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Old December 16th, 2017, 04:09 PM   #21

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The thing that turned what should have been a local skirmish in the Balkans into a world war was the complex system of alliances that no one foresaw would be activated in such a matter, or with such a devastating result.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 04:13 PM   #22
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The thing that turned what should have been a local skirmish in the Balkans into a world war was the complex system of alliances that no one foresaw would be activated in such a matter, or with such a devastating result.
Along with a vast weapons buildup, previous colonial fighting/land-grabs and threats to attempts at global hegemony.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 04:21 PM   #23

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You act as though this all started when Germany crossed Belgium. It didn't. You are taking one event devoid of any nuance and incorrectly identifying a starting point.
It started when Austria decided to go to war with Serbia, not that it had any real excuse, the Serbian government had nothing to do with Sarajevo, in fact Apis was one of Pašić's main enemies at the time. Austria wanted war with Serbia to boost itself, and to stabilize its position in the Balkans. War hawks like Hötzendorf wanted war far before the assassination. Austria was basically unhappy that Serbia started to follow a pro-Russian policy under the new dynasty. Especially since after the Second Balkan War, Serbia, Romania, Greece and Montenegro grew closer thus Austria feared a possible pan-Balkan alliance under Russia. Austria was worried that Serbia would try to take its Balkan lands (which they probably wanted) but in the years before 1914 the main focus of Serbian foreign policy was to the south, in the old Serbia. Plus war was something that Serbia would never have wanted in 1914, since its new territories were still not secure and stabilized, VMRO was still a threat, and so were the Albanians. The country was still in chaos after the Balkan Wars and it needed peace. Austria needed the opposite, they bargained that Russia was still unable to save Serbia as the country was still reforming its army. Germany wanted war before Russia finished its reforms.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 04:25 PM   #24
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It started when Austria decided to go to war with Serbia, not that it had any real excuse, the Serbian government had nothing to do with Sarajevo, in fact Apis was one of Pašić's main enemies at the time. Austria wanted war with Serbia to boost itself, and to stabilize its position in the Balkans. War hawks like Hötzendorf wanted war far before the assassination. Austria was basically unhappy that Serbia started to follow a pro-Russian policy under the new dynasty. Especially since after the Second Balkan War, Serbia, Romania, Greece and Montenegro grew closer thus Austria feared a possible pan-Balkan alliance under Russia. Austria was worried that Serbia would try to take its Balkan lands (which they probably wanted) but in the years before 1914 the main focus of Serbian foreign policy was to the south, in the old Serbia. Plus war was something that Serbia would never have wanted in 1914, since its new territories were still not secure and stabilized, VMRO was still a threat, and so were the Albanians. The country was still in chaos after the Balkan Wars and it needed peace. Austria needed the opposite, they bargained that Russia was still unable to save Serbia as the country was still reforming its army. Germany wanted war before Russia finished its reforms.
See, but the effects of this are from causes that were years, even decades before. I'm happy that we both agree that WWI didn't start just because Germany went through Belgium.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 04:29 PM   #25

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See, but the effects of this are from causes that were years, even decades before. I'm happy that we both agree that WWI didn't start just because Germany went through Belgium.
No, but it enabled it to spread and it painted Germany legitimately as an aggresor because they went through a neutral country. I doubt the UK would have stayed on the sidelines even if Germany hadn't gone through Belgium, but the German invasion gave them a nice excuse. Britain was threatened by Germany, because it had potential to become a hegemonic power on the Continent, something Britain had worked to avoid. German government was also anti-British, the Kaiser especially.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 06:05 PM   #26

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And that gives you the right to murder civilians? Anyone where from half a million to seven hundred thousand civilians died from food shortages in Germany.

You can't claim the moral high ground, "being the good guys" "fighting tyrannical monarchies" and "German militarism" and get to murder children. No sir, you don't get to get away with that. THAT is moral relativism.

And what is this "moral duty" you speak of? Who is the duty to?
The duty is to Natural Law, to your Creator... however you want to frame the Biggest Picture. And if one insists on an anarchistic world view than obviously... to oneself.

Once one is in a fight, if she/he "asked for it or not" you have to fight to win.

The Central Powers and Entente Powers each pursued more brutal tactics than the blockade to win.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 06:28 PM   #27
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The duty is to Natural Law, to your Creator... however you want to frame the Biggest Picture. And if one insists on an anarchistic world view than obviously... to oneself.

