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Never Were Things - 9/27/2012 9:59:32 PM   
US87891

 

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Don't want to step on the Never Were Ships thread, so thought it would be best to do this separately. This is a bit of the syllabus and classroom discussion that comes up in my class on early 20th century history. Take it for what it's worth. This is not political per se, just a view from a perspective.

There is this tendency among wargamers and other people to look at causes and imperitives of the second world conflict in the time frames leading up to it. The focus is on what would have happened in the ‘30s, or even the late ‘20s, if !! such and such. While valid up to a point, these possibilities are missing a significant area of thought.

The modern 20th century world, and its European analogue was defined by the utterly massive geo-political upheaval called War-One. The entire political shape of Europe was changed radically as a result. This whole politico/philosophical idea of national aspirations came into being as the result of “secret” treaties, promises, etc .. by and between the member groups of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Alliance.

This all included the Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenes, Greeks, Macedonians, Italians, Poles, Germans, Slavs, Litts, Latts, and Estonians, Ukranians, and Byelo (as opposed to Great) Russians, Jews, Arabs (but to our great regret, not Armenians).

This is the genesis of War-2. What Hitler did on taking power was to rebuild the old German Empire. Take Germany and add those “German” provinces of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. His early political career was to abrogate the Versailles Treaty and return Germany to its pre-war position.

Juxtaposed with that was the geo-political outlook of France and GB, at that time. You might really want to read the last few chapters of , Gilbert, Martin, “The First World War”, Holt, Allen, 1994.

So all Hitler was doing, early on, was a redistribution of the Versailles imperitives. Given the state of Euro geo-politics in the ‘20s and ‘30s it is not out of school to expect Neville Chamberlain to negotiate with Mr. Hitler, and get a treaty (his scrap of paper) that he thought would diffuse the whole darn thing.

These men grew up in the Global-War era. They fought in it, they went into the government in it, This was their background. And everything they did, and all that they were, was as a reaction to that horror.

I have no pain with Mr Chamberlain, because he did what he did given the geo-political situation, as he saw it. Others saw it different, but that is another story in the path of history.
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RE: Never Were Things - 9/27/2012 10:47:34 PM   
witpqs


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Well put. I'm not so sure about letting Chamberlain totally off the hook, so to speak, as it seems that it should have been clear (with overwhelming benefit of hindsight, of course) by then that Hitler could not be trusted. Put in the context of prior peace agreements made in other world situations, maybe not so obviously a bad move, though (meaning not as obvious as we see it now).

Either way, the larger point is well taken. I'm currently reading Russia Against Napoleon (Lieven), and it's just amazing the short shrift that's been given to factors that influenced happenings. We tend to think, at the very least, in terms of the 'countries' that existed at the end of WWI almost as though that situation had existed for some time and, basically, that was where people were coming from. Obviously not.

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/27/2012 11:24:14 PM   
Nikademus


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Studying WWI and it's consequences is a good primer for the turmoil that would fester and re-emerge as the 2nd world war. Its also instructive in understanding the mindsets of those nations that wished to avoid the bloodshed of the past.

One thing that can be said for Chamberlain, once the scales fell from his eyes he became an ardent ally of Churchill after the war started.

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 5:26:42 AM   
sanch

 

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I believe Europeans have a fundamentally different geo-political outlook than Americans. In a nutshell, Americans have no real issues with their neighbors; they don't covet regions of other countries.

A few years back I spent some time in Budapest. In the national museum, there is a huge wall map of Hungary - this map includes regions such as Transylvania and Croatia - territories they ceded at the end of WW I.

Hungarians still believe these areas are rightfully theirs. As a consequence, they really dislike Romania (owns Transylvania!); they cannot stand Croatia (that's Hungarian land, not an independent country!); and they're really annoyed with the Czech Republic over some piece of land (Upper Hungary, maybe?); and of course they hate the Austrians, who essentially held Hungary in vassalage for some hundreds of year; and don't even think about the Russians (i.e. Soviets).

Essentially, they have issues with all their neighbors. Consider, for a moment, the other countries of Europe - many, if not most also have issues over some past land realignment or problems about ethnic minorities. What a powder keg, waiting for a spark to set it off.

Not take somebody like Hitler, and drop him into this witch's brew. There's the spark, and boom!

That trip to Hungary was definitely an eye-opener in international relations to me.


