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RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914?

 
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RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 5:30:39 PM   
RangerJoe


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If people can't trust you to live up to your word, then what good is it?

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Post #: 31
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 5:38:23 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Twotribes

......and invaded a Country Britain was pledged to protect.
warspite1

I would be interested to hear your interpretation of the agreement signed by the major powers and what they were and were not obliged to do re Belgium. Where does it state the UK pledged to protect Belgium?



this one is relatively clear. GB, France and Germany all agreed to Belgian neutrality in 1839.

This was important in the Franco-Prussian war (the French troops had the bad habit of nipping over the border for a cheap smoke and beer and NIII was really worried the Prussians would take the easy route into NE France as a result) but it was also something that compensated the Belgians (part of Limburg was returned to the Netherlands and it was both catholic and Vlaams speaking). So crudely it was a treaty that mattered, if GB ignored it then it undermined a lot of other treaties and agreements

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Post #: 32
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 6:02:47 PM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Twotribes

......and invaded a Country Britain was pledged to protect.
warspite1

I would be interested to hear your interpretation of the agreement signed by the major powers and what they were and were not obliged to do re Belgium. Where does it state the UK pledged to protect Belgium?



this one is relatively clear. GB, France and Germany all agreed to Belgian neutrality in 1839.

This was important in the Franco-Prussian war (the French troops had the bad habit of nipping over the border for a cheap smoke and beer and NIII was really worried the Prussians would take the easy route into NE France as a result) but it was also something that compensated the Belgians (part of Limburg was returned to the Netherlands and it was both catholic and Vlaams speaking). So crudely it was a treaty that mattered, if GB ignored it then it undermined a lot of other treaties and agreements

It was Prussia in 1839 - 'Germany' did not exist until 1871. Napoleon III did not come to power until after 1848.

< Message edited by Zorch -- 8/17/2019 6:03:11 PM >

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Post #: 33
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 6:22:13 PM   
RangerJoe


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That is true but Germany inherited it from Prussia.

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Post #: 34
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 6:25:24 PM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

That is true but Germany inherited it from Prussia.

Wonder if Germany paid estate tax?

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Post #: 35
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 8:38:07 PM   
Twotribes


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I find it hard to believe anyone today would actually fault a western Country for opposing Germany Austria in WW1. Add that to the claim that Chamberlain was right about appeasement and we have a sorry state of affairs going on.

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Post #: 36
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 8:40:34 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

theres blame enough to go around, but only Germany had an ideology that justified the war that the way to advance humanity (well the white European bit) was to defeat the decadent British and French Empires, so yes, Germany bears prime responsibility for the wider war and Austria-Hungary was pretty keen to have a war with Serbia (& not too worried at the wider implications)


Who cares what anyone's ideology was. What matters is who did what first. And the Serbs took the first act of belligerence and the Russians knocked over the first domino.

quote:

but thats not true. Everyone in the various militaries were aware of what rifles meant on the battlefield, and that before the wider adoption of the machine gun. Battles like Gravelotte were well known and studied for what it meant when just one side had a rifle accurate at around 1km. The Russo-Japanese war made it clear what the cost was going to be of clearing even quick trench lines.

most of the powers that were at the centre of the Great War had fought a major conflict (even if in a colonial setting) in the last 20 years.

Now was the whole thing bedecked with flags and patriotism - of course, was the practical impact on the battlefield a surprise - no.


Maybe there were some wonks in a basement somewhere that had some inkling of what was coming (and I seriously doubt even that). For sure, those at the top and the general public had no clue. France was under the illusion that offense was king - with disastrous consequences. Once in progress, the von Schlieffen plan had to keep shortening the attack frontages to continue to advance, due to the need for higher and higher odds. It eventually shortened things up so much it had to skip Paris. Clearly, the top generals hadn't planned on what reality revealed.

Again, the war was greeted with jubilation. Contrast that to Munich.

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Post #: 37
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 9:16:58 PM   
loki100


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I'm sorry but that is too simplistic. Of course the various militaries studied every war and tried to interpret what it meant - and had no illusions as to what the rifle (never mind the machine gun) was going to do on the battlefield.

Serious suggestion, read Gat's second book in his History of Military Thought.

They knew where technology was taking warfare and then came up with various fantasies (such as the French primacy of morale) to set it to one side.

