Causes of First World War - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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The First World War (1914-1918).
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By Rich
#14726081
Decky wrote:Well Japan were goodies in the first world war and didn't start either world war. Germany started both and were the head villain in both.

How in God's name can you blame Germany for the First World War? Serbia who'd been given a blank check by France and Russia started the immediate conflict by murdering the Austrian heir and his Czech wife. This was an act of war by the Serbian state. Austria started the war as a military campaign and Russia made it a general war by mobilising. Italy was responsible for undermining the sick man and further destabilising the Balkans by its invasion of Libya. Italy was also responsible for leading the way on using aerial bombardment, something that was banned by convention. France had sought this war ever since Bismark had liberated Alsace_Lorraine Germans from under the French jackboot, but in truth this was really a continuation of hundreds of years of French expansionism going back through Napoleon to the Bourbons.
#14726167
How in God's name can you blame Germany for the First World War?


Did you not go to school? We do all of this in the UK in history. The German "blank cheque" to Austria-Hungary that was designed to make a regional war escalate into a Europe wide one.


After I informed Kaiser Wilhelm that I had a letter from His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty, which Count Hoyos delivered to me today to present to him, I received an invitation from the German Majesties to a déjeûner at noon today in the Neue Palais [New Palace]. I presented His Majesty with the exalted letter and the attached memorandum. The Kaiser read both papers quite carefully in my presence. First, His Majesty assured me that he had expected us to take firm action against Serbia, but he had to concede that, as a result of the conflicts facing our most gracious Lord, he needed to take into account a serious complication in Europe, which is why he did not wish to give any definite answer prior to consultations with the chancellor. When, after our déjeuner, I once again emphasized the gravity of the situation, His Majesty authorized me to report to our most gracious Lord that in this case, too, we could count on Germany’s full support. As mentioned, he first had to consult with the chancellor, but he did not have the slightest doubt that Herr von Bethmann Hollweg would fully agree with him, particularly with regard to action on our part against Serbia. In his (Kaiser Wilhelm’s) opinion, though, there was no need to wait patiently before taking action. The Kaiser said that Russia’s stance would always be a hostile one, but he had been prepared for this for many years, and even if war broke out between Austria-Hungary and Russia, we could rest assured that Germany would take our side, in line with its customary loyalty. According to the Kaiser, as things stood now, Russia was not at all ready for war. It would certainly have to think hard before making a call to arms. Nevertheless, it would attempt to turn the other powers of the Triple Entente against us and to fan the flames in the Balkans. The Kaiser said he understood full well that it would be difficult for His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty to march into Serbia, given his well-known love of peace; however, if we really deemed a military operation against Serbia necessary, he (Kaiser Wilhelm) would find it regrettable if we did not seize the present moment, which was so favorable for us. As for Romania, the Kaiser said he would make sure that King Carol and his councilors acted properly. The idea of entering into a treaty with Bulgaria "is not at all agreeable" to him; he did not have any trust in King Ferdinand or his previous or current councilors. Despite this, he did not want to make the least objection to a treaty between the monarchy and Bulgaria, but precautions had to be taken that the treaty did not contain any barbs against Romania and that this state was duly informed of the proceedings (as was emphasized in the memorandum). Tomorrow morning, Kaiser Wilhelm intends to travel to Kiel before going on his northern voyage, but before this, His Majesty will confer with the chancellor about the matter at hand. The chancellor has been summoned from Hohenfinow to the Neue Palais in the evening for this purpose. In any case, I will have the opportunity to consult with the chancellor tomorrow."[26]
#14726168
Rich wrote:How in God's name can you blame Germany for the First World War? Serbia who'd been given a blank check by France and Russia started the immediate conflict by murdering the Austrian heir and his Czech wife. This was an act of war by the Serbian state. Austria started the war as a military campaign and Russia made it a general war by mobilising. Italy was responsible for undermining the sick man and further destabilising the Balkans by its invasion of Libya. Italy was also responsible for leading the way on using aerial bombardment, something that was banned by convention. France had sought this war ever since Bismark had liberated Alsace_Lorraine Germans from under the French jackboot, but in truth this was really a continuation of hundreds of years of French expansionism going back through Napoleon to the Bourbons.


