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European History European History Forum - Western and Eastern Europe including the British Isles, Scandinavia, Russia


View Poll Results: Who's side are you on?
The Central Powers 138 29.18%
The Triple Entente 186 39.32%
Neither one of them 149 31.50%
Voters: 473. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 6th, 2017, 01:37 AM   #1351

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Originally Posted by Kotromanic View Post
It seems that French leader Poincare's visit to St. Petersburg provided needed encouragement for the hardliners (including Sazonov). Your notion that in the first and a half after the early "blanque check" the Franco-Russian side was considering the possibility of a European war is not supported by sources I've read.

After Russia had gone along with abandoning Serbia in the London Conference of 1913, why would any British government assume that Russia was ready to fight over the points of the ultimatum?

Recall that Poincare returned to France either the day before the shelling of Belgrade or the day of?

ASIDE: thank you for sharing a flattering photo of America's greatest late night TV announcer.

ASIDE B: how I miss beorna not being here to present the case for the Austro-German diplomacy ...
What does that have to do with my point about Grey being firmer to G about his support for F-R? Hypotheticals were discussed often during that period, especially when the goal was deterrence. Trying to make sure G doesn't do anything rash would have been a perfectly reasonable British foreign policy and in tone with their behaviour during the previous crises.

Let's say there was no point in being firmer early on. What about later in the crisis?

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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]
Is the second paragraph related to British behaviour post-ultimatum? At that point, they were already assuming an European war is possible. On the 27th of July, Grey asked the cabinet what would Britain do if France were attacked and Grey figured out early on that the ultimatum was meant to be refused (but, even Willy did that, so no points are given).

I don't know what the point about Poincare is.

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Old August 6th, 2017, 01:38 AM   #1352

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Germany could only ever be a threat to us in the event they built a navy and threatened our trade routes. What they did in continental Europe, in terms of their economic achievements, was immaterial. In fact, a strong, prosperous Germany was in our interests because it was a source of trading/revenue for us.

So, Germany did attempt to build a navy, and that was taken as a very serious challenge, one we could not afford to lose, and so we simply built bigger and more ships than the Germans; and the Germans, caught between attempting to challenge Britain's global supremacy and maintaining an army that could challenge France and Russia, chose the latter and so conceded defeat in the naval race. Don't forget that the Germans felt a showdown with France and Russia was inevitable, and France and Russia were spending more on their armed forces, and so they put their eggs in that basket.

It follows thus in June 1914 Germany was not a threat to us.

As for Britain's policy towards continental Europe, well, self-interest is the bedrock of every nation's foreign policy, but we didn't want them at each other's throats: we wanted a balance of power. Said balance of power had pretty much been achieved in that there were alliances on the continent that appeared to deter any nation from starting a war. Britain acted as a referee so to speak, and while allied to France and Russia in an attempt to prevent Germany from doing anything silly, we usually sided with the Germans at conferences, not the French or Russians, in an attempt to show they were not powerless on the international stage - again with the aim of preventing Germany from doing anything silly.

Also, 'conflict' on the continent, particularly a major war, was really not in our interests, because our interests and political philosophy amounted to trading wherever we could; and of course any major war was going to be destructive and the stock markets would have followed suit (which they did rapidly in late June and early July 1914).

I take from your post you assume Britain believed conflict and war on the continent was in our interests. You couldn't be farther from the truth. Yes, we were not averse to waltzing into people's countries in other parts of the world and stealing their possessions, but with those possessions we needed a stable Europe with which to trade.

To go back to the OP: WW1 was a battle of ideas so to speak. The liberal, trading, more democratic approach of Britain and France versus the more autocratic and reactionary approach of Central Europe. Had Britain and France not prevailed, with the support of the United States, then the world today may have been very different.

'Reason being: the United States needs nations around the world with a similar outlook on world politics: market, trading orientated in particular. Without strong allies in Europe with a similar outlook then the ability of the United States to promote her values and ideas around the world would have been diminished; and it follows that the influence that the United States and Britain have had on the modern world would not be the same.

