Countries that had the most and least to gain from WWI

Mar 2014
53
Paris (France)
Yes I do know Germany declared war I was explaining why who declared war first was irrelevant. When you have alliances obligating party A to attack party B all who can be responsible are those who started the chain, and countries can't be blamed for not expecting things to go as the chain would suggest. This might be the main reason why France avoids conversations of culpability, the ones whose decisions set chains off were arguably Russia(technically started chain), Austria(unreasonable referendum on Serbia) and Germany(blank check). But France was critical in setting up the system where said chain exists. Pre France's ally hunt in the 1890s system where Germany was required to attack France to avoid a two front war existed, France wasn't just responsible for that state of affairs she pushed for it quite aggressively.

The literal declaration of war is misleading, Germany had no choice if she had waited France would declare war. Only choice Germany had was providing the blank check. Once Russia mobilized everyone was going to war. Italy and the UK were unique in their geographic isolation and the doubt they would join. The main four parties in those alliances entering was a certainty once the first one started the chain. France was technically the last of the four involved but she was the most aggressive in creating the alliance system that got her attacked. I am not debating what day of August what happened that is not the point.
You're missing the point here (purposely ?). You stated "France was going to attack" and I asked for evidence about it. You did not provide any and I provided some that are stating the exact reverse.

In addition to your opinion (that is missing the point), you cannot blame France of being aggressive by signing defensive alliances. The one to blame is Germany with its poor diplomacy that let this situation happen. Here a translation of the franco-russian alliance of 1892 :
Avalon Project - The Franco-Russian Alliance Military Convention - August 18, 1892

Article 1:
If France is attacked by Germany, or by Italy supported by Germany, Russia shall employ all her available forces to attack Germany.
If Russia is attacked by Germany, or by Austria supported by Germany, France shall employ all her available forces to attack Germany.
Moreover you seem to forget that the franco-russian alliance occured 10 years after the triple alliance (Triple Alliance (1882) - Wikipedia ) so if you blame France of creating the alliance system, what about Germany ?

So please stop this non sense or provide solid sources. Until then, it's only fantasy of your part.
 
Jun 2017
2,974
Connecticut
You're missing the point here (purposely ?). You stated "France was going to attack" and I asked for evidence about it. You did not provide any and I provided some that are stating the exact reverse.

In addition to your opinion (that is missing the point), you cannot blame France of being aggressive by signing defensive alliances. The one to blame is Germany with its poor diplomacy that let this situation happen. Here a translation of the franco-russian alliance of 1892 :
Avalon Project - The Franco-Russian Alliance Military Convention - August 18, 1892



Moreover you seem to forget that the franco-russian alliance occured 10 years after the triple alliance (Triple Alliance (1882) - Wikipedia ) so if you blame France of creating the alliance system, what about Germany ?

So please stop this non sense or provide solid sources. Until then, it's only fantasy of your part.
The evidence is the alliance with Russia where they promised too.

The Franco-Russian alliance wasn't defensive. it was meant to achieve an offensive goal of acquiring Alsace-Lorraine. There was no prospect or reason for Germany to attack France prior to that alliance.

1870 saw Prussia provoke France. France declared war. Context matters. In neither instance was the country that declared war the aggressor.

The triple Alliance didn't really involve France had more to do with secretly assuring Austria they were the Germans real ally. That was the reason for that alliance. That was a very stupid thing to do but it didn't involve France. And yes the choosing of Austria over Russia pushed them to become allies with France which was a mistake. Germany preferred straddling the fence. There was reasons for Russia to join, France were the aggressors that's why I argue despite making out with the best PR they were the main aggressors of WWI. France pushed for that alliance to achieve their offensive goals.
 
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Jun 2017
2,974
Connecticut
Tell me that I'm dreaming!

Someone's trespassing in force my territory and he is the victim ???
I explained my position. Belgium said no to moving troops through. A government should value their troops lives more than any other country's sovereignty. Saying no isn't good enough. Again this view is informed by post 1991 example of country trying to stop the US from achieving an important goal and us doing it anyway. The country defending one's sovereignty against non conquest or domination oriented goals is in the wrong IMO, they are doubly in the wrong for shooting in response. Germany would have been confining themselves to a bloody two front war and ending chances of a easy less casualty intensive victory by respecting Belgium refusal. It was their governments responsibility to invade Belgium. It was not the Belgium government responsibility to shoot them. I value human life more than abstract concepts like sovereignty and it would have been a betrayal of their soldiers trust to not do everything in their power to minimize casualties. The Belgians clearly didn't take the same approach and tens of thousands of their men died as a result of that.
 
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Mar 2014
53
Paris (France)
Still no sources…

The evidence is the alliance with Russia where they promised too.