The assassination was carried out by a terrorist group, The Black Hand, not the Serbian state. Austria-Hungary started the war by declaring war on Serbia
#14726169
Austria-Hungary would not have started the war without the blank cheque from the German state. That is so obviously clear that is it taught as fact in British schools (the most objective place to study the evil of Germany).
#14726175
Try this link:

Late in November 1927, an elderly Greek man sat in his mansion in Paris and tended a fire. Every time it flickered and threatened to die, he reached to one side and tossed another bundle of papers or a leather-bound book into the grate. For two days the old man fed the flames, at one point creating such a violent conflagration that his servants worried he would burn the whole house down. By the time he had finished, a vast pile of confidential papers, including 58 years’ worth of diaries that recorded every detail of a most scandalous career, had been turned to ash. Thus the shadowy figure whom the press dubbed “the Mystery Man of Europe” ensured that his long life would remain, for the most part, an impenetrable enigma.


Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/t ... FBrsXic.99
#14726189
The Black Hand was funded by Serbian hardliners under Apis that opposed the "Prime Minister", Pasic.

Part of the reason Pasic easily capitulated to the Austrian demands (all but allowing Austria to supersede Serbian sovereignty) was because that would be a way he could fight against Apis and the other hardliners that had already made themselves kingmakers by murdering the last government.

For Pasic, this was a fine oppertunity to root out and get rid of his single largest domestic threat and allow the parliament to actually run things. The Austrians declared war, but didn't mobilize, which was probably just to save face for Serbia not conceding to everything.

Then Nicholas the Bloody mobilized against Germany, throwing everything crazy into aggression against countries that were barely involved. I know capitalists like to get on their knees and masturbate in tribute to a feudal despot that committed atrocities that even contemporaries found horrifying.

But don't worry. While the capitalists were praising how pretty he was while commanding the death of an entire of generation from the heaps of bodies he mounted up in Russia, we communists know how to deal with tyrants.

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#14726213
Rich wrote:How in God's name can you blame Germany for the First World War? Serbia who'd been given a blank check by France and Russia started the immediate conflict by murdering the Austrian heir and his Czech wife. This was an act of war by the Serbian state. Austria started the war as a military campaign and Russia made it a general war by mobilising. Italy was responsible for undermining the sick man and further destabilising the Balkans by its invasion of Libya. Italy was also responsible for leading the way on using aerial bombardment, something that was banned by convention. France had sought this war ever since Bismark had liberated Alsace_Lorraine Germans from under the French jackboot, but in truth this was really a continuation of hundreds of years of French expansionism going back through Napoleon to the Bourbons.

Rich, aside from the Kaiserreich, there is one big omission in your long list of empires to be blamed. Is that omission by accident or are we to conclude that you have a certain bias?

There was/is a certain empire that was/is more expansionist than all the rest. An empire that did not only use international trade to strangle its opponents but also used double speak that left the Germans in doubt about its true intentions. Funny how some things never change. Europe is still guessing about GB's intention in Brexit today, just like the Kaiser was guessing in 1914. Ambiguity in international relations can have fatal consequences, as we have seen.

The Immortal Goon wrote:The Black Hand was funded by Serbian hardliners under Apis that opposed the "Prime Minister", Pasic.

Part of the reason Pasic easily capitulated to the Austrian demands (all but allowing Austria to supersede Serbian sovereignty) was because that would be a way he could fight against Apis and the other hardliners that had already made themselves kingmakers by murdering the last government.

The Black Hand was a State in the State. Pasic's government had no control over the Black Hand. Therefore, it didn't matter what Pasic promised the Austrians, he had no way to enforce it.
#14726216
...and yet however strong your feelings about might-have-beens in alternate histories are, actual history occurred.

And fortunately for us, Bloody Nicholas had his tyranny ended, his witch fornicating with the devil had her brains against a wall, and the dictators in waiting were taken from the hands of the proto-fascists that wanted to break mankind.
#14726224
why was this criss leading to war when others had not?

Austria was decided on war regardless of rtes Serbian response.

Germany took steps to stop any proposed peaceful settlement, concealing knowledge of the Austrian note.

there were strong war parties in both Austria and Germany which influenced decision making.

The Germany government was badly organised by Bismarck, the decision go to war, diplomatic action were a little confused, the Kaiser, the Head of the Army, the Chancellor and the Foreign minister at times worked at cross purposes, if been clear demarcation of responsibility things might have worked better.
#14726226
Austria-Hungary was hellbent on starting a war. I believe Serbia actually agreed to nearly all the terms (that were intentionally completely unreasonable) of the ultimatum that were given to them by the Austria-Hungarians. In fact, pretty much all nations in the world brushed off the assassination. It was viewed as just another day of violence in the Balkans, which was very common. No one really cared, or thought much of it.

