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WWI Centennial

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06-09-2013, 04:17 PM
  #51
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Originally Posted by heutZe View Post
But Brest-Litovsk came after three bitter years of fighting. The reason both Brest-Litovsk and Versailles were so harsh was because the public and most politicians would not accept minor gains after they had sent a generation of their youth into the grinder.

If Germany had taken Paris in 1914, France would most likely have had to cease some minor concessions to Germany like in 1871 and that would be it.

If there's one thing the 20th century has thought us was that a united Germany was bound to be the dominating force of Europe, two devastating wars did nothing to stop that, only delayed it.
France viewed the concessions as anything but minor in 1871. War indemnities were par for the course at the time and research on desired German war gains were annexation of Luxembourg and Belgium, all of Central Africa and more of France. There also wasn't a figure like Bismark around (who opposed taking Alsace-Lorraine) to temper war aims.

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06-09-2013, 05:04 PM
  #52
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France viewed the concessions as anything but minor in 1871. War indemnities were par for the course at the time and research on desired German war gains were annexation of Luxembourg and Belgium, all of Central Africa and more of France. There also wasn't a figure like Bismark around (who opposed taking Alsace-Lorraine) to temper war aims.
This is true. Which is why I would argue that if Bismarck was still around and in a position of influence, there would be no First World War. Remember that he orchestrated the brilliant Reinsurance Treaty with Russia in 1887 which guaranteed that Germany would stay neutral should Austria-Hungary attack Russia and Russia would stay neutral should France attack Germany. This deal expired in 1890 despite Russia asking for a renewal. Clumsy German diplomacy after Bismarck was one of the main reasons WWI broke out.

Another important reason was that it was not France or Great Britain that Germany feared. It was the rapid modernisation of Russia that concerned Germany. The knew that if there ever were to become war between the two empires, it was better sooner than later. German strategist had argued that by 1920 (I believe), Russia would be too powerful for Germany to defeat. Which is why I wonder why Germany did so much to antagonize Great Britain. Britain feared Russian expansion as much as Germany. They feared for their colonies in Persia and India. There was a potential ally there for Germany, but they did more to drive them away than to take them in.

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06-09-2013, 05:38 PM
  #53
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France viewed the concessions as anything but minor in 1871.
Indeed, the loss of Alsace-Lorraine was perceived as a humiliation and on top of that, they had to accept the presence of a German garrison in Paris after the end of the war.

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06-09-2013, 09:31 PM
  #54
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This is true. Which is why I would argue that if Bismarck was still around and in a position of influence, there would be no First World War.


Of course he would have been 99 in 1914.

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06-09-2013, 10:33 PM
  #55
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I'm a pretty big history buff and reading soldier's accounts from WW1 has to be one of my favourite pastimes.

Very few things capture my attention like reading about the horrors of trench warfare.

Had the chance to visit Ypres, Passchendaele, Langemarck, Hill 62, and Tyne Cot a few years ago. Surreal experience.

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06-09-2013, 10:53 PM
  #56
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All these treaties are enforced at the discretion of each nation's leaders. If any of them had any foresight or inclination towards peace, they would have recognized that the measure taken by Germany was only to deal with Serbia/Russia, not take over Belgium or some crap they'd have you believe.
Germany, like all European empires, wasn't as innocent as you make them out to be. Every European state had plans to attack the enemy. Going through a neutral state was an infringement on Belgium's sovereignty. Britain had moral and legal obligations to come to Belgium's aid, on top of political ones (standing up to a rival European power).

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06-10-2013, 01:27 AM
  #57
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Germany, like all European empires, wasn't as innocent as you make them out to be. Every European state had plans to attack the enemy. Going through a neutral state was an infringement on Belgium's sovereignty. Britain had moral and legal obligations to come to Belgium's aid, on top of political ones (standing up to a rival European power).
Agreed. Tensions were already very high between Germany and England at the time, partly because of Germany's ever increasing colonial ambitions. As a continental power, it needed an overseas empire to match those of Britain and France in order to truly assert its dominance. I really don't see how, given the situation at the time, Britain could back down from Germany after it invaded a country Britain had legally pledged to protect.

If anyone's read "The Last Tommy" by Harry Patch (the last British Army veteran of the First World War), he says something along the lines of "in 1910, it wasn't a question of if Britain and Germany would go to war, but when".


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06-10-2013, 04:17 PM
  #58
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http://www.worldwaronecolorphotos.com/

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06-11-2013, 11:25 AM
  #59
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Thanks for the link, some really amazing photos there.

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06-11-2013, 12:05 PM
  #60
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Canada saving the world. As usual.

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06-11-2013, 12:21 PM
  #61
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This again? The US helped ending the war, but they hardly saved Europe. The best thing that could've happened to Europe in that war was if Germany did not get outflanked in 1914. That would've made the war four years shorter and peace negotiations much less harsh.

Unlike the Second World War, this war was not "Good vs. Evil".
Agreed

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06-11-2013, 12:25 PM
  #62
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It's a little bit sobering to realize that everyone who ever fought in that war - everyone shown in those photos - is dead. World War I has passed out of our living memory, and within the next 20 years or so, so will World War II.

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06-11-2013, 12:32 PM
  #63
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France entering the war regardless is also inaccurate because the terms of the Franco-Russian alliance stated that they were only required to help if one of them was attacked by another power. But Russia was not attacked, they declared war on Austria first
True, but when the Russians declare war on Austria-Hungary, the Germans would have to declare war on Russia because they had a contract with the Austria-Hungarian empire.

