the unity achieved by the war, by Bismarck, in 1870 and on the back of France. We can conceive that a nation so recently unified is not yet structurally strong enough in terms of organization of government and feels insecure about its future in Europe where nations are in large parts unified for centuries. The expansionism is then an assertion of power to give a justification and a content to the unity (which allows an expansionist policy which was impossible for small split up German States).
Then, Germany came very late in the creation of big colonial empires. Places have already been taken since the congress of Berlin of 1905. There are for Germany (except for some zones in sub-Saharan Africa) only few things to be conquered. Deprived of empire, Germany can act then only in Europe (we find in 1941 this obsession of the expansion missed in the will "to colonize" the Russian space with the operation Barbarossa of June, 1941 (colonization which supposes moreover explicitly the necessity of annihilating an important part of the Soviet population).

Far from being the unfortunate result of a combination of circumstances ( the "big game" of alliances ) the war was wanted and looked for by Berlin in 1914. Fromkin reminds the real terror which the rapid economic expansion of the Russian empire aroused among the German elites, which saw day after day an industrial and economic giant developing on their borders. For them, without a war, nothing could stop the assertion of a Russian power destined to catch up Germany. This war was seen as "preventive".
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By killim
#13291983
What caused World War One I also don't know but one things for sure the war would not have started if the rebel didn't assassinate the heir or something? I also want to know why did [Serbia?] was blame for it I want to know why.


You can read up the July crisis for the actual events that led to the war:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_Crisis

If you are searching for the real reasons you should set a timeframe, because otherwise you will get endless chains of causes that led to the war. IMHO a good timeframe starts at 1871 or 1789 but i have seen some people arguing from 814 on.

The already mentioned expansionism/imperialism of Germany as a late starter was mainly a reason to poison the relations between the European countries and helped to alter the treaty situation from the Bismarck system to Entende. It was not a main reason for Germany to go to war. In fact the situation in 1914 (from 1900 on) was so tensed that everyone expected a war and that the events only triggered it in a vicious cycle.

If you wan't i can name some direct reasons for the WWI:

-the political options were really constricted and they were mainly forced to choose options that led to war by the armament/military and the treaty policy. This is a direct consequence of the partially secret defense treaties, the imperialism, the dominating political science and different views for the war as an hegemonial war or a cabinet war.

-the domestic policy, social unrest and economical interests for a escalation of the foreign policy of all countries.

-mass movements, propaganda and hype effects supported by a social and educational indoctrination.

-special interests of the military leadership and the pro-war orietented military pre-war strategies.

-the special role for Germany as a new medium sized power in contrast to the hegemonial powers.

-1871.

-the change of security policies from 1871 on.

-the numerous foreign crisis from 1900 on.
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By cicero91
#13578805
the biggest reason was the will of the germans, their militarisme reinforced by military tradition from preußen...
the crucial expansion towards the east and the austrian question of a forced k and k monarchy willing to fight, the 'blankoscheck' as a supply...
third thing, russian fear of panslawistic power in serbia, the assasination in sarajevo and tensions around europe contradicting bismarck's policy of hindering strongly a war or keeping it at the periphery...
the selfconfidence of the OHL to be proud of their weapon arsenal...
innersocial tensions and riots between left and right...
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By Red_Clay
#13592696
Hmmmmm.... :hmm: Maybe you can look it up in the encyclopedia or dow there!

What causeed WWI? wrote:The causes of World War I, which began in central Europe in July 1914, included many intertwined factors, such as the conflicts and antagonisms of the four decades leading up to the war. Militarism, alliances, imperialism, and nationalism played major roles in the conflict as well. However, the immediate origins of the war lay in the decisions taken by statesmen and generals during the July Crisis of 1914, casus belli for which was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Gavrilo Princip, an irredentist Serb.[1]

The crisis came after a long and difficult series of diplomatic clashes between the Great Powers over European and colonial issues in the decade before 1914 that had left tensions high. In turn these diplomatic clashes can be traced to changes in the balance of power in Europe since 1867.[2] The more immediate cause for the war was tensions over territory in the Balkans. Austria-Hungary competed with Serbia and Russia for territory and influence in the region and they pulled the rest of the Great Powers into the conflict through their various alliances and treaties.

The topic of the causes of the World War I is one of the most studied in all of world history. Scholars have differed significantly in their interpretations of the event.


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By MB.
#13632981
Batko wrote:[BEF intervention changed the outcome of WWI]A completely stupid and highly ignorant claim.


This is a basic claim made by N. Ferguson from his book The Pity of War. BEF intervention did crucially shore up the entente, and the BEF actaully did fight some major battles during the September retreat, such as Mons, and the British were crucially involved at the horrendously violent battle of the Marne, and so on. However, considering that the entire BEF was not very large, as Batko correctly points out, only four Corps at the time, it seems intuitive that their involvement could not have been decisive, contradicting Ferguson. People forget that four Corps is 100,000 volunteer soldiers + artillery armed with bolt-action rifles firing from dispersed positions against massed infantry formations...

The thing about nationalism causing the war and the street celebrating is from AJP Taylor.
http://www.historyhome.co.uk/europe/causeww1.htm
website wrote:Allied to this growing militarism was an intense nationalism in most of the Great powers. Weltpolitik or the desire for world power status was very popular in Germany. The French desire for revenge over Alsace and Lorraine was very strong. In Britain Imperialism and support for the Empire was very evident. This nationalism meant that there was little resistance to war in these countries. Many welcomed what it was felt would be a short victorious war. For example the outbreak of war was greeted by cheering crowds in Berlin, Vienna and Paris. As A P J Taylor wrote “the people of Europe leapt willingly into war.”