Nations such as the United States and Britain are innovative because of flexible political systems and the outcome of WW1 guaranteed that approach in Europe and helped make it possible to spread this idea into other parts of the world.

That said, not everyone prefers liberal, market orientated politics - and so I suppose it depends upon your preference as to whether or not you think the right team prevailed.
A victorious Germany would have been a threat, hence the policy of avoiding a hegemon in Europe.

A victorious Russia, without any British support, wouldn't have been fun either.
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Old August 6th, 2017, 04:34 AM   #1353
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A victorious Germany would have been a threat
That's very much debatable. It depends upon what you believe their war aims were. Their documented stated war aims at the outset of war suggest they wouldn't have been a threat to us.
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Old August 6th, 2017, 04:59 AM   #1354

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That's very much debatable. It depends upon what you believe their war aims were. Their documented stated war aims at the outset of war suggest they wouldn't have been a threat to us.
I'm not necessarily talking about a threat of war. I'm talking about the threat of having a powerful rival.
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Old August 6th, 2017, 05:00 AM   #1355
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That's very much debatable. It depends upon what you believe their war aims were. Their documented stated war aims at the outset of war suggest they wouldn't have been a threat to us.
Have you looked at them at all, it was imposition of a new continental system.
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Old August 6th, 2017, 05:26 AM   #1356

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Originally Posted by Offspring View Post
What does that have to do with my point about Grey being firmer to G about his support for F-R? Hypotheticals were discussed often during that period, especially when the goal was deterrence. Trying to make sure G doesn't do anything rash would have been a perfectly reasonable British foreign policy and in tone with their behaviour during the previous crises.

Let's say there was no point in being firmer early on. What about later in the crisis?



Is the second paragraph related to British behaviour post-ultimatum? At that point, they were already assuming an European war is possible. On the 27th of July, Grey asked the cabinet what would Britain do if France were attacked and Grey figured out early on that the ultimatum was meant to be refused (but, even Willy did that, so no points are given).

I don't know what the point about Poincare is.
Overall, I am sympathetic to the idea that Grey was culpable for putting his PM in a bad situation.

Some consideration could be given to the fact that the Anglo-Russian entente was merely seven years old at the time of the July Crisis. The British would understandably have let the French lead on the discussions with Russia. However... Grey seems to have been naive in making an assumption that the French would assume a diplomatic stance relative to the Russians similar to the developments of the 1913 London conference.

(At the London conference, it seems that the Russians were restrained by their de facto reliance on Franco-British credit for the industrialization program.)

The sources I have found (Izvolsky and de Basily memoirs) give me an impression that the "hard-line" pro Serbia factions in St Petersburg were taken by surprise by the French unconditional affirmation of the alliance during Poincare's visit. I feel that given the Russian foreign ministry was not expecting the readiness of the French to fight the continental war, then we can absolve Grey of incompetence prior to the days just before the ultimatum to Serbia. If the Russians (partners in defensive alliance since about '92) had misread the French willingness to fight the continental war, then the French could also have "stonewalled" their more junior ally (and as pugsville points out the British were less strategically valuable to the French than were the Russians--in a SHORT war, while the RN was strategically decisive in a LONG war).
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Old August 6th, 2017, 05:31 AM   #1357

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Originally Posted by Offspring View Post
I'm not necessarily talking about a threat of war. I'm talking about the threat of having a powerful rival.
Only the "minority view" within the general staffs envisioned a war that extended beyond the summer of 1915.

In a short war the British were not as valuable as Italy it could be argued, but of course it was a long war. Conventional wisdom at the time discounted the importance of the blockade on the Central Powers.
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Old August 6th, 2017, 05:35 AM   #1358

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Originally Posted by Kotromanic View Post
Only the "minority view" within the general staffs envisioned a war that extended beyond the summer of 1915.