And if you have a state, permeated from top to bottom by an ideology, of course that affects their decision making?

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Post #: 38
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 9:20:06 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch

quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Twotribes

......and invaded a Country Britain was pledged to protect.
warspite1

I would be interested to hear your interpretation of the agreement signed by the major powers and what they were and were not obliged to do re Belgium. Where does it state the UK pledged to protect Belgium?



this one is relatively clear. GB, France and Germany all agreed to Belgian neutrality in 1839.

This was important in the Franco-Prussian war (the French troops had the bad habit of nipping over the border for a cheap smoke and beer and NIII was really worried the Prussians would take the easy route into NE France as a result) but it was also something that compensated the Belgians (part of Limburg was returned to the Netherlands and it was both catholic and Vlaams speaking). So crudely it was a treaty that mattered, if GB ignored it then it undermined a lot of other treaties and agreements

It was Prussia in 1839 - 'Germany' did not exist until 1871. Napoleon III did not come to power until after 1848.


yep, you are half right, it was indeed Prussia in 1839. but Germany post-1871 deliberately took on all the debts and treaties of the earlier state (in the same way that Russia in 1991 took on the liabilities of the USSR)

second bit, sorry reference was to the behaviour of French troops during the Franco-Prussian war, and yep NIII really was in charge then

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Post #: 39
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 9:26:45 PM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

theres blame enough to go around, but only Germany had an ideology that justified the war that the way to advance humanity (well the white European bit) was to defeat the decadent British and French Empires, so yes, Germany bears prime responsibility for the wider war and Austria-Hungary was pretty keen to have a war with Serbia (& not too worried at the wider implications)


Who cares what anyone's ideology was. What matters is who did what first. And the Serbs took the first act of belligerence and the Russians knocked over the first domino.

quote:

but thats not true. Everyone in the various militaries were aware of what rifles meant on the battlefield, and that before the wider adoption of the machine gun. Battles like Gravelotte were well known and studied for what it meant when just one side had a rifle accurate at around 1km. The Russo-Japanese war made it clear what the cost was going to be of clearing even quick trench lines.

most of the powers that were at the centre of the Great War had fought a major conflict (even if in a colonial setting) in the last 20 years.

Now was the whole thing bedecked with flags and patriotism - of course, was the practical impact on the battlefield a surprise - no.


Maybe there were some wonks in a basement somewhere that had some inkling of what was coming (and I seriously doubt even that). For sure, those at the top and the general public had no clue. France was under the illusion that offense was king - with disastrous consequences. Once in progress, the von Schlieffen plan had to keep shortening the attack frontages to continue to advance, due to the need for higher and higher odds. It eventually shortened things up so much it had to skip Paris. Clearly, the top generals hadn't planned on what reality revealed.

Again, the war was greeted with jubilation. Contrast that to Munich.


I would not call Lord Kitchener 'a wonk in a basement'.
There were other military men who understood that a general war would be long and bloody. Such as French general Michel, whose plan called for a defensive posture. Unfortunately for France the war didn't start in 1911.

More people would have understood how much the nature of war had changed if the Russo-Japanese war had been closer to Europe. When one European observer (future general Ian Hamilton) wrote that 'the only thing cavalry could do in the face of the enemy was cook rice for the infantry (The Guns of August), 'The War Office wondered if his brain was affected'. German Max Hoffman made a similar observation that Moltke had a problem with. The increase in firepower from artillery and machine guns, as well as the density of forces, wasn't widely appreciated.

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Post #: 40
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 9:31:43 PM   
Aurelian

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Twotribes


quote:

ORIGINAL: Aurelian


quote:

ORIGINAL: Twotribes

So what did I get wrong? Germany attacked Russia bringing in France. Britain was defending Belgium.

As for Austria perhaps you can tell me what Country would have agreed to allowing a foreign Nation to send its army into the Country to "search" it?



Well, you did say that Germany attacked Austria.... :)

And if you check my statement you would see I fixed that.


After I posted. Oh, and Germany did not attack Serbia at the start either. Not until 1915. That was Austria.

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Post #: 41
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 9:34:31 PM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

That is true but Germany inherited it from Prussia.

Wonder if Germany paid estate tax?


Incidentally, the Kingdom of Hannover stopped being a possession of the British royal family when Victoria came to the throne (Salic Law).