The Franco-Russian alliance wasn't defensive. it was meant to achieve an offensive goal of acquiring Alsace-Lorraine. There was no prospect or reason for Germany to attack France prior to that alliance.
I did provide source stating the exact reverse. Your opinion is no arguments.

1870 saw Prussia provoke France. France declared war. Context matters. In neither instance was the country that declared war the aggressor.
That's true. That's why maybe I should remind you the events just prior the war to show you that the declarations of war and the provocations are mainly on Germany and Austria-Hungary shoulders.
July 5th: Germany gives blank check to Austria-Hungary
July 23rd: Austria sends an ultimatum to Serbia. The Serbian response is seen as satisfactory everywhere but in Vienna
July 28th: Austria declares war on Serbia
July 30th: Germany sends an ultimatum to Russia
August 1st: Germany declares war on Russia
August 2nd: Germany invade Luxembourg. Germany sends an ultimatum to Belgium
August 3rd: Germany declares war on France and Belgium
August 4th: UK declares war on Germany
August 5th: Montenegro declares war on Austria
August 6th: Austria declares war on Russia. Serbia declares war on Germany.
August 8th: Montenegro declares war on Germany
August 11th: France declares war on Austria
August 12th: UK declares war on Austria

The only thing that Germany can say is that Russia mobilized on July 28th. That's all. So blaming France for WWI or Germany paranoia is just plain non sense. Any other statement needs strong and solid sources.

The triple Alliance didn't really involve France had more to do with secretly assuring Austria they were the Germans real ally. That was the reason for that alliance. That was a very stupid thing to do but it didn't involve France.
Yeah sure :
Article 2
In case Italy, without direct provocation on her part, should be attacked by France for any reason whatsoever, the two other Contracting Parties shall be bound to lend help and assistance with all their forces to the Party attacked.

This same obligation shall devolve upon Italy in case of any aggression without direct provocation by France against Germany.
https://www.firstworldwar.com/source/triplealliance.htm

Please, I cannot insist more, provide sources to your statement. You are only wasting our time here.
 
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Jun 2017
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Still no sources…


I did provide source stating the exact reverse. Your opinion is no arguments.


That's true. That's why maybe I should remind you the events just prior the war to show you that the declarations of war and the provocations are mainly on Germany and Austria-Hungary shoulders.
July 5th: Germany gives blank check to Austria-Hungary
July 23rd: Austria sends an ultimatum to Serbia. The Serbian response is seen as satisfactory everywhere but in Vienna
July 28th: Austria declares war on Serbia
July 30th: Germany sends an ultimatum to Russia
August 1st: Germany declares war on Russia
August 2nd: Germany invade Luxembourg. Germany sends an ultimatum to Belgium
August 3rd: Germany declares war on France and Belgium
August 4th: UK declares war on Germany
August 5th: Montenegro declares war on Austria
August 6th: Austria declares war on Russia. Serbia declares war on Germany.
August 8th: Montenegro declares war on Germany
August 11th: France declares war on Austria
August 12th: UK declares war on Austria

The only thing that Germany can say is that Russia mobilized on July 28th. That's all. So blaming France for WWI or Germany paranoia is just plain non sense. Any other statement needs strong and solid sources.



Yeah sure :

https://www.firstworldwar.com/source/triplealliance.htm

Please, I cannot insist more, provide sources to your statement. You are only wasting our time here.
It is not realistic to demand sources for easily verifiable information on an internet forum. Continuing to demand them is a cheap ploy to discredit my arguments do you have a source contradicting my actual arguments and not strawmen? That burden of proof is on you, you are demanding sources for arguments I didn't make. I am not going to provide sources to support a strawman, sources are for when you provide new information and you have a specific thing you want to show people(as I did in the argument for another thread this morning). I told you my blame on France for WWI, IS NOT RELATED TO AUGUST 1914. There are pages of documentation on this thread detailing my position in great detail. You also agreed with the statement that declaration of war doesn't necessarily indicate who's responsible(or maybe you agreed just in the situation where you agreed with what I said). You then proceeded to list all the declarations of war in August 1914 as if that's what determines the question. By that logic Montenegro is the most aggressive Allied power.

Your claim the alliance wasn't offensive because it doesn't have the work attack in it is ridiculous. That was irrelevant and semantic, Russia mobilized first was France going to not declare? Only party who that was relevant towards was Italy who used the language as an excuse to get out of a commitment they made which didn't make very much sense in the first place.
 
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Mar 2014
53
Paris (France)
It is not realistic to demand sources for easily verifiable information on an internet forum. Continuing to demand them is a cheap ploy to discredit my arguments do you have a source contradicting my actual arguments and not strawmen? That burden of proof is on you, you are demanding sources for arguments I didn't make. I am not going to provide sources to support a strawman, sources are for when you provide new information and you have a specific thing you want to show people(as I did in the argument for another thread this morning).
Is this a joke ? I have provided all the sources contradicting your arguments. You are stating France is the main responsible for WWI because of the alliance and I have shown you (despite the lack of sources of your statement) that it's complete non sense as Germany built an alliance involving defense against France (which you decide in your answer to simply ignore) before the franco-russian alliance. I even show you how Germany and Austria are the main provocateurs in July and August 1914 (that's why I wrote those, nothing related to France), with all their ultimatums.

