Was it a mistake for Germany not to wait unil 1917 and beyond to fight a World War?

Was it a mistake for Germany not to wait unil 1917 and beyond to fight a World War?

  • Yes

  • No


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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,714
Sydney
#11
the essential factor was that the French had strongly fortified the German border and neglected the Belgian one
did the same in 1940
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,128
SoCal
#12
No one wanted war, at least not on the scale that it became, so Germany would not have fought the Franco/British alliance in 1917 or at all if it could have been avoided. It was the complex web of treaties and alliances between all the European powers that began the inevitable descent into war in 1914.
Germany could have avoided giving A-H a blank check, though.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,128
SoCal
#13
I think the Russian revolution of February 1917 was itself a product of the World War I. Without this war, Russia had a great chance to do without this revolution. As for October 1917, I believe that this was not a revolution, but a counter-revolutionary Bolshevik coup, which strangled the green shoots of Russian democracy that appeared in February
Yeah, without WWI, the February Revolution would have at the very least been significantly delayed. An eventual revolution was certainly very possible, but probably not in 1917 without WWI. As for the Bolshevik coup, Yeah, if there's no WWI, the odds of it actually happening and succeeding are very low.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,128
SoCal
#14
Given that the German plan to invade France in 1940 initially resembled the Schlieffen Plan before von Manstein modified it, I don't know why the Schlieffen Plan would have been abandoned by 1917. The essential factor in both wars was that the German Army was too big to pass between Luxembourg and Switzerland and needed Belgium for the additional maneuvering room.
AFAIK, the logic behind an abandonment of the SP after 1917 would have been that by the time that Germany would have managed to defeat France (if it would have actually managed to do so, that is), Russian troops would have already captured Berlin. Yes, Germany was that afraid of what Russia would become after 1917--which is when Russia's Great Military Program was scheduled for completion.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,128
SoCal
#15
There are a few misconceptions in this thread.

(1) Russia was expanding its railroad network with French financial and technical assistance. So the conventional wisdom at the time, which hindsight can neither confirm nor deny, was that Germany was better off fighting the Triple Entente sooner rather than later.

(2) The Schlieffen Plan did not bring Britain into the war. If Germany had respected Belgium's neutrality (and focused its armies in the east while bottling-up France on their narrow border) then France would have invaded through Belgium, with Belgium's passive assistance, and Britain still would have joined France. It is known. The papers with these plans were found.
What papers are you talking about here?

Also, I would like to hear @redcoat's opinion in regards to this considering that he had previously asserted the opposite of what you have said here.

(3) Germany and Austria started the war. The Austrian attack on Serbia was not "legal" and Russia was treaty-bound to assist Serbia. The German Kaiser was the only person who could decide whether the war would happen or not (other than the Austrian Kaiser of course), by telling the Austrian Kaiser whether to proceed with the attack on Serbia or to back down.
I don't know if Russia was actually treaty-bound to assist Serbia. However, Kaiser Bill could have avoided giving A-H a blank check--as you implied here.

(4) The Central Powers were never going to win a long war. That required U-boats and wrecking the British economy, which required the U.S. to protect its interests.
With both British and US neutrality, the CPs had an excellent chance of winning a long war.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,078
Dispargum
#16
AFAIK, the logic behind an abandonment of the SP after 1917 would have been that by the time that Germany would have managed to defeat France (if it would have actually managed to do so, that is), Russian troops would have already captured Berlin. Yes, Germany was that afraid of what Russia would become after 1917--which is when Russia's Great Military Program was scheduled for completion.
OK, I see what you're getting at now. But you're still arguing that Germany should have waited until after Russia grew stronger? Basically you're trading Britain and the US for a stronger Russia. The Anglo-German Naval Race still antagonized Britain. France invested considerable effort into wooing Britain into an alliance. British neutrality is still not a sure thing in your 1917 scenario. You're also assuming Wilhelm II is not going to screw it up and antagonize Britain some other way besides the naval race (which he did historically).
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,128
SoCal
#17
OK, I see what you're getting at now. But you're still arguing that Germany should have waited until after Russia grew stronger? Basically you're trading Britain and the US for a stronger Russia. The Anglo-German Naval Race still antagonized Britain. France invested considerable effort into wooing Britain into an alliance. British neutrality is still not a sure thing in your 1917 scenario. You're also assuming Wilhelm II is not going to screw it up and antagonize Britain some other way besides the naval race (which he did historically).
Yes, I am arguing that a stronger Russia is a price well worth paying for British and US neutrality. As for the Anglo-German naval arms race, it was over by 1912 and unlikely to resume. Over time, memories of this race would have faded into the background just like memories of the Fashoda Incident gradually faded into the background--with Britain signing an Entente with France just six years later!

Also, Yes, sure, Willy could screw it up yet again. However, please keep in mind that Willy didn't ruin all of his country's relationships. For instance, his relations with both Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire were always pretty good. Thus, it's possible that he could have likewise eventually mended fences with Britain as well.

As for France, sure, it would have loved to remain allied to both Britain and Russia, but that might have been harder and harder to do as time would have went on due to Russia's growing power and due to Britain's fear of a continental European hegemon.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,780
Stockport Cheshire UK
#18
What papers are you talking about here?

Also, I would like to hear @redcoat's opinion in regards to this considering that he had previously asserted the opposite of what you have said here.
The claim that France was planning to invade Belgium and the British were willing to go along with it was an invention of German propaganda to justify their own invasion of Belgium, there was no truth to it.
The French were fully aware that the British would not tolerate any violation of Belgium's neutrality and had adjusted their military planning to take account of it.

First World War.com - Primary Documents - German Request for Free Passage through Belgium, and the Belgian Response, 2-3 August 1914

Pre-war Military Planning (France) | International Encyclopedia of the First World War (WW1)
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,128
SoCal
#19
The claim that France was planning to invade Belgium and the British were willing to go along with it was an invention of German propaganda to justify their own invasion of Belgium, there was no truth to it.
The French were fully aware that the British would not tolerate any violation of Belgium's neutrality and had adjusted their military planning to take account of it.

First World War.com - Primary Documents - German Request for Free Passage through Belgium, and the Belgian Response, 2-3 August 1914

Pre-war Military Planning (France) | International Encyclopedia of the First World War (WW1)
One would have wondered what France would have done had Germany not invaded Belgium and had France still gotten mauled at the Battle of the Frontiers, though.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,078
Dispargum
#20
I can see some merit in your 1905 scenario with Japan, Germany, A-H, and Turkey vs Russia, Britain, France, and eventually Italy. Britain would have to make a choice as they had friendships with both France and Japan. Another factor in 1905 is that the naval race had not yet really begun so maybe Britain would stay neutral, at least for a little while. But if anything, the Schlieffen Plan makes more sense in 1905 than it did in 1914 so again, Britain gets drawn into the war. The Battle of Tannenburg would likely not be fought in 1905 so Germany was more secure in the east while they dealt with France.
 

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