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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 5:38:22 AM   
geofflambert


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But if Gandhi were running the world, what would us wargamers do with ourselves? Look at porn all day? In our mother's basement? What a revoltin' development that would be!

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 6:01:51 AM   
Yaab


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Wasn't Gandhi writing letters to Hitler, praising his nationalism? Makes you think twice about Gandhi's hypothetical world rule, I guess.

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 6:28:23 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: US87891
So all Hitler was doing, early on, was a redistribution of the Versailles imperitives. Given the state of Euro geo-politics in the ‘20s and ‘30s it is not out of school to expect Neville Chamberlain to negotiate with Mr. Hitler, and get a treaty (his scrap of paper) that he thought would diffuse the whole darn thing.

These men grew up in the Global-War era. They fought in it, they went into the government in it, This was their background. And everything they did, and all that they were, was as a reaction to that horror.

warspite1

Which is the point I have tried (unsuccessfully) to get across to Dili. When it became obvious that "righting" Versailles was no longer all Hitler wanted (the occupation of the rest of Czechoslovakia) then the British and French had to make a line in the sand (which they did of course with Poland).

Now one can argue all day as to whether the western powers should have realised the truth about Hitler sooner, and that they could have taken this action or that; but I say again, these were democracies. Invading foreign lands (which is presumably what Dili was saying should have happened) is not that easy. As has been made clear above, the horror of WWI was still fresh in most normal minds and avoiding a recurrence (or worse) was top of the priority list to the democracies. Take the Commonwealth Dominions for example. They flatly told Chamberlain that there was no way they were going to support a war over Czecholovakia.

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 6:38:38 AM   
geofflambert


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I'm not the one to speak on this, but I think G may have been looking for allies in his anti-colonial quest, but (if I'm wrong I'm sorry) I don't believe he fomented rebellion during the war.

I can't help bringing this up but someone named N___ G_______ has had a lot to say about African anti-colonialists, which has nothing to do with any issue facing us Americans today, he just says stuff like that to try and tear somebody down. But I seem to recall that Messieurs George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were, shall we say, somewhat in sympathy with those Africans.

Moderator, I know this is verboten, please forgive me this once. Mr. Yaab certainly didn't bring this on, it just jumped into my head at this time.

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 7:05:22 AM   
LoBaron


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"This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years"

Marshall Ferdinand Foch, Nov 11, 1918



Says pretty much everything about the mindset of the interwar period. The Allied nations knew Versailles was a tad too much for peaceful
coexistence without making minor yields, the "Axis" was destroyed, humiliated, and left dependent on other nations´ support to even survive,
which was a pretty bad position in the global crisis years of the interwar period.



But I thought this stuff is obvious? What is the discussion about?

< Message edited by LoBaron -- 9/28/2012 7:06:03 AM >


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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 7:20:40 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: LoBaron

But I thought this stuff is obvious? What is the discussion about?
Warspite1

As has been evidenced by other comments, what is obvious to some is less so to others - we all have our opinions.

_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty - Horatio Nelson 1805.




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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 7:25:42 AM   
LoBaron


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Ah, only now noticed the hint on another discussion taking place before. I really should read everything.

Well, OTOH this would be pretty annoying if opinions were all the same on the more complex historical situations.
No discussions at all. I would die of boredom.

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 7:42:04 AM   
castor troy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sanch


Hungarians still believe these areas are rightfully theirs. As a consequence, they really dislike Romania (owns Transylvania!); they cannot stand Croatia (that's Hungarian land, not an independent country!); and they're really annoyed with the Czech Republic over some piece of land (Upper Hungary, maybe?); and of course they hate the Austrians, who essentially held Hungary in vassalage for some hundreds of year; and don't even think about the Russians (i.e. Soviets).






there are so many Hungarians working in Austria already (two just in my company's department), two waitresses where we go for lunch nearly daily and a colleague of mine got a hungarian girl friend and I can asure you, Hungarians don't hate Austria.

It's worse between Germany and Austria but this is just nitpicking at each other, it's far from hate, I would call it competition at best.

I'm from Tyrol (part of Austria) and "we" lost South Tyrol to Italy after WWI and while there are still people (North and South of the border) that want South Tyrol becoming a part of Tyrol/Austria again this isn't really serious and won't happen anyway. There's a funny saying in Tyrol: "Trade Vienna for South Tyrol". Vienna is our capital. As it stands nowadays, I can assure you, nations in Europe that pretty much all are part of the EU don't have real issues with each other, probably not worse than states of the US would have with each other.