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Post #: 42
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 9:40:04 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

I'm sorry but that is too simplistic. Of course the various militaries studied every war and tried to interpret what it meant - and had no illusions as to what the rifle (never mind the machine gun) was going to do on the battlefield.

Serious suggestion, read Gat's second book in his History of Military Thought.

They knew where technology was taking warfare and then came up with various fantasies (such as the French primacy of morale) to set it to one side.


It's not simplistic to blame a war on the side that went first. That's just stating the obvious.

And how can you say that "They knew where technology was taking warfare" and follow that up with "and then came up with various fantasies". Clearly, they didn't know where technology was taking warfare well enough. This is kind of like claiming that we should have seen 9-11 coming. But that was only obvious after the fact.

For sure, each of the sides were anticipating a limited war - a few weeks. Not years of mass slaughter. That's where the absence of any BIG wars since 1815 comes in.

quote:

And if you have a state, permeated from top to bottom by an ideology, of course that affects their decision making?

But it doesn't change the chronology.


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Post #: 43
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 9:54:48 PM   
Twotribes


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From: Jacksonville NC
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

I'm sorry but that is too simplistic. Of course the various militaries studied every war and tried to interpret what it meant - and had no illusions as to what the rifle (never mind the machine gun) was going to do on the battlefield.

Serious suggestion, read Gat's second book in his History of Military Thought.

They knew where technology was taking warfare and then came up with various fantasies (such as the French primacy of morale) to set it to one side.


It's not simplistic to blame a war on the side that went first. That's just stating the obvious.

And how can you say that "They knew where technology was taking warfare" and follow that up with "and then came up with various fantasies". Clearly, they didn't know where technology was taking warfare well enough. This is kind of like claiming that we should have seen 9-11 coming. But that was only obvious after the fact.

For sure, each of the sides were anticipating a limited war - a few weeks. Not years of mass slaughter. That's where the absence of any BIG wars since 1815 comes in.

quote:

And if you have a state, permeated from top to bottom by an ideology, of course that affects their decision making?

But it doesn't change the chronology.


You keep claim ONE civilian was the Serb Government.

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Post #: 44
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/17/2019 10:10:18 PM   
RangerJoe


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quote:

You keep claim ONE civilian was the Serb Government.


Yes, even the Serbs are not that nuts. The Serbian government did not want to start something with Austria, but they would not be pushed around.

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Post #: 45
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 1:32:45 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Twotribes

You keep claim ONE civilian was the Serb Government.


There were multiple assassination attempts that very day. So, at a minimum, it was more than one person. And we don't know if the Serb Government was involved, but the assassins were pursuing Serb national interests - so, they were at least a proxy.

Regardless, Serbs took the first belligerent act.

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Post #: 46
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 1:38:44 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Twotribes

Lets see the facts.... Germany attacked Serbia and Russia. France was allied to Russia, Germany attacked Belgium to get at France. Britain had every reason to be in the war, The war isnt what caused WW2 the peace treaty that the US refused to sign was the cause of WW2 and that falls on France Britain and to a lesser extent Italy.
warspite1

The Treaty of Versailles was the cause of WWII - that is your opinion, it is not a fact.

The Treaty of Versailles was not the cause of WWII. The treaty did allow the conditions for extreme politics to flourish, but its likely any treaty would have done that – quite simply, many Germans didn’t think they lost the war.

Yes there was a second war, yes it was started by Germany (the “wronged” party at Versailles) but it took 21-years, it took a worldwide economic depression, it took a sociopathic leader to emerge that was not interested in putting Versailles right (by 1939 most of the provisions of Versailles as negatively affected Germany were gone), it took a policy of appeasement – in short a hell of a lot of water flew under the bridge between 1918 and 1939. Given the foregoing WWII was hardly a direct result of Versailles. It was not the cause – at best it was a contributory factor.

The factual part of your statement was:

quote:

the peace treaty that the US refused to sign


The US refused to ratify the treaty – why was that and what was it that Wilson’s opponents objected to exactly?



