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Old December 16th, 2017, 07:46 AM   #1
DVW
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Entente in WW1: Good guys or guilty


I've been thinking a while and one question came to my mind. What if Entente wasn't the right side during First World War? What if in fact they're the cause of all that chaos? There are several arguments why it seems like that to me:

1. Strictly talking about start Austria-Hungary invaded Serbia after guy named Gavrilo Princip murdered their air to the throne Franz Ferdinand when he was visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina, part of their empire at the time. I know that all of infrastucture my country have including roads, tunnels, bridges in mountainous terrain were built by them and locals weren't regarding them as occupators beacuse of great development Austria-Hungary has offered to the Bosnian people. It's logical that assassination was plot of Serbia to take Bosnian land for them. Gavrilo was their man, of their ethnicity. And they were suprised by Habsburgs attacking them. Give me a break.

2. Speaking about Austria-Hungary i should mention their relations with Italy as well. Habsburgs were protecting their positions in the Balkans from them beacuse they wanted eastern shore of Adriatic sea in present-day Croatia which is like Bosnia territory under Vienna's jurisdiction. Why would then Italy declare neutrality just after Austria-Hungary crossed the border of Serbia? Austria-Hungary was natural opponent for their interests and saw them as a threat for territorial ambitions much like Serbia did. Why would then Italy attack Austria first? Why would they went into that offensive in the Alps? And that happened only when British promised them those gains in London Treaty. Situation with Russia was very similiar indeed. Serbia was their proxy.

3. Mentioning proxies i should mention leader of all bad policy and dead soldiers. UK. Colonial and imperial power. Them and France were frightened by Germany as a relativly new European nation. Frightened for their influence and domination abroad in places like Africa and would do anything to reduce strength of the Central Powers. That's why we have murder of Franz Ferdinand. That's why we have Italian shelling at Isonzo. Actually
that's the reason entire World War One began. Sure Germany was expanding, sure Austria-Hungary wasn't in Bosnia beacuse they love Bosnians, but it was British, French and Russian hands that were manipulating and later pretending to be victims of "evil" Central Powers. Ottoman Empire joined them by attacking Russia first? Yes. It was a war between two alliances and Entente is one of them that have pulled the trigger. What would later come up we can only blame Entente.

What do you think about my theory. Is it stupid or it makes sense, is somebody else thinking this way? And one more time, my English is maybe bad.

Last edited by DVW; December 16th, 2017 at 07:49 AM.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 08:13 AM   #2

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Whoever wins a war gets to say who the good guy was.

(I think it's in the Geneva Convention?)
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Old December 16th, 2017, 09:36 AM   #3

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Britain (of course) and the Entente were the good guys. Our war aims were for the Germans to go back where they came from. These were their's;

http://historytothemax.wikispaces.co...Memorandum.pdf

And what they actually enforced on the Russians;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Brest-Litovsk
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Old December 16th, 2017, 10:04 AM   #4
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It's not helpful to think in terms of good guys and bad guys. Those are value judgements, not facts.

As to fear, both alliances were fearful of the other in the years before the war. Britain feared the German naval build up. Germany had good reason to fear the Entente would increase its power while the Central Powers would only decline. Germany's future was bright but Austria-Hungary was weak and growing weaker. Germany's alliance with Italy was not as strong as it could be, as proved by Italy eventually joining the Entente. Circa 1906, with Russia weakened by defeat by Japan, the balance of power was probably tipped in favor of Germany, but by 1914 Russia had partly recovered and the balance was tipping back in favor of the Entente. I seem to recall a memo between Wilhelm II and Franz Josef in which Wilhelm said 'If we're going to do something, we'd best do it sooner rather than later because our historical window of opportunity is closing.'
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Old December 16th, 2017, 11:45 AM   #5

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there were no good guys or bad guys. that's simplistic logic.

Wars and human conflict in general cannot be reduced to that. The notion that Germany was to blame for the war is pretty scant, and something the Allies could force after they won. Britain felt threatened by Germany militarily and economically. France wanted revenge against germany for the Franco-Prussian war.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 11:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirOrmondeWinter View Post
Britain (of course) and the Entente were the good guys. Our war aims were for the Germans to go back where they came from. These were their's;

http://historytothemax.wikispaces.co...Memorandum.pdf

And what they actually enforced on the Russians;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Brest-Litovsk
The only real difference between Germany and Britain is that Britain choose to conquer "heathens" in Asia, Africa and America and Germany choose to conquer its neighbour.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 12:06 PM   #7
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Growing up it was heavily implied that WWI and WWII were both morally ambigious contests with the "Allies" in both being the good guys. This is nonsense that equates the German Empire with the Nazi's and is propaganda. WWI was really morally ambiguous. It became a lot easier to proclaim WWI as Democracy v Autocracy when the Russians left the war and the Americans joined but in the beginning it was just two sides all fighting for different reasons most of which were legitimate. France was the only major belligerent who was in the war almost solely for revenge so shouldn't they be seen as the worst actor or are they good guys because they had a Republican form of government?

I've said on another popular thread, I'm team Central Powers on this one and that the negative consequences of Central Powers victory would pale compared to what we got. As an American, I just can't think of any negative consequences to my country that would result from our defeat. The same should go with the UK. UK being conquered was never going to happen and regardless of the fate of the French the UK had taken Germany's entire overseas empire and that wasn't going to be reversed if the Germans conquered Paris. Really the only major Allied country who's fate was at risk were the French(even the Italians were never going to be totally taken over by the Hapsburgs they would have probably only taken back Venetia). Meanwhile Allied victory destroyed every enemy belligerent and created a bunch of problems that had a ripple effect.

Feel a lot of people see the world wars as movies where the endings had to result in the winners gaining everything and the losers losing everything but no wars usually don't go this way, and WWI and WWII didn't have to go this way either they did do to a wide array of factors.

Last edited by Emperor of Wurttemburg 43; December 16th, 2017 at 12:09 PM.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 12:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVW View Post

but it was British, French and Russian hands that were manipulating and later pretending to be victims of "evil" Central Powers.
There's a strange thing that people over the centuries have thought: we British have manipulated everyone into fighting wars. Hitler and countless Europeans have said this. I've read it on this board from Europeans.

Which begs the question: are we really so smart and you're really so stupid that we can throw you a bone and you start fighting over it? Do you realise what you're saying?

Look, I'd make a distinction in your OP as follows:

1) Was Britain a contributor to WW1? Yes, because we held imperialistic values in high regard, and imperialistic values were a significant factor in causing WW1.

2) Did Britain want WW1 in 1914? No, because we had more to lose than anyone. We'd have been as happy as pigs in **** with the status quo. Did Austria and Germany want WW1 in 1914? Yes, they had most to gain.
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Old December 16th, 2017, 01:07 PM   #9

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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...
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Old December 16th, 2017, 01:19 PM   #10
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As far as someone are to blame I think it is not so much entire peoples, but specific leaders and peoples of power. And I must confess a somewhat unfavorable view of some of those, not least of a person wirh english- german parents: William 2. though I don't think he is to give all the blame.
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