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RE: World War I Books

 
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RE: World War I Books - 12/15/2012 9:09:40 PM   
micha1100

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: 7th Somersets

quote:

ORIGINAL: micha1100

quote:

ORIGINAL: 7th Somersets
Are you seriously suggesting that all of the lands of the Holy Roman Empire are 'German'? - 'had been German for many centuries'?!


Of course not. But I do believe that when the population of a certain province speaks predominantly German it's hard to prove an indisputable French claim to that province.



Perhaps you will forgive the rest of us Europeans who are concerned and offended by such comments and justifications. Millions of people died in the last century from such attitudes.


I cannot quite follow you here. All I have been saying is that the situation with Alsace-Lorraine was much less obvious than Tuchman describes it. Why exactly should the rest of the Europeans be "concerned and offended" by my comments??

(in reply to 7th Somersets)
Post #: 61
RE: World War I Books - 12/15/2012 9:31:58 PM   
7th Somersets

 

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Actually Micha1100 - what you said was this...

quote:


The fact that someone wants something back that had been taken from him by force does not prove he had an indisputable claim to it in the first place.


When challenged on this (ludicrous) statement you seek to backtrack on it and justify it by resort to the language that people speak in the area...

quote:

But I do believe that when the population of a certain province speaks predominantly German it's hard to prove an indisputable French claim to that province.


Now you resort to saying that these comments were only by reference to Tuchman's (the biased Jew according to your previous post) book.

quote:

I understand that Tuchman, being Jewish and writing a relatively short time after WWII, had no love for Germany but her obvious bias completely spoiled the book for me.


You question why people might be concerned and offended by your remarks? If you do not understand how you come across, I feel sorry for you. If you do understand, then you should not be surprised that people are concerned and offended by what you say.


(in reply to micha1100)
Post #: 62
RE: World War I Books - 12/15/2012 10:45:24 PM   
micha1100

 

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7th Somersets - I absolutely fail to see what you get so upset about.

In my original post I wrote
quote:

a recurring theme [in Tuchman's book] is that the French cause is just because they were fighting to "free" the French province of Alsace-Lorraine that had been occupied by Germany after the war 1870/71. Tuchman somehow fails to mention that the region had been German for many centuries and had only been annexed by France after the Thirty-Years-War, and in 1871 still more than half of the inhabitants were native German speakers, so the issue is by no means as clear-cut as one is led to believe by this book.


Perhaps "had been German for centuries" is oversimplified but otherwise I fully stand by what I wrote because everyone who bothers to read up on the history of that province knows that Tuchman is simply wrong when writes as if Germany had malevolently annexed French heartlands.

Also, what is ludicrous about my other statements you cited? For example, if you took something from me by force, would that already prove that I had an undisputable claim to it in the first place? Would it not be necessary to investigate how I originally got possession?
And when areas of Eastern Germany where inhabited mainly by Polish-speaking subjects, did that not indicate that Poland could have some sort of claim to these areas?
As to the last quote - there are lots of people who noticed Tuchman's anti-German bias. Am I not allowed to mention it just because I'm a German and she was Jewish?

Once more: I'm not saying the Germans were the good guys, I only say things were not as black and white as one could assume after reading "Guns of August". If that already offends you then I cannot help it.


(in reply to 7th Somersets)
Post #: 63
RE: World War I Books - 12/15/2012 10:57:20 PM   
H Gilmer

 

Posts: 474
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In a vain attempt to provide humor, why don't you all start a World War over it? (please take it as "let's not fight about everything, can we?") /duck.

(in reply to micha1100)
Post #: 64
RE: World War I Books - 12/15/2012 10:58:32 PM   
ulver

 

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From: Danmark, Europe
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quote:

ORIGINAL: micha1100


quote:

ORIGINAL: ulver
...That being said I strongly disagree with your assertion that modern scholarship holds both sides more or less equally at fault for causing the war. David Fromkin’s “Europe’s Last Summer” is a terrific synthesis of the conclusions made in the last decades and totally rejects the “accidental train wreak” or “Historical Inevitability” thesis we grew up with.

The Great War was deliberately and carefully precipitated by a handful of officials in Austria and Germany lead by Franz Conrad von Hötzendor who wanted a war against Serbia and Moltke who wanted one against Russia.

