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View Poll Results: Who's side are you on?
The Central Powers 139 29.20%
The Triple Entente 187 39.29%
Neither one of them 150 31.51%
Voters: 476. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 5th, 2017, 02:24 PM   #1331

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Some of my favourite posters and Kotromanic are active on this thread.
So... Kotromanic isn't one of your favorite posters?
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Old August 5th, 2017, 02:33 PM   #1332

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So... Kotromanic isn't one of your favorite posters?


It was a friendly jape.

Edit: OMG, now you can just post the yt link and it embeds it. So much technology!
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Old August 5th, 2017, 02:43 PM   #1333
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I forgot if I already posted on this thread and blamed the British. In case I didn't: I blame the British.

Every other country had clear interests and acted in accordance with them. Their actions had a decent degree of predictability. They were acting rationally enough. The UK wasn't clear enough about its intentions and that was highly irrational. I'm not using "moral blame" here (A-H wins this), nor am I saying the war would have been avoided, I'm just saying their diplomatic actions were the worst. This was at a time when two of the Great Powers were ruled by Willy and Nicky and Italy was also there.

Tbf, I also think their interwar actions were the worst (among the Allies, of course). Either I'm biased or they had a really bad couple of decades and I couldn't possibly be biased.
Our position was always peace at all costs. Given that we had more than we could possibly cope with we were the nation which above all had most to lose.

From that position, our actions were entirely rational. We told the French to not expect our support, and we told the Germans to not expect us to stay out of it: in an attempt to deter both countries.

War would definitely not have been avoided, regardless of our actions, but our intervention turned a European conflict into a world war.

My personal opinion is that it was a huge mistake and we should have stayed out of it.
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Old August 5th, 2017, 03:36 PM   #1334

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Our position was always peace at all costs. Given that we had more than we could possibly cope with we were the nation which above all had most to lose.

From that position, our actions were entirely rational. We told the French to not expect our support, and we told the Germans to not expect us to stay out of it: in an attempt to deter both countries.

War would definitely not have been avoided, regardless of our actions, but our intervention turned a European conflict into a world war.
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In his talks with Prince Lichnowsky, Grey drew a sharp distinction between an Austro-Serbian war, which did not concern Britain, and an Austro-Russian war, which did.[125] Grey added that Britain was not working in concord with France and Russia, which heightened Jagow's hopes of severing Britain from the Triple Entente.[125] On the same day, Jagow sent another message to Vienna to encourage the Austrians to hurry up with declaring war on Serbia.[126]
[...]
Grey stated that a compromise solution could be worked out if Germany and Britain were to work together.[133] His approach generated opposition from British officials, who felt the Germans were dealing with the crisis in bad faith.[133] Nicolson warned Grey that in his opinion "Berlin is playing with us".[133] Grey for his part, rejected Nicolson's assessment, and believed that Germany was interested in stopping a general war.[133]
He was far too okay with an Austrian-Serbian war.

Then there's also the "stop in Belgrade" offer. In the context of everyone knowing Russia needs more time to mobilize, so it would mobilize asap if it sees Serbia attacked. The simple fact that he thought this offer made any sense proves how bad he was at doing his job. How can you be a diplomat and think Russia would allow Belgrade to fall? This isn't hindsight bias. It was obvious at the time. It was so bad, Willy also proposed it.

Grey was asked what the UK would do in case of a European war early during the July Crisis and he didn't give clear answers. He didn't want to embolden France and Russia. Fine, but then why allow Churchill to concentrate the fleet (27th July) if that's your main policy objective in regards to F-R?

If from the beginning he would have declared neutrality, France-Russia might have hesitated more. They might have agreed with Serbia getting a bit punished.

If, from the beginning, he would have said the UK would join, Germany might have hesitated more. It might have restrained A-H.

I don't see how you can argue in favour of hesitations in situations like this. There's a reason why the others were more straightforward. Not to abuse Occam's razor, but if you're right and I'm wrong, then the British were the only ones capable of diplomacy for an entire month in 1914.

Germany doubted Britain's commitment to France. France, iirc (it's been a long time since I studied this), ended up thinking it has good odds, even without the UK joining.
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My personal opinion is that it was a huge mistake and we should have stayed out of it.
German hegemony in Europe would have been a threat. It was traditional British foreign policy to prevent hegemony in Europe.

Last edited by Offspring; August 5th, 2017 at 04:07 PM.
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Old August 5th, 2017, 03:45 PM   #1335

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To make sure I'm clear.

