Debunked British myths of WW1 (Niall Ferguson)

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,447
SoCal
Once the war began, Germany was ruled by Prussian siege law, that placed the amry cops area commanders in the distraics across germany as totall dictators on the state. They turned out to be quite poor at running a complex industrial economy.
Do you believe that an Imperial German military without a large Prussian influence would have been run much better?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,447
SoCal
Like, but somewhat unfair. WWII was largely a result of Germany's defeat in WWI. Once the Germans invaded Belgium, Britain had no choice but to enter the war. However she didn't have to play a such a large role in the ground war. France was able to stop the German advance on her own and the long period of stalemate combined with an effective naval blockade worked against Germany. If British ground forces were needed it would be in 1918 when Russia withdrew. This would have been more like British strategy in the Napoleonic Wars.
TBH, I wonder if France would have fallen before 1918 had Britain not sent a lot of ground troops to the Western Front even if France would have managed to survive in 1914. Please keep in mind that Napoleon had Prussia, Austria, and Russia as land-power opponents of his. In contrast, Imperial Germany would have only had France and Russia as serious land-power opponents (Italy was relatively weak militarily) had Britain not send large numbers of its own troops to continental Europe to fight the Germans in WWI.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,970
Do you believe that an Imperial German military without a large Prussian influence would have been run much better?
Imperial German Governance in General was a problem. How Empire was generally, the military were poorly placed to run the overall economy , Generals were just way out of their depth. The Riechstag lack of influence and power also made politicans who wer enot responbile or used to take an active part in affairs, they was little experience of Government.

Germany went into war in 1914 because there were no clear lines of control, or co-ordination with actions, Foreign Minster, Chancellor, Head of cheif of Staff, Kaiser no one was really accountable or reposnible they had enough roughto mnake things worse but not enough responsibility to fix things.


Thats political/economic matters, turning to Military matters,

the Prussian system produced techinicans who tended no be poor strategicsts, or dealing with soft intersections of miliatry and civilain matters.

The German military machine tends to be overated. The obessional counter attacks to take every yard of ground back could and was exploited at times to bleed the German army for no real purpose. There was a lack of strategic vision and unwilliness to consider diplomatic , ecnomic, civilian impacts of military policy. The 1918 offensives wer operational strong, but strategically poor, The Hindenberg program delivered lareg numbers of guns, but beglected the gunners to use them effectively. there was little man management, stromtroopers were run and and pushed until they died. Litytle appariacationof personall and their management, look at pilots in ww2 and the rotation of allied pilots back to training, it's the same lack of concern or understanding of managing the sustaining their menpower.
 
Jan 2019
215
Finland
Wikipedia says "the German economy was deprived of between one and 2.2 billion Reichsmark (RM) annually, which amounted in the late 1920s to nearly 2.5 per cent of Germany's GDP"
(World War I reparations - Wikipedia)

This is about half in relation to GDP to what Finland paid the USSR after WW2, which was to be paid in 1938 gold value. This was higher than the gold price in 1945 and the Finnish Mark had dropped in value about 50% during the war. In 1945-1949 this amounted to 5-6% of Finnish GDP each year, until the remaining sum was revised (cut). Nevertheless the reparations were paid, the last shipment was delivered in September 1952.

So really if Finland could pay twice that much in comparison to GDP after WW2, it would stand to reason that Germany for sure could have coughed up their reparations after WW1 had there been the will to do so.
What was the form that the reparations required from Germany took? I'm looking through the wiki link and there's many mentions of "gold and goods in kind" and that Germany had to loan currency to pay the reparations. Finland's reparations were at least facilitated by the USSR basically looking what Finland already produced and accepting payment in the form of those goods. The German reparations look much more complicated and difficult than the Finnish ones, at a glance at least.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,633
Sydney
Niall Freguson is an empty mind , full of echoes and resonating with past imperial fanfares ,
whose type are much beloved by think tanks wanting to purchase a thin glitter of intellectualism
he sold himself to the hoover institute , as bad a recommendation as one might get
he is so elevated in his thinking that it never touch the ground and had a near uninterrupted association with loosers

as for his prescience ( or lack thereof )
for mid 2016 in his own words
...." "I think the probability of Brexit is much higher – call it around 35%", says Ferguson. "Trump still has a 50% chance of being the Republican nominee, but I would put his hopes of winning the presidency much lower, at 1 in 5 at best "
 