The “we-all-slithered-into-war ” thesis was comprehensively demolishe in 1961 when Fritz Fischer published his seminal study ‘Deutschland’s Griff Nach der Weltmacht’ (literally ‘Germany’s Grab for World Power’ though the abridged British translation bore the far blander title ‘Germany’s Aims in the First World War’). For the first time, Fischer opened archives in both West and East Germany to prove that Germany had used the crisis triggered by the pistol shots in Sarajevo quite deliberately to spark a war. ... the evidence for his thesis was so overwhelming that it gradually found acceptance among virtually all serious historians of the period, both outside Germany and within it.


It's true that AH wanted war with Serbia, hoping to quell unrest in their slawonic provinces that threatened to collapse the whole empire. It's also true that the German military thought it best to force the issue. But if you only look at that you take a much too narrow point of view. Even Fischer does not put all the blame on Germany. He says in his book is that the German leaders bear a significant part of the historical responsibility for the outbreak of the war, not more and not less.
And the German military did not want war for the sake of it. They realised that with France, Britain and Russia allied and Russia making great efforts to enlarge and improve their army Germany would soon be hopelessly outnumbered (especially as the only true Ally Austria-Hungary was ever weakening from their Balkan problems). As war at some point in the future seemed inevitable, not least because of growing French belligerence, they believed that it would be prudent to fight it out while the odds still seemed manageable.

So yes, the final spark that exploded the situation probably came from the Central Powers, but the overall crisis was by no means only one side's fault, and I know that the vast majority of historians agrees with me (or rather I with them).


That wholly depends on the importance one attaches to the specific events of the July crisis as opposed to broader trends. If one believes that the underlying tensions were leading towards a cataclysm and that if it hadn’t been the bullet in Sarajevo it would have been something else sparking an almost inevitable conflict you are right.

If one the other hand one considers the specific crises crucial to causing the war, that if it hadn’t been for the assassination of Franz Ferdinand it is highly unlikely that there would have been a great war at all then the specific decision to deliberately cause a war over it takes much greater importance.

I believe the latter. The window of opportunity for Germany’s preventive war against Russia was rapidly closing. French-German relations were improving and were probably better in 1914 than they had been in decades. The Anglo-German navy race was just about over with Germany conceding; colonial disputes were pretty much settled. The people in Germany who caused the war in 1914 had wanted one for about a decade if conditions were right but in previous crises Germany’s allies had shown no interest in picking a fight with Russia and they certainly didn’t want Germany to end up fighting alone. Francis Joseph was a very old man and his heir was very much against embroiling Austria in any wars. The assassination removed Franz Ferdinand who would certainly have blocked any Austrian military adventurism and created the situation to for the conspirators in Germany to get their war under conditions were they could be assured of Austrian support

The Great War had such a huge impact that we all clearly see the road that lead to it missing the countless paths that might have lead away from it. An interesting work is “The Lost history of 1914 – reconsidering the year the Great War began” Jack Beatty arguing, persuasively in my mind, that war itself was a unlikely event by 1914, it would have been far likelier a decade earlier but by 1914 Europe had – almost – dodged the bullet and it was a one in a million event that caused it and absent that one bullet in Sarajevo there would have been no Great War.

Certainly the general consensus at the time was that the risk of war was decreasing. Most famously exemplified by a leading writing a popular book explaining why a general was impossibility since it would ruin everyone and that the cost would be ruinous even to the victor. (The title escapes me – sorry I’m sure you know that one I mean) The military cast in Germany was losing influence, another Generation and the Social Democrats would almost certainly have been in charge of Germany sidelining the military cast. The emerging economic class of bankers and industrials were horrified at the thought of war – stock marked collapse almost everywhere at the outbreak of war with the leading bankers and industrialist desperate to avoid it. Remember the world economy were by some standards even more open and interconnected then is the case today. The war came as a shock to most, it was not expected at the time.


< Message edited by ulver -- 12/15/2012 11:09:21 PM >

(in reply to micha1100)
Post #: 65
RE: World War I Books - 12/15/2012 11:44:53 PM   
igor7111

 

Posts: 127
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YES! This is excellent.



quote:

ORIGINAL: CLEVELAND

This looks interesting as well, and is available at my local library.

http://www.amazon.com/Pyrrhic-Victory-French-Strategy-Operations/dp/0674027264


(in reply to CLEVELAND)
Post #: 66
RE: World War I Books - 12/15/2012 11:45:47 PM   
igor7111

 

Posts: 127
Joined: 10/1/2005
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Another superb book.


quote:

ORIGINAL: rogo727

Paris 1919. It's a must read. I learned so much from this book. I wish I would have read this book first before any other WW1 book.