I have also shown you how, in spite of having Russia mobilizing, the French government did all what is possible without jeopardizing France's situation to not provoke Germany. And that in spite of act of war on the German side. So where are your source that France was going to declare war anyway ? Nowhere...

You seem completely denying all the sources I've provided and you dare say that I didn't provide them...
 
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Jun 2017
2,974
Connecticut
Is this a joke ? I have provided all the sources contradicting your arguments. You are stating France is the main responsible for WWI because of the alliance and I have shown you (despite the lack of sources of your statement) that it's complete non sense as Germany built an alliance involving defense against France (which you decide in your answer to simply ignore) before the franco-russian alliance. I even show you how Germany and Austria are the main provocateurs in July and August 1914 (that's why I wrote those, nothing related to France), with all their ultimatums.

I have also shown you how, in spite of having Russia mobilizing, the French government did all what is possible without jeopardizing France's situation to not provoke Germany. And that in spite of act of war on the German side. So where are your source that France was going to declare war anyway ? Nowhere...

You seem completely denying all the sources I've provided and you dare say that I didn't provide them...
Your "sources" is citing the alliance itself. What do you expect it to say it's an offensive alliance in the text? This ain't no secret Nazi and Soviet alliance why would it say that? Why would an alliance text say it's anything other than defensive? France recruited an ideologically opposed power and Russia had to agree to the alliance. What France is supposed to attack Germany on whim and Russia just is supposed to join? No it needs to be situational and both alliances were phrased that way. For it be an offensive alliance by your standards it would to say "we're going to attack" and that isn't a real argument.

You provided the literal text of the alliance and made a strawman. That means you put up an argument I never said, win the argument(by beating up the strawman) and act like you disproved my actual argument.

YOUR SOURCE is the one that says France would declare war once Austria, Germany and Russia were at war. Offensive, defensive or not that much at least is clear, diplomatic wording or not.
 
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Feb 2019
941
Serbia
Keep in mind given how far west Russia was that Brest-Litovsk didn't even reach today's Russia proper. In European wars, areas conceded tended to be areas on the border settled by other groups that were swapped back and forth. Brest-Litovsk being as harsh as was, was a consequence of Russia stretching as far west as it did(borders that make the notion of it being expansionist today look like a joke by comparison) there were a lot of areas Russia ruled over that could be made satellites. Russia had kept winning general European war after general European war for centuries(Crimea was an exception not the rule) and by 1914 had built up quite a larger buffer area. To put in perspective, with today Germany's easternmost major acquisition was Riga which is not even in Russia today. And yeah it was harsh but it had the same intent the Versailles treaty had, make sure said opponent can't be a threat again and to justify what at that point had been a massive expenditure of lives and money(unlike in 1914). In the West almost no such land existed, Luxembourg was the only realistic German acquisition. Also I see more satellites and Austrian held territory arrving out of Brest-Litovsk. Futurist made an argument of maybe expanding awkward borders up the Baltic but hard to see Poland not going Austria(Germany annexing Catholic territory didn't work in that era for political reasons). Remember many of these peoples were Catholics or Protestants who did not want to be under Russian rule. After Brest-Litovsk was not enforced there were several wars in these regions between said peoples and the Soviets because of this.
I still don't see how the argument that they just took a border area (Which includes Ukraine, Finland, Belarus etc. I think that's a bit more than a border region...) excuses the fact that they did invade Russia. So, Russia stretched far west, and? Is this an excuse to take a huge chunk of its European territory in such a way? I think the treaty was justified because Germany won and as such had the right to take the spoils, however claiming that they didn't take a lot of land just because they ddn't reach Russia proper doesn't make sense to me.

I am on Napoleon's side in that regard(for the marching through Spain bit even though I think the Continental System is dumb) for the exact same reasons. But I think it's unfair to compare Napoleon taking over Spain and suggesting Germany would do the same. Spain had went back and forth between the Hapsburgs and Bourbons and thus France and Austria allegiance, huge wars had occurred after that shift, Spain didn't just happen to be next door there were political reasons in Spain why Napoleon took over. Nothing to suggest something similar happens with Belgium except they are both places countries used to access another.
I think we both know Napoleon's reasons for the invasion of Spain. Germany could've taken over Belgium and probably would've, I think it's naive to just assume Germany would leave a strategically important country alone, especially in the Age of Imperialism, the parallel with Napoleon, who took over Spain because he saw them as untrustworthy, was paranoid of Ferdinand launching a coup and was just power hungry still stands. I think much the same would've happened to Belgium. No matter what excuse Germany stood behind a country would be foolish to just kneel without a fight to an occupation.

