To what extent was WW1 a war of territorial ambition

Sep 2014
234
FR
#2
Most conflicts prior to 20th were primarily about territory. Did WW1 follow this pattern.
Look at the outcome. Out of the war fought for making the world safe for democracy as Wilson said, the British Empire had added 950,000 square miles and millions of subjects.
 

funakison

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,381
Between a rock and a hard place
#3
Look at the outcome. Out of the war fought for making the world safe for democracy as Wilson said, the British Empire had added 950,000 square miles and millions of subjects.
First of all welcome to the site.

At its outset the war had nothing to to do with making the world safe for democracy and only a limited amount to do with territorial ambition. In 1914 France wanted Alsace Lorraine back, but what did Austria, Germany, the Ottoman empire and Russia want in terms of territory.
 
Jul 2012
162
#4
Ottomans were on the retreat and had lost huge sways of land pre-war outbreak. They wanted some of it back and needed powerful allies to do so. They also had to consolidate their positions since Constantinople at that moment had 3 nations eyes on it. Russia wanted Constantinople, to enter Balkans and to establish better foothold south of Caucassus. AH wanted to fill the vacuum of power created by Balkan wars, they didn't want Bulgaria/Russia having better position to capture Constantinople than they did. Also, they needed better naval bases since Adriatic sea was just too easy to blocade. About Germany, it is debateable if they needed/wanted more European territory possesions.
 
Aug 2010
16,173
Welsh Marches
#5
I don't think that Britain initially had any territorial ambitions (i.e. that was not a factor in the decision to declare war), and it never had any territorial ambitions in Europe; nor did France except with regard to Alsace-Lorraine. Of course Britain was happy to pick up German territories abroad after the defeat of Germany; Tanganyika, for instance, formed a natural unit with Kenya and Uganda, and there had been fighting in East Africa during the war.
 
Sep 2014
234
FR
#6
I don't think that Britain initially had any territorial ambitions (i.e. that was not a factor in the decision to declare war), and it never had any territorial ambitions in Europe; nor did France except with regard to Alsace-Lorraine. Of course Britain was happy to pick up German territories abroad after the defeat of Germany; Tanganyika, for instance, formed a natural unit with Kenya and Uganda, and there had been fighting in East Africa during the war.
What about the Sykes Picot Agreement?
Sykes?Picot Agreement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Jun 2014
720
Republic of Ireland
#7
I don't think that Britain initially had any territorial ambitions

Blackadder " George, the British Empire at present covers a quarter of the globe, while the German Empire consists of a small sausage factory in Tanganiki. I hardly think that we can be entirely absolved of blame on the imperialistic front.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,996
US
#8
While the Austro-Hungarian empire was drawn into a war in response to the assassination of their archduke, would they not have found it beneficial to conquer Serbia and control it? So, in an indirect way, wasn't territorial acquisition part of their war plan?
 
Aug 2010
16,173
Welsh Marches
#9
What about the Sykes Picot Agreement?
I was specifically referring to territorial ambitions within Europe, outside Europe it was a different matter, all part of the imperial enterprise.

Blackadder " George, the British Empire at present covers a quarter of the globe, while the German Empire consists of a small sausage factory in Tanganiki. I hardly think that we can be entirely absolved of blame on the imperialistic front.
As I said, Britain was happy to pick up territories abroad as a result of the German defeat, but the prospect of doing so was hardly a factor in the initial decision to go to war - what was anticipated was a relatively short European war.
 
#10
While the Austro-Hungarian empire was drawn into a war in response to the assassination of their archduke, would they not have found it beneficial to conquer Serbia and control it? So, in an indirect way, wasn't territorial acquisition part of their war plan?
Let me present you a different angle to this. While the Austro-Hungary used assasination of their archduke as poor reason to declare war, was it excuse strong enough? So in indirect way, they found excuse to execute their war plans and conquer territory they were trying to gain control of for last...4 centuries?