German Imperial War Council of 8 December 1912

Rodger

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Jun 2014
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US
#1
I searched the site and did not see this topic covered. Some historians, such as Fritz Fischer, believe the decision for a European war was sealed a few years earlier than 1914. The only ingredient necessary to ignite the powder keg of war was a reason, which occurred when the Austrian Hungarian Archduke, Ferdinand, was assassinated in Sarajevo. The primary culprit in instigating an inevitable war was Imperial Germany. At an internal meeting in December of 1912, a group known as the German Imperial War Council encouraged Austria Hungary to attack Serbia that month. The expectation would be that Russia would come to the aid of Serbia, then Germany would be justified in joining in on the fighting and was already mobilized, in an attempt to strike before Russia could mobilize. Germany was trying to avoid a war of attrition, which Moltke thought to be a losing proposition. Some argue that it was a fait accompli in the mind of Germany that a war should begin.
German Imperial War Council of 8 December 1912 - Wikipedia
Beginning the Great War | FifteenEightyFour | Cambridge University Press
 

Rodger

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Jun 2014
5,249
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#3
Did Germany actually mobilize in 1912? Wouldn't that have caused both Russia and France to mobilize?
I don't believe so. Moltke was anxious to do so He was of the opinion, once France and Russia signed a treaty of defense, that germany could not win a two front war. Prior to Hitler's "blitzkrieg," Moltke realized that a lightning strike was necessary as well, to avoid a two front war. To accomplish this, Germany developed perhaps the finest rail system, which could move large numbers of troops and supplies with surprising speed. Moltke wanted to strike before Russia could mobilize. Admiral Tirpitz argued for more time, although by 1912 it was obvious that germany had lost the naval arms race to Britain.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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#4
Had war broken out in 1912, it's possible that Germany would have had more problems with munitions than it had in real life. After all, the Haber process for producing ammonia was produced only shortly before--with it being commercialized in 1913:

Haber process - Wikipedia

"Ammonia was first manufactured using the Haber process on an industrial scale in 1913 in BASF's Oppau plant in Germany, reaching 20 tonnes per day the following year.[11] During World War I, the production of munitions required large amounts of nitrate. The Allies had access to large sodium nitrate deposits in Chile (Chile saltpetre) controlled by British companies. Germany had no such resources, so the Haber process proved essential to the German war effort.[5][12] Synthetic ammonia from the Haber process was used for the production of nitric acid, a precursor to the nitrates used in explosives."
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,249
US
#5
Had war broken out in 1912, it's possible that Germany would have had more problems with munitions than it had in real life. After all, the Haber process for producing ammonia was produced only shortly before--with it being commercialized in 1913:

Haber process - Wikipedia

"Ammonia was first manufactured using the Haber process on an industrial scale in 1913 in BASF's Oppau plant in Germany, reaching 20 tonnes per day the following year.[11] During World War I, the production of munitions required large amounts of nitrate. The Allies had access to large sodium nitrate deposits in Chile (Chile saltpetre) controlled by British companies. Germany had no such resources, so the Haber process proved essential to the German war effort.[5][12] Synthetic ammonia from the Haber process was used for the production of nitric acid, a precursor to the nitrates used in explosives."
Would a war precipitated in 1912 have gone as long? I doubt the U.S,would have entered even if the war lasted a few years. Would a quick war have delayed the Russian Revolution, win or lose for Russia?
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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#6
Would a war precipitated in 1912 have gone as long? I doubt the U.S,would have entered even if the war lasted a few years. Would a quick war have delayed the Russian Revolution, win or lose for Russia?
If Germany still declares USW and the Entente still has a realistic chance of winning the war at that point in time, then I expect the US to still enter the war.

As for a quick war, if Russia would have won (very unlikely), then Yes, the Russian Revolution would have been delayed. If Russia would have lost, then it would have depended on what exactly the Tsar would have done afterwards. Political, economic, and social reform (such as land reform and fairer elections to the Russian Duma) might have allowed him to retain his throne--at least for the time being.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,239
Dispargum
#7
Russia was in worse shape in 1912 than in 1914. They hit rock bottom during the war with Japan 1905-6 but grew stronger each year thereafter. I suspect this was one reason why Germany wanted war sooner rather than later - because Russia was growing stronger while Austria was declining.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,584
Las Vegas, NV USA
#8
I don't believe so. Moltke was anxious to do so He was of the opinion, once France and Russia signed a treaty of defense, that germany could not win a two front war. Prior to Hitler's "blitzkrieg," Moltke realized that a lightning strike was necessary as well, to avoid a two front war. To accomplish this, Germany developed perhaps the finest rail system, which could move large numbers of troops and supplies with surprising speed. Moltke wanted to strike before Russia could mobilize. Admiral Tirpitz argued for more time, although by 1912 it was obvious that germany had lost the naval arms race to Britain.
The Franco--Russian alliance was signed in 1894, initially secret but later public. If Germany mobilized, it seems it would indeed quickly be in a two front war. Given German mobilization in 1912, it seems Russia and France would have had to mobilize setting the the whole cycle in motion about 18 months earlier than actually. The Schlieffen Plan was no secret in its overall form. France was to be defeated in 6 weeks and then all 8 field armies would be available against Russia. The plan required all its main assumptions to be correct and that almost never is the case. With German mobilization, Russia couldn't afford to wait.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,494
SoCal
#9
Russia was in worse shape in 1912 than in 1914. They hit rock bottom during the war with Japan 1905-6 but grew stronger each year thereafter. I suspect this was one reason why Germany wanted war sooner rather than later - because Russia was growing stronger while Austria was declining.
Yes, which is why it might have been a good idea for Germany to wage war back in 1905-1906. Of course, it would have really helped if the Haber Process would have been developed and commercialized a decade earlier.
 

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