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Jan 2019
215
Finland
as for his prescience ( or lack thereof )
for mid 2016 in his own words
...." "I think the probability of Brexit is much higher – call it around 35%", says Ferguson. "Trump still has a 50% chance of being the Republican nominee, but I would put his hopes of winning the presidency much lower, at 1 in 5 at best "
That's pretty much what most people seemed to think unless they had delved outside the more liberally inclined media bubbles. Not a massive stain on his credibility unless he is more of an analyst and predictor of current politics than a historian.
 
Aug 2013
190
Finland
What was the form that the reparations required from Germany took? I'm looking through the wiki link and there's many mentions of "gold and goods in kind" and that Germany had to loan currency to pay the reparations. Finland's reparations were at least facilitated by the USSR basically looking what Finland already produced and accepting payment in the form of those goods. The German reparations look much more complicated and difficult than the Finnish ones, at a glance at least.
I have to settle for Wikipedia (World War I reparations - Wikipedia) as a source of information, here as I don't have any previous knowledge of exactly how they paid.

To pay towards this sum, Germany could pay in kind or in cash. Commodities paid in kind included coal, timber, chemical dyes, pharmaceuticals, livestock, agricultural machines, construction materials, and factory machinery. The gold value of these would be deducted from what Germany was required to pay. Germany's assistance with the restoration of the university library of Louvain, which was destroyed by the Germans on 25 August 1914, was also credited towards the sum, as were some of the territorial changes the treaty imposed upon Germany
A bit further down on the page, it is stated that they defaulted multiple times on coal and timber deliveries and that "The Allies were unanimous that the default was in bad faith.". At this point Germany was even getting paid a little for the coal in order to make sure they could afford to feed the miners. This defaulting eventually led to the occupation of the Ruhr, since the Allies were unconvinced that Germany was taking the reparations seriously.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,729
Las Vegas, NV USA
TBH, I wonder if France would have fallen before 1918 had Britain not sent a lot of ground troops to the Western Front even if France would have managed to survive in 1914. Please keep in mind that Napoleon had Prussia, Austria, and Russia as land-power opponents of his. In contrast, Imperial Germany would have only had France and Russia as serious land-power opponents (Italy was relatively weak militarily) had Britain not send large numbers of its own troops to continental Europe to fight the Germans in WWI.
France did not have significant direct British help in the key Battle of the Marne. The Germans were forced to retreat and dig in. There were no successful offensives in the west by either side after that until 1918. Britain racked up big loses trying to break the German positions in Belgium. Their manpower was largely wasted there. France had access to supplies from the US and Britain while Germany was blockaded. Both sides were taking big losses but the front barely changed. At no time did France appear to falter.
 
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Sep 2016
1,352
Georgia
France did not have significant direct British help in the key Battle of the Marne. The Germans were forced to retreat and dig in.
It's not what he said. He didn't even mention Marne.
There were no successful offensives in the west by either side after that until 1918.Britain racked up big loses trying to break the German positions in Belgium. Their manpower was largely wasted there.
But the war of attrition still continued. It's not like they had a picnic on Western front till 1918.

France racked up big loses trying to break German positions in 1915 ( Battle of Artois and 2nd Battle of Champagne ) and 1917 ( Nivelle offensive ). The latter even lead to mutinies in French army. They also suffered heavy casualties during Battle of Verdun in 1916, where French were on the defensive for most of the battle. Let's not forget that French losses were high at Somme as well.

British also were crucial during Spring Offensive in March - July of 1918.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,633
Sydney
from mid 1916 onward the British shouldered a substantial load of the front fighting
after the French disaster at the Chemin des dames and the wholesale mutinies in the French armies
the British were making most of the offensives
before July 1916 , not so much ,
Their contribution to the battle of the Marne , tough small , was vital
 
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