When you think about what happened in the first part of the 20th Century you really have to wonder that it goes that well nowadays.

You can't take the impressions of a museum and mirror them onto nowadays' thinking of common people. If I would go into a museum in Tyrol and take it for real I would hate the Bavarians, the Italians and the French of course as Tyrol was fighting hard against Napoleon and the Bavarians (lead by a South Tyrolean called Andreas Hofer - who ultimately lost, was taken prisoner and shot in Italy).

< Message edited by castor troy -- 9/28/2012 8:14:48 AM >


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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 8:07:37 AM   
fcharton

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: US87891
These men grew up in the Global-War era. They fought in it, they went into the government in it, This was their background. And everything they did, and all that they were, was as a reaction to that horror.


Very true, you have to keep in mind the extent of mobilization, and losses, during WWI. In Western Europe, when Hitler rose to power, every man in his late thirties or forties was, in essence, a survivor, who often had been sent, wounded, patched and sent again many times. Also, in France, the Franco Prussian war, extremely harsh on the civilians in the northern half of the country, was in living memory. Pacifism, and willingness to appease, were the result of a personal experience of the battlefield (both 1870 and 1914 had taken place on French soil), shared by former conscripts AND civilians. I think this is an experience we, moderners, have a lot of difficulty to relate to.

Whereas I agree that one cannot understand the events leading to WWII without taking the First World War into account, I don't think the idea of a "short 20th century" à la Hobsbawm, beginning in 1914, works.

What German nationalists dreamed of was "unification done right", with a Germany covering the largest extent of the former german speaking empires (note the similarity with modern day Chinese national ambitions). The "unequal treaty" of Versailles was a part of that, and a very tractable part, at that, since it pertained to recent events, but their revendications went deeper, and revolved around some kind of "manifest destiny" of Germany in Central Europe, a typical 19th century idea.

In Asia , the Japanese thought along similar lines, and wanted some sort of Shimonoseki II in China. After the fall of the Qing, the failure of the restoration by Yuan Shikai and the rise of warlordism, Japan considered it had a "right" to replace China as the regional power, and dislodge the other actors of the Opium wars. Again, you can link this to the second half of the 20th century.

As for the French and British, they were ready to ally (much to eveyone's surprise) to counter the growth of Germany. Again, you have to trace that to the 19th century, and could say, simplifying a bit, that they wanted their 1850 back).

Finally, a point could be made about Stalin's imperial ambitions (at odds with the old internationalist Komintern worldview) and the extent of Tsarist russia in the mid 19th.

So, I believe the proper perspective must trace back into the second half of the 19th century. I am no history teacher, but if I were one, I would introduce the course with 1848... Terrible as it were, WWI is not a beginning, but only a midpoint on the 1848-1945 path.

Francois

< Message edited by fcharton -- 9/28/2012 10:34:51 AM >

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 12:23:21 PM   
janh

 

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It may even be better to look at a larger time frame, and sphere. Much as people say to understand the US as it is today, one has to go back all the way to its roots and understand not only its Independence War, but perhaps more importantly the Civil War, I think to really understand the World Wars Europe one needs to go back at least to the 19th century.

The argument about origins of WW2 found in the occurrence and defeat of WW1 sounds very logical, and sure is a big part of it. It was ignorant to expect that pushing the defeated beyond "fair justice", whatever that might be, and thrusting them into economically and socially poor times, would not lead to a reaction. Causality works not only in Physics, it is omnipresent and unavoidable. No big wonder that some in Germany sought "revenge" and spending 20 years plotting a path to bring Germany back into world-political importance, and no wonder a lot of the comparably poor population with its high unemployment did not rebel against that prospect, but rather got carried away with the Nazi vision. Fortunately after WW2 the Allies had learned a big deal, and the Marshal plan worked to the benefit of all of (Western) Europe, at least it seems so.

But even beyond WW1, Europe was rich in conflicts, every decade, two or three a war within Europe or its closer sphere, and beyond that, the struggles in and between the colonies. Just go back to the 1870s, with Prussian Armies beating the French and occupying Paris. Or a few decades earlier, Napoleon, doing just the opposite to the rest of Europe. I think a hundred years ago people must have had a very different mindset about wars, their justification and their horrors. Imagine such a conflict in today's Europe? Pretty much unconceivable, no?