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06-13-2013, 06:35 PM
  #64
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France didn't stand by Russia, Germany suddenly invaded them via Belgium as it was easier strategically (a premeditated plan)

Italy were originally allied with Germany and Austria but stayed out of the war until they decided to join Britain and France, they didn't really do much though. The Ottoman Empire were allied with Germany and Austria as they didn't particularly like Russia very much (previous wars) Britain attacked them at Gallipoli in order to take Constantinople to get navy access to the Black Sea.
As notoriously bad as the Italian performance was I've always felt they were a huge factor in the Entente outlasting the Germans.

Germany had to put out so many fires that by the time Russia was out of the picture and they could focus on the western front it was too late. The Isonzo Front tied up millions of Austrians and required German intervention to break.

Move the 5 million Italians to the French Alps. Probably another boondoggle, but even for the minimum of defense it strains French and English manpower. Opens up another colonial theatre in Libya, puts the Suez under two sides of pressure and makes the Mediterranean a battle ground weakening the blockade and straining British supply lines.

It would have tempered the US tilt toward England as the German-Americans would have some company with a rooting interest for the Central Powers.

All that said, To schism was just too great to get Italy back in the fold and the price to sign Italy as a UFA would have been more than Austria-Hungary would have given.

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06-14-2013, 12:35 PM
  #65
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Agreed. Tensions were already very high between Germany and England at the time, partly because of Germany's ever increasing colonial ambitions. As a continental power, it needed an overseas empire to match those of Britain and France in order to truly assert its dominance. I really don't see how, given the situation at the time, Britain could back down from Germany after it invaded a country Britain had legally pledged to protect.

If anyone's read "The Last Tommy" by Harry Patch (the last British Army veteran of the First World War), he says something along the lines of "in 1910, it wasn't a question of if Britain and Germany would go to war, but when".
The irony is Britain encouraged Germany to seek colonies so that they could be a counterweight to France. Britain and France almost went to war over some obscure spot in Sudan in the late 1800's.

But Germany got mostly leftovers as colonies.

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06-14-2013, 04:12 PM
  #66
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The irony is Britain encouraged Germany to seek colonies so that they could be a counterweight to France. Britain and France almost went to war over some obscure spot in Sudan in the late 1800's.

But Germany got mostly leftovers as colonies.
Policy blowback at its finest.

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06-18-2013, 06:27 AM
  #67
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The irony is Britain encouraged Germany to seek colonies so that they could be a counterweight to France. Britain and France almost went to war over some obscure spot in Sudan in the late 1800's.

But Germany got mostly leftovers as colonies.
Bismarck was opposed to colonialism, he had a pretty rude term for it.

What amazes me looking back is the amount of American fear of Germany. Germany had designs in the Caribbean fueling this and the German immigration to the US didn't help. A potential German presence in Cuba and Puerto Rico were justifications for the Spanish-American War (which did have some blowback on us 50 years later).

What's amazing that the US and England almost went to war in 1891 over the Venzualan Crisis and then underwent the Great Rapprochement, despite our large Irish population not caring for England. The tension with Germany no doubt enhanced that movement.

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06-21-2013, 01:26 PM
  #68
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Bismarck was no enemy of Britain, either.

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06-22-2013, 07:39 AM
  #69
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He and Disreali got on like a house on fire at the Congress of Berlin.

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06-22-2013, 02:59 PM
  #70
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What amazes me looking back is the amount of American fear of Germany. Germany had designs in the Caribbean fueling this and the German immigration to the US didn't help. A potential German presence in Cuba and Puerto Rico were justifications for the Spanish-American War (which did have some blowback on us 50 years later)..
America had right to fear Germany as a threat

Franz von Rintelen actively was working for German Gov to sabotage US industry and sink US ships heading to Europe with trade goods to France/UK. He was also supporting Victoriano Huerta's ambitions to retake power in Mexico and possibly go to war with US

Also high profile acts of sabotage such as Black Tom explosion were more then enough evidence for US to fear Germany

And again in 1917 we saw German aims to support Mexico in a war against US with the Zimmermann Telegram

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06-22-2013, 05:15 PM
  #71
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America had right to fear Germany as a threat

Franz von Rintelen actively was working for German Gov to sabotage US industry and sink US ships heading to Europe with trade goods to France/UK. He was also supporting Victoriano Huerta's ambitions to retake power in Mexico and possibly go to war with US

Also high profile acts of sabotage such as Black Tom explosion were more then enough evidence for US to fear Germany

And again in 1917 we saw German aims to support Mexico in a war against US with the Zimmermann Telegram
1. Exactly like the Royal Navy blockade would have interdicted US shipping to Germany & the Central Powers. They were clear about that also!

2. If the Kriegsmarine was as effective in blockade as the RN Black Tom doesn't happen! US was exporting as much as it could into the Allies, but couldn't get to Germany & the Central Powers which it was perfectly willing to do.

3. You omit the important rider to the Zimmermann telegram, which was that the proposal was only to be activated in the event of a US entry into the war on the Allied side

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06-22-2013, 06:44 PM
  #72
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The US had no reason to fear the plan outlined in the Zimmerman Telegram as it was totally unfeasible to execute, which was what made it such a colossal blunder on the part of the Germans pretty much boxing the US into war.

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06-23-2013, 06:46 AM
  #73
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You know what annoys me?

That the only major film made about the great war in recent times is about a ****ing horse.

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06-23-2013, 11:33 AM
  #74
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Canada saving the world. As usual.

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06-23-2013, 12:20 PM
  #75
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You know what annoys me?

That the only major film made about the great war in recent times is about a ****ing horse.

"A Very Long Engagement" was pretty good.

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