Countries that had the most and least to gain from WWI

Jun 2017
2,879
Connecticut
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 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.



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.




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.



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.
1)I mean took areas that weren't Russian. Russia had acquired most of these areas through the various conflicts of previous few centuries and they added up. Most countries had far less of this land. It wasn't good it wasn't bad, it was a winner beating a loser and taking their empire. Russia did it to the Swedes, Poles Lithuanians and all the powers in that region.

2)Because the French created the situation that made war necessary. That's where all these questions lead back to. Creating the alliance with Russia the thing that led to all of Germany's so called acts of aggression.

3)Germany likely makes it a client state. At least by 1918 that is. Doubt they annex. Yes Napoleon viewed them as untrustworthy. Belgium wouldn't have been occupied, especially not for long if there hadn't been resistance, feel I've made my case for why Belgium shouldn't have resisted. I don't see someone walking through your country as something to defend yourself from.

4)I made it clear I feel Germany needing to use Belgium as a road to France is what gave them the right to invade after Belgium said no given what was at stake for Germany(two front war) versus Belgium(pride). I'm just very skeptical a constitutional monarch could go along even a brief while undiscovered. Look how the UK monarchs were always attended too. I guess the last sentence is a form of agreement though I consider it to be much sooner given how long the thing lasted. Belgium bowed to political pressure there is no way they didn't know long pre 1908, I find believing otherwise to be far more naive than thinking Germany wouldn't annex Belgium.

5))And yes that it Germany being at fault for taking Alsace-Lorraine is the most logical anti-German argument in my book(from the French perspective). From their point of view that's what this was all about. By that logic Germany is to blame for that since that's what prompted all of France's behavior. My argument is their response was very excessive given what was taken but no question it was a mistake that caused the French to go on their long quest for revenge that started the war. And Germany made their own alliance first but it had more to do with the Austria-Russia balance issue didn't really involve France. Were trying to convince one of their two friends who hated each other they were the real friend. France went and recruited the snubbed country of this group to become it's ally. And again yes picking Austria as it's ally and everything that stemmed from that was incompetence but France and Russia pairing up was not something that could not have been reasonably predicted, France was a republic, Russia the most anti republic monarchy. That's why France gets the blame they went so far out of their way for revenge.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,832
Republika Srpska
2)Because the French created the situation that made war necessary. That's where all these questions lead back to. Creating the alliance with Russia the thing that led to all of Germany's so called acts of aggression.
And why don't we mention that the creation of the Franco-Russian alliance was helped by Germany's unwillingness to renew agreements with Russia like the Reinsurance Treaty?
 
Likes: Futurist
Sep 2016
1,113
Georgia
Because the French created the situation that made war necessary. That's where all these questions lead back to. Creating the alliance with Russia the thing that led to all of Germany's so called acts of aggression.
Germans created that situation in 19th century. They should've stayed divided and not attacked their neighbors for some territories.
 
Likes: Futurist
Jun 2017
2,879
Connecticut
And why don't we mention that the creation of the Franco-Russian alliance was helped by Germany's unwillingness to renew agreements with Russia like the Reinsurance Treaty?
I've noted this countless times over the years, alluded to it in my immediately previous post! Choosing Austria over Russia was a hilariously incompetent act.

Then again the creation of the Franco-Russo alliance wasn't a realistically foreseen consequence either, not it changes how stupid picking Austria over Russia was.
 
Likes: Futurist
Oct 2013
14,260
Europix
Belgium bowed to political pressure there is no way they didn't know long pre 1908,
My emperor, that we have different POV is well established. It seems we have different historical sources too.

And sorry to say, at least on the Belgian I'm afraid You have some very bad sources.

The existence of Belgium is linked to its neutrality. From its appearance, the deal was clear: Belgium is neutral. It even wasn't Belgium's choise. Treaties between the powers dealing with Belgian neutrality were made even without Belgium participating.

To say that "Belgium bowed to political pressure" is, at least, lack of knowledge.

Belgium would have had the same reaction if France would have gave the ultimatum Germany gave, and Britain and Prussia would have declare war on France.

At the moment, touching Belgium was a "no go" for all the powers in the region. And it hasn't anything with "poor brave Belgium" but to the equilibrium the powers agreed upon, an equilibrum noone was ready to accept being breaked.

One of the reasons Germany succeeded in WWII is also the traditional Belgian neutrality: until very close to the war, Belgium was still preparing to resist an attack either from Germany, either from France!
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,163
Las Vegas, NV USA
Not really. Americans are probably even better than British in that regard. I don't know any other country in history, that managed to attain the status of Superpower in such efficient manner.
Only in 130 years after Civil War, USA became the most powerful country on the planet.

Obviously, there were also different factors at play.
This was certainly not the view of the US electorate at the time. WWI was largely viewed as a waste of lives and resources. Most of the loans the US made were never paid off. The US became isolationist and resentful of what the public thought of as European intrigues and double dealing. The US Army was reduced drastically although the navy was maintained. The US and Britain were actually war gaming against each other. The postwar British Empire was at its greatest extent. It's financial weakness was not apparent to the general public.
 
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Oct 2013
14,260
Europix
A couple of original sources

Annex to the Treaty signed at London, on the 19th of April, 1839, between Great Britain, Austria, France, Prussia and Russia, on the one part, and the Netherlands, on the Other.
[...]
ARTICLE VII

Belgium within the limits specified in Articles I, II and IV shall form an independent and perpetually neutral State. It shall be bound to observe such neutrality toward all other States.
[...]