(in reply to rogo727)
Post #: 67
RE: World War I Books - 12/16/2012 10:01:23 AM   
micha1100

 

Posts: 91
Joined: 12/26/2008
From: Germany
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: ulver

quote:

ORIGINAL: micha1100
...So yes, the final spark that exploded the situation probably came from the Central Powers, but the overall crisis was by no means only one side's fault, and I know that the vast majority of historians agrees with me (or rather I with them).


That wholly depends on the importance one attaches to the specific events of the July crisis as opposed to broader trends. If one believes that the underlying tensions were leading towards a cataclysm and that if it hadn’t been the bullet in Sarajevo it would have been something else sparking an almost inevitable conflict you are right.

If one the other hand one considers the specific crises crucial to causing the war, that if it hadn’t been for the assassination of Franz Ferdinand it is highly unlikely that there would have been a great war at all then the specific decision to deliberately cause a war over it takes much greater importance.


So far I absolutely agree.

quote:


I believe the latter...


Here we differ. French-German relations were by no means improving. On the contrary, now allied with Russia and Britain, France was seriously contemplating to get revenge for 1871 and the Russian leadership saw a successful war as a great chance to quell the increasing public unrest, so I do believe that war would have come anyway unless the Central Powers had made major concessions which I don't think likely, especially not in Germany's case (I cannot see the Social Democrats take over in peace time).
But of course all this is speculation so different opinions are certainly viable.

However the fact remains that all sides contributed to build the "powder keg" that exploded in 1914 and all sides went to war enthusiastically (except, perhaps, Britain).

(in reply to ulver)
Post #: 68
RE: World War I Books - 12/16/2012 7:07:04 PM   
7th Somersets

 

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Whatever way it is dressed up, both WW1 and WW2 had their origins in small minded nationalism that ignored basic historical facts. People were led into the 'rights' of their nationalist causes by others that were happy to manipulate history to their own suiting. Millions died. Millions more were maimed and scarred both physically and mentally.

Returning to the literary thread ~ about three months after the end of the First World War, Siegfried Sassoon wrote the following start to Aftermath:

"Have you forgotten yet?...
For the world's events have rumbled on since those gagged days,"

How right you were Siegfried.

As we pass out of the living memory of those that fought in the wars, those that lived their lives maimed in the wars, those that lived their lives tortured by the mental anguish that they endured because they saw the horrors that we read about, those that grew up without their fathers because of the wars... the danger of the small minded nationalists will return. They will seek to re-write history to suit themesleves. They will seek to justify the unjustifiable, they will seek to deny the events of our common past to suit themselves.

By doing so they will seek to undermine the sacrifice of the heroes that came from humble backgrounds and who stood up against tyranny. They will seek to undermine the sacrifice of those peoples that earned our freedoms through the choice that they made to stand up against the despots. They will seek to undermine the people that point to their errors by suggesting that they were prejudiced or had some vested interest in their opinions.

The reality is that in the 1950's and 1960's, people may not have had access to the military and political records of all countries involved in the world wars; the fact that they were justifiably raw from the events and suffering that had been inflicted on the world does not invalidate their opinions. If anything, their experience should serve as a reminder to us all as to the validity of their opinions.

"Look up, and swear that by the slain of the war that you'll never forget!"

(in reply to micha1100)
Post #: 69
RE: World War I Books - 12/17/2012 2:10:45 PM   
strand

 

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I may be coming a bit late to this thread, but for my money the best single volume history of WWI (the war itself, not the underlying causes) is "A History of the Great War" by C.R.M.F. Cruttwell. It was first published in 1934, so for that reason this book may not resonate as much as some newer titles with many posters. But it remains a straight-ahead, thorough for a single volume, and thoughtful rendering of the war. It probably benefits from having been written before WWII, so that none of the so-called lessons of that later war creep into the narrative. It is very well-rounded in terms of the coverage of the war (okay, the author was British so it might be somewhat disproportionately focused on the British experience, but only somewhat and that's not a bad a bad bias to have.) Just my two cents.

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 70
RE: World War I Books - 12/17/2012 3:12:49 PM   
jwduquette1

 

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Speaking of single volume works on WWI, I just started reading "A World Undone" by G.J. Meyer. It's pretty good thus far. Meyer also wrote "The Tudors" -- the same book that was the basis for the Showtime mini-series with all the medieval breasts jiggling about. There are fewer breasts in "A World Undone" than "The Tudors" -- but I'm still only on Chapter 4.

(in reply to strand)
Post #: 71
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