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Old April 20th, 2014, 03:04 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by Kotromanic View Post
I believe that Lloyd George was so concerned that Germany was on the brink of "going Red" that he advocated the softer stance on the boundary between Germany and Poland (so that Weimar could claim to have "faced down" the French on at least one significant issue).
Strange idea considering that Germany hadn't been allowed to participate in the negotiations of the peace treaty. It's difficult to see how anyone should have assumed that the German government faced down the French in anything when they weren't even in the room.
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Old April 20th, 2014, 03:59 PM   #72

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Strange idea considering that Germany hadn't been allowed to participate in the negotiations of the peace treaty. It's difficult to see how anyone should have assumed that the German government faced down the French in anything when they weren't even in the room.
Hi Hans, yes poor usage on my part. Not precise language.

Would you disagree that taken as a whole the gap in negotiating positions, between France and Britain in 1919, was in part due to British anxiety regarding the appeal of the Left in that era?

I don't believe that it makes me a less patriotic American to state an opinion that to some extent the Fourteen Points were effective at providing a mirage of face savings to Hindenburg and others in the military hierarchy. The bitterness in the German military over departing from the "spirit of the Fourteen Points" is understandable to me.
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Old April 20th, 2014, 04:36 PM   #73
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I think that the original question begs an answer to the question of whether Europe would be better off if Germany won WWI as opposed to the Allies. I am not suggesting that the US played a decisive role in deciding the war on the battlefield. Instead, I think that US intervention meant that the Germans knew they were racing against time i.e., to defeat France and Britain before the US could play a decisive role. The American Army at the point of intervention in 1917 was extremely small. It took time to put a major force in the field. This is similar to the reality of British support of France. The British Army of 1914 was small and did not really become a factor til 1916. If the US stays out of the war, does Germany hurry its 1918 offensive which almost succeeded? With the prospect of millions of fresh troops, can Germany continue the war? I think the German request for an armistice based on Wilson's 14 points answers that question.

Could the US have continued to stay "neutral"? I think the answer is yes. Unrestricted submarine warfare meant that anyone doing business with the Allies was liable to be sunk without warning. If US industries want to sell their goods, they should have to run the risks. My passport has stated that travel to Cuba, North Korea or other dangerous places is prohibited. Why should an industrialist expect different treatment? As to the Zimmerman Telegram, it was a diplomatic ploy much like the Allies convincing Italy or Romania to join their side. It was a pretext that Wilson exploited since it furthered his ends. After all, he was more than willing to interfere in Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua and other Central and South American countries to protect American interests.

What did the US gain by its intervention? Not much! The US was a rising industrial and economic power before the war. In terms of prestige, Wilson was initially hailed as the savior of Europe. In England, France and Italy he was hailed as the great hope for the peace. When he left to go home, he was barely noticed. I think it is fair to say that he was a failure at Versailles and back home. The only survivor of the 14 points was the League and that failed in the US Senate. In terms of the next 20 years, the US retreated into a shell and basically ignored the rest of the world. The US was neither ready nor interested in the role of world power.
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Old April 20th, 2014, 05:03 PM   #74

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In the long run, it was a good idea, although I think the Central powers would have fallen without us. But then again, the U.S. has a history of getting involved. In EVERYTHING!
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Old April 20th, 2014, 05:04 PM   #75
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Would you disagree that taken as a whole the gap in negotiating positions, between France and Britain in 1919, was in part due to British anxiety regarding the appeal of the Left in that era?
I'd be surprised if it didn't play a part. But I don't know enough about the British politics of that time to make a judgement about the extent.

But if they wanted to stabilize the Weimar government, I think that they made a huge error in judgment with the way the treaty of Versailles was drafted. And I don't even mean the real content. If the hard facts like losing territory, paying reparations and all that had been presented in a different form, I think that it might have been something the Weimar politicians could have sold to the majority of the population to make a new start (tough, but Germany lost the war, so what do you expect?).