Soooo It was Austria-Hungary that really pushed for war with Serbia which brought the whole shit down.
#14726227
pugsville wrote:Austria was decided on war regardless of rtes Serbian response.


But they didn't mobilize for a good while, and when they did it was a partial bit and they were clear (internal documents show this to have been the fact after the war) that they didn't want to take territory either.

Germany took steps to stop any proposed peaceful settlement, concealing knowledge of the Austrian note.


They took the their warmongering so seriously that most of the general staff and the Kaiser himself were off on vacation. This wasn't supposed to turn into the clusterfuck that it did. They were also more baffled than anything when the British came to them with the idea of a conference as they didn't see themselves as having anything to do with the war. Depending on whom you read at the time, there was also a great feeling that the British would end up siding with the Germans if there was a war. The British monarchy was thoroughly German, and both Germany and Britain had been historic enemies of the French. It's true that the Morocco Crises had made most people see the Entente Cordiale as legitimate and firm—but that didn't stop some people in Germany from thinking that if push came to shove, George and Willy couldn't work something out. They not only more or less grew up together, but sent each other bulky packages of gossip and whatnot.

It is always fascinating to me that Westerners especially look at the biggest despot in the world at the time, who was regularly used in the French and British press even during the the war as a symbol of autocracy and dictatorship, who had his ministers killed if they suggested more democracy, who thought that God himself told him he must be an autocrat that gave no power to the people, who had murdered far more of his citizens than any other European leader, who had massed troops against Germany without any way of pulling troops back even if he wanted to have done so, and say—"Well, we know for sure that Nicholas the Bloody wouldn't do anything that was overbearing."

There were all kinds of reasons for the war. But people always underplay Nicholas the Bloody and like to pretend he was a saint afterward by virtue of his notorious cruelty and disregard for human life catching up with him.

Rancid wrote:Austria-Hungary was hellbent on starting a war.


Joseph was actually pretty pleased that Franz Duke Ferdinand was out of the way. But you couldn't let a monarch fall. The Black Hand had just got done killing their own kings. Letting that go was one thing, having them start to kill other monarchs in Europe was counter to the entire premise of European society since Napoleon had been defeated. Technically, the Concert of Europe was still in effect and this kind of activity had to be suppressed. Just as it was in every other country.

I believe Serbia actually agreed to nearly all the terms (that were intentionally completely unreasonable) of the ultimatum that were given to them by the Austria-Hungarians.


Yup. As mentioned, Pasic was probably hoping that this would allow him to purge the Black Hand out of the Serbian government and allow the Parliament to take actual control of the country. In all likelihood, Austria was making a ruckus to save face and everything would have worked out had nobody else gotten involved.

Soooo It was Austria-Hungary that really pushed for war with Serbia which brought the whole shit down.


...Except that it was the Nicholas the Bloody that mobilized against Germany to bring them into the shitshow.

Nicholas the Bloody brought Germany into the war far more than Austria did. As mentioned, most of the German government was off on vacation at the time. While aware of the situation, they weren't provoking it at all. It was only after Nicholas the Bloody sent his people over to France that Germany scrambled back into some kind of action, and by then there were hundreds of thousands of Russian troops on their border and the French had already agreed that they wanted revenge for the Franco-Prussian War.

This isn't to say that Germany was a victim in this, far from it.

But, to my mind, the point of escalation where the doomsday machine could not be turned off happened when the despot that was notorious for his disregard for human life acted like a despot that was notorious for his disregard for human life. I know that's a crazy position because he was handsome, but it seems to be the most accurate.
#14726233
Assassination of Franz was a trigger rather than cause of the ww1, every party involved was responsible in one way or another for letting this clusterfuck to grow unchecked.
#14726685
The Immortal Goon wrote:And fortunately for us, Bloody Nicholas had his tyranny ended, his witch fornicating with the devil had her brains against a wall, and the dictators in waiting were taken from the hands of the proto-fascists that wanted to break mankind.

Ironically, hatred for Tsarist Russia, which you seem harbor until the present, is one of the most important factors that led to WWI.

Die wilhelminische Führungsschicht sah die Krise als letzte Chance zur Verteidigung ihrer Weltmachtstellung. Vor allem in der Schlussphase der Juli­krise stand deshalb das Bemühen im Vordergrund, Russland als den Aggressor hinzustellen. Denn nur so ließ sich die Zustimmung der traditionell antizaristisch eingestellten SPD zur Kriegspolitik gewinnen.


Only by presenting the Russians as the aggressors was the Wilhelmine leadership (which considered the July crisis as the last opportunity for Germany to defend its position in the World) able to get the anti-tsarist Social Democrats to support the war.

