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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redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,779
Stockport Cheshire UK
#41
Yes, this did give Britain an advantage. But, there were other means of getting propaganda into the United States which Germany did attempt but generally it was crass, ill-conceived and clearly driven by the German state rather than appearing to be the work of local supporters. And, this did matter, given that American public opinion would not be swayed by another government's pitch.
There was also the problem that British propaganda against the Germans though overblown was based on fact, the "Rape Of Belgium" was not an invention of British propaganda, it was witnessed by American reporters based in Europe and reported back to the USA, and when you factor in the fact that the German blockade was also killing US citizens, it's not surprising that Germany lost the propaganda war.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,710
Sydney
#43
it seems that the great offensive to the West was a grievous mistake
Germany had massacred the French army at the battle of the borders
It could have held them off with one hand tied behind it's back
putting a major effort to the East would have given them Warsaw and Vilnius in 1914
Riga and Tallinn in 1915
St petersburg in 1916 , instead of the totally sterile butchery of Verdun
any French offensive in the West would have had the same fate as the Artois offensive
a carpet of dead for nothing much
 
Jan 2017
1,276
Durham
#44
I double posted my original post so l will use this to post a link on German atrocities against Belgium in WW1
The ‘Rape of Belgium’ Revisited | World War I Centenary
Thanks for the link.

Yes, that's pretty much my understanding of the extent of German atrocities in Belgium.

The Germans, though, should comfortably have argued that the line between 'good and evil' could not easily be drawn given Britain's blockade of German ports, which could only lead to starvation among the German people.

Also, the reality of war dictates that a tired, hungry, paranoid army will take liberties with the local population and opposing soldiers, just as Britain did when British soldiers were given to understand 'take no prisoners'; although you could argue that German repression of the Belgians was a pre-conceived plan aimed at terrorising Belgium into submission.

I don't mean to down play German attrocities, or that the killing of civilians is abhorrent, but I do feel the Germans could have made a better fist of arguing their corner.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,779
Stockport Cheshire UK
#45
Germany could have avoided giving A-H a blank check, though. Granted, I will admit that Kaiser Bill might have done this without the belief that it was going to trigger a general European war, but it was still a mistake if one's goal was to avoid a general European war.



AFAIK, the Austrian ultimatum was:

1. Unduly harsh.
2. Meant to be rejected.

@pugsville Germany should have refrained from invading Belgium. At least that way Britain could have stayed out of the war--at least according to @redcoat.
l'm not exactly saying that.
There were powerful factions within the British government who were in favour of supporting the French, so it was a possibility that Britain might support France even without an invasion of Belgium.
My argument is, the British would not accept the violation of Belgium neutrality by anyone.
Both Germany and France knew this, but the Germans didn't care the war was supposed to be over before British involvement mattered, the French on the other hand wanted Britain's support so they made sure they would not be the nation to violate Belgium neutrality.
 
Likes: Futurist
Jan 2017
1,276
Durham
#46
it seems that the great offensive to the West was a grievous mistake
Germany had massacred the French army at the battle of the borders
It could have held them off with one hand tied behind it's back
putting a major effort to the East would have given them Warsaw and Vilnius in 1914
Riga and Tallinn in 1915
St petersburg in 1916 , instead of the totally sterile butchery of Verdun
any French offensive in the West would have had the same fate as the Artois offensive
a carpet of dead for nothing much
I wouldn't agree with this. The French made a huge mistake at the outset of war, charging into Germany like it was 1820 or something, but they learned from that mistake. All of the combatants made the same mistake: the Germans did exactly the same at Mons, charging over open ground and just generally being fodder in a turkey shoot. Even the Americans, when they joined the war, made the same mistake even though they had the benefit of the experience of allies. It seems it was a learning process they all had to go through.

The French turned into a very effective fighting force, demonstrated by The Somme where they broke through and achieved all of their objectives. And, the memoirs of German soldiers who went up against the French suggests they rated the French very highly during and after the Marne.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,062
Republika Srpska
#47
Also, the reality of war dictates that a tired, hungry, paranoid army will take liberties with the local population and opposing soldiers, just as Britain did when British soldiers were given to understand 'take no prisoners'; although you could argue that German repression of the Belgians was a pre-conceived plan aimed at terrorising Belgium into submission.
The Rape of Belgium started in August 1914, so in the same month as the war itself. The German Army was not tired and hungry at that point, yet they still committed atrocities.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,241
#48
The French turned into a very effective fighting force, demonstrated by The Somme where they broke through and achieved all of their objectives. And, the memoirs of German soldiers who went up against the French suggests they rated the French very highly during and after the Marne.
The Battale of teh Somme was demanded by the French who gradually reduced tehir involvment, the scale and the size of the front, the timing were all very much forced on the British by the French who were desperate for relief at Verdun and needed the Birtish to launch this offensive to force the Germans to relive the effort at Verdun. The British thought their rather hastily trained mass amry was not at all ready. The French in 1916 were experinced fighting force, had been a massa army from the start of the war. The British had basically lost thier profesisional long service army in 1915 and had a hastilt assembled and trained mass army, lacking experience at every level,. (the US army in 1918 would have much of the same syetmic mass expansion problems,)
 
Likes: Linschoten

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,241
#49
Thanks for the link.

Yes, that's pretty much my understanding of the extent of German atrocities in Belgium.

The Germans, though, should comfortably have argued that the line between 'good and evil' could not easily be drawn given Britain's blockade of German ports, which could only lead to starvation among the German people.

Also, the reality of war dictates that a tired, hungry, paranoid army will take liberties with the local population and opposing soldiers, just as Britain did when British soldiers were given to understand 'take no prisoners'; although you could argue that German repression of the Belgians was a pre-conceived plan aimed at terrorising Belgium into submission.

I don't mean to down play German attrocities, or that the killing of civilians is abhorrent, but I do feel the Germans could have made a better fist of arguing their corner.
You are arguing that somehow lining up 100% innocent men and women against the wall and shootringthem could somehow be justified.

That it just happens, tored , hugary, paraniod, "comfortably argued", These terms are downplaying German attrocities,

The gemrna could have always feed their population if they made it a priority., Food ahead of arms they would not have been a problem.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,779
Stockport Cheshire UK
#50
Thanks for the link.

Yes, that's pretty much my understanding of the extent of German atrocities in Belgium.

The Germans, though, should comfortably have argued that the line between 'good and evil' could not easily be drawn given Britain's blockade of German ports, which could only lead to starvation among the German people.
By the time the British blockade started to have a noticeable effect on the health of the German population the USA was already at war with Germany.
 

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