In a short war the British were not as valuable as Italy it could be argued, but of course it was a long war. Conventional wisdom at the time discounted the importance of the blockade on the Central Powers.
I was talking about how the world would have looked like for the British if they didn't enter the war. Germany wins => big rival in Europe. Russia wins without British support => not a good position to be in.
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Old August 6th, 2017, 05:40 AM   #1359

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Originally Posted by Offspring View Post
I was talking about how the world would have looked like for the British if they didn't enter the war. Germany wins => big rival in Europe. Russia wins without British support => not a good position to be in.
Maybe I am being overly specific here.

I will stipulate that long war or short war... if the British leave peace terms to others it would be detrimental to the world order they had worked so hard to achieve.

So, in specifics... I am posting to highlight the role of the French, who seem to have felt they could execute the campaign against Germany with or without the BEF.

In the end (despite the bravery of the British at Mons), the French succeeded at Marne with very little contribution from the BEF, validating their choice to keep Grey uninformed in the early part of the crisis.
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Old August 6th, 2017, 06:11 AM   #1360
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If Austria was so committed to peace and status quo then why did they annex Bosnia and caused a huge crisis?
Yes Austria loved the Peace, the Austria Felix.. that the reason becasue it is so difficult to find an Austrian declaration of war in history.

Bella gerunt alii, tu felix Austria nube

Let others wage war: thou, happy Austria, marry

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Annex Bosnia?
Maybe because in compliance with the treaty of St. Stephanom, the Monarchy was actually administering Bosnia - Herzegovina since 1880-1881?

Not big crisis.. save for the Serbian ultra-nationalist people... drugged with the oniric dream of Greater Serbia.


Quote:
Why did they immediately accuse Serbia of organizing the Sarajevo assassination without hard proof?
Maybe because from the Serbian Terrorist killed the Serbian Royal family in 1903.. they dedicated to instigate all kind of violence, terrorism, sabotage etc etc etc... Karageorgevitch and Apis... Apis and the Karageorgevitch.. were not the the first people they killed. Serbia had protected the terrorism in Bosnia (at least) from 1910.


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Why did they deliberately their ultimatum to Serbia unacceptable for a sovereign country?
Unacceptable only for who protected and conceled the terrorist activities... the participation of Imperial and Royal officers in the Serbian investigation...only it was unacceptable because the servian authorities feared what they could discover. It is funny, they are USA official in Mexico...
Why Mexico HAVE to accept what SERBIA didn“t accept? Maybe because Serbia had to concelead their terrorist activities in Bosna from 1909/1910?

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Austria was just as guilty of increasing tensions in the Balkans
Funny, the Serbian and Russian ultra-nationalism not "increasing tensions"... but Austria yes... funny.. not Servian Nationalism.. not Tension.. not tension when Austria (Prinz Eugen) took Beograd in 18th Century...funny.. tension in 1914...
Equation is very simple: Not Servian nationalism... Not tension...

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they imposed a customs blockade on Serbia because the new government wasn't pro-Austrian like the previous Serbian government was
The "new" government that didn“t come from an election but from a bloody Coup d“Etat... organized by Apis and the Army (Do I need to refresh memory? here you can read.

May Coup

Or how Karageorgevitch killed Obrenovitch. The Ultranationalism servian killed the King because his sympathies to Austria. The Pan-Slavist wanted a pro-Russian king. The serbian ultranationalism learned to kill chief of States... In Beograd in 1903... in Sarajevo in 1914.

The Coup goverment decided to buy weapons in France (Scheneider) and not in Austria (Skoda).. so the Monarchy answered with the Schweinekrieg
(a stupidity, yes.. but based on fact... In fact, when a Coup govenment today made a hostile politic to USA... USA imposes Sanctions... Exactly as Austria did).

Quote:
Why did Austria create the Schutzkorps in 1908 to terrorise the Serbs of Herzegovina?
As answer to the Chetniks and Komitadjii violance? The Schutzkoorps consisted mainly by muslim Bosnian (Bosniaken).
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