Rancid wrote:Austria-Hungary was hellbent on starting a war.

That is not true. The Austria-Hungarian multi-ethnic empire was internally weak and externally under threat by the Russo-French military alliance which used their Serbian proxies to threaten the Austria-Hungarians from the South. Austria-Hungaria (like the Ottomans) had the most to lose and, in the end, did lose most.

Duke Ferdinand was a reformer. His assassination effectively put a hold to reforms and an end to the Austria-Hungarian empire.

Austria-Hungaria had far more reason to declare war on Serbia than the US had to invade Afghanistan.

pugsville wrote:The Germany government was badly organised by Bismarck, the decision go to war, diplomatic action were a little confused, the Kaiser, the Head of the Army, the Chancellor and the Foreign minister at times worked at cross purposes, if been clear demarcation of responsibility things might have worked better.

Either the Germans were hell-bent on war or they accidentally slipped into the war by shear incompetence. You can't have it both ways.

According to Christopher Clark, it was the confusion between different power centers in each of the empires that led to WWI. That applies first and foremost to the British empire, where British politicians publicly denied in parliament that Britain would have to support the French in case of war, while the foreign ministry and the defense ministry were confidentially assuring their French counterparts that they could count on British military support. Contradictory signals from the British kept the Germans in doubt about their real intentions. Not much different from today.

The expansionism of empires was the real cause of WWI. History will judge that the most expansionist empire, the British empire, is also primarily responsible for WWI. In 1914, Europe started one of innumerable European wars - not a World war. Everybody believed that the boys would be back home by Christmas after a short and sharp campaign. It was only the entry into war of the British that turned it into a world war.

We should have had Brexit in 1914, that would have saved us a lot of problems. ;)
User avatar
By MB.
#14726693
Atlantis wrote:That is not true. The Austria-Hungarian multi-ethnic empire was internally weak and externally under threat by the Russo-French military alliance which used their Serbian proxies to threaten the Austria-Hungarians from the South. Austria-Hungaria (like the Ottomans) had the most to lose and, in the end, did lose most.

Duke Ferdinand was a reformer. His assassination effectively put a hold to reforms and an end to the Austria-Hungarian empire.


Actaully it was the First World War that caused the demise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was not necessarily "weak" nor liable to decline until the war produced its defeat.

According to Christopher Clark, it was the confusion between different power centers in each of the empires that led to WWI. That applies first and foremost to the British empire, where British politicians publicly denied in parliament that Britain would have to support the French in case of war, while the foreign ministry and the defense ministry were confidentially assuring their French counterparts that they could count on British military support. Contradictory signals from the British kept the Germans in doubt about their real intentions. Not much different from today.


The truth is that the militarists assumed control not long after the decision to go to war was actually authorized. Germany was ultimately to blame for this decision. Once the switch was flipped it was a nearly automatic process to pull in the Russians, French, British and by association the Japanese. The pro-French league within the British cabinet was definitely going to stop Germany from securing the channel ports and this was exactly what the Admiralty attempted to do once the war started.
#14726701
Atlantis wrote:The expansionism of empires was the real cause of WWI. History will judge that the most expansionist empire, the British empire, is also primarily responsible for WWI. In 1914, Europe started one of innumerable European wars - not a World war. Everybody believed that the boys would be back home by Christmas after a short and sharp campaign. It was only the entry into war of the British that turned it into a world war.

We should have had Brexit in 1914, that would have saved us a lot of problems. ;)

It was the German invasion of Belgium that forced Britain into the war. Without that, Germany could have been seen as jockeying for position with France, but not set on acquiring territory from neutral countries, and Germany, France etc. could have had their 'European war', and Britain could have found an excuse to stay out.
#14726702
Prosthetic Conscience wrote:It was the German invasion of Belgium that forced Britain into the war.

Britain wasn't "forced" into the war. Britain used Belgium as a pretext to enter the war. The French and British wouldn't have hesitated to march their troops through Belgium in order to attack Germany.

The German idea was to have a quick success against the French in the West so they could concentrate on the Russians in the East. The only way to do that was by marching through Belgium (not invading it) and take the French defenses from the back. Engaging the French defenses from Germany would have guaranteed a long a protracted fight.

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#14726704
The only way to do that was by marching through Belgium (not invading it)

The Belgians (not unreasonably) objected to the idea of German troops marching through their nation without so much as a by-your-leave, and resisted it. This necessitated the military occupation of Belgium by Germany, which meant that, in effect, Germany had invaded Belgium.

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