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Post #: 47
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 1:47:42 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

I have not seen it yet but I am sure that if the United Kingdom did not live up to its treaty commitments to Belgium, then the Commonwealth countries would have been thrilled with the knowledge that they could be easily dropped. I am sure that may have been part of it.

warspite1

I'd be interested to know a source for this. My understanding was that although they had Dominion status in 1914 the conditions were very different for Australia, Canada and New Zealand in 1914 than they were in 1939, and that there was no question they wouldn't follow the mother country into war in 1914. Did any of those three tell HMG they wouldn't declare war if Belgium wasn't invaded?


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Post #: 48
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 1:50:04 AM   
RangerJoe


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The Serb murderer was part of a group that spread themselves out over the city. I never heard of that group being endorsed or any way supported by the Serbian government.

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“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


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Post #: 49
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 1:51:13 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

If people can't trust you to live up to your word, then what good is it?
warspite1

Agreed.


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Post #: 50
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 1:54:20 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Twotribes

......and invaded a Country Britain was pledged to protect.
warspite1

I would be interested to hear your interpretation of the agreement signed by the major powers and what they were and were not obliged to do re Belgium. Where does it state the UK pledged to protect Belgium?



this one is relatively clear. GB, France and Germany all agreed to Belgian neutrality in 1839.

This was important in the Franco-Prussian war (the French troops had the bad habit of nipping over the border for a cheap smoke and beer and NIII was really worried the Prussians would take the easy route into NE France as a result) but it was also something that compensated the Belgians (part of Limburg was returned to the Netherlands and it was both catholic and Vlaams speaking). So crudely it was a treaty that mattered, if GB ignored it then it undermined a lot of other treaties and agreements
warspite1

But my point is about the wording. I've heard - and this was mentioned in the debate - that there was considerable doubt over what Britain's obligation was. It seems to be (depending on one's source) that Britain had no obligation to declare war unilaterally as a result of the invasion i.e. the wording was more complex than that.


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Post #: 51
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 2:04:55 AM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay


quote:

ORIGINAL: Twotribes

You keep claim ONE civilian was the Serb Government.


There were multiple assassination attempts that very day. So, at a minimum, it was more than one person. And we don't know if the Serb Government was involved, but the assassins were pursuing Serb national interests - so, they were at least a proxy.

Regardless, Serbs took the first belligerent act.

It can be argued that Austria-Hungary's annexation of Bosnia in 1908 was the 'first belligerent act'.
The annexation was a violation of the 1878 Treaty of Berlin and provoked a general European crisis, including mobilization, that only ended in April 1909, when Serbia and Russia backed down.

Quoth Wikipedia:
The Bosnian Crisis of 1908–09, also known as the Annexation crisis (German: Bosnische Annexionskrise, Bosnian: Aneksiona kriza) or the First Balkan Crisis, erupted in early October 1908 when Austria-Hungary announced the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, territories formerly within the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire.[a] This unilateral action—timed to coincide with Bulgaria's declaration of independence (5 October) from the Ottoman Empire—sparked protestations from all the Great Powers and Austria-Hungary's Balkan neighbours, Serbia and Montenegro. In April 1909 the Treaty of Berlin was amended to reflect the fait accompli and bring the crisis to an end. The crisis permanently damaged relations between Austria-Hungary on one hand, and Italy, Serbia, and the Russian Empire on the other. It helped lay the grounds for World War I. Although the crisis ended with what appeared to be a total Austro-Hungarian diplomatic victory, Russia became determined not to back down again and hastened its military build-up. Austrian–Serbian relations became permanently stressed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_Crisis

Ironically, Franz Ferdinand might not have been in Sarajevo if not for the annexation.

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 52
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 2:13:17 AM   
RangerJoe


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I read where Franz Ferdinand was in favor of changing the dual monarchy into a triple monarchy but some of the southern slavs were not in favor of that.

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Post #: 53
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 2:25:58 AM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

I read where Franz Ferdinand was in favor of changing the dual monarchy into a triple monarchy but some of the southern slavs were not in favor of that.

He was a reformer; and he was resented by many government officials because of that.
On a practical level, as soon as an empire starts making concessions to 1 ethnic group, all the other ethnic groups will want something, too.

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Post #: 54
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 2:31:56 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

I read where Franz Ferdinand was in favor of changing the dual monarchy into a triple monarchy but some of the southern slavs were not in favor of that.

He was a reformer; and he was resented by many government officials because of that.
On a practical level, as soon as an empire starts making concessions to 1 ethnic group, all the other ethnic groups will want something, too.
warspite1

Louis XVI was a reformer, Tsar Nicholas II was a reformer..... I'm not feeling it on the "reformer = good idea in terms of long life, health and happiness" front.