< Message edited by janh -- 9/28/2012 12:24:10 PM >

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 2:28:18 PM   
Chris H

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: witpqs

Well put. I'm not so sure about letting Chamberlain totally off the hook, so to speak, as it seems that it should have been clear (with overwhelming benefit of hindsight, of course) by then that Hitler could not be trusted. Put in the context of prior peace agreements made in other world situations, maybe not so obviously a bad move, though (meaning not as obvious as we see it now).



History has been rather unkind to Chamberlain, I beleive more blame should fall on Balwin his predesessor. I was obvious in 1935-36 that Nazi Germany was rearming but his govenment did nothing (Chamberlain was Chancellor). By the time of Munich, Britain was behind the line anyway so even if he had should up to Hitler we had very little to stand up with. You could go back further to the Labour party of Ramsey MacDonald and the Armed Forces cuts or even further to the restrictions placed on Germany at the end of WW1. Nothing simple, there's alway a cause and reaction.

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 2:32:55 PM   
Chris H

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Yaab

Wasn't Gandhi writing letters to Hitler, praising his nationalism? Makes you think twice about Gandhi's hypothetical world rule, I guess.


Ghandi was looking after India, whatever it took was fair game except he alway advocated non-violence!

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 3:47:40 PM   
wadail


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Even Germany is not as "German" as outsiders (especially North Americans) think. Go drinking in Bavaria and after enough beer you'll start to hear "Ich nicht Deutsche, Ich bin Bavarisch!"

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 4:10:07 PM   
Nikademus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sanch

I believe Europeans have a fundamentally different geo-political outlook than Americans. In a nutshell, Americans have no real issues with their neighbors; they don't covet regions of other countries.

A few years back I spent some time in Budapest. In the national museum, there is a huge wall map of Hungary - this map includes regions such as Transylvania and Croatia - territories they ceded at the end of WW I.

Hungarians still believe these areas are rightfully theirs. As a consequence, they really dislike Romania (owns Transylvania!); they cannot stand Croatia (that's Hungarian land, not an independent country!); and they're really annoyed with the Czech Republic over some piece of land (Upper Hungary, maybe?); and of course they hate the Austrians, who essentially held Hungary in vassalage for some hundreds of year; and don't even think about the Russians (i.e. Soviets).

Essentially, they have issues with all their neighbors. Consider, for a moment, the other countries of Europe - many, if not most also have issues over some past land realignment or problems about ethnic minorities. What a powder keg, waiting for a spark to set it off.

Not take somebody like Hitler, and drop him into this witch's brew. There's the spark, and boom!

That trip to Hungary was definitely an eye-opener in international relations to me.




To be fair, I think it needs to be clarified that the primary reasons why the US doesn't have "issues" with their neighbors and doesn't covet the lands next to them is because we've already obtained the lands (through means both legit and not so legit) needed to make us the most "have" of the "have" nations. I point this out because on forums of the past I noted a lot of bias against Europe, the most extreme examples going on about how the US always wanted to "avoid getting involved in Europe and yet another of 'their' wars" etc as if the US was a utopian paradise of virtue.

Its easy to be complacent when you own one of the largest pieces of Real Estate in the world, guarded by two oceans and with only two neighbors, both of which are (were) not major powers at the time. It also makes it harder to understand mindsets in Europe where things are much closer....competition for land and resources is steeper and cultural animosities and grievances go way back.

The UK at least had a moat around it's small islands and a powerful navy that for a long time allowed them to enjoy "splendid Isolation" but by itself, England could not maintain it's status without it's Empire and Commonwealth....so a wary eye had to be kept on the neighbors. Germany.....sandwiched between two major world powers (France and Russia) can be forgiven for being a tad obsessed with security. The history leading up to the First World War is a fascinating one. Ultimately there were no villains on the scale of Stalin or Hitler. It was Wagnerian tragedy with the right (or wrong) combination of technology, old treaties, and old plans mixed in with a comedy of errors and missed opportunities.

Then there's the Balkans.....