- It was obvious to everyone Serbia wasn't going to accept the ultimatum.
- It was obvious to everyone A-H wanted to attack Serbia and knew G would have entered if R entered.
- It was obvious to everyone that R would enter if S was attacked and knew F would enter if R entered.
- It was obvious to everyone that F would enter if R entered.
- It was obvious to everyone that G would enter if R entered.

It wasn't as obvious that the UK would enter if F entered. It wasn't just the hesitation, it was also the conference proposal, which looked weak at that particular moment in time.

Last edited by Offspring; August 5th, 2017 at 03:50 PM.
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Old August 5th, 2017, 03:55 PM   #1336
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To make sure I'm clear.

- It was obvious to everyone Serbia wasn't going to accept the ultimatum.
- It was obvious to everyone A-H wanted to attack Serbia and knew G would have entered if R entered.
- It was obvious to everyone that R would enter if S was attacked and knew F would enter if R entered.
- It was obvious to everyone that F would enter if R entered.
- It was obvious to everyone that G would enter if R entered.

It wasn't as obvious that the UK would enter if F entered. It wasn't just the hesitation, it was also the conference proposal, which looked weak at that particular moment in time.
Serbia couldn't possibly accept the ultimatum because it was designed to ensure she couldn't possibly accept it. That said, Serbia accepted all points with the exception of one.

As for our entry, as I said, our ambition in continental Europe was peace at all costs but we also felt continental Europe was nothing but trouble and there was nothing there for us anyway; so why exactly would we be falling over ourselves to get involved? We had no interest there.
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Old August 5th, 2017, 03:57 PM   #1337

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Also, this has to be contrasted with the two Moroccan crises. Germany was successfully deterred and the support for France did make it actively seek war. I don't see why that wouldn't have worked now. I also don't really see how F-R pushed for war, in contrast with A-H and G. What was the danger? Serbia was the one who was going to either get attacked or massively humiliated. Russia either entered the war or faced the possibility of losing a vital ally in the Balkans (in a context where Bulgaria was no longer an ally and Romania wasn't exactly on speed dial). France couldn't have subdued Russia, since this was the entire basis of their alliance. Serbia accepting all but one of the points showed they weren't the main problematic side. G allowing so much space to A-H was the problem. A-H was supported in being aggressive, while Serbia was supported in not being destroyed.

So, what was the risk of saying from the start that if this becomes a European war, the UK would join the F-R side? What was the benefit of hesitating?

Last edited by Offspring; August 5th, 2017 at 04:12 PM.
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Old August 5th, 2017, 04:01 PM   #1338

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Serbia couldn't possibly accept the ultimatum because it was designed to ensure she couldn't possibly accept it. That said, Serbia accepted all points with the exception of one.
I know, that's why I said: "it was obvious to everyone A-H wanted to attack Serbia".
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As for our entry, as I said, our ambition in continental Europe was peace at all costs but we also felt continental Europe was nothing but trouble and there was nothing there for us anyway; so why exactly would we be falling over ourselves to get involved? We had no interest there.
I already said: preventing hegemony in Europe was a traditional British foreign policy objective. Any hegemon would have seen the UK as its main rival.
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Old August 5th, 2017, 04:28 PM   #1339

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I know, that's why I said: "it was obvious to everyone A-H wanted to attack Serbia".I already said: preventing hegemony in Europe was a traditional British foreign policy objective. Any hegemon would have seen the UK as its main rival.
I think it goes beyond that. Mainly, the German economic rise which worried London. Germany's economy performed incredibly well basically since unification and it was inevitable to convert that power into the political sphere.

And there's was a thing about the flow of resources and control over it - the cornerstone of British power, which Germany could threaten with its slow but steady naval buildup.

Britain was a status-quo power. London's policy was to use conflicts for its own ends to split potential allies and turn them against each other.
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Old August 5th, 2017, 04:39 PM   #1340

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I think it goes beyond that. Mainly, the German economic rise which worried London. Germany's economy performed incredibly well basically since unification and it was inevitable to convert that power into the political sphere.

And there's was a thing about the flow of resources and control over it - the cornerstone of British power, which Germany could threaten with its slow but steady naval buildup.

Britain was a status-quo power. London's policy was to use conflicts for its own ends to split potential allies and turn them against each other.
I agree. However, I used "any" to indicate that this wasn't Germany-centred. Germany just happened to be the likeliest hegemon at that time. France was countered previously. France also got a bit countered after the war (more in non-European parts than in Europe).

The navy part was important. It wasn't necessary to have one that equaled Britain's. It was enough to have a decently sized one to make them worried that they won't be able to properly handle all the affairs of the Empire if they get bogged down (even if there's no war, they'd need to be ready with ships).
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