Causes of First World War - Page 3 - Politics | PoFo

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The First World War (1914-1918).
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By MB.
It was delusional. Not only would the British and French have likely invaded Belgium anyway, to prevent the important fortresses from falling into German hands, but the essential requirement of the plan was that von Kluck's First Army, in echelon with von Bulow's Second Army, successfully encircle Paris and force the government to capitulate. This was unlikely for several reasons. Firstly, perhaps most significantly, the men who were supposed to make this assault were totally exhausted by the rapid tempo of operations in August, and were at the end of their long supply lines. Secondly, the BEF and French armies had inflicted serious casualties on Kluck and Bulow's forces during their delaying battle, which included operations on the Belgian coast that further diverted German forces.

Thirdly, by the time the First Army was reaching its staging position for the assault on Paris, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff had dispatched two corps for redeployment to the East, reducing the margin of strength for the assaulting armies. At GQG, meanwhile, Joffre had built up a powerful Paris garrison that actaully outnumbered the attacking German forces in terms of divisions (I think Keegan gives the number of 30 to 27 or so).

Fourthly, the French government had already been relocated to Bordeaux, and so would not have been captured even had a local victory been achieved at the Marne. The answer to the question is that Germany was not going to defeat France and Britain in 1914, and was therefore going to lose the war as the British and French empires mobilized and used their sea power to cutoff Germany's access to raw materials and foodstuffs.
Rancid wrote:Let's say Belgium did allow Germany to pass on through their country. Would Germany have been able to swiftly defeat France per the original plan? Or was that delusion?

Would the US have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, if it had known that it would not be able pacify either country? We never know what will happen in war.

The interpretation of history is used by current political leaders to shape the future. Just like British leaders today maintain the Germany-is-to-blame narrative for the sake of their own geopolitical ambitions, the decisions of German political leaders in 1914 were influenced by history: the quick Prussian victory over France in 1870 led German military strategists to believe that a quick victory against France would be possible by marching through Belgium. A quick victory against the French was the only way of fighting a two-frontier war against the Franco-Russian military alliance, on condition the British didn't enter the war. As it happened, the Germans encountered more resistance than they expected in Belgium and then got bogged down in Verdun.

In hindsight, it is easy to see that the German decision to go to war mas a big mistake. But was the British decision to go to war farsighted? In the end, the Germans lost the war but the British lost the empire. The Germans also lost their degenerate traditional political elite, while the British are still plagued by their's even today.

The violation of Belgian neutrality was a pretext not the reason for war, just like WMDs were a pretext for the Iraq invasion. On the continent, armies had always marched through 3rd party territory. Nobody knew that better than the Germans who's territory had been repeatedly violated by Napoleon's armies. Britain was no more "forced" into the war with Germany in 1914 than it is forced into war with Russia today to defend Ukrainian territorial integrity guaranteed by the Budapest agreement.

To Germans, 1945 is a caesura in history, there is history before 45 and after 45. To the British there is continuity of history. To them, pre-1914 power politics are as valid today as they were then. That is how the UK foreign secretary can compare the EU to Nazi Germany.

Ironically, British power-political gambles have led to a 180 degree reversal of the geopolitical situation. While an incapable German political elite maneuvered Germany into isolation in the pre-1914 game of alliances that led to WWI, today's British elite has isolated the UK in Europe. That's what happens when you can't learn from history.
The interpretation of history is used by current political leaders to shape the future.

Very true. As George Orwell put it, he who controls the present controls the past, and he who controls the past controls the future. It has always been thus, and ever shall be.
By Rich
Potemkin wrote:Very true. As George Orwell put it, he who controls the present controls the past, and he who controls the past controls the future. It has always been thus, and ever shall be.

And in Britain the past is controlled by Judeo-Islamic supremacists. History programmes use any and every opportunity to put Muslims and Jews in a good light and our Christian ancestors in a bad light. Of course its hard work making Muslims look good so they like to attribute not only the work of Medieval Christians but also Jews living in Muslim occupied lands to Muslims.

Judeo-Islamic supremacism is the ruling ideology in the West. The fact that this is ideology is utterly ridden with contradictions is not a disadvantage, but a huge advantage. The ruling medieval Christian ideology that Jesus was both God and man was not so successful despite the fact that it was absolute drivel, but precisely because it was absolute drivel. If you really want to be a serious totalitarian dictator it not enough to force your people to believe (A is true) or (A is false). No you must demand that your people believe both that (A is true) and (A is false). Now we live in democracies with moderately high levels of free speech, but the same head-fuck strategy applies. in regard to the Middle East we are meant to believe both that Muslims are wonderful and Jews are the innocents of history. When we fail to resolve this impossible contradiction we meant to feel guilty. In Europe most Christians are total beta cucks who are quite happy to play along with the guilt blame, blaming "White people" for every ill in the world. Of course in America Christian are less prone to play along with this and commit the terrible crime in believing that their religion is the one true religion.