This is not meant to be provocative but one of the interesting things that came out of the Ostkrieg book was that Hitler used the US and it's period of expansion (Manifest Destiny) as an inspiration for what he envisioned for a Greater Germany once he came to power. As mentioned in the other thread, Germany as it was in the 1930's could not become the World power he wanted it to be without expansion. The means by which this was to be accomplished was brutally, chillingly simple. Displace and/or exterminate the peoples currently occupying the lands needed. No paper treaties or reservations. It was "First, rule; Second, administer; third, exploit." As another on this thread mentioned. Once Chamberlain and company woke up to Hitler's true longterm goals, their resolves stiffened. I don't blame them though for having wanted to avoid the horrors of WWI. Hitler exploited that fear.

The Cold-war period ironically brought a sort of stability to Eastern Europe under the iron rule of Soviet Russia. With the fall of the USSR, old grievances have again sprung up in the Balkans in the power vacuum that ensued. Today is whole new world yet again....smaller than ever, mobile with instant feeds to events around the world. Who knows what the next 20 years will bring.

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 6:14:54 PM   
geofflambert


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wadail

Even Germany is not as "German" as outsiders (especially North Americans) think. Go drinking in Bavaria and after enough beer you'll start to hear "Ich nicht Deutsche, Ich bin Bavarisch!"


Yeah, and they don't annunciate their words like the north. Instead of saying "Shtoot Gaart" (Stuttgart) the Bavarians say "Stugger".

< Message edited by geofflambert -- 9/28/2012 6:15:28 PM >

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 6:27:08 PM   
geofflambert


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quote:

ORIGINAL: castor troy
As it stands nowadays, I can assure you, nations in Europe that pretty much all are part of the EU don't have real issues with each other, probably not worse than states of the US would have with each other.


I can assure you sir, that for one Kansas and Missouri are still fighting the Civil War. It's gotten so bad that Missouri has seceded from the Union (nowadays called "The Big Twelve") and officially joined the Confederacy (nowadays called "The SEC", - spelled out South Eastern Conference).

For you non US, this is a reference to American college football, mind you not what we call soccer, rather our game where the objective is to see how many concussions you can absorb before you can no longer walk without assistance.

Also for you non-US, don't be confused, the only reason Missouri didn't join the Confederacy in the 1860's is because those devil Yanks wisely occupied her at the start.

< Message edited by geofflambert -- 9/28/2012 6:30:38 PM >

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 9:35:08 PM   
Dili

 

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Anyone can find motives to start a war in Europe and in many places of earth, it is just start delving in the past and then it just needs 20 years of propaganda. For example was Germany more "humiliated" in WW1 with Versailles or in WW2 with partition and occupation?

I also think big wars start when people are optimist. That optimism is usually linked to improvements perceived or real in economic situation, technological developments. That is why i am afraid about what is going in Pacific. The current shift of power to Pacific could lead to reckless optimism there.

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 9:53:53 PM   
LoBaron


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili
For example was Germany more "humiliated" in WW1 with Versailles or in WW2 with partition and occupation?


Oranges and apples. You are comparing an ideologically multinational driven Europe to a Europe split in two by the cold war.
Global players after WWI remained roughly the same, with the exception of Austria, while after WWII nationalism was outpaced
by the battle of western democratic ideology against Marxism.

Optimism is an incremental way of thinking when you are warmongering. In every other state of mind it would be contradictive to go to war,
so this is nothing special.

Only, the big wars don´t start because of optimism, rather the driving force in most cases is greed or desperation, or a combination of both.
Ideology, nationalism, liberation, all those, are in most cases only excuses to pursue one or the other underlying cause.

< Message edited by LoBaron -- 9/28/2012 10:11:45 PM >


_____________________________

S**t happens in war.

All hail the superior ones!

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RE: Never Were Things - 9/28/2012 11:27:40 PM   
JeffK


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Nikademus


quote:

ORIGINAL: sanch

I believe Europeans have a fundamentally different geo-political outlook than Americans. In a nutshell, Americans have no real issues with their neighbors; they don't covet regions of other countries.

A few years back I spent some time in Budapest. In the national museum, there is a huge wall map of Hungary - this map includes regions such as Transylvania and Croatia - territories they ceded at the end of WW I.