Take it for what you will.

Batko wrote:What really prevented a possible German victory, apart from the intelligent tactics of the general Foch during the battle of Marne was the involvement of Russia on the eastern front, certainly not the 4 tiny divisions of the BEF.


The decisive battles on both fronts were fought about the same time, and the Russian element was crushed. However, as Batko is suggesting, this involvement resulted in Moltke flinching at the last moment and ordering the transportation of some of his forces from the western theater to russia, only to arrive after Tannenberg. What if the BEF had not been there to exploit this weakness and cover the French flank at the Marne?


Pugsville makes several excellent points about the over-representation of the BEF role in the english literature, and the vauge power structure in the German government. Absolutely, right to look to the economic-military reciprocation between the junker aristocrats and the steel, electronics, chemical and armament tycoons.

The fact that Wilhelm, Motlke and Bethmann-Hollweg were all pretty week just made things worse.


Well said. And this contradicts Batko's point:

Batko wrote:I'll say without any doubt : the madness and the incredible hate, arrogance and illusion of his own strenght of Wilhelm II.
Wilhelm II caused WWI.



Which implies a degree of power centralization not to mention personal agency in the monarch that actaully did not exist.

Batko wrote:the war was wanted and looked for by Berlin in 1914. Fromkin reminds the real terror which the rapid economic expansion of the Russian empire aroused among the German elites, which saw day after day an industrial and economic giant developing on their borders. For them, without a war, nothing could stop the assertion of a Russian power destined to catch up Germany. This war was seen as "preventive".


Is this the book you are referring to?

Europe's Last Summer: Who started the Great War in 1914? (2004) by David Fromkin
By pugsville
#13633660
The BEF was a professional standing army of long service regulars with some good recent experience (the Boer war, a bad recent experience which made it good learning experience as it had led to a shakeup of the army). Also their doctrine was much more reasonable than other forces. In the early war period almost all other armies had some doctrinal mania with attack at all costs. The French were the worst (they were still wearing the red pants) they basic doctrine was "Balls" that any position could be taken if attacked with enough determination and numbers (say hello to the machine gun fellas). If the Germans had stuck to the defensive in the west they would have had a much more crushing success as the french just hurled themselves forward.

The BEF was pretty small. But it was quality. It was not going to be the decisive factor unless it was a very very close run thing and in that case a whole swag of other things would press to be the decisive thing (the transfer of German forces east for example)

I think the 1914 German offensive was pretty much doomed from the start, (especially once he Belgians decided to fight ). The much hyped "Schliffen Plan" was just a last exercise prepared by a Guy who was opposed to fixed grand plans, who favored mobile defense operations near ones own rail heads and further from the enemies. The People at the top (Motkle the younger, a ludicrous appointment of junior officer to a senior post just because he had a name and the monarch liked drinking with him, who knew he was out of him depth and stuck with the last plan off Schliffens desk as actually taking command and making decisions were beyond him) of the German Army were basically alseep at the well. Tactically, Organizationally the German army was pretty much at the top of the Game, and well ahead of many other armies in many areas, but the Higher Command was pretty poor even considering the General quality around wasnt that hot in the period)

The German Plan was vague, the objectives unclear, and over ambitious considering the Logistic support available. The Lack of real co-ordination and control by the GHQ staff was unable to really adapt to the situation.
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By QatzelOk
#13647008
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that every reason given so far is mass-media derived, and is just the reasons that we have been given to us by the Western business elite.

The real reason is that socialism was threatening the financier/business elite, and they got increasingly desperate in seeking ways to silence the voice of their working class majorities.

All the bells and whistles were just added on by a combination of compliant media and organized-crime implanted false flags.

Of course, by allowing these power relations to win that war and many others, we - the human race - has found itself confronted with a nuclear-armed mafia running the show.
By Smilin' Dave
#13647076
QatzelOk wrote:I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that every reason given so far is mass-media derived, and is just the reasons that we have been given to us by the Western business elite.

Yeah, especially those posts by that Qatz guy back on page one.

QatzelOk wrote:The real reason is that socialism was threatening the financier/business elite, and they got increasingly desperate in seeking ways to silence the voice of their working class majorities.

All the bells and whistles were just added on by a combination of compliant media and organized-crime implanted false flags.

Prove it, or this is just a conspiracy theory.
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By daft punk
#13859144
WW1 was caused by Germany's late but rapid arrival as a capitalist power. It only became one around 1871-1912. Thus is had few colonies to get resources from. German capitalism needed to expand and colonies were all taken up already. They did think about some sort of EU type thing I think, increasing their power within Europe. They were building a railway to Baghdad to get oil and resources, and increase their presence internationally, but the had problems getting the bit in Serbia done. Britain was shit stirring to stop their plans. Britain, France, America and Russia were worried that Germany would try to replace Britain as top international power. It all kicked off anyway and Britain immediately invaded Iraq. Additionally although Germany had rapidly grown industrially while Britain declined, it did have an economic crisis in 1912. Wars are always good diversions. France too had reasons to want war, to regain lost territory.
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