To bring this back to history and moral judgements on the Germans role in history again the same contributory dualism applies. We are meant to believe both that races are morally equal and that the Germans were racially inferior morally. The fire bombing of German cities and the extermination of German women, children and male civilians is implicitly justified, by collective racial guilt. but for this to work Germans mist bear the primary responsibility for world I when any dispassionate examination of the case shows thats absurd.
The Immortal Goon wrote: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.

Austria-Hungary were going war regardless, they were opposed to any peaceful settlement, any Serbian response no matter what would be meet by an Austria Hungray invasion, a slow moving incompetent invasion does not change the facts.

Austria Hungarians refused to engage in any meaningful diplomacy. They wanted a small local war, but they were had decided that War was the answer.

The Immortal Goon wrote: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.

The Vacation was a deliberate ruse. See nothing to see here, there is no Crisis. Germany knew that the Austrian-Hungarians were going to issue a very serve note and intended on going to war regardless of the Serbian response and had backed the Austrian-Hungarians in this.

Germany stopped any timely international response. They basically threw valuable time that might have lead to peace. They knew the Austrian-Hungrains were going act and that would be serve strain on the European peace., and they swept it under the carpet and hoped it would just work out that Russia would do nothing. The Frantic scramble in August was caused by the Germans., they denied everyone the time to act.

An internation conference was the way the other crisis had been solved, it was the only realities chance of stopping war, the Germans were opposed to that as they thought their side would lose by peaceful settlement. They and the Austrian Hungarians wanted war. Sure a small war, but they decided to stop talking and start shooting.

Mobilisation does not mean war, there had been other mobilisations. It was Germany that started the wider shooting war with both France and Russia.
Atlantis wrote: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.

I did not say the Germans were hellbent on war, the Austrians were hellbent on a local war, the Germans backed them and concealed knowledge about that the denied people time to act. The Austrians would not talk and the Germans supported them it that. The Germans prevented any sort of international peaceful solution.

The Germans tried to prevent war when they got wind of how serious things are and at the point there creaking system just was not functional to reverse gears quickly in short time frame.

The German military completely discounted the British Army. Prior knowledge of the British actions either way would not have deterred the germans one little bit.

The Germans started the world war by declaring war on France and Russia. complete responsibility as war was not inevitable.

The War in Europe was not directly caused by colonialist expansionist. Sure it exacerbated tensions. But there were bigger causes at tensions in Europe.(balkans, Alace-Lorriane)
Atlantis wrote:The violation of Belgian neutrality was a pretext not the reason for war, just like WMDs were a pretext for the Iraq invasion. On the continent, armies had always marched through 3rd party territory. Nobody knew that better than the Germans who's territory had been repeatedly violated by Napoleon's armies. Britain was no more "forced" into the war with Germany in 1914 than it is forced into war with Russia today to defend Ukrainian territorial integrity guaranteed by the Budapest agreement.

It was recognised as a cause for war, violating another Nations territory was a high handed risky action in Europe even ion Napoleonic times.
In defence of Germany I have to say it was Germany that asked Russia and France to stop mobilization. They refused. It was the last chance to avoid a European war. Nobody asked Germany or Austria-Hungary to stop mobilizing.

Russia has been prepared for war better than Germany and Austria-Hungary anticipated. It could mobilize troops quite fast. It clearly too wanted a war after lost war with Japan.

Germany not invading Belgium doesn't change a lot as I think France and Britain would have used that route to attack Germany anyway. Britain didn't want Germany to dominate Europe so a pretext to enter the war would have been found regardless.

Tripple Entente persuading Italy and Romania for promises of land gains to enter the war and attack Austria-Hungary clearly shows to everyone how much they cared for people's lives. All that mattered was their political goals. Defeat Germany and dismember Austria-Hungary so that Germany has no ally at all cost. When Italy and Romania proved to be useless USA had to join the war to decide it.

You would think that in a stalemate war perhaps all sides could agree to cease fire. But when in 1917 Austria-Hungary attempted to negotiate peace Entente wasn't really interested.

Germany is no more guilty than Britain, France or Russia for the outbreak of the war.
By Rich
The actions of France and Russia were utterly wicked. The murder of the Arch Duke and his Czech wife were acts of war. The trigger might literally have been pulled by a Serb, but it was as good as pulled by the government in Paris. Princip was only able to achieve his murder only with help of the Serbian State. The Serbian State only committed this aggression because they knew they had the backing of Russia. And Russia only enabled these murders because they knew they had the military backing of France.

