Skip to comments.Germany started the Great War, but the Left can’t bear to say so
Posted on 01/08/2014 6:10:44 AM PST by C19fan
One of the reasons I am a Conservative is that, in the end, I just cant stand the intellectual dishonesty of the Left. In my late teens I found I had come to hate the way Lefties always seemed to be trying to cover up embarrassing facts about human nature, or to refuse to express simple truths and I disliked the pious way in which they took offence, and tried to shoosh you into silence, if you blurted such a truth. Let me give you a current example of this type of proposition. It is a sad but undeniable fact that the First World War in all its murderous horror was overwhelmingly the result of German expansionism and aggression. That is a truism that has recently been restated by Max Hastings, in an excellent book, and that has been echoed by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary. I believe that analysis to be basically correct, and that it is all the more important, in this centenary year, that we remember it.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
I think your synopsis is a little too simple. I think that Russia deserves a good deal of blame.
Yes, Germany and Austro-Hungary went on a rampage of greed and slaughter without a moment's thought for possible consequences.
All of Europe's imperialist powers leapt to join the festivities of destruction and death, and all suffered grievously.
No they didn't. They leapt to self-defense.
In Western Europe Germany was barely held at the Marne. Civilization itself was under threat.
Thank you for the much needed laugh this morning. I can just hear John Cleese’s exasperated voice.
In spite of the pointless debate here on who started it (100 years ago) there were no real good guys in that war, Germany surrendered when German citizens turned against the war, which Wilson's 14 points helped stimulate.
After surrender France and England threw away the 14 points and proceeded to humiliate and cripple Germany for pure revenge which was proven to be very short sighted.
A classic anti-war movie is Paths of Glory which gives a taste as to how little French and German lives were considered worth in WWI.
I don’t know about that. The civil war certainly accomplished something. You don’t see slaves picking cotton on plantations in Mississippi and Alabama anymore, do you? That wasn’t going to happen without war. WWI and WWII combined to end imperialism and European militarism. Korea? The people of modern S. Korea are probably pretty thankful that this war was fought. Otherwise, they’d be ruled by a petty communist dictator who executes relatives (and likely others) for opposing his whims. Vietnam? Well, we lost, but the idea is the same; if we had been able to prevail, we could have saved millions of South Vietnamese from communist rule. Afghanistan and Iraq? The jury’s still out, but so far, Al Qaeda has not been able to produce a large-scale terrorist attack on US soil.
War may not be pleasant, and I agree it should be avoided whenever possible. However, sometimes war is unavoidable. Would you rather have had Hitler dominating Europe? Would you rather still have slaves on plantations? Would you rather still have the Soviets threatening to overrun Western Europe? All of these required war or the credible threat of war to prevent.
The simple truth is that there are people who are ready and willing to fight wars to acheive their goals. Typically these goals are ones that we find undesirable, such as preservation of slavery, domination of other countries, or promotion of poisonous and damaging ideologies. If we’re willing to surrender to such people, we can have peace, but at a high cost. Refusing to fight against these people doesn’t make them go away. Being friendly with them doesn’t make them give up their goals. The only way to truly deal with them, other than giving them everything they want, is to fight.
Germany (and Austro-Hungary) started a war that wouldn't otherwise have started.
This isn't some theory of continental drift. There were clear aggressors in World War One, just as clear and as stark as the aggressors in World War Two.
Germany surrendered and signed the Armistice only when the Allied blockade had starved the country into submission.
Helped of course by the fact that the Germans had sharply denuded their agricultural sector by taking men off to the fronts.
Russia was in E. Prussia AFTER Germany declared war on Russia. You can’t really call a nation an agressor if another nation declares war on them and they invade the nation that made the initial declaration, can you?
Ok, 1.5 hours on thread. I had better get back to work.
June 28, 1914: Serbian irredentists assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
June 28-29: Anti-Serb pogrom in Sarajevo
July 23: Austria-Hungary, following their own secret inquiry, sends an ultimatum to Serbia, containing several very severe demands. In particular, they gave only forty-eight hours to comply. Whilst both Great Britain and Russia sympathised with many of the demands, both agreed the timescale was far too short. Both nevertheless advised Serbia to comply.
July 24: Germany officially declares support for Austria’s position.
July 24: Sir Edward Grey, speaking for the British government, asks that Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain, “who had no direct interests in Serbia, should act together for the sake of peace simultaneously.”