Hungarians still believe these areas are rightfully theirs. As a consequence, they really dislike Romania (owns Transylvania!); they cannot stand Croatia (that's Hungarian land, not an independent country!); and they're really annoyed with the Czech Republic over some piece of land (Upper Hungary, maybe?); and of course they hate the Austrians, who essentially held Hungary in vassalage for some hundreds of year; and don't even think about the Russians (i.e. Soviets).

Essentially, they have issues with all their neighbors. Consider, for a moment, the other countries of Europe - many, if not most also have issues over some past land realignment or problems about ethnic minorities. What a powder keg, waiting for a spark to set it off.

Not take somebody like Hitler, and drop him into this witch's brew. There's the spark, and boom!

That trip to Hungary was definitely an eye-opener in international relations to me.




To be fair, I think it needs to be clarified that the primary reasons why the US doesn't have "issues" with their neighbors and doesn't covet the lands next to them is because we've already obtained the lands (through means both legit and not so legit) needed to make us the most "have" of the "have" nations. I point this out because on forums of the past I noted a lot of bias against Europe, the most extreme examples going on about how the US always wanted to "avoid getting involved in Europe and yet another of 'their' wars" etc as if the US was a utopian paradise of virtue.

Its easy to be complacent when you own one of the largest pieces of Real Estate in the world, guarded by two oceans and with only two neighbors, both of which are (were) not major powers at the time. It also makes it harder to understand mindsets in Europe where things are much closer....competition for land and resources is steeper and cultural animosities and grievances go way back.

The UK at least had a moat around it's small islands and a powerful navy that for a long time allowed them to enjoy "splendid Isolation" but by itself, England could not maintain it's status without it's Empire and Commonwealth....so a wary eye had to be kept on the neighbors. Germany.....sandwiched between two major world powers (France and Russia) can be forgiven for being a tad obsessed with security. The history leading up to the First World War is a fascinating one. Ultimately there were no villains on the scale of Stalin or Hitler. It was Wagnerian tragedy with the right (or wrong) combination of technology, old treaties, and old plans mixed in with a comedy of errors and missed opportunities.

Then there's the Balkans.....

This is not meant to be provocative but one of the interesting things that came out of the Ostkrieg book was that Hitler used the US and it's period of expansion (Manifest Destiny) as an inspiration for what he envisioned for a Greater Germany once he came to power. As mentioned in the other thread, Germany as it was in the 1930's could not become the World power he wanted it to be without expansion. The means by which this was to be accomplished was brutally, chillingly simple. Displace and/or exterminate the peoples currently occupying the lands needed. No paper treaties or reservations. It was "First, rule; Second, administer; third, exploit." As another on this thread mentioned. Once Chamberlain and company woke up to Hitler's true longterm goals, their resolves stiffened. I don't blame them though for having wanted to avoid the horrors of WWI. Hitler exploited that fear.



Well put!

It helps to explain how ones circumstances colour your opinions of anothers circumstances,


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Post #: 23
RE: Never Were Things - 9/29/2012 4:15:06 PM   
Dili

 

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quote:

Oranges and apples. You are comparing an ideologically multinational driven Europe to a Europe split in two by the cold war.


It is not apples and oranges, it means that when there is overwhelming power from the other side the humiliation card can't be played not because it isn't available. It is perceived as ineffective from start so energies aren't directed to it because it is pointless.

Optimism is what makes possible to entertain the possibility of starting a war. Everyone at WW1 start was happy with war, the technological evolution was going fast, people applauded...people even manifested towards it. Optimism breeds recklessness, everyone went to it like if was a walking in the park.

In WW2 it was the defeatism in allied side, it is known that Daladier words- someone that wasn't so clueless as Chamberlain- when he received the applause of the people after Munich: "Ah, les cons". Which means more or less: "the idiots"
The optimism was maintained in Axis side at populist level. Which is scary in itself, how the Governments affect the mood of the people and make everything possible in such short time even if the people is well educated.


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Post #: 24
RE: Never Were Things - 9/29/2012 5:20:57 PM   
Shark7


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quote:

ORIGINAL: LoBaron

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili
For example was Germany more "humiliated" in WW1 with Versailles or in WW2 with partition and occupation?


Oranges and apples. You are comparing an ideologically multinational driven Europe to a Europe split in two by the cold war.
Global players after WWI remained roughly the same, with the exception of Austria, while after WWII nationalism was outpaced
by the battle of western democratic ideology against Marxism.