We may be a bunch of pathetic beta cucks who happily turned a blind eye to the blatant complicity of the Pakistani and Saudi governments in 9/11. Does anyone imagine for one moment that the 9/11 operation was done without ISI permission? But Austria and Germany had no reason to similarly just bend over and take it.

But for Britain the occupant of Ireland, not to mention a quarter of the Globe to pose as the defender of small nations, is a hypocrisy for which we should apologise. The hypocrisy is so deep the only thing I can compared it to would be if Southern American slave owners had declared themselves the defenders of universal human equality.
Or if the slave owning founding fathers of the US had done the same... Oh wait, they did! :excited:
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By h3s
Quite a difficult topic to be honest.

Most people believe that it was Germany who started the conflict because of their treaty with the Astro-Hungarian empire which allowed them to pretty much bully Serbia. On the other hand, Germans knew that War was coming - it was inevitable. British and French worker together to secure much of the land in Africa to bring home resources. They could also acquire forces, as they did, in the colonies which they had taken over.

Technically, it was the German REACTION to the economic warfare that the English and French powers sparked long before the physical conflict arose. If there is one thing that European Antisemitism and war have in common, it is that they both arose naturally, without there being any other way for them to not be caused. In other words, they were necessitated.
I think it was caused by the growth of a strong continental power, namely Germany. It was due to the contradictions this caused with sea power. A classic case of continental land power against Anglo-Saxon sea power.

Tensions between Berlin and London were growing well before WWI. The events which led to the war did not in themselves produce the conditions for conflict.
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By MB.
Great power struggle between the European powers was to blame, of which I think the immediate causes of escalation was the transition of the regional crisis into an international crisis when Germany and Russia prepared for war over Serbia. This caused Germany to start their grand strategy for European victory which involved first defeating France then executing a strategic shift to the east to defeat Russia. Once Russia and Germany were set on mobilization to defend and attack the Austro-Hungarian Empire, France was pulled in and the Francophile, or continental school in Britain insisted on an Expeditionary Force to prevent Germany from seizing the channel ports if or when they invaded Belgium and possibly Holland.

I don't think this was inevitable. It's actually been suggested the entire process could be reversed, had the Kaiser actually ordered a halt to mobilization. At the end of July, the politicians abdicated responsibility to the Armies, and the jingoism became an outlet for frustrations over national status in the social darwinist pecker order. The arms race culminated in the slick military machines that went into combat in 1914 and the German gambit to win the war (Schlieffen plan) failed, probably because of Moltke's timidity to some extent. The arms race didn't have to happen. Arms control was just beginning to occur as demonstrated by the London declaration and the Hague convention. The money spent on building battleships was largely irrational, and Bismark certainly would not have been satisfied with how situation ended up in 1914. The numbers suggest that the Prussian Imperial General Staff knew that their strategic advantages would begin to decline in the 1916-1918 timeframe as the Russians modernized their military and the British expanded dreadnought production beyond the powers of Imperial finance to maintain. The conflict over empire itself had little to do with the start of the conflict, the German empire unlikely to gain territories against a coalition that included the United Kingdom, France and Japan.
I agree that in theory if Germany cancelled mobilization once they saw everybody was mobilizing, the world war would most likely have been averted. Russia would have used mobilization to pressure Austria into demobilizing, resulting in major diplomatic defeat and humiliation for Austria. But such action would have resulted also in humiliation of German Kaiser and Germany. And they would not allow it. Hence it was very hard to avoid war.

It was failure of Moltke not to have several alternative plans for war in Europe, but rely on the old Schlieffen Plan. He didn't do his job properly. When this plan was devised Europe population was smaller, machine guns have just been invented recently, not proved in combat. Kaiser was forced to follow this unrealistic war plan. Moltke however was aware that the next war would be destructive for Germany and exhaust it.

When von Hotzendorf was asked what was the chance of lone Austria against Russia and Serbia he said very slim. They were not mad to go against Russia alone. Interestingly von Hotzendorf had drafted war plans also against Italy, Romania, even though Italy was meant to be an ally. Reportedly even a war plan against Germany existed. There was a war plan against lone Serbia and against Serbia allied with Russia. So unlike Germany, Austria had war plans against many neighbors in different variants.

Who knows how the war would have progressed if von Falkenhayn wasn't dismissed as chief of staff and replaced by Hindenburg. Hindenburg underestimated strength of new weapons like tanks. His and Ludendorf's strategy of focusing on the east was questionable as Russia had lot of land to retreat back. But he had too much influence on Kaiser and ultimately failed to deliver overall victory. Although Hindenburg being the icon of Germany's strength, he is also the reason why Germany refused to negotiate peace. In a way he can be viewed as early version of Hilter, sharing his views of German supremacy and the need to conquer lebensraum in the east for German nation.

From German generals in WW1, von Falkenhayn would be my favorite.

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