I mean technically Belgium and the Free State were separate and I understand your reasoning why Leopold pushed for that distinction. Him not being tied down in terms of governing didn't mean he wasn't going to involve Belgians or that Belgians weren't aware of what was going on and Kings with multiple realms would bring people from their home realm to help them rule their second. The fact he was a Constitutional monarch makes the fact they weren't able to stop his acts earlier look worse not better. Rules or not Leopold being King required Belgians to be knowledgeable and involved in Leopold running the state. While Hitler's genocide and the Armenian genocide might have dwarfed Congo's in size, Congo's genocide was the longest running major one. It took political pressure to get Belgium to stop the genocide, I am disputing the characterization no one had any idea, they found out and it stopped I find that characterization to be very naive. Also distinction or not the man will not be receiving a huge chunk of Africa if he was not the King of Belgium, private individuals who were not European aristocrats did not receive huge chunks of Africa or any part of the earth and in practice, Congo would be seen as a Belgian proxy(textbooks might be oversimplying but when they take Partition of Africa, they characterize it as Belgian. The technicality has meaning but it does not free Belgium of responsibility. If you have a constitutional monarch they are kept monitored and are not running around freely in this era. People a whole ton of them and their cooperation and loyalty would be necessary to keep the genocide a secret.
Not technically, they were de facto separate with 2 different systems of government practically independent of one another, the genocide was on Leopold as an individual and his officials in the Congo, not the state of Belgium. Even if Belgium and the Congo Free State were the same I still don't see how this justifies a German invasion or what gives Germany the right to invade. A bit of blame is on the Belgian government for not finding out about it sooner but they had no control over it.


Guess I was thinking it hypocritical for Belgium to lie about human rights violations. And I'm not a neocon quite the opposite but in the US invading countries over human rights violations is much more commonplace argument that is much rarely disputed, at least on those grounds. In the contexts I'd normally be having this argument(US nationalists thinking the Belgians were facing genocide from the evil Kaiser) it'd hold some more sway especially when we're talking about walking through a country and not regime change. But yes Germany was in a situation where defeating France quickly as possible was vital, Belgium was in the way, ask but if Belgium says no go through anyway they are then being the bad guy as far as I'm concerned. You aren't trying to hurt them but they are trying to hurt you by not letting you go through and then shooting your soldiers when they try.
How is Belgium at fault for defending itself? And why are we giving Germany the edge here? They made a bad plan and expected a country to just give up without a fight. Why do we not give France the edge and say that dumb Germany didn't play in to the Plan 17 and got its army destroyed, the war would end quickly that way too. I already said that I think that it would be naive to just assume that Germany would march hundreds of thousands of troops through Belgium and leave them alone without doing anything.

Well I think the war is the entente's fault for existing as an offensive alliance on the part of France and Russia(okay with Russia can think of a few meritorious reasons, feeling betrayed by Germany after being backstabbed, French money, helping their Allies against Austria) and to combat an imaginary threat on the part of the British. So I'd prefer that instead of them just surrendering, this situation shouldn't have been in the first place.
If we go like this, it's Germany's fault for taking Alsace-Lorraine and angering France in the first place. If this doesn't work, Germany is at fault for making their own alliance that enlarged the war.
 
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deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
I explained my position. Belgium said no to moving troops through. A government should value their troops lives more than any other country's sovereignty. Saying no isn't good enough. Again this view is informed by post 1991 example of country trying to stop the US from achieving an important goal and us doing it anyway. The country defending one's sovereignty against non conquest or domination oriented goals is in the wrong IMO, they are doubly in the wrong for shooting in response. Germany would have been confining themselves to a bloody two front war and ending chances of a easy less casualty intensive victory by respecting Belgium refusal. It was their governments responsibility to invade Belgium. It was not the Belgium government responsibility to shoot them. I value human life more than abstract concepts like sovereignty and it would have been a betrayal of their soldiers trust to not do everything in their power to minimize casualties. The Belgians clearly didn't take the same approach and tens of thousands of their men died as a result of that.
It seems I'm not dreaming.

In the 1870 treaty warranting Belgium's neutrality, Prussia/Germany declared itself a warrant of the neutrality.

It engaged itself in protecting Belgium's neutrality!

Giving an ultimatum (because it was an ultimatum) to Belgium was breaking it's own engagement in the 1870.

Asking Belgium to let German troops passing through was asking Belgium to break itself the neutrality treaty.


As for Your "moral" concerns on Belgian lives: if Germany really needed to pick up a fight with those Frenchies, it could very well do it directly.

Germany and France did have a long common border, remember?
 
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