Debunked British myths of WW1 (Niall Ferguson)

Jan 2020
130
cumberstone
The “myths” of World War I that Ferguson attacked, with his counter-arguments in parentheticals, are:

1)That Germany was a highly militarist country before 1914 (Ferguson claims Germany was Europe’s most anti-militarist country)
2)That naval challenges mounted by Germany drove Britain into informal alliances with France and Russia before 1914 (Ferguson claims the British were driven into alliances with France and Russia as a form of appeasement due to the strength of those nations, and an Anglo-German alliance failed to materialize due to German weakness)
3)That British foreign policy was driven by legitimate fears of Germany (Ferguson claims Germany posed no threat to Britain before 1914, and that all British fears of Germany were due to irrational anti-German prejudices)
4)That the pre-1914 arms race was consuming ever larger portions of national budgets at an unsustainable rate (Ferguson claims that the only limitations on more military spending before 1914 were political, not economic)
5)That World War I was, as Fritz Fischer claimed, a war of aggression on part of Germany that necessitated British involvement to stop Germany from conquering Europe (Ferguson claims that if Germany had been victorious, something like the European Union would have been created in 1914, and that it would have been for the best if Britain had chosen to opt out of war in 1914)
6)That most people were happy with the outbreak of war in 1914 (Ferguson claims that most Europeans were saddened by the coming of war)
7)That propaganda was successful in making men wish to fight (Ferguson argues the opposite)
8)That the Allies made the best use of their economic resources (Ferguson argues that the Allies “squandered” their economic resources)
9)That the British and the French had the better armies (Ferguson claims the German Army was superior)
10)That the Allies were more efficient at killing Germans (Ferguson argues that the Germans were more efficient at killing the Allies)
11)That most soldiers hated fighting in the war (Ferguson argues most soldiers fought more or less willingly)
12)That the British treated German prisoners of war well (Ferguson argues the British routinely killed German POWS)
13)That Germany was faced with reparations after 1921 that could not be paid except at ruinous economic cost (Ferguson argues that Germany could easily have paid reparations had there been the political will)

An interesting article: A most surprising peacenik: Historian Niall Ferguson says Britain
 
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Davidius

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
5,021
Pillium
We get it, Britain bad, Germany good, Hungary best of all.

If you bothered addressing any of the points made by people replying to your posts then you might get a discussion but your tedious, poorly researched, nationalistic agenda mongering makes it a pointless exercise.
 
Nov 2014
1,687
Birmingham, UK
We get it, Britain bad, Germany good, Hungary best of all.

If you bothered addressing any of the points made by people replying to your posts then you might get a discussion but your tedious, poorly researched, nationalistic agenda mongering makes it a pointless exercise.
In fairness the OP seems to stand (or fall) on the research and agenda of Niall Ferguson, rather than that of the poster himself, although the choice of topic and approach to it do seem eerily familiar in this poster’s short time as a contributor. Of course, when a new poster begins posting lots of threads early in their membership, that is often a sign of agenda-mongering.

As for Ferguson I haven’t read his book so can’t comment but the above seems like a fairly representative sample of his, uh, ‘craft’ shall we call it.
 
Jan 2020
130
cumberstone
We get it, Britain bad, Germany good, Hungary best of all.

If you bothered addressing any of the points made by people replying to your posts then you might get a discussion but your tedious, poorly researched, nationalistic agenda mongering makes it a pointless exercise.
In science Hungary was firmly better in sciences than Britain in the 1890-1945 period, especially better if you compare the number of inhabitants. (We have older tradition of technical universities than Brits ) Somehow the math based modern 20th century theoretical sciences were not fit for Brits. Brits had rather typical 19th century experimental scietists.
 
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Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,817
T'Republic of Yorkshire
In science Hungary was firmly better in sciences than Britain in the 1890-1945 period, especially better if you compare the number of inhabitants. (We have older tradition of technical universities than Brits ) Somehow the math based modern 20th century theoretical sciences were not fit for Brits. Brits had rather typical 19th century experimental scietists.

Goodbye, janossyjanos.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,944
Stockport Cheshire UK
The “myths” of World War I that Ferguson attacked, with his counter-arguments in parentheticals, are:


5)That World War I was, as Fritz Fischer claimed, a war of aggression on part of Germany that necessitated British involvement to stop Germany from conquering Europe (Ferguson claims that if Germany had been victorious, something like the European Union would have been created in 1914, and that it would have been for the best if Britain had chosen to opt out of war in 1914)
This is merely the case of a historian putting his agenda ahead of the facts. There is little evidence that Germany would have been nice to the defeated nations post war and instead of a voluntary economic union it would have been a forced union designed to mainly benefit Germany.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,447
SoCal
This is merely the case of a historian putting his agenda ahead of the facts. There is little evidence that Germany would have been nice to the defeated nations post war and instead of a voluntary economic union it would have been a forced union designed to mainly benefit Germany.
Unfortunately, that's probably correct. If more liberal forces will come to power in Germany after the war, then things could have possibly gotten better, but that's certainly not guaranteed. Of course, the question is whether preventing this was actually worth the loss of a million British lives.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,944
Stockport Cheshire UK
Unfortunately, that's probably correct. If more liberal forces will come to power in Germany after the war, then things could have possibly gotten better, but that's certainly not guaranteed. Of course, the question is whether preventing this was actually worth the loss of a million British lives.
"If more liberal forces will come to power in Germany after the war"
So the British should have stayed out of WW2 as well, because maybe more liberal forces might have come to power in Germany after the war ?
 
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