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.