Once one is in a fight, if she/he "asked for it or not" you have to fight to win.

The Central Powers and Entente Powers each pursued more brutal tactics than the blockade to win.
Natural law dictates the pursuit of total war? There is no dictate to say you must fight to win. In fact it is very possible to fight and have a pyrrhic victory. It is very possible to choose to fight even though you know you will lose. Knowing that you have no chance at winning the war yet still entering that war. Spain did it in 1898. So there, your dictate that if "one fights, one must fight to win" is disproved.

And starving an entire nation is pretty heinous, but so is mining an entire sea, putting your own citizenry purposely at risk while they travel, and slaughtering civilians so yes there are other crimes that were committed during the war.

John Bright was right when he said that war is the worst horrors that man can inflict upon one another and I think we should go about limiting those horrors as much as possible and not ignobly accepting and in some cases justifying those horrors.

P.S. I am also curious in your previous comment about "emotional revisionism," I felt like you were saying it as a disparaging remark. Did you mean it in the sense that you think I was injecting some kind of misplaced modern emotion in the time period and engaging in presentism or are you disparaging revisionism?

Last edited by Divinespark; December 16th, 2017 at 07:11 PM.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 07:11 PM   #28
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To be objective Kaiser Wilhelm did provoke the British unnecessarily with the naval program and the Germans and British could have been strategic partners against France possibly without this. When I read Dreadnought last year I remember reading that they were on the verge of a deal before an election changed the UK's government. There was no German security need for that navy, it was largely built because the Kaiser liked ships and was jealous of his uncle, I'm not saying that's the only reason it was built but when two naval advisors are giving you contrary advice, he was clearly predisposed to go with the big fleet of capital ships, which could provoke the British rather than a solution that would be custom made for the French.

Now with the British the initial naval arms race was something they had under control and needlessly blew it all up by building the Dreandought putting themselves in a crisis they created themselves. Also if you read Dreadnought(I'll give the author if people want to read it) the British made stuff up to fan the flames after that, by saying the Germans were producing dreadnoughts faster as possible so the MP's would vote them funding for more ships. This resulted in British MP's being more likely to think the fleet was being designed to invade the British home isles as why else would the Germans be building faster than expected and hiding production details? They then fought under the pretext of the neutrality of a country they'd agreed to recognize like what 75 years earlier to prevent this threat? Without the UK, that war probably ends in 1914 and millions of lives are saved but yeah they protecting Belgian neutrality was totally worth it!

Honestly I think the Hapsburgs, Russians and French all deserve more blame for this conflict than the Germans and British who might have been the most innocent peace seeking of the five major powers.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 07:24 PM   #29
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There was no German security need for that navy, it was largely built because the Kaiser liked ships and was jealous of his uncle, I'm not saying that's the only reason it was built but when two naval advisors are giving you contrary advice, he was clearly predisposed to go with the big fleet of capital ships.
They were built because of Alfred Thayer Mahan's book on the Influence of Sea Power which was translated into German at the rest of the Kaiser. It was required to be aboard every German ship.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 10:47 PM   #30

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While I would generally argue that the Central Powers were more at fault for the start of the war and played the more aggressive role in its start...

I would also argue that World War I was really not war of "good guys" and "bad guys." Yes, the Germans and Austrians were more aggressive at the start, but in contrast to World War II and the build up to that war... Wilhelm II wasn't actually pushing for a major war and that same time, France's military planning in 1914 was every bit as aggressive as Germany's. The only difference between the Schlieffen Plan and Plan XVII was that the French attacked directly across the border while the Germans went through Belgium and Luxembourg...

And while the Germans went into the war with a viewpoint that could be considered extremely harsh on any potential civilian resistance, it was no where near would be imposed on the Eastern Front in WWII and definitely lacked the open racism that the Nazis would tout from 1933-1945.

WWI was really the last of the European wars where the questions at hand had less to do with "morality" issues and more with the pretty typical issues of territory and so on. And in that, regardless of who one holds as the most aggressive, there really wasn't a "good" or "bad" guy, at least not in the way that we can look at World War II and can say that the Nazis were bad...
WWII had no good or bad guys either. WWII wasn't fought for morality reasons, just because the British and French were protecting their allies.
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