July 25: The Serbian government replies to Austria, and agrees to most of the demands. However, certain demands brought into question her survival as an independent nation. On these points they asked that the Hague Tribunal arbitrate.
July 25: Russia enters a period preparatory to war and mobilization begins on all frontiers. Government decides on a partial mobilization in principle to begin on July 29.
July 25: Serbia mobilizes its army; responds to Austro-Hungarian démarche with less than full acceptance; Austria-Hungary breaks diplomatic relations with Serbia.
July 26: Serbia reservists accidentally violate Austro-Hungarian border at Temes-Kubin.
July 26: Russia having agreed to stand aside whilst others conferred, a meeting is organised to take place between ambassadors from Great Britain, Germany, Italy and France to discuss the crisis. Germany declines the invitation.
July 27: Sir Edward Grey meets the German ambassador independently. A telegram to Berlin after the meeting states, “Other issues might be raised that would supersede the dispute between Austria and Serbia ... as long as Germany would work to keep peace I would keep closely in touch.”
July 28: Austria-Hungary, having failed to accept Serbia’s response of the 25th, declares war on Serbia. Mobilisation against Serbia begins.
July 29: Russian general mobilization is ordered, and then changed to partial mobilization.
July 29: Sir Edward Grey appeals to Germany to intervene to maintain peace.
July 29: The British Ambassador in Berlin, Sir Edward Goschen, is informed by the German Chancellor that Germany is contemplating war with France, and furthermore, wishes to send its army through Belgium. He tries to secure Britain’s neutrality in such an action.
July 30: Russian general mobilization is reordered at 5:00 P.M.
July 31: Austrian general mobilization is ordered.
July 31: Germany enters a period preparatory to war.
July 31: Germany sends an ultimatum to Russia, demanding that they halt military preparations within twelve hours.
July 31: Both France and Germany are asked by Britain to declare their support for the ongoing neutrality of Belgium. France agrees to this. Germany does not respond.
July 31: Germany asks France, whether it would stay neutral in case of a war Germany vs. Russia
August 1 (3 A.M.): King George V of Great Britain personally telegraphs Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
August 1: French general mobilization is ordered.
August 1: German general mobilization is ordered.
August 1: Germany declares war against Russia.
August 1: The Tsar responds to the king’s telegram, stating, “I would gladly have accepted your proposals had not the German ambassador this afternoon presented a note to my Government declaring war.”
August 2: Germany and The Ottoman Empire sign a secret treaty. entrenching the Ottoman-German Alliance
August 3: Germany, after France declines (See Note) its demand to remain neutral, declares war on France. Germany states to Belgium that she would “treat her as an enemy” if she did not allow free passage of German troops across her lands.
August 3: Britain, expecting German naval attack on the northern French coast, states that Britain would give “... all the protection in its powers.”
August 4: Germany implements the Alfred von Schlieffen Plan (modified).
August 4 (midnight): Having failed to receive notice from Germany assuring the neutrality of Belgium, Britain declares war on Germany.
August 6: Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia.
August 23: Japan, honouring the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, declares war on Germany.
August 25: Japan declares war on Austria-Hungary.
Note: French Prime Minister Rene Viviani merely replied to the German ultimatum that, “France will act in accordance with her interests.” Had the French agreed to remain neutral, the German Ambassador was authorized to ask the French to temporarily surrender the Fortresses of Toul and Verdun as a guarantee of neutrality.
The Germans over-threw the Kaiser ending the monarchy. This was after the allies distributed Wilsons 14 points (of a peace agreement) in Germany using aircraft
One promise was :”3.The removal, of all economic barriers and the establishment of equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.”
Of course once the Germans decided to give in the Allies set the state for Hitler and WWII with reparations(money Germany didnt have) , which Stalin repeated on East Germany in the late 1940s.
I can think of several million jews who believe war solved something.
I was thinking along the line that war has not solved war. I expect two more battles for the Jews, one soon then the big one to end all war.
Germany indeed did push Austria-Hungary toward war. A-H would never have undertaken an invasion of Serbia under threat of Russian counterattack without German backing. Germany essentially gave A-H approval for the invasion of Serbia by promising to declare war on Russia if she should mobilize to oppose the Serbian invasion. Until that time, the alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy was a defensive one - all promised to support any others who were attacked by an outside power. That’s why Italy ended up on the Allied side; they declined to hold to the alliance because A-H was the aggressor, not the nation attacked. Germany could have done the same and remained neutral during the Austrian/Serbian conflict. Had they done so, it’s likely A-H would never have invaded and risked war with Russia.