Optimism is an incremental way of thinking when you are warmongering. In every other state of mind it would be contradictive to go to war,
so this is nothing special.

Only, the big wars don´t start because of optimism, rather the driving force in most cases is greed or desperation, or a combination of both.
Ideology, nationalism, liberation, all those, are in most cases only excuses to pursue one or the other underlying cause.


Actually, when you look back in history every war that has ever been has been about greed. Country X has something Country Y wants and Country Y tries to take it. Or Country Y has a colony that it is stripping to fatten itself and finally the colony revolts and becomes Country Z, etc etc. Greed has shaped our world and will continue to do so. The one constant in all this...human nature.

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Post #: 25
RE: Never Were Things - 9/29/2012 6:13:06 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili

quote:

Oranges and apples. You are comparing an ideologically multinational driven Europe to a Europe split in two by the cold war.


In WW2 it was the defeatism in allied side, it is known that Daladier words- someone that wasn't so clueless as Chamberlain- when he received the applause of the people after Munich: "Ah, les cons". Which means more or less: "the idiots"

Warspite1

Yeah - shame Daladier wasn't present for the Munich agreement - things would have turned out soooo differently.... Oh, my mistake he was



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Post #: 26
RE: Never Were Things - 9/29/2012 6:19:38 PM   
LoBaron


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili
Optimism is what makes possible to entertain the possibility of starting a war.[...]


Come on Dili, this is pointless.

Optimism is a prerequisite for war as much as it is for taking part in a car race, or asking a question requiring an answer, or ordering something to eat because
you expect it to taste good. Without optimism that an action results in something you hope for, every person would freeze in place and stop attempting anything.

Thats a no brainer.

Lets skip that I think were talking past each other...


< Message edited by LoBaron -- 9/29/2012 6:24:58 PM >


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Post #: 27
RE: Never Were Things - 9/29/2012 7:32:43 PM   
Hiltibrant

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: castor troy

As it stands nowadays, I can assure you, nations in Europe that pretty much all are part of the EU don't have real issues with each other, probably not worse than states of the US would have with each other.


This seemed to be the case for what we usually call Western and Southern Europe. But the late Euro-crisis opens up some terrifying new possibilities some years down the road if it continues in the form of a downward spiral. That is an economical backdrop about the same as Europe experienced in the 1920s, at least for some countries.

I guess the only difference is that this time around Germany is not at the epicenter of the issue, meaning that if push comes to shove we won't see a global conflict arise. But there's plenty of chance of local or regional conflicts (again, if the European economies continue on the way the seem to be on).

But to return to the original post - I'd definitely goes as far as "excusing" even people like Neville Chamberlain. His attitude towards Hitler was certainly representative of a fair share of the populace in many Allied countries (read: Great Britain and France). Many people simply wanted 'peace in their time', and were wary of risking a war of the scale as the last over issues in some country far, far away from home. And no matter how good Allied wartime intelligence was, I do not think that anyone, politician or analyst could with certainty have foreseen the lengths to which Hitler would eventually go.

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Post #: 28
RE: Never Were Things - 9/29/2012 8:19:13 PM   
mullk

 

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Odd thing to me is the attitude of some folks I have known that we are much better than to allow any type of barbaric practice such as war. Boy how uncivilized our forefathers must have been to even think of such a thing. Sad truth to me is that the folks of that day had the same blinders on that we have today, and we will be in for the same rude shock if/when the set of people/circumstances precipitating a war occurs once again. Our parents didn't sit around thinking "boy lets start a war and see how many of us can get killed!". The right set of things happening can set a war going today. Sometimes all you can do is hold on and hope you survive the madness. I'm sure many of the people going through the time leading up to WW2 didn't recognize things until to late (boy that was a mistake) - but their is no do over button for real life and while it can be somewhat interesting to conjecture why things happened the way they did we don't have only the facts they had in the order they had them in.

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Post #: 29
RE: Never Were Things - 9/30/2012 7:14:33 PM   
Dili

 

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quote:

Yeah - shame Daladier wasn't present for the Munich agreement - things would have turned out soooo differently.... Oh, my mistake he was.


And i said he was not? he said that as he was returning from Munich expecting an hostile reception. He just didn't had any illusions, neither about his own country.


quote:

Lets skip that I think were talking past each other...


Yeah it seems.

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Post #: 30
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