Between BE and Prussia:

TREATY

BETWEEN HER MAJESTY
AND THE KING OF PRUSSIA

RELATIVE TO THE INDEPENDENCE AND NEUTRALITY OF BELGIUM

Signed at London, August 9, 1870

ARTICLE I

His Majesty the King of Prussia having declared that, notwithstanding the hostilities in which the North German Confederation is engaged with France, it is his fixed determination to respect the neutrality of Belgium, so long as the same shall be respected by France, Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on her part declares that, if during the said hostilities the armies of France should violate that neutrality, she will be prepared to co-operate with His Prussian Majesty for the defense of the same in such manner as may be mutually agreed upon, employing for that purpose her naval and military forces to insure its observance, and to maintain, in conjunction with His Prussian Majesty, then and thereafter, the independence and neutrality of Belgium.

It is clearly understood that Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland does not engage herself by this Treaty to take part in any of the general operations of the war now carried on between the North German Confederation and France, beyond the limits of Belgium, as defined in the Treaty between Belgium and the Netherlands of April 19, 1839.

ARTICLE II

His Majesty the King of Prussia agrees on his part, in the event provided for in the foregoing Article, to co-operate with Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, employing his naval and military forces for the purpose aforesaid; and, the case arising, to concert with Her Majesty the measures which shall be taken, separately or in common, to secure the neutrality and independence of Belgium.




Between BE and France:

TREATY

BETWEEN HER MAJESTY
AND THE EMPEROR OF THE FRENCH
RELATIVE TO THE INDEPENDENCE AND NEUTRALITY OF BELGIUM

Signed at London, August 11, 1870

ARTICLE I

His Majesty the Emperor of the French having declared that, notwithstanding the hostilities in which France is now engaged with the North German Confederation and its Allies, it is his fixed determination to respect the neutrality of Belgium, so long as the same shall be respected by the North German Confederation and its Allies, Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on her part declares that, if during the said hostilities the armies of the North German Confederation and its Allies should violate that neutrality, she will be prepared to co-operate with His Imperial Majesty for the defense of the same in such manner as may be mutually 'agreed upon, employing for that purpose her naval and military forces to insure its observance, and to maintain, in conjunction with His Imperial Majesty, then and thereafter, the independence and neutrality of Belgium.

ARTICLE II

His Majesty the Emperor of the French agrees on his part, in the event provided for in the foregoing Article, to co-operate with Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, employing his naval and military forces for the purpose aforesaid; and, the case arising, to concert with Her Majesty the measures which shall be taken, separately or in common, to secure the neutrality and independence of Belgium.

 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,700
SoCal
And why don't we mention that the creation of the Franco-Russian alliance was helped by Germany's unwillingness to renew agreements with Russia like the Reinsurance Treaty?
To be fair to Germany, though, wasn't Bismarck trying to juggle something like five balls at once while his successor Caprivi felt that juggling two balls at once was enough?

Also, for what it's worth, I certainly do think that Germany had more to gain from allying with Russia than with A-H. Germany and Russia could have dismembered A-H and partitioned it between them, Romania, Serbia, and Italy. Germany could have acquired German Austria, the Sudetenland, Bohemia, Moravia, and maybe South Tyrol and/or Slovenia (plus Fiume) as well. If Germany wasn't so allergic to the idea of more Catholics, this could have been a huge win for Germany--much more than some gains in the Baltics. Ironically, on this specific issue, Hitler had the right approach in the sense that he tried to include both Catholics and Protestants within a Pan-German identity. Too bad that this identity wasn't wide enough in his opinion for it to also include Jews, though. :(
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,700
SoCal
I've noted this countless times over the years, alluded to it in my immediately previous post! Choosing Austria over Russia was a hilariously incompetent act.

Then again the creation of the Franco-Russo alliance wasn't a realistically foreseen consequence either, not it changes how stupid picking Austria over Russia was.
Yeah, if Germany's leadership wasn't so Catholic-phobic, it could have realized that getting a lot of additional Catholics and actually working with them could be a huge plus for Germany. Plus, the Czechs could have been tried to be reconverted back into the Hussite Church after a German conquest of Bohemia and Moravia.
 
Jun 2017
2,879
Connecticut
Yeah, if Germany's leadership wasn't so Catholic-phobic, it could have realized that getting a lot of additional Catholics and actually working with them could be a huge plus for Germany. Plus, the Czechs could have been tried to be reconverted back into the Hussite Church after a German conquest of Bohemia and Moravia.
While Bismarck's anti Catholic laws didn't help and just justified the very behavior he was trying to fight, it made sense for the Germans to not acquire more Catholic citizens after unification and taking in the Catholic Kingdoms of South Germany. Catholics largely voted for the Centre Party and along with the Socialists were a disruptive force in the government whose goal was to shut it down. If the Catholics and Socialists had gotten a majority, well the Reichstag could grind to a halt. By WWI these had been the two largest parties for decades and were getting dangerously close to that point, causing a crisis. So while Socialists are not a set percentage of the population, Catholics were about a third(and the Centre Party got 2/3's to 3/4's of these) so adding more Catholic territory threatened the political balance of the Reichstag. While both the Socialists and Centre Party ended up undergoing a transformation from anarchists to establishment in the aftermath of WWI by this point of course Germany wasn't in a position to acquire more Catholic land(and if they'd won then they wouldn't have made the 180 degree change). This is why Brest-Litovsk would be unlikely to yield much directly annexed territory outside of the Protestant areas on the Baltic because it would disrupt the political balance of Germany and could shut off the government's funding. On the other hand this land going to Catholic dominated Austria-Hungary would have made perfect sense so I believe most of that land would have been either puppet states or ceded to Austria-Hungary.

This is part of the reason the Germany and Austria-Hungary alliance worked(in terms of trust that is), the Austrians knew Bismarck would never try acquiring any of their remaining territory after the Austro-Prussian war.
 
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