But as it was drafted, it was clear that on the next day after signing it any German government would try to re-negotiate and thus it stayed always part of current politics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kotromanic View Post
I don't believe that it makes me a less patriotic American to state an opinion that to some extent the Fourteen Points were effective at providing a mirage of face savings to Hindenburg and others in the military hierarchy. The bitterness in the German military over departing from the "spirit of the Fourteen Points" is understandable to me.
It should have been made clear that Germany simply lost the war and it was in my opinion a huge mistake that the German politicians didn't rub this in, no matter whether Hindenburg and other liked it or not.

But the German politicians were also disappointed by the differences between Versailles and the 14 points, to say the least. In the last months before the armistice there had been substantial changes in the German political landscape to get a more favourable armistice. When they were then presented with this mammoth treaty which basically ended German sovereignty, they were genuinely shocked by what they had to sign.
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Old May 3rd, 2014, 04:55 AM   #76

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Hell yeah, it was absurd that the US didn't join sooner
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Old October 25th, 2014, 03:54 PM   #77

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But the German violations were killing civilians, the British were not.
According to "Politics of War" by Walter Karp (admittedly a very anti-intervention by US in WWI book), the British were
laying mines in the N. Sea that were sinking neutral ships and presumably killing civilians.

Anyone know how true that is?
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Old October 25th, 2014, 06:34 PM   #78

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Originally Posted by SOTG View Post
According to "Politics of War" by Walter Karp (admittedly a very anti-intervention by US in WWI book), the British were
laying mines in the N. Sea that were sinking neutral ships and presumably killing civilians.

Anyone know how true that is?
There was the North Sea Barrage from the Orkneys to Norway, but I believe this was commenced after the US was already involved and the USN actively participated in its laying.

Smaller fields were laid close to German ports on an opportunity basis. I don't know if any neutrals fell foul of these.
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Old October 26th, 2014, 06:28 AM   #79
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I believe so; the war ended far sooner because of it. The worst part of American interventionism was just that Wilson's fourteen points weren't really used at all. The idea of a "peace without victory" would have kept Germany from going down the path that it did, but the Europeans would not put their bitterness aside to make it actually happen.
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Old October 26th, 2014, 06:58 AM   #80

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Originally Posted by Larrey View Post
That's food, manufactured goods and ammunition, but not weapons. The US could ship millions of troops to Europe, but these had to be primarly armed by France, using the produce of French arms industries.
U.S. Economy in World War I

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The insistence of the United States on her trading rights was also important. Soon after the war began Britain, France, and their allies set up a naval blockade of Germany and Austria. Even food was contraband. The Wilson Administration complained bitterly that the blockade violated international law. U.S. firms took to using European neutrals, such as Sweden, as intermediaries. Surely, the Americans argued, international law protected the right of one neutral to trade with another
When the British (who provided most of the blockading ships) intercepted an American ship, the ship was escorted into a British port, the crew was well treated, and there was a chance of damage payments if it turned out that the interception was a mistake. The situation was very different when the Germans turned to submarine warfare.


additionally, the US actually had an advantage in being the supplier to the warring parties rather than a participant:
Quote:
U.S. exports to Europe rose from $1.479 billion dollars in 1913 to $4.062 billion in 1917
While the Lusitania was the most memorable, it wasn't the only ship sunk by the Germans. As for the 1% or the "military/industrial" complex -- When the war broke out the New York Stock Exchange was closed to prevent panic selling. The market then began a long slide that began when tensions between the United States and Germany rose at the end of 1916 and continued after the United States entered the war. A second, less rise began in the spring of 1918 when an Allied victory began to seem possible. The increase continued and gathered momentum after the Armistice.

The kind of propaganda used: (while zeppelins could reach the US, the chances of an armada of bomb carrying airships reaching NY was laughable)
Click the image to open in full size.
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