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Post #: 55
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 2:51:38 AM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

I read where Franz Ferdinand was in favor of changing the dual monarchy into a triple monarchy but some of the southern slavs were not in favor of that.

He was a reformer; and he was resented by many government officials because of that.
On a practical level, as soon as an empire starts making concessions to 1 ethnic group, all the other ethnic groups will want something, too.
warspite1

Louis XVI was a reformer, Tsar Nicholas II was a reformer..... I'm not feeling it on the "reformer = good idea in terms of long life, health and happiness" front.


I agree. Franz, had he lived, would have been challenged to effect meaningful change.

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Post #: 56
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 3:15:58 AM   
RangerJoe


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Part of the problem, as I see it, is when they start reforming and do it slowly, some people aren't satisfied and want everything changed to what they think that it should be. And those people expect it to be perfect right away. That is why slow change may be better because if things don't work out, it is easier to go back to what you know works - even if it is imperfect.

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Post #: 57
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 10:47:15 AM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

I'm sorry but that is too simplistic. Of course the various militaries studied every war and tried to interpret what it meant - and had no illusions as to what the rifle (never mind the machine gun) was going to do on the battlefield.

Serious suggestion, read Gat's second book in his History of Military Thought.

They knew where technology was taking warfare and then came up with various fantasies (such as the French primacy of morale) to set it to one side.


It's not simplistic to blame a war on the side that went first. That's just stating the obvious.

And how can you say that "They knew where technology was taking warfare" and follow that up with "and then came up with various fantasies". Clearly, they didn't know where technology was taking warfare well enough. This is kind of like claiming that we should have seen 9-11 coming. But that was only obvious after the fact.

For sure, each of the sides were anticipating a limited war - a few weeks. Not years of mass slaughter. That's where the absence of any BIG wars since 1815 comes in.

...



Not sure why you are persisting with this. Every major military obsessively studied every major conflict for a variety of reasons - mobilisation, technology, in-battle tactics etc. I realise that things like the Russo-Japanese war are now seen as a fringe event but at the time it was obsessively studied. And the implications of the firepower of not particularly well trained troops using not particulary good entrenchments were terrifying - and well understood. As above, read Gat or someone similar - I found it incredibly educational

Now the French knew as well as every body else where firepower was going to take warfare. So they had two choices:

a) realism, they lacked the population of Germany, due to the army-state rivalries in the Third Republic they lacked for both a large enough professional army and a well organised reserve. So they had to plan to be on the defensive and fight that way (which after the opening debacle they did, and did pretty well).

but

b) fantasy, the only reason France was going to go to war with Germany was over Alsace-Lorraine, they had few colonial flashpoints unlike the British. That implied they had to attack. They knew (a) that attack would be seriously costly so came up with the fantasy doctrine that high morale/will/etc would overcome rifle fire and their attacks would win. Hence Plan 17 and the rest.

There's a field in the psychology of decision making around this. Creating a narrative that gives the outcome you want and putting unwelcome information to one side. Its exactly what the Germans did in planning for Barbarossa - also happens to be the core of my PhD.

Now some politicians may have had illusions, but most knew full well what they were committing to. Hence all the reports of deep unease. Lets face it if you really wanted to stir up support for your war do you promise a glorious and quick end, or 4 years of slaughter - the latter may have been less appealing?


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Post #: 58
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 11:35:26 AM   
Fishbed

 

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+1 to everything Loki says.

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 59
RE: Should Britain have gone to war in 1914? - 8/18/2019 11:46:02 AM   
Zovs


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What rubs me wrong about Loki’s post is that if the militaries did study warfare and trench warfare and artillery and the effects of machine guns on moving troops then why did Verdun and the Somme occur with all this great military knowledge and why did 40k CW soldiers perish at the Somme?

I personally don’t think anyone had a clue, and the Germans almost pulled off taking out France but when the offense in 1914 failed or fizzled out then the trenches where dug the slaughters began.

I think the politicians were clueless and it would seem the militaries and people at that time were blinded to what we all know now.

Is there any links to what the militaries knew what would happen? If indeed they knew that makes it even more horrific that they carried it out anyway.

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