In the actual event, Russia mobilized to oppose the Austrian invasion of Serbia. Germany saw this as a threat because its war plans called for defeating France on the western front before Russia had time to fully mobilize. Germany had to declare war against France and Russia so that they could defeat France before Russia completed its mobilization. Thus, the Schlieffen plan did cause Germany to pursue aggression against a neighbor that had nothing to do with the immediate crisis.
The truth is that Germany intentionally inserted itself into a diplomatic crisis that really did not involve Germany. They encouraged A-H to take a hard line with Serbia by promising support in the form of a war declaration should Russia threaten to oppose the invasion. When Russia mobilized, they declared war on Russia as promised, and then involved France and England by virtue of implementation of the Schlieffen plan. How does Germany not receive the bulk of the war guilt given all this? Had Germany not intervened, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand would have been a limited Balkan crisis. Certianly crises in the Balkans were fairly common at the time, but only one of them led to a war involving all the major powers.
I’m sure that had the Germans known what they were about to unleash, they would have backed off. However, WWI was really the first modern war fought by industrialized great powers. Warfare up to that time was not really too damaging to the belligerants. Nobody expected a protracted war, and nobody expected so much death and destruction. War was seen as an acceptable tool of statecraft at that time. Germany did intentionally seek out a war; they almost certainly did not intentionally seek the disaster that actually occurred.
Do you SERIOUSLY think we'd still see slaves on plantations today if the Civil War had not been fought? I don't.
Most of the rest of the world eventually abolished slavery... without having to kill 500,000 of their own people to make it happen. Given the state of our "united" nation today, I'm less and less sure the Civil War was 'worth it'.
Slaves would have been freed, eventually... due to public demand for decency. And, we'd have TWO countries to choose from to live in.
I agree that war has not solved war but that’s because war cannot change human nature. There will never be “peace in our time” until human nature changes (read: never)
Who knows how the world’s approach to slavery would have progressed? If the civil war didn’t take place, the US may have been very different. A different US makes the world from 1860 forward very different.
You’re saying that the current view of slavery as evil evolved independent of the civil war. That the view of slavery as evil would have grown even without the civil war. That does not logically follow. For all we know, half the country would have still kept slaves forever.
Funny I always thought that Russia conspiring to have a beloved ruler and his wife assassinated had more than just a wee tiny bit to do with the starting of that war. But once again instead of believing the oral history of people that lived through it, I suppose I’ll have to defer to book learnin.
Because obviously those that lived through it must have had an agenda.
I don’t know and neither do you. However, consider a few things:
1. Slavery was integral to the economy of the South during the antebellum years. Ending slavery meant impovershing the south, at least until other economic bases were developed. Would southern plantation owners really have voluntarily turned themselves into paupers by freeing their slaves?
2. While the Constitution is ambiguous on the matter of slavery (probably due to the Founders’ desire to not allow the issue to derail the ratification), the southern plantation owners saw the Constitution as an implicit endorsement of the practice of slavery. Would you be willing to give up your guns, for instance, if people in other parts of the country deem that gun ownership is immoral? A similar question faced the plantation owners with regard to slavery. I suspect that most posters on here would not give up their guns based on the moral outrage of others, and similarly, slave owners would not voluntarily free their slaves based on the moral outrage of abolitionists.
3. The South was, culturally and economically, very much a separate nation from the North during the antebellum years. The North had an industrial economy based on wage-earning workers, rather than an agricultural one based on slave labor. The Civil War was really an attempt to turn this cultural and economic reality into a political one as well. Given this, would it really make sense to think that slave owners would voluntarily free slaves based on Northern opinion? Keep in mind, the Civil War may have given LEGAL freedom to the slaves, but the culture of slavery persisted in the South.
Cultures and economies do change, so it may be true that slavery could have been ended without warfare. However, I was responding to a poster who questioned whether any of the series of wars we’ve fought has accomplished anything. I’m sure a slave in 1865 who found himself free following the war would have no problem seeing what the Civil War accomplished. I also see very little evidence that, absent war, slavery would have been ended in 1865, or for quite some time thereafter. Therefore, I stand by the assertion that the Civil War was a successful one insofar as it accomplished